If you’ve been following Channel Maven for a while, you know that HubSpot’s INBOUND conference is one of our favorite events of the year. Now hosted virtually, INBOUND brings together leaders from the sales, marketing, and customer success worlds for inspirational keynotes, educational breakout sessions and networking.
We’re excited to share lessons learned from the event earlier this month and implement these best-practices with our clients. Here's our recap of the latest in sales, marketing and customer success strategy!
Email for Sales and Marketing:
As a salesperson or marketer, you know how difficult it can be to keep up with email best practices. Between various data privacy regulations and new SPAM filters, strategies are constantly changing. In fact, Jay Schwedelson, Founder of SubjectLine.com kicked off his session Email Myths Busted! What’s Really Working Now, by reiterating exactly that. Email trends that worked 6 months ago don’t necessarily work today, and today’s best practices might not work 6 months from now. That said, there are a number of current “Do’s and Don'ts” that have a proven impact on email open rates and engagement. Here’s a quick overview of what’s working (and NOT working) right now.
Send from a person/human rather than a company/corporate email address.
Punctuation like parentheses, brackets, or asterix in subject lines can increase open rates 22%-25%.
Bookend emojis (putting emojis on both ends of a subject line) can increase open rates by 35%.
Adding “...” to a subject line can increase open rates by creating suspense.
Using a “VS.” in a subject line can increase open rates because people like seeing comparisons and results.
Promoting a list (Ex: 6 Reasons Blah Blah Blah) can increase open rates by 34%.
The most opened type of email is a “mistake email” that has words like “Oops” and “Uh-Oh” in the subject line.
What Doesn’t Work:
Avoid using vague subject lines (Ex: Trust Your Instincts).
Don’t be a “line person.” There is such a thing as too many puns, jokes, cleverness, movie/pop culture references.
Using fake replies or fake forward subject lines can increase unsubscribes by 135%. At the end of the day, just don’t trick people!
B2B Thought Leadership
In her session, How to Scale Thought Leadership, Atlassian’s Ashley Faus offered strategic ways to approach and execute thought leadership. According to Ashley, most companies have “1%” of influencers who are the main spokespeople for the company. These are often C-Suite executives or leaders who act as faces of the organization. Then, there’s a bottom 10% who are not spokespeople, and 89% remaining in the middle. By implementing the right framework, you can build an army of thought leaders who represent your brand and amplify overall reach. To get started, it’s important to define the goals of the framework which include:
Assessing current thought leadership efforts.
Creating a consistent and holistic plan that includes existing and new thought leaders.
Developing a new pipeline of advocates and spokespeople.
Influencing/steering thought leadership by turning advocates into official spokespeople.
But, what actually makes a thought leader a thought leader? According to Ashley, it’s confined to knowledge workers (rather than celebrities or famous people) who have relevant ideas and external influence. The 4 pillars of thought leadership are:
Credibility - they are an expert in something.
Profile - they are well known.
Prolific - they post/share thoughts.
Depth of ideas - they create NEW ideas.
Account-Based Marketing (ABM)
It’s imperative that B2B companies looking to drive revenue and grow focus on larger customers and landing bigger deal sizes. In her session, How B2B Marketing Are Using Inbound and ABM to Drive Growth and Move Upmarket, Rollwork’s Devon Watts offered tips for using account-based marketing strategies alongside inbound efforts. To get started, define your ideal upmarket customer by looking at company size, industry, location, growth rate, etc. Once your target persona is set, build a list of target accounts by identifying any existing contacts in your current CRM who match your persona. Then, use ABM platforms like Rollworks or social media like LinkedIn to gain new account information and grow your list of targets.
It’s also important to understand the customer journey for new and larger companies and use the proper strategies to engage upmarket accounts. Tactics include:
Customer journey mapping. Analyze decision makers, their pain points, where they look for information, and what types of content they consume.
Leveraging executive influence. Executives look to other executives for information. So help execs at your company be active on social media, host podcasts/webinars, etc.
Creating target ads/display campaigns targeted to specific accounts and personas. Build “surround sound awareness” by sending display ads for a specific event or offer.
LinkedIn Organic and Advertising
Linkedin is an undeniably powerful tool when it comes to sales and marketing. But navigating LinkedIn organic content and advertising isn’t always easy. During their debate, AJ Wilcox and Michaela Alexis discussed the intricacies and use-cases for LinkedIn organic content and LinkedIn paid advertising.
Tips for Getting Started with LinkedIn Advertising:
You need “AMO”: Audience, Message, and an Offer (CTA).
Start with optimization (make sure your LinkedIn presence is exactly how you want it).
Create content with your specific audience in mind.
Use LinkedIn Ads as a handshake (don’t pitch people left and right).
Be intentional about who you invite into your network (don’t try to grow your network quickly without strategy).
Tips for Companies with Low Budgets::
Test LinkedIn ads with at least a $5k/ month budget because you want it to move rapidly enough to test and adjust quickly. With a low budget, you get a small sample size and it’s more difficult to adjust and optimize.
Start with organic content on LinkedIn for free so you can figure out how your audience responds to certain content before you invest in ads.
Auto bidding should be switched to manual cost per click when starting out.
Don’t ask cold traffic to buy something or get on the phone (creates too much friction). Start by giving something away for free!
Video and Podcasting:
We also heard from Lindsay Tjepkema, co-founder of Casted who discussed Video VS. Podcasting for Engagement. Here are some key takeaways for harnessing the power of podcasts and videos for demand generation:
57% of people now listen to podcasts.
Consuming information passively (Ex: listening while multitasking) promotes awareness and memory in the human brain.
Podcasts and videos can be cost effective and efficient! Relatively easy to produce and super easy to share.
If prospects aren’t already connected to your business, they won’t engage in long form content like webinars or eBooks. Podcasts/videos allow you to make snackable mico-content to reach prospects in the awareness stage.
If you’ve already built trust with a prospect, longer podcasts/videos work well.
Always be able to answer WHO your content is for and WHY are you creating it.
Phew! As you can there’s plenty of food for thought from Inbound and this is just a summary! If you have any questions or would like to chat more about any of these topics, contact us anytime! We’re here to help.