The Best of Inbound with HubSpot's Ari Plaut


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This month, we had a very special Austin HUG meet-up on the BEST of Inbound 2016 with featured guest Ari Plaut, Product Marketing Manager at HubSpot. Ari shared some of the latest HubSpot product releases from Inbound 2016 and shared other great inbound marketing insights including lead generation tips and tricks.

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  • Fun facts:
    Diehard Red Sox fan.
    Grew up in Vermont, in a town without a stop light. Had to walk half a mile each morning to get
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  • I started at HubSpot in 2012. Before Obama won his second term. The Cubs were still cursed. ___

    Here’s the first promotion I saw for Inbound. It was on a blurry picture of Boston, with hardly legible font.
  • In that first Inbound, we were pumped to have 2800 attendees in Boston, with 40 sessions.

    Cyndi Lauper was our entertainment act.
  • Fast forward to today. Last week, we had over 19,000 people attend. Over 19,000. That’s almost 7 times as many as we had in 2012. Customers and non-customers. Salespeople and marketers. Domestic and international. We had over 90 countries represented in the audience. Over 300 sessions, with world-renowned thought leaders.

    As the movement has grown, the conference has really taken on a life of its own.
  • This year, despite a November start, we were lucky enough to have good weather in Boston. Which means 50 degrees and sunny, about half the time.
  • We had amazing speakers and appearences. From Boston legends -- here’s David Ortiz making a Friday morning cameo.
  • To national celebrities --- like Anna Kendrick…
  • To global icons…. That’s me, under the golden star. That thing follows me around all the time.
  • In addition, perhaps most exciting to me, Inbound is a time for us to launch products. Often, our biggest launches come at Inbound. Back in 2013, it was HubSpot 3 --- the Contacts, Companies, Email, and Workflows you know today. It was the COS. In 2014, the CRM. Last year, new reporting and ads. This year was no different.

    For me, what set this year apart was how great the updates are for our customers. In the past couple years, we’ve put out tools that are big news in the industry. Launching a CRM for the first time, building an ads platform, and more. This year, we really doubled down on making HubSpot more joyful to use. I think you’ll see what I mean.
  • First, one of my personal favorites --- the new workflows editor. It enables you to visualize your campaigns as you go. Much easier to see branches, and to zoom in and out on specific components.

    In short, it’s easierto use. But two key components of this new editor that shouldn’t be missed: it’s much easier to teach to new team members, and it’s much easier to share with others. If you show your CEO or VP of sales a picture of this new editor, they’ll get the gist of your process quickly. No hassle, no extra clicks, no extra brainpower. Exciting stuff.

    This tool is finishing up beta testing, but it’s available to any HubSpot customer who’s interested. Use the link from
  • You’ll notice that the new Workflows editor had a cleaner, more modern feel. That’s part of a broader cross-platform effort to unify our design. We’re going app-by-app and applying a visual refresh, with the goal of bringing an unprecedented level of consistency, clarity, and HubSpotty joy to the product.

    The functionality you’re used to isn’t changing: The design is just getting a modern facelift. We’ve finished up a few tools, and are on the verge of a few more --- CRM will be coming up in the next few weeks.

  • While we’re looking at the CRM, we’re adding a few grown-up features --- like merging companies and parent child relationships.
  • On the content front, we’re excited to get out ahead of what we think is a major shift in the way SEO works. The idea of ranking for a single keyword is no longer viable --- any person searching from any device would see your page ranked differently, for the same keyword. With that in mind, our team of SEO gurus sees a shift towards topics over keywords. Instead of trying to rank for a single keyword, you plan a piece of pillar content around a topic, and link other pages on your website to that. The new tool enables you to use this strategy for your own content. It gives you suggestions and recommendations of areas to focus on, with specific data to back it up.

    Content strategy will make its way to your HubSpot portal in 2017.
  • The hits keep on coming.

    Projects is a productivity platform. Quite simply, it helps you to get things done in HubSpot. Create lists of tasks associated with a certain project, assign owners and due dates, comment back and forth with your team, attach files. Check off the tasks as you go.

    My favorite piece of Projects is that everything we know about marketing is already built into the platform. Dozens of HubSpot projects are available to you, with one click. Find a project you like --- creating a content offer, optimizing conversions, etc. --- and add it to your portal to get to work. Really fantastic for customers and partners alike.
  • On the sales side, Meetings is a feature of HubSpot Sales Pro that syncs with your Google or Office 365 calendar so that you can share your most up-to-date availability with customers and prospects.

    Your Meetings link is this short URL that you can share with prospects. They clink into that link, and it looks something like this.

    The prospect can pick the date and time that works best for them and boom, they’re booked for a meeting without the ridiculous back and forth that we normally go through when we’re trying to schedule something. It’s a huge time saver.

    New to meetings is the ability to embed a meeting calendar on a web page. One use case --- if you have a MOFU or BOFU offer, add a meetings form to the thank-you page.
  • Fun fact about Meetings --- you can add a rep’s meetings link to a message in your email client, OR as a personalization token within a HubSpot email.

    Our marketing team loves this --- every email they send that comes from a rep includes a link to that rep’s meetings calendar.
  • Also on the sales side, Messages lets you chat with site visitors in real time. It lets interested visitors get the answers they’re looking for right away.
  • When you’re having a conversation with a prospect, we make it really easy to get additional context about that person via the contact sidebar in the chat dashboard.
  • …. and those conversations are going to be automatically saved to the contact’s timeline so it’s really easy to schedule follow up and continue to nurture those relationships beyond the initial conversation.
  • Those are just a few of the announcements. If you’re interested in hearing about the rest, and didn’t get a chance to see Christopher’s product keynote, head over to our Youtube channel to get the full scoop.
  • The tool I want to dive into today might be the boldest launch from Inbound. Before Diving in, I want to add some context.

    At HubSpot, we love the idea of giving things away for free. It gives prospects a chance to get started with Inbound, without paying anything. It gives partners a great way to show what HubSpot can do pre-purchase. And, as with any freemium model, it gives us a new way to grow our lead pipeline.

    Three years ago, it was Signals, which morphed a few times before settling on HubSpot Sales.
    Two years ago, it was HubSpot CRM.

    Last year, Leadin.

    Powerful tools, but lived outside the HubSpot umbrella, and in their own individual silos.

    This year, we’re excited to launch the next evolution of Leadin, and to bring it under the HubSpot umbrella for the first time.
  • HubSpot Marketing Free, in short, is a tool that lets you collect leads off your website and learn mor eabout them. It integrates seamlessly with HubSpot CRM and HubSpot Sales. To give you a quick refresher on the full HubSpot toolset, here’s the way I think about it:
  • CRM sits at the core of both marketing and sales, and allows you to organize your interactions with contacts and customers.

    Sales speeds up your sales process and empowers your sales teams to work faster and smarter.

    Marketing lets you attract, convert, and close.
  • Here’s how that plays out in our offerings. At the base, CRM underlies everything. On the left is the marketing tool. On the right are the sales tools. As businesses grow, their HubSpot product can grow along with them.
  • The highlight of HubSpot Marketing free, for me, is a tool called “Lead Flows.” It’s HubSpot’s take on pop-up forms. Today, I want to dive deep into the tool and into best practices around it, to make sure we’re using it to its fullest.
  • How many of you have a website?

    How many of you know that website like the back of your hand?

    Do you think a fresh visitor to your website would see it and know their way around, know how to get help?

    As a consumer, this is what a website can feel like when I get there and start exploring. It’s a maze, I keep hitting dead ends, I don’t know

  • Your website should feel a little more like this to a visitor, not a maze, a big open garden for them to roam around in, and exits for them to get in touch with you
  • When they have easy ways to continue the conversation with your business, all sides are happy.
  • With that in mind, this is what a “standard.” Conversion funnel looks like.

    We build a call-to-action. People click that call-to-action and are redirected to a page with a form. They fill out that form and are redirected once more to a thank-you page, where they get the asset and a next step.
  • In many cases, this works great. But it’s not a perfect system. For you as a marketer, it’s time consuming. For the visitor, it’s not the most straightforward experience. Three different pages, two redirects. You end up in a completely different place than you started, and have to find your way back. On a mobile device it’s even tougher to follow the process.
  • What we wanted to accomplish with lead flows was first to make the experience for the end user better, removing the redirects and optimising for the device they’re on. But also optimise for you, the marketer or website owner, making it easy to create and get a conversion point live on your site and create an exit in the maze without needing to change anything about your site itself
  • The Lead Flow is made up of three parts. First, a callout. This can take the form of a slide-in button, a pop-up, or button that drops in from above.

    Next, the form itself. This opens up from the same modal as the callout, and includes a set of fields.

    Finally, once the form is submitted, it’s replaced by a thank-you message with a link to any next steps.
  • Here’s what it looks like in practice. As you can see, it’s eye-catching but not annoying or intrusive. We’ll get into that more in a minute.
  • And, on a mobile device….. It looks clean, and the user’s experience is smooth.
  • So, there’s an elephant in the room. HOLD UP HUBSPOT, YOU’RE TELLING US WE SHOULD USE POP-UPS?

    You’re absolutely right. Popups that look like this really suck.
  • There’s one more elephant in the room. I know what you’er all thinking.

    BUT WHAT ABOUT GOOGLE? Google is like beyonce to marketers. The single voice of truth.

    Google made news in the last few months by talking
  • They put out a blog post on the official webmasters blog that said this.
  • Here’s what they hate.

    Showing a popup that covers the main content, either immediately after the user navigates to a page from the search results, or while they are looking through the page.

    Displaying a standalone interstitial that the user has to dismiss before accessing the main content.

    Using a layout where the above-the-fold portion of the page appears similar to a standalone interstitial, but the original content has been inlined underneath the fold.
  • Here’s an example of that. I see this stuff every day.

    Guess what website I’m on?, right?

    No. This is the Boston Herald, one of Boston’s biggest newspapers. THIS is a bad experience. This should be punished.
  • But Google doesn’t go so far as to say that “pop-ups’ or “interstitials” are bad. Far from it. Here’s their stated goal. They want to help people get what they’re looking for. Anything that gets in the way of that is a negative. But do pop-up forms always get in the way of that? Google doesn’t think so.

    In fact, later in the article, they talk about pop-up forms that are logical, helpful, and necessary.
  • Interstitials that appear to be in response to a legal obligation, such as for cookie usage or for age verification.

    Login dialogs on sites where content is not publicly indexable. For example, this would include private content such as email or unindexable content that is behind a paywall.

    Banners that use a reasonable amount of screen space and are easily dismissible. For example, the app install banners provided by Safari and Chrome are examples of banners that use a reasonable amount of screen space.
  • So, as is always the case, Google has searchers’ backs. As they should. This isn’t bad for marketers. It’s GREAT for marketers. Two big takeaways:

    Don’t be interruptive and annoying.
    Keep other devices in mind. Don’t forget about mobile.
  • In truth, pop-up forms --- like other things in this unvierse (and others) ---- can be harnessed for good, if used correctly..
  • Think about it this way. Are there any tools in our toolkit as marketers that are “good” no matter how you use them? Every tool we use has the power to be destructive, to ruin the customer experience, to lose us links and rankings, to make our customers cancel, if we use it the wrong way.

    I’d posit that Lead Flows are no different.
  • Let’s walk through a few examples of Lead Flows done right. Here’s buckscountytaste, a food website in PA.

    They have a simple popup that slides in halfway down the blog. It provides logical next steps, without taking the user off the page.
  • And it works. They raised their blog subscriptions by 60% when they added this lead flow.
  • Here’s 24point0, a powerpoint design company.

    They added a quick “sign up for updates”
  • And improved conversions 63%.
  • The ultimate success story --- Aquapresso, a coffee distribution company in NZ, set up 12 different lead flows across their site for various use cases.
  • They over doubled their conversions.
  • So… I want to get to the bottom of this.
  • Another common mistake marketers make with pop-ups is having them appear at the wrong time, which adds to the annoyance factor. Be strategic about the timing and trigger of your pop-ups. Think about the way that visitors interact with certain types of pages on your site.

    For instance, when someone engages with a blog post, they do so by scrolling down the page as they read the content. If you want to catch your visitors while they're most engaged, then you should customize your pop-up to appear when someone has scrolled halfway down the page.

    Similarly, you might find that people who stay on your product or pricing pages for more than 30 seconds are highly engaged because they're taking the time to read through and consider their options. In this scenario, you could use a time-based pop-up that appears when a visitor has been on the page for a specific number of seconds.

    Specific: Specify exactly what a visitor is going to get if they click on your pop-up. Don't tell them it's a guide; tell them it's a 10-page guide with actionable tips. Don't encourage them to join your email list; ask if they'd be okay with getting two to three emails on a given topic per week.

    Actionable: Let visitors know exactly what you'd like them to do. Instead of "Click Here," try "Download our Free Guide," or better yet, "Get my Free Guide." Craft a compelling call-to-action that will inspire your visitors to take action.

    Human: Remind visitors that there's a real person behind the pop-up form. Use colloquial language to make your forms friendly. Instead of "Join our email list," try "Mind if we email you twice a week?" Instead of "Subscribe to our blog," try "We'd be happy to notify you whenever we publish new articles."
  • In the end, forget about yourself for a second. It’s not about you. It’s about your visitors, your prospects, your customers. If their experience is improved by what you do on your website, you’ll be rewarded, and Google will be happy.

    The second we forget that --- and make it about us --- our results will suffer.

    And we’ll feel the wrath of Google.
  • Here’s the magic, we can get an entire conversion funnel live on our site within 5 minutes, and we don’t need to add any new embed codes, change DNS settings, adjust our website, nothing. This is where the ninja part of this session’s title comes into play.
  • Lead Flows is available to all HubSpot Marketing customers. Simply navigate to Settings, then Products and Add-ons, and activate the Lead Flows tool.
  • Once you do, it’ll appear under “Content” in your nav menu.
  • As a reminder, a Lead Flow has three parts.
  • First, we’ll set up the callout. We can choose from four options

    Not sure which one to choose? We give you some best practices right on the screen.

    Pop-up boxes are bold and assertive. Use them to promote and highlight your most valuable content.

    Slide-in boxes are subtle and firendly. Use them to add folks to your subscriber lists.

    Dropdown banners are timely and helpful. Use them to prioritize time-sensitive offers (sale or webinar) or to ask for subscriptions.
  • You can customize the callout with an image, custom text, and a button of your choice.
  • Next up is the form. Define the text, and add any fields you’d like. Choose your language, too.
  • Finally, we configure the thank-you.
  • Before launching, we have a few options to configure.
  • Which pages should these lead flows appear on?

    As a best practice, match the Lead Flow to the context of the page. If they’re on your blog, ask for subscribers. If they’re on your pricing page, ask about a quick demo of any features they’re interested in.
  • You can trigger a lead flow as someone’s trying to exit the page, after a certain amount of time, or on page scroll.

    Again, base your choice off the context, and the user experience you think would be best.

    General best practices:

    For drop-down lead flows, use the elapsed time option.
    For popups, use exit intent.
    For slide-in, use the scroll option.
  • The final setting --- think about your user’s experience on mobile. Will this be disruptive? If so, turn it off. If not, leave it on.
  • Finally, preview your lead flow across devices.
  • Lead flows are even more powerful for HubSpot customers.

    You can use a lead flow to segment a list, create a workflow, or run a report.
  • When we did, our leads went up 38%.
  • 5x our leads
  • Try comarketing. Launching a co-branded project, with mutual goals, no money changes hands.
  • We've more than doubled the number of monthly leads generated by the old posts we've optimized.

    We've increased the number of monthly organic search views of old posts we've optimized by an average of 106%.
  • Between 83% and 93% of each post's leads came from anchor text CTAs and internal link CTAs.
  • The Best of Inbound with HubSpot's Ari Plaut

    1. 1. Inbound Recap & Lead Gen Tips/Tricks Austin HUG
    2. 2. ARI PLAUT Product Marketer 5-year HubSpotter Vermonter Hiker/biker Podcast listener Knitter
    3. 3. What about you?
    4. 4. Who’s from Austin originally? Texas?
    5. 5. Best restauran t in Austin?
    6. 6. Favorite sports team?
    7. 7. Westworld or Game of Thrones?
    8. 8. HubSpot Customer?
    9. 9. First time here?
    10. 10. At Inbound last week?
    11. 11. AGENDA 1 Quick Inbound Recap 2 Lead Flows: what, why, how. 3 A few other lead gen tests to try. 4 FAQ / Discussion AGENDA
    12. 12. 1Quick Inbound Recap
    13. 13. 2000 attendees 40 breakout sessions 2012
    14. 14. 2012 2800 attendees 40 breakouts 2012
    15. 15. 19,000+ attendees 300+ breakouts 2016
    16. 16. 2013: 2014: 2015:
    17. 17. HubSpot Marketing Free
    18. 18. CRM: Organize your database Marketing: Attract, convert, close. Sales: Speed up your sales team
    19. 19. CRM FREE Marketing FREE Sales FREE Marketing Starter Marketing Basic Marketing Pro Marketing Ent. Sales Pro
    20. 20. 2 Lead Flows
    21. 21. CTA Landing page Thank you
    22. 22. CTA Landing page Thank you
    23. 23. CTA Landing page Thank you
    24. 24. Callout Form Thank you
    25. 25. “While the underlying content is present on the page and available to be indexed by Google, content may be visually obscured by an interstitial. This can frustrate users because they are unable to easily access the content that they were expecting when they tapped on the search result.”
    26. 26. “Our goal is to help users quickly find the best answers to their questions, regardless of the device they’re using.”
    27. 27. Email Social Media Ads Lead Nurturing Personalization Phone calls Landing Page Forms SEO
    28. 28.
    29. 29. 60%
    30. 30. 24point0
    31. 31. 24point0 63%
    32. 32. Aquapresso
    33. 33. Aquapresso 128%
    34. 34. Group Exercise.
    35. 35. What makes this effective?
    36. 36. What makes this effective?
    37. 37. What makes this effective? Relevant and valuable Timed just right Specific, actionable, human Doesn’t block content, easy to close Matches branding Image Short form. Not asking for too much. Self-aware, self-depricating.
    38. 38. Let’s set one up.
    39. 39. 2 minutes. I’m not just saying that.
    40. 40. 2 minutes. Told you.
    41. 41. FAQ Lead flow vs. conversion path? Smart, progressive, dependent? HubSpot form? Custom properties?
    42. 42. 3 Other lead gen tests to try
    43. 43. Get rid of your links to nowhere
    44. 44. Experiment with shorter forms on mobile
    45. 45. Try out comarketing. 2x your audience.
    46. 46. Optimize the past.
    47. 47. Try different types of CTA’s
    48. 48. 4 FAQ / Discussion
    49. 49. THANK YOU