On Friday, a few members of the Hudson team took on Wallingford, Connecticut to attend the first ever Inbound Encore Conference. Hosted by Impact, an inbound marketing agency and HubSpot partner, Inbound Encore was a day of seminars and listening to some big names in the industry talk about client relations, lead generation, and leadership.
The cookies, shrimp puffs, and cocktail hour aside, here are four key lessons we took away from Inbound Encore:
All I remember from the conference is the cookies at the end. No, in all seriousness, what I learned is this:
The world is run on relationships.
Even as we get more digital by the day, the importance of quality and deep relationships is essential for success. Relationships are needed for marketing, business development, client services, and more. As Impact’s Marketing Director John Bonini mentioned, your own domain is important to work on. However, if you expect people to find your site, you better do work off your domain too, such as guest blogging, co-marketing, and even personal branding, all of which require relationships to be successful. In terms of business development, it is also important to know the industry of your clients. You become extremely valuable if you are able to provide suggestions or ideas for their business that the client might not have thought about.
My key takeaway can be summed up in one statement from Paul Roetzer’s presentation:
“Create more value, for more people, more often, so when it’s time to choose, they choose you.”
There are multiple stages to the buying process, so just because someone is a lead doesn’t mean that the person is ready to buy. It’s about building a relationship with your leads so that when they are ready to buy, they’re more likely to go with you.
How do you go about building this relationship? Answer: find out what their goals, challenges, and pain points are. That way you can provide them the information that is of value to them.
Internet Marketing Manager
Bonini’s session on how to generate more traffic and leads was most relevant for me. He stated the importance of a digital dandelion strategy, where your website is the stalk where content is planted but versions of your content are spread far and wide, similar to the seeds of a dandelion. As those seeds spread, the more opportunity you have to be seen by your target audience. As Bonini mentioned: You’re being narcissistic if you think people are spending their valuable time coming to your site. You need to find them and tell a great story in order to get noticed.
Robert Ruffolo’s talk on leadership was inspiring, particularly when he said this:
“If it’s not broken, break it.”
Meaning: Your business should constantly be figuring out ways to improve, even at the risk of screwing up. Don’t settle for ok; strive for greatness.
Lastly, Robert Solomon’s talk, “Client Disasters, Agency Meltdowns, and How to Address Them,” was charming and insightful. Learning how a seasoned professional handled major client catastrophes over the years was powerful. During his session, Solomon ascertained the difference between the words mistake and fault, which I found to be eye-opening. Just because something is a company’s mistake does not necessarily mean it’s their fault. Sometimes, the client is to blame, and understanding that difference when disaster strikes is hugely important.
It’s hard to say what my top takeaway is from the conference. Each presenter gave me some valuable insight not only on how I can do my job better but also on how I can become a better leader. However, I particularly liked Bonini’s session on lead generation and Ruffolo’s session on team management. In Bonini’s presentation, the most valuable piece of advice he gave was this:
“Clicks are behavioral, not strategic. Know your sales funnel ecosystem.”
In order to effectively market to consumers, add more value – not more noise – to their online experience. Know how they behave and what they search for in each social media platform. Understand each buyer persona and how long it takes them to convert.
Ruffolo, on the other hand, talked more about leadership and team building than digital marketing. He said that in order to be successful, every team member in a business – regardless of the industry – has to be transparent, decisive, and maintain open lines of communication.