February 22, 2017

For as much as I love speaking at social media conferences, I love attending them just as much. The opportunity to be surrounded by other marketers with fresh, different experiences, is like sending a kid to Disneyland... although I do love me some Disneyland too 😉 But I also thoroughly enjoy hearing other speakers and getting their perspectives on what is and isn't working.

This industry is always changing, and changing so rapidly, that it's impossible for us all to stay on top of everything. So, the change to learn from others is priceless to me.

And, lucky for you, I took lots of notes when I attended the HUG17 conference earlier this month!

What is HUG17? I asked myself the same thing... I assumed hugging (?) was involved?! But, no, it's a conference for Hubspot User Groups - see... H U G! So the whole conference was dedicated to inbound marketing tactics. People from around southern California descended on Liberty Station in San Diego to learn from some of the best in the industry.

For the sessions I attended, I've got lots of tips for you here!

Neil Patel - Growth Hacking

Neil kicked off the event with his keynote on growth hacking tactics. To be honest, I'd never heard him speak live before and I wasn't sure what to expect. He's actually kinda soft spoken and wasn't very animated. But then he'd drop a funny story or anecdote and you're laughing with everyone, almost unexpectedly. He also uses a lot of cuss words (which totally doesn't offend me, but caught me off guard). All in all, I really enjoyed his session.

One of the first points Neil made was that the money is in those who say "no". He pointed out that 90% of people who come to your website won't buy from you. Why? He used the analogy of "will you marry me?" For example, if someone randomly walked up to you on the street and asked you to marry them, you'd say no, right? (I'm assuming you would 😉 ) But, if after you've dated for a while, moved in together, met the families, and spent time getting to know each other, then if that person asked you to marry them, you'd be pretty likely to say "yes", right?

Marketing is a lot like that and it's about fostering the relationship with your customers.

Neil gave us the recipe he uses for all of his webinars. And, btw, he averages 3.6 sales per 100 email signups or $3589 per 100 signups. Anyways, here's how your webinar should go:

  • 1.5 hours total
  • 40 minutes educating, 20 minutes selling, 30 minutes Q&A
  • Tell them why they should stay until the end
  • Tell them who you are
  • Provide testimonials from your customers
  • How you learned the hard way
  • Teach
  • Here's what we/I did...
  • Introducing! ... (introduce what you have to sell)
  • More testimonials
  • Q&A to keep them on longer and give them personal interaction

He also pointed out that half of their sales come from the webinar itself, the other half come from the email sequence.

Another tactic Neil talked about was answering people's objectives before the checkout stage. Giving them the answers and reassurance before they get to the cart pushes more conversions. And he totally encourages a 2-step checkout process.

One of the tactics Neil swears by is the use of branded queries. In this instance, you create content around your brand and you get others to post it, share it, promote it, own it. But it all leads back to you and your website. For example, Neil ran a campaign "Who Is Neil Patel?" and had people of all sorts and all levels of influence posting photos with this caption. Some did it for free, others for small amounts of compensation. But what happened was a viral campaign that led to huge surges in his search traffic as people Googled that phrase... resulting in super high search rankings for his website, and knocking out his competitors in similar topic searches. His site garnered so much search traffic from the campaign that any search for a topic on his site would boost his site higher in rankings.

And, as a random side note on this, when I was researching him prior to this session, the majority of what I found tied to this campaign... so I can't deny this strategy works.

Jen Spencer from Allbound - Inbound Culture

I hadn't heard of Jen Spencer prior to this session, but working at Allbound, she has a ton of insight into what works in content and inbound marketing.

Her biggest point up front was the importance of your buyer persona(s). They have four people in their Allbound marketing - with names, personalities, job titles, and more. This way, every time they are talking about a certain customer in the process, they are referred to by one of these four names. It ensures everyone on the team knows exactly who they are talking to and what direction they will take.

Jen provided key questions to ask about your buyer personas:

  • What motivates them?
  • What are their priorities?
  • How do they determine success?
  • What are their perceived barriers?
  • Where do they search for solutions?
  • Who influences their decisions?

She also recommended you look at what technology they're using and how that impacts them.

You need to understand the buyer's journey from awareness to consideration to decision.

With this, you can create relevant, helpful content with a distinct point of view. Jen is also a huge fan of repurposing content into as many different pieces of content as possible.

You also have to focus on creating content for all three stages (awareness, consideration, and decision). Too many brands get stuck creating content for the awareness phase and never create enough or the right content for the other two phases of the buyer's journey.

And, as a bonus tip, Jen mentioned she loves the app Snappa which is a lot like Canva and can be used to create visual snippets and quotes from your articles.

Mari Smith - Facebook Marketing

You know I love me a good Mari Smith session! 😉 I rarely miss one of her sessions when I'm at an event and with her keynoting HUG17, it was easy to make sure I caught this one too.

Some of the Facebook information Mari shared may be things you have or haven't heard about, so I'll list them here to make sure you get them:

  • There are 65 million+ small businesses on Facebook but only 4 million of them are advertising on FB
  • Long form video is considered anything over 90 seconds (Mari recommends videos being 5 minutes or more)
  • For now, there are no pre-roll video ads but Facebook is introducing mid-roll ads - which can happen at least 20 seconds into the video
  • Facebook is bank rolling original shows (a la TV style) for the platform

The biggest trend on Facebook right now is live video (duh!). If you've spent any time on Facebook (which we all do), you know this is a heavy push from Facebook. As Mari points out, marketers will have to embrace this technology and this trend or risk getting left behind.

Right now, video on Facebook is getting 3 times the engagement as link posts... so think about that the next time you wanna share a link 😉

Mari said it best: "Random is so 2010." Instead, in 2017, it's all about focused, sharp, clear, and lean content.

To create lean iterative marketing:

  1. Know your unique selling proposition - do you stand out?
  2. (Re)Define your customer avatars (what did you just read about when I talked about Jen from Allbound?!)
  3. Identify the top 3 need occasions
  4. Integrate an editorial calendar
  5. Connect to your CTA
  6. Test, test, test
  7. Coordinate all activity
  8. Prove and scale
  9. Relationship marketing is vital

When you're creating content, it needs to be crafted for maximum shares. I love how Mari stated it: It should be thumb-stopping. Meaning that when someone is scrolling on their mobile device, they immediately stop because your content is so dang awesome. BTW, this totally applies to more than just Facebook!

And finally, because Mari always gives us more, here are some advanced Facebook tips to consider:

  • The Boost button is lightweight. If you only use this, your ads won't get as much exposure. Unless, if you use the Boost button with saved audience or pixels, then FB knows you're serious and you'll get better ad reach/results
  • Use retargeting and look-alike audiences for better results
  • Use the ads manager or power editor or business manager to run your Facebook ads
  • Use traffic, conversion, product or leads for objectives

And when you do all this... you actually get more ORGANIC reach too!

Christoph Trappe - Authentic Stories

I'm gonna be honest, Christoph didn't have any slides. In a modern, social media conference setting, he just talked. No slides. It was weird. In context, it kinda worked because he was talking about authentic story telling which is what he did. But it was still weird to not have any digital media in the presentation.

So, what does it mean to tell authentic stories?

Christoph says we have to be different. We can't keep talking about the same thing everyone else is talking about.

Think about when something happens to you. Good, bad, funny, whatever. What do you do? You tell people, right? Over and over and over. You share your story! You need to share your stories with your audience. They care about it and connect with it.

But, it can be hard to share. Especially in our modern system which actually punishes authenticity. Right, you can understand this. If you have a differing opinion, here come the trolls! If you have a solid stance, you have to risk losing followers and customers.

So, you have to make the decision and stick to it to share your stories. Christoph recommends writing down your plan and then keep updating the plan while letting it be flexible in your content strategy.

I'm sure he had more good things to share here, but I had to bow out early to go get ready for my session where I talked about using Instagram as an Inbound Marketing tactic. Which I'm not going to share here... stay tuned for a future blog post on that topic!


So, there you have my recap of the top highlights and takeaways from #HUG17. I really enjoyed the conference, the people I got to meet, and the sessions I attended. If you have the opportunity to attend this event in the future, I would highly recommend it!

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