5 INBOUND takeaways for your 2023 marketing strategy

This year Jotform sponsored INBOUND, a SaaS marketing, sales, and partnerships conference hosted by HubSpot.

We sent 15 teammates to the event to run our booth, meet Jotform users in real life, educate attendees about our product offering, and get new ideas on how to optimize our marketing strategy.

Our team left the conference with several takeaways, but today we’d like to share our top five marketing-focused learnings to support your marketing strategy in 2023 and beyond.

1. Create social-first content 

There’s been a new trend among consumers looking for advice on the web: “I don’t Google, I TikTok.” As a result, TikTok is becoming a powerhouse for real people acting as an authority on a topic and offering an authentic, compassionate lens to what’s happening in their lives, combined with advice.

Consumers seek advice from other people who feel like close friends rather than from a corporate website. This goes for anything from current news to skincare trends to deciding which productivity tool is best for their business. The research process of potential customers now runs across platforms, formats, and creators. They look for standout educational and entertaining videos and check the comments for other people’s thoughts to further inform their decision-making. Because of this, social media is becoming the second-largest marketing channel.

How can this apply to your 2023 marketing strategy? 

For marketers who want in on this, it’s crucial to create “zero-click content” that can be easily consumed and will entice people to leave a comment. For example, a Twitter thread, a 200-word LinkedIn post, or a “How-to” TikTok video.

If you’re unsure where to start, try reducing posting frequency to figure out what types of content work best on the platform, then slowly increasing posting speed. Better yet, make a unique tone, style, and performance that works for each network. Cross-network promotion should appear as native to that network as possible. Lastly, CTAs should be based on engagement, not web traffic, to increase reach and exposure.

Session credit: Sam Balter in the session, “Developing successful media content for B2B: Goals, team, and process.”

2. Use video across your customer’s journey

Video has been one of the “it” marketing tactics to visually communicate and engage customers. There are several ways a company can use video in its marketing strategy, but this session focused on three: acquisition, adoption, and brand.

“Acquisition” is meant to turn your leads into customers. For example, commercials, a homepage video, product explainers, product updates, and sales videos. “Adoption” is meant to show the value of your product. For example, tutorials or how-to videos, expert opinion videos, case studies, webinars, and onboarding videos. Lastly, “Brand” is meant to turn your customers into advocates. Examples include trailers, tips, culture videos, and behind-the-scenes content.

How can this apply to your 2023 marketing strategy? 

Using acquisition, adoption, and brand in your video strategy is a good place to start. Then, focus on driving impact along this customer journey by creating meaningful and intentional videos that appeal to customers every step of the way.

To achieve this, it might be worth building an in-house video team or seeking an external agency. If you’re having trouble convincing executives to make an investment in video, remind them it can be used across the entire customer journey. Video is also great for evergreen content and can be repurposed for newsletters, social media posts, and more. It’s an investment, and it’s not going away.

Session credit: Taylor Corrado and Chris Lavigne in the session “How your business can use video across your customer journey.”

3. Navigate social media algorithms

Social media algorithms can feel like they change every other day. But with the changes come savvy marketers who figure out the best ways to navigate different marketing techniques across channels, such as LinkedIn, TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook.

For the latest changes, we learned on LinkedIn it’s best to create content that encourages your audience to comment. The same goes for TikTok; ranking well requires many comments. For Instagram, create live content but ensure it’s good, high quality, and engaging content. Lastly, for Facebook, keep in mind that long-form content is better, as long as it’s engaging. Videos over five minutes perform well.

How can this apply to your 2023 marketing strategy?

Take a look at your social media strategy to see what content you’re producing and how you can advance it.

One of the biggest takeaways was that comments are key. How can you create social media content that will encourage people to comment? How can you blend true engagement content that will entice comments with the promotional content that you must post?

Remember that social media is the “cocktail party” of marketing channels; you want your brand to be its most fun and interesting self.

Session credit: Neil Patel in the session “What’s next: How to navigate marketing around search and social algorithms.”

4. Make your webinars an experience

Audience expectations for webinars have changed. At every touch point of a webinar––from promoting to producing to following up––marketers need to craft memorable moments that set their webinars apart from the crowd. And don’t get us wrong, this is no easy feat.

One of the biggest challenges of webinars is getting attendees to stay to the end. How often have you begun a webinar with a good-sized group, only to see a 25-50% drop-off by the end? It’s a thing.

But there are solutions! The most notable is to make your webinar an experience. Some examples are hosting a contest before the end of your webinar––it can be as simple as answering a trivia question that was asked at the beginning of the webinar or, more elaborate, offering a swag box to five random attendees who stay through the end.

Another way to make your webinar feel like an experience is to prioritize audience engagement and interact with them throughout the entire presentation by using polls and the chat function. They are simple fixes that make a big difference.

How can this apply to your 2023 marketing strategy?

Changing how you run webinars to meet audience expectations and create a standout experience is a great first step.

Start with a quick analysis of how past webinars have gone and identify a few tweaks to make a move in the right direction. Next, think about how you’re promoting webinars and how they resonate with your audience––are they a digestible length, is the topic interesting, are you providing value and impact, and are you creating a memorable experience?

As marketers, we’re constantly competing for people’s attention, so we have to really dig deep and figure out how to stand out and create desirable content people want to consume.

Session credit: Alyssa Peltier and Emily Dick in the session, “Take your webinars from boring to buzz-worthy.”

5. Foster an environment of belonging

When organizations take action to promote an environment of belongingness, it leads to employee retention and attraction, innovation, increased performance, and more.

Building a diverse team and fostering a culture of inclusivity and belonging is essential. Helping your team feel accepted in their place of work allows them to be their most productive selves and supports companies in reaching their goals. Belonging matters because not belonging keeps your team from fully engaging with coworkers and their work.

How can this apply to your 2023 marketing strategy?

Have conversations with your team and executives that encourage people to challenge the status quo, not take it personally when challenged, and have open discussions about how to improve things.

Make it your mission to hire diverse talent, consciously include them, and lift them up. Your organization will thrive when employees feel like they belong and can be their true selves.

Session credit: Sacha Dekker, Vrnda Boykin, and Johnny Cruz in the session “Building an environment of belonging.”

Our team enjoyed this year’s INBOUND conference by HubSpot, and we hope our takeaways support your marketing efforts for 2023. Huge shoutout to the INBOUND speakers for teaching us something new and Jotform’s marketing team for sharing their session notes for this post.

Annabel is a former Director of Communications at Jotform. She's passionate about writing and has worked in communications roles domestically and internationally. When she's not blogging about SaaS or online forms, she enjoys international travel, loud concerts, and artisan coffee.

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