Notes, slides and recap from INBOUND 2017

Wow what a week. Every time the BusinessBrew team attends INBOUND we need a few days to gather our thoughts to process the event, the sessions and the meetings. This year was no different. Every year I also try to summarise my notes and distil a few takeaways from the overall event.

*Also, long blog post warning*

My main takeaway from this year is that we have now truly arrived at a place where customers expect us to fully serve them on any given platform and they expect that experience to be seamless. We’ve been moving in this direction for a while but now we have so many tools to back this up. Whether we’re talking about bots that you can create based on your FAQ page, chat app that integrates with your CRM or a unified inbox that gathers all your messages from your clients.

That just covers the more practical sessions and keynotes. We were also very excited to hear Brene Brown and Piera Gelardi speak about achieving your goals by being the most you and creating conditions for creativity. Then there was this other keynote speaker.. Michelle Obama. I will not even attempt to summarise her talk, if you want to see it, you can find the recording on our Facebook page. You’ll find the other keynotes there as well. Recorded with a handheld mobile phone so not suitable to people prone to motion sickness ;-).

So what did we learn? You’ll find a few extracts below. There is too much to share in a single blog post to get in touch with us and we’ll happily share our evernote notebooks with you for more detail and the links to the full slide decks where available. If you want to discuss any of the topics here, send me a note on

A few things we’re really excited about

SEO moves away from keywords and focusses on topic clusters according to Leslie Ye.

We’ve been referring to this way of optimising for organic search for a while but we’ve been struggling with finding a real life example of this approach done right. You create one main page and you only link sub pages that are relevant to this topic to the main page. The idea is that you only distribute your page rank between a limited number of pages instead of spreading it to thin. You focus only on your best performing content.

It could look like this:

A quick reminder from Ruth Sherman: 759 days per year, 60 hours per month, 3 hours per day we spend distracted. So when we create content we need to focus on packaging that complex content into a simple package. A good reminder is that intimacy helps with getting people to focus. We don’t do this through written language but mainly through spoken language.

Paul Roetzer shared 25 hacks for inbound. The way they got to these 25 hacks is by creating an idea sandbox. A team gathers ideas for campaigns and tactics, they then get scored on their ability to execute and their impact probability rating.

Doing this will help you to maintain a list of great ideas and prioritise them according to success factors.

Des Traynor from Intercom spoke about how to do marketing in a recurring revenue world. The success of your startup isn’t defined by the number of signups or leads but by the number of active customers or users.

Understand users definition of success and break down barriers to get them there → Top tips and tweaks won’t get you there.
Optimise versus redesign → Don’t get sucked into the black hole of optimisation but work on what will give you results.

The minimum viable email sequence by Arvell Craig. Simply put: think about all the known social media practices we use to engage our audiences. Do we use it for email? Keep in mind that people are distracted so keep it short, personal, get in touch more often and force engagement through breakup emails.

Marwa Greaves from HubSpot reminds us that there is a human at the other side of that email address.

Over 57% of emails sent today is SPAM — either marked this way because irrelevant or person is getting too much. On the other hand, email isn’t’ dead:

  • 61% of consumers want to be contacted by brands via email (Adobe consumer email survey report 2017)
  • Everyone has an email address

Brian Halligan from HubSpot spoke about the three muscle groups that help a startup evolve into a scaleup:

Scaling and managing

  • Startup phase: say yes, try all — Scale up phase: yes backfires in scale up — too many projects, “startups are more likely to die of over-eating than starvation”
  • MSPOT: Mission, Serving, plays, omissions, target (what are you doing this year)
  • Omissions: Do less things well


  • Avoid department over company
  • But: solve for customer > company > department > me

Scaling and hiring

  • Culture — magic ingredient?
  • HS — Culture Code
  • Mission matters: company mission attracts better employees

Scaling customer experience

  • Startup phase 1; minimum viable product
  • Startup phase 2: product market fit
  • Startup phase 3: product market delight (they pay, and they market for you)

Jessica Woodbury from CK Affiliate shares her best practices for working with influencers.

  • influencers should be fans but actually a friends / have a relationship

Create a community:

  • Influencer model: engagement is everything
  • Create online and offline forums to share information
  • Be reliable, helpful, friendly
  • If they like it, they’ll tell their friends / network
  • Be up to date on social platforms
  • Find out who else is working with influencers (competitors)
  • Send good email

Our dear Dubspot (HubSpot Dublin) colleague Shay shared how you can use HubSpot’s free tools to grow your startup:

HubSpot Marketing Free Tools

  • Save time and work with customers — get to the human part
  • Lead Flows — pop up form tool (follow up email coming)
  • Collected Forms — automatically collect submissions from forms on your website (hooks in with other form tools and even html forms), benefit centralise all leads in one system
  • Embedded forms coming to free tool — contains progressive profiling? — No
  • Facebook lead Ads — create lead ad, no need to leave FB, form submission
  • Reporting — sources

HubSpot Sales Free Tools

  • Save time
  • Email Activity Tracking
  • Templates
  • Documents — store documents and reporting (what are they viewing, what do they most look at)
  • Calling — depending on region you can record
  • Meetings — Find a meeting time

HubSpot CRM

  • All data goes here
  • Manage relationship
  • Inbox integration
  • See pages they visited…
  • Task management — what do you need to do
  • Mobile Apps available
  • Custom properties
  • Create lists? Yes can export with filter tool and use in Mailchimp

Darmesh Shah mentioned it when speaking about the new HubSpot tools and Scott Meyer from 9 Clouds shares how exactly you should create better instead of more high value content in the peak content age as he calls it. He recommends to look at the 25% of your content that gives you results, focus on this niche and get better at it. Specialise and create new content based on these topics. Video is great and video courses are a great way to engage your audience. He uses a 3X5 rule for video. 3 sections and 5 lessons per section, 3–5 minutes per lesson.

Daniel Waas from GoToWebinar shares some insights on how to host successful webinars. Tuesday through Thursday are great for signup and ‘trends’ as well as listicles work well in titles. Attendance rate isn’t too relevant as many people sign up just to get the content but sign ups are what you should care about.

Cheat sheet:

  • Offer recording for plus 35% views
  • Co market it for plus 47% registrations
  • Lists in title for 43% more registrations
  • Tuesday’s for promotion for 37% extra registered
  • Host at noon
  • Promote early
  • Host on wednesday

Finally, HubSpot also announced some new products as they usually do:

  • HubSpot Sales Professional
  • Conversations in HubSpot CRM Free
  • The Customer Hub
  • Various new tools around content strategy in HubSpot Marketing
  • We’re mainly excited about Content Strategy which helps you with creating content hubs and pillar content.

HubSpot tends to grandfather existing customers into new packages and pricing so consider when and if you want to sign up/ upgrade before launch dates to benefit from this.

As promised, that was a summary of some of the sessions we attended and as you see, there is too much to share in a single blog post. Reach out to us and we can share access to BusinessBrew’s Evernote notebooks.If you want to talk about any of the topics or have questions, send me a note on

We’re already looking forward to INBOUND 2018 in early September next year!