Well after returning to the UK yesterday after a whirlwind visit to Boston it's difficult to know where to start! This amazing event is packed full of business owners, marketing professionals, web developers, savvy socialites, content writers and more, all sharing their stories and expertise. Along with meeting and making many friends from a variety of backgrounds, there is also so much to learn from the sessions and keynote speakers.
Now who doesn't like to take a short cut? These professionals are speaking about their personal learnings from actual experience. They share insights about what they did right and about things they'd do differently if starting a business tomorrow.
Everyone Should be Marketing their Business in an Inboundly Way
I did notice that some company owners had chosen to leave their business cards on seats and scattered around the Inbound16 venue. This would be a good marketing ploy if you were selling coffee at the expo', as you would be correctly assuming that the majority of people arriving that day would be needing a coffee. But these people weren't selling coffee, they were targeting everyone in an outbound way in the hope that they might reach one of the customers in their industry market. The better solution is to find those specific professionals in your target audience and talk to them to see if:
a. They need your help and
b. They are a good 'fit' for your agency to be the one to help them.
There's a saying: "You can't please all people all of the time." This also applies to business, we can't possibly be the best at everything. Find which industry you have experience in and what you are best at. You get used to solving their particular industry problems and so choose these as your customers. For example we have worked for a number of manufacturing companies in the past so what better industry to market and build websites for? We already know the majority of the problems in this industry with regards to marketing so can easily solve them. We also specialise in websites that are bespoke, multi-lingual, complicated to build but look simple so are easy for the customer to use and understand. This also fits with the manufacturing industry. Therefore sometimes we have to turn down business because it doesn't fit our niche of helping manufacturers.
Tools are not Going to Solve all your Problems They just Help you Get the Answers and Faster.
At Inbound we were introduced to many new and updated software tools. From marketing automation to CRM systems and databases, from web and social tools to techniques on how to help you write a great, optimised piece of content. These are only tools. You still need to know how and which ones will help you to do an amazing job and in most cases saving you time in the process. But you also need the methodology and processes to organise these tools.
Every Company Needs a Method to Follow... a Process
There were many companies at Inbound this year willing to share their processes whether they use the EOS methodology (Marisa Smith gave more than one session on this and you can read more info' on this), using a GAANT spreadsheet or the 'Scrum' method as outlined in
'The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time' by Jeff Sutherland
Even if you choose to or have already invented your own organisational processes you do need to stick to it and communication is key. Ensure your entire team know the process and which forms to fill in and when.
Always Keep Ahead of the Curve and Use the Latest Technology
Technology is constantly being updated for a reason; to make it more efficient, easier to use, faster etc. In the same way you need to keep your business up to date and therefore ahead of the competition. This event is perfect for this as all the updates on software and tools are demonstrated. Also many of the keynote speakers gave vital information on how to use the tools on trend. For instance Gary Veynerchuck's speech was a great all-rounder updating on search engine behaviour and which social channels to use and how. Yes he's not everyone's cup of tea (most sentences contain a swear word or two) and he certainly takes no prisoners but he keeps things real. In fact after his speech I immediately ordered his book on Amazon " #AskGaryVee: One Entrepreneur's Take on Leadership, Social Media, and Self-Awareness"
You Still Need to Actually Speak to People
With all this new, updated software it's easy to fall into the stereotypical techie 'nerd' who doesn't leave the computer screen and thinks that the only social interaction necessary is FB or Snapchat. Yes, inbound does get you leads and it is possible to converse via Webex/Skype (especially if in another country) but it is ultimately a faster lead to conversion, MQL to SQL, contact to customer if you actually converse in person. If this is something you feel unconfident about then there's lots of help on this subject but without a doubt the most dynamic and experienced individual I have had the pleasure to meet is Dan Tyre (see his Twitter page here and get in touch with him @)This anthropologist truly is the definition of the word; a selfless helper of people. He is an inspiration and a true motivator of people. I believe that we all need reminding sometimes that we are all human, all the same, all have good days and bad days and if we all treat people the way we'd like to be treated; the world would be a greater place.
Keep Your Website Updated With Growth Driven Design
Although I was surprised at how little the web development side of marketing was mentioned at Inbound, I realise that most marketing agencies and companies attending this event would usually outsource this area of expertise. At Quattro we are in a minority by the fact that we specialise in this area on the COS HubSpot platform. It was a great to join Luke Summerfield's agency hangout on GDD where we participated in an unusual 'speed dating' session. This was a new way of networking with some people who know about Growth Driven Design and others who are looking for more info'.
If you'd like an overview on how Growth Driven Design improves company websites over time by collecting data on actual user experience and then constantly changing a site for optimum performance (more leads and sales), read my blog: 'Who wouldn't love a constantly evolving website? GDD is the future'
Sell Your Company Brand and Culture
We all have a company brand and ethos but who knew that we need to tell others about our ethos. This helps on so many levels within any organisation. The main areas are:
- Employee motivation
- Brand Awareness
The great thing is that if you've been established for a year or more then your company already has a culture, the problem is recognising it. This isn't something you can emulate or copy (although many companies like the idea of Google's slides instead of stairs, artificial grass indoors and snooker tables). You can take ideas and add elements from other company's but it has to fit your individual brand and your team. I saw an extremely humourous talk by Orlando Scampington at Inbound this year and loved the fact that although it's hard work running a business, we must never forget to continue to have fun and enjoy doing it.
I could continue to write summarising the entire Inbound 16 event but I'm sure that HubSpot who run this event will be sharing that along with slide decks for you to download. Also I was told at one of the sessions on content writing that my blogs shouldn't be more than 1,000 words.
image courtesy of freepik.com