Do you ever feel you are falling behind marketing trends?
Should you worry about optimising your site for voice search?
What even is voice search? What else should worry you about? It all moves so fast
Keeping up with digital marketing trends is overwhelming. My solution is to attend the Learn Inbound conference in Dublin every year. Its audience seems to be full-time marketers and agencies and that means the content is more challenging than at other conferences. For me and for Kate McQuillan that’s a good thing.
Listen to our Learn Inbound takeaways here
The four themes of Learn Inbound 2018
Four themes jumped out at us from the conference. Let’s look at them.
1. Don’t panic about voice search
I don’t know how I survived before I got my Alexa. I used to have to look up the weather on the internet and actually switch on a radio.
It’s mad how fast you get used to having a smart speaker in your life. Alexa, Google Home and other smart speakers are becoming as big a part of our online lives as our phones.
Should we worry that soon, consumers will go beyond these simple commands and use their Alexa to search in the same way they use Google on phones and laptops?
It‘s OK, you can relax. There was a consensus amongst the Learn Inbound speakers that no, we don‘t need to panic about voice search, at least not yet. Most of us still use our smart speakers and tools like Siri just for basic commands.
As Kate points out, we’re not ready to hear a long commentary from Alexa or Google Home on a topic.
Skimming a web page is a lot quicker than having it read out to us. When we do a text search, the results add context to our searches with reviews and related links.
We don’t need to worry just yet but when you look at how our Internet habits have adapted from desktop, to a laptop, to a phone we need to keep a keen eye on voice as the newest evolution.
We’ll talk about knowledge boxes, feature snippets and ‘position zero’ shortly.Skimming a web page is a lot quicker than having it read out to us. When we do a text search, the results add context to our searches with reviews and related links.Click To Tweet
2. Interactive content is hot
When you go to a website or app that requires participation, that’s Interactive content. It could be a quiz, a map you can search through, a calculator or anything that requires more than a passive view.
There was a big focus on the power of Interactive content at Learn Inbound and it makes sense. If a user has to engage with your content that makes you more memorable. It‘s also easier to get inbound links to your site.
Re-purposing with Interactive content
A speaker who focussed on Interactive content was Laura Crimmons. In her presentation she showed examples of campaigns she had run.
One project, a holiday spending money calculator showed how you could take one piece of interactive content and use different angles to publicise it.
The exciting thing for both Kate and myself about this project is the way they found the data that fuelled the calculator.
They didn‘t collect it themselves but used existing, publicly available data. Sarah showed us a list of places you can get data from including the central statistics office here in Ireland. This makes it so much easier for even a small business to implement something like this.
Next was marketing the calculator. As I‘ve said they took different angles on the information and pitched it to different online publications.
For some the angle was the cheapest destinations to buy a pint (vital information for us). For others it was how far 100 dollars could get a budget traveller in different countries.
The result was that they got coverage in diverse publications for the same piece of content, and a tonne of inbound links.
The key takeaway for us? Market existing data based content repeatedl. Kate’s all set to put this one into action for her annual pet survey.
3. Featured snippets
Featured snippets aren’t new but they are becoming more important.
What are they?
When you search for a ‘how to’ guide or ask Google a question a knowledge box will often appear at the top of the search results. This will give you the answer to the question, a list of steps to take to complete a process or other helpful information.
If you rank on page one for a keyword you could feature right here at the top of search. You just need to add code to your site and hope Google picks you (I’m sure there’s SEO stuff you can do that will help).
You aren‘t guaranteed the spot but if you are ranking for a keyword already, this could be a way to get more visibility for your page.
There’s another advantage too. Going back to voice search. If you are answering a question in your post and make it into a knowledge box, you could be the one result that a smart speaker (or voice assistant) quotes when someone asks that question.
4. Language, your customer and emotion
How does your product or service make your customer feel?
There were three presentations on copywriting at Learn Inbound. Each had a different focus, but they all agreed on one thing.
Make your copy about your customers not about you. It seems simple but look through the marketing emails you get. How many start by talking about the company or product? ‘We are delighted to announce’ or ‘New from…’.
Instead focus your copy on the customer, their needs and how your product or service makes them feel. Are they relieved? Do they feel clever? If you can discover this, you can build your copy around these feelings.
Look at the correspondence you get from customers the language they use on social media. What common things do they say to you on the phone. All this can give you the key emotion for your marketing messages.
Kate has already been delving into emails and messages from customers to find these answers.Focus your copy on the customer, their needs and how your product or service makes them feel. Are they relieved? Do they feel clever?Click To Tweet
One track events
Learn Inbound is named well. I learnt loads, I need to implement it now.
What I love about the even is there is only one track. You get to see every single speaker over the two days. You never feel you are missing out, there are no clashes and the key ideas are re-enforced.
We’ll be going back next year.
What do you do?
What do you do to keep ahead of trends in your industry? Are there any key events or courses you recommend?