Last week, #TeamVirid made our way to INBOUND 2018, HubSpot's annual event that brings together amazing speakers and professionals, all passionate about delighting consumers and taking a people-first approach to marketing and selling. Here are some key takeaways from the event:
1. Start with a story.
Building a successful brand is as much about creating a narrative as it is about a product or service. According to Beth Comstock, former Vice Chair of GE, strategy is a story well told. And Intercom’s Matt Hodges confirmed, “The human need for narrative drives everything.” Advancing technology has not erased the need for human connection and interaction, and brand stories that resonate lead to a more loyal customer base.
2. Trust is key.
People buy from people that they know, like, and trust. This principle carries over into every aspect of business. Practice transparency, emphasize information security, and earn your customers’ trust. And work this principle into your content marketing to have the most impact for your brand.
3. Clarity is power.
Charlene Decesare, Chief Energizing Officer at Charlene Ignites, spoke about connecting with prospective customers by being transparent and communicating clearly. When customers come to your site, they have likely already consumed content from you–maybe they saw a social media post, or an ad online that led them to your site. If they are looking for more information, don’t get in their way. Make product details, shipping information, and return policies easy to find and understand.
4. Talk about the thing.
Marcus Sheridan, owner at Marcus Sheridan International, and Sales Guru (check out the story of how he saved his swimming pool business during the recession), shared several eye-opening truths. Your customers will find out the information they want no matter what–reviews (both positive and negative), competitor pricing information and comparisons, and drawbacks of your product or service are all easily available on the internet. So, let them find out that information on your site. Don’t try to hide your “secret sauce” and don’t ignore the elephant in the room. Openly talk about the negative, and educate customers at every step of their journey.
5. Focus on solving customers’ problems.
Sheridan emphasized creating what customers really care about, and addressing their questions and fears. What challenges are you solving for your customers? How are you going to do it? Show customers how you are putting their needs first.
6. Meet customers where they are.
Viveka von Rosen, Co-Founder and Chief Visibility Officer at Vengreso, emphasized that technology alone is not the disrupter–responding to where customers want to buy is the true disrupter. To avoid being the next Blockbuster, prioritize the customer experience. Let customers shop the way they want to shop, whether that means on marketplaces like Amazon and eBay, or by offering multiple payment and shipping options. The customer controls their own buying experience in the digital age.
7. Embrace the flywheel.
HubSpot’s Brian Halligan presented the customer flywheel, the disrupter of the sales funnel model. The sales process is no longer linear. Flywheels leverage momentum to continually spin and store energy. The biggest killer of your flywheel? Friction. Anything that impedes your customers getting to checkout is friction–an unclear return policy, slow page load times, or a difficult navigation–all of these can slow down your flywheel, or even stop it.