November 14, 2016

5 of the Best Marketing Hacks From INBOUND 2016

Another year in the books!

Hubspot has just wrapped its fifth annual INBOUND conference and - no surprise - it was their biggest one yet with over 19K people in attendance.

If you have never been an INBOUND conference before, it’s exactly what you’d expect: a lot of people in thick-framed glasses, a lot of selfies, and a lot of live-tweeting (#INBOUND16). As a typical marketer, I went in skeptical, the tickets range anywhere from $299 to $1,299, so will I actually get a solid ROI?

Turns out, I just might! There were a few sessions in which speakers took the opportunity to plug their service instead of providing advice or insight (sometimes you just can’t turn the marketer in you off) but overall there were some terrific sessions where some hardcore hacks and innovations were shared.

There were over 300 sessions from 265 different speakers in the three day conference, so obviously I wasn’t able to get to all of them. But I was able to get to 20 that ranged from content marketing, web optimization, email, social, and more. Out of those 20 sessions, a few ideas really stuck out to me.

So without further ado, here are my top five favorite hacks that had me hating myself for not thinking of:


Larry Kim, Founder of MobileMonkey & WordStream

Your first inclination when it comes to spending money on social media is to put ads behind a new blog or gated content. That’s not necessarily the most effective use of content marketing spend.

Kim suggests taking a budget of $50 per campaign and putting it behind your most successful social posts that promote content. Why promote posts that don’t need the added boost? Because networks like Facebook like to take your money but also not annoy their users, so if they see you’re trying to promote a post that has already done well organically, they will offer a bid price that is significantly less than that of a new post.

Your money will go further, and because the post is probably interesting, more people that get the promoted content in their feed will click-through, “Like”, comment, or share. All this means you get more organic reach from people who may not know your brand or would have never seen your content to begin with (because second level interactions don’t count against your CPC or CPM).


Tara Robertson, Robertson Consulting

Robertson's discussion was about optimizing your site and using different analysis tactics to ensure you’re delivering the best possible UI/UX to convert.

In her discussion, she talked about trying to get more conversions out of her blog content. Typically, CTAs in blogs sit at the bottom of posts where people will see them once they complete the article. But now a days with our short attention-spans and overload of content, how many times do you actually get all the way through a post?

Robertson ran mouse-tracking analysis to see just how far down a page users get before moving on and found that by the second or third paragraph, people left. So she decided to add a text-based anchor link after the second paragraph of her articles. Sure enoughm she saw a 10 percent increase in conversions, thanks to the immediacy of the conversion opportunity. Users simply clicked the anchor link and were brought to the bottom of the post where a form was sitting there waiting for them.

So simple, so genius.


Nancy Harhut, CCO of Wilde Agency

There’s no doubt that email marketing is one of the most important platforms for marketers to focus on. One of (if not the) biggest challenges marketers face is getting subscribers to open their emails.

Obviously CTAs ultimately deliver the user to your conversion point, but users can’t get there if they don’t open the email first. Harhut's session offered a number of different wording suggestions, and then backed them up with data that might surprise you (because it definitely surprised me).

Here are just a few to chew on:

  • Using the word “secret” in your subject line will raise your open rates by over 23 percent because it triggers a sense of something that isn’t readily available
  • Urgency and exclusivity are key drivers of CTR, because it subconsciously convinces you to not think “I’ll come back to that.” For example, using the word “alert” will raise your open rates by over 33 percent. Harhurt even found that you can increase your CTR by 17 percent if you include some sort of moving clock image!
  • You increase your open-rate chances by 29.3 percent if you personalize subject line. This can mean using the subscriber’s first name, location, or profession - anything that the subscriber can uniquely identify with.
  • Harhurt suggested it’s even alright to use the word “free” in subject lines now. She maintains that email platforms have eased up on filtering them for spam.


Pamela Vaughan, Hubpsot

When it comes to content marketing, marketers typically focus on producing new pieces of content and then promoting it out to their networks. But what about that blog post you wrote a year ago? The one that has great organic reach and ranks high on search engines?

As you continue to produce and share new content, you should also be identifying top-viewed posts from the past and figuring out which keywords they rank for. Once you’ve done that, go back into that post and create CTAs that match the keywords the post ranks for.

For example, if you wrote a blog post about “5 marketing hacks from INBOUND 2015” and the No. 1 keyword that ranked organically with that post was “Twitter tools”, you should produce a new gated piece of content around Twitter tools and add a CTA in the originating post to drive traffic to your new “Top 10 Twitter Tools for Marketers” PDF download page.

This will bolster SEO on both pages and drive new conversions without costing any money!


Ryan Bonnici, Hubspot

When building a website, the footer is often times the product of the main navigation menu. It’s there for users who scroll to the bottom of a site and want to still be able to navigate without having to move all the way to the top again.

But one thing we may take for granted is the value it adds from an SEO standpoint. Search engines will scrape those links like they would any other part of the site, but they also use the footer to get a sense of priority with your site.

Because of this, Bonnici suggests identifying the most successful conversion pages on your site and linking directly to them on your footer. For example, I produced a marketing guide to repurposing content on my blog that does well. So now, instead of having just my “Content Marketing Blog” in the footer, I’ll add a direct link to my guide to tell search engines it’s a priority page. Because that particular page performed well organically, Google will begin to push it up in search page ranking.

There were a ton of great sessions and hacks at this year’s Inbound conference. If you couldn’t make it, I encourage you to sift through the #INBOUND16 stream on Twitter and read the rest of the coverage from Kaite Rosa and the VentureFizz team.
Did you attend INBOUND and have a marketing hack that blew your mind? Tweet it to me at @JustinMillerCo!

Justin Miller is a marketing consultant for startups and small businesses. Follow him on Twitter: @JustinMillerco

Image via Kaite Rosa