Based on what we know about HubSpot and the consistently diligent crew that we work with over there, CCA brought sky high expectations to the #INBOUND14 conference over in Boston. And we're happy to say those techies outdid themselves. Our digital team returned to Troy with knowledge of new HubSpot tools, plenty of business cards from new friends, and a reinvigorated spirit over the power of inbound marketing. (Not that we needed a reinvigoration; this stuff works and we know it.)
In case you weren’t able to join us in Beantown, we put our heads together to come up with a list of things that we all kept hearing about from one session to the next—lessons that it seems every panelist and instructor wanted their audiences to keep top of mind when they returned to their desks and cranked out more content. Here they are.
1. Never underestimate the value of creating personas. When you’re trying to attract a specific audience, it’s crucial that you get to know them. Really know them. In higher education speak, that means writing up what their backgrounds might look like, what their families are like, what their career aspirations are, what they want out of a college or a graduate school, what their grades were, and so on. When you’re down to a strong list of personas and can speak about Veteran Vicki, Pre-law Leo, or MBA Mike in your sleep, you’re ready to write to them—because you’ll get what they want to read about.
2. Personalize your messaging. Did someone download an eBook you produced? Thank them with a tailored follow-up email with more information they might be interested in. Is a grad student that previously inquired about your MBA program back for more? Acknowledge their continued interest. HubSpot makes it incredibly easy to track when prospects first made contact with you and what actions they took, so you can nurture them along the funnel strategically and carefully.
3. Use valuable content to pull people in. To bring your audience to you, create content they’ll want to read. This takes us back to the basics of content marketing, but it’s a good reminder: producing content (eBooks, infographics, articles, eNewsletters, etc.) that your audience is specifically seeking or wants to find gives you the best kinds of prospects. These guys are people who may be genuinely interested in what you have to offer (an unbeatable evening MBA program, for example), and once you get their contact information, you have the opportunity to turn them into an applicant.
4. Have written plans for process, proofing, and promotion. A project (and a team) that’s disorganized from the start is destined to falter. The speakers we saw kept stressing the importance of physically writing down how your team will create content—who will write it, who will design it—and then how it will be proofed and promoted once distributed. When CCA kicks off a project, we don’t start until we map out every step of the way.
5. Reach your audiences where they are, when they’re there. This could take some research and testing (and retesting and retesting), but what you discover is so worth it. Are you trying to reach high school juniors? Find out what social platform they’re on these days. Want to engage alumni? See if they’re active on LinkedIn. One speaker disclosed that a set of college coaches he was attempting to reach preferred contact via text messages on their mobile phones. Whoever your audience, knowing where they are and when could prove to be invaluable to your marketing efforts.
Want to know a few other biggies from #INBOUND14? Let’s chat. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.