We had the pleasure of attending Hubspot Inbound conference this year and were so excited to share the upcoming, top trends in inbound marketing for 2018 that we wrote this on the plane ride home. If you aren’t familiar with the convention, it’s a marketing extravaganza that takes place every year in Boston, MA over the course of 4 days. The conference has hundreds of speakers and workshops on every topic from data analytics, to leadership coaching, to inbound marketing advancements. Also featuring a new product spotlight from two of Hubspot’s co-founders, Inbound is marketing nerd heaven.
Over the course of the week several new trends in the industry kept popping up over, and over, again until it became very clear that the landscape of marketing is shifting. Here are the top 5 trends to watch out for in 2018:
Gating Pages isn’t the only way
Landing pages are fantastic in a lot of ways. They create a bridge for you to continue to provide your potential customers with content that will help them further down the buyer’s journey and have long been one of the best practices of inbound marketing.
The entire purpose of inbound marketing is to create content so interesting and informative that you become an authority on your product or industry. If potential clients feel like you best know how to solve their problem, they will approach you to help them.
For a long time it seemed like a natural conclusion that if you were giving somebody something valuable for free, like an e-book for instance, the least they could do is give you their email address. This still stands— a lot of content still can be gated with an email requirement— but the way in which we gate content itself is changing.
Sometimes in the beginning of the funnel, viewers can be scared off by being asked to provide their email as it can seem like a bigger commitment than they want. A solution to this is providing a slide share with the content right in the blog, and requiring an email to download it. The content is still accessible but it provides a way to entice the viewer to provide their email.
Chatbots are Pushing us Forward into new Heights of Customer Service
Potential buyers are at your website for a reason— to learn more information about your services or business. If they can’t instantly find the information they’re looking for, there is a chance they may choose to leave the site. While you probably have your email address and phone number on your website, many people want immediate answers to their questions.
The chat bot is the perfect way for people to find the information they’re looking for, and better yet, for you to learn the information they are looking for that might not already be on your site. While forms gating content are handy to learn about your buyers, they are often limited to drop down selections. Chat bots give them the ability to ask questions you may not have even known they had.
There is no downside to learning more about your customers, or to giving them instant accessibility, and chat bot technology is easier to use than ever before. In their product release, Hubspot announced that they’ve acquired Motion AI, a user friendly chatbot software so anyone will be able to build a chatbot to communicate with customers on their terms — no technical skills required. From what we’ve learned so far, the user simply has to input commonly asked questions and then record an answer for the chatbot to respond with.
Video Content is huge.
According to the most recent report from Hubspot on visual marketing content, Cisco projects that global Internet traffic from videos will make up 80% of all Internet traffic by 2019. While a little more time intensive and costly, videos have higher click rates and engagement than any other form of content. In fact, the same Hubspot report showed that using the word “video” in an email subject line boosts open rates by 19% and clickthrough rates by 65%.
While this is nothing new, video is just going to continue to grow. Diversity of content is important for speaking to all different types of people so don’t stop blogging just yet, but the stats are in and video will continue to be the future of marketing.
Ads aren’t a Dirty Word Anymore
Inbound marketing can very much be summarized by the expression, “If you build it, they will come.”
Great content means great results but we shouldn’t completely ignore the benefits of using paid ads for specific purposes. Recently Facebook released lead ads, where the mobile signup process is made easier by automatically populating contact information that people have given Facebook, like email addresses. They’re testing different versions of lead ads that would let people sign up for things like newsletters, price estimates, follow-up calls and business information.
The beauty of these ads is that they show up right into someone’s feed so they blend in more organically and have higher engagement rates. For many businesses with lower search traffic, these ads can be the perfect way to put themselves in front of their ideal demographic.
If you want to learn more about the benefits of lead ads and how they work, check out this article.
Bonus Tip: Quality over Quantity
Volume is not everything. As Google and other search engines continue to grow, they get better and better at identifying the most relevant and highest quality information for search queries. While this isn’t exactly new information, it’s worth mentioning.
The quality of your blogs will outweigh the quantity of them; according to a seminar from Scott Meyer, founder of 9 Clouds marketing, 90% of engagement online comes from 5% of all content. This means that you could be doing less work for more results. Take the time to do great keyword research and make the content to thoroughly, and interestingly, answer those key words for your buyers personas.
Want to learn more about how to grow your Inbound success? Download this free guide on setting relevant and useful SMART goals for your business.