Earlier this month, our marketing team attended Learn Inbound for 2 super-stimulating days of talks, covering everything from SEO in 2019, to email marketing, to content best practises, to building better campaigns using social media!

20 expert speakers came from all across the globe and showered us with their knowledge, so we thought the least we could do was share some of the key takeaways with you. Here we go!

Judith Lewis: SEO is Dead Again? It Will Never Die

Judith from DeCabbit Consultancy kicked the conference off with a powerful, no-BS presentation on SEO in 2019, which made clear pretty quickly: ‘what matters, what doesn’t, what works and what doesn’t’. The overriding message was to focus more on user satisfaction and quality content over ‘old’ SEO practises like, for example, single keyword targeting. She also gave us her top tips for content success! Here are a few stand out points:

  • Social media links for SEO – they don’t work anymore
  • Bounce rate is not a metric!
  • Be careful not to over-optimise and become ‘spammy’ – this is a thing!
  • Follow the ‘E-A-T’ model (Expertise, Authority, Trustworthiness) for creating great quality content that Google will favour
  • Expertise – are you an expert in this area? It might be a piece of content on your property’s history or area – write knowledgeably, not generally, or the content won’t be valuable enough to potential guests
  • Authority – awards or recommendations will deem you authoritative
  • Trustworthiness – well written ‘about’ pages, or content that’s well referenced, for example, will make your pages trustworthy
  • When it comes to writing quality content, you need to understand your guests and potential guests, first and foremost
  • Your titles must be powerful and stand out
  • Simple, useful content wins everytime
  • Measure results! What type of content works for you and your property, what doesn’t work? Learning and refining is necessary for scale

Read the full deck here.

Greg Gifford: Baby Groot’s Guide to Rockin’ Local SEO

Greg from Wikimotive managed to simultaneously entertain us with a presentation packed full of classic, ‘old school’ movie scene references we all know & love, whilst teaching us all things local SEO. Here are a few pointers from Greg!

  • Mobile searches are inherently local
  • Echoing Judith’s advice on scrapping old practices that are no longer relevant, Greg told us SEO has become less about ‘tricks’ and more about building your brand
  • And the best way to build your hotel’s brand is through old school marketing!
  • Any business with a physical location like yours needs local SEO
  • Google tracks ‘real world visits’ through Google Maps
  • Test everything yourself
  • Put more of a focus on local links. Local links are based on relationships within the local community! Are there local businesses you can strike up a partnership with? Maybe it’s the best restaurant or the top local attraction in your property’s area
  • Write content about your business and about what you know!
  • Create truly localized content
  • You should be posting regularly on your blog
  • You don’t need a ton of citations, only a few
  • Spread your reviews, don’t just concentrate on one platform – we talked about this a few blogs back
  • When you respond to a negative guest review online you’re showing the whole world how you can deal with a bad situation, so always respond!
  • Make it easy for your guests to leave reviews!
  • You can’t tell your guests what to say, but try and influence their review by suggesting ideas for what makes a good review

Read Greg’s full deck here.

Jessica Best: The Good, the Bad and the WOW: What Works in Email Marketing in 2019

Email marketing boasts the highest return on investment of any marketing medium! Jessica Best from Barkley took us through everything you need to consider when you’re devising your email marketing strategy.

  • Earn the permission of guests & potential guests, and keep their attention
  • Plan your emails and integrate them with your content/marketing calendar
  • The subject line of your email is 40% why people will open it – the sender is another 40%

  • Email is a great channel to test and learn on! Try different subject lines and sending times
  • Your recipe for great email marketing: personalisation + segmentation + automation + optimisation
  • Don’t buy an email list! It’s not worth your time, instead grow your list using social, promotions, SEO
  • A running theme across the two days… don’t ignore mobile’s user experience!
  • Never send without doing a check first
  • Don’t just ‘sell’ hotel packages through your ezines – use them as another storytelling platform! They can be as engaging as you want them to be

Read Jess’s full deck here.

Helen Pollitt – Ten Minutes That Will Change Your Reporting For Good

Helen Pollitt’s refreshingly funny presentation reminded us that, although reporting may feel like a painful part of the job for many of us, it actually requires a pretty simple formula to succeed.

  • Start off with asking yourself: who is this report for? Like any form of marketing or presenting, your content needs to be crafted for the right audience, otherwise you’ve lost them before you’ve begun
  • Don’t make your audience search for the insight! Insight from your findings should be clear as day
  • Be brief – nobody wants to sit through hours of unclear jumbled number-stating
  • Returning nicely to a theme that thread through many of the talks over both days of Learn Inbound: storytelling. What story is your data telling? Figure that out and your report will provide real value
  • If you feel like you don’t have the time to sit down and create your report, remember that you should really be analysing all the time – your report is just a collation of this
  • Good reports lead to actionable insights
  • Bad reports prevent progress

Read Helen’s full deck here.

Some final points worth noting:

  • World wide, mobile represents more than half of all searches – even so, SEO tools are still heavily focused on desktop
  • Google is an answer engine – not just a search engine
  • Social listening is a great content idea generator! It will tell you what your guests/potential guests like and dislike
  • 1.4 billion people use Facebook Groups every month… if there’s a relevant way to incorporate one into your marketing strategy, do it
  • A story is up to 22 times more memorable than facts alone – this is in reference to a presentation about how to create great case studies, but we think it’s relevant to remember across all forms of marketing. People relate to stories!
  • Social is much bigger than just Facebook & Twitter
  • And, not to forget, the slide that won the entire two days…