UPDATE: The Inbound 2017 Conference has come and gone. Check out our #Inbound17 feed of event coverage and stay tuned for more recap blogs on our favorite sessions!
HubSpot’s INBOUND 2017 Conference is almost here. This epic conference happens just once a year and it’s an awesome place to be inspired, get educated and make connections with other businesses that believe in inbound marketing. This September, HubSpot will host thousands of marketers, sales professionals, and business owners from almost every industry imaginable and from all corners of the globe in their home city of Boston.
Three days of inspiring keynotes, breakouts, new product releases and tons of networking will leave you with a laundry list of ideas to take back to your job. This year’s lineup of speakers is set to be pretty amazing, including Brené Brown, Michelle Obama, Rand Fishkin, and other notable leaders from Google, Shopify, LinkedIn, and Microsoft.
In 2016, the conference hosted over 19,000 attendees, a huge growth from when I first attended back in 2012, when there were a mere 2,000 attendees. In the four years I’ve attended, I have picked up few tricks to get the most out of this event that is head-spinningly full from planning your day, to networking with other attendees and how to prioritize your tasks when you get back to the office.
Plan Your Day and Have a Backup Plan
With an agenda that is packed from 9 AM to 6:30 PM (and beyond), it’s important that you have a plan for your day before the conference starts. The most popular breakout sessions can fill up and get closed if a room gets too full.
Start by looking over the conference agenda and deciding ahead of time which breakout sessions are on your priority list. The sessions are broken down into 6 tracks, take a look at all of the possible sessions so that you don’t miss out on something that would be really valuable for your business.
Make note of other sessions that sound interesting to you, this helps you decide where to go quickly if you don’t end up making it into your first-choice session. HubSpot has historically offered encore sessions for some of the most well-attended sessions, so watch the conference schedule for updates on those sessions if you miss one you really wanted to see.
PRO TIP: After you register to attend the event, make sure to make use of the conference app from HubSpot. It’s a the easiest way to plan your day and pick your favorite sessions. The app comes complete with a bunch of tools that will make your conference-going experience more pleasant!
Team Up with Your Co-Workers or Local HUG Members
There are way more sessions than you will ever be able to conquer on your own. Team up with other attendees from your area so you can divide and conquer.
Make your notes from sessions available to each other and plan a recap day where you can share the best ideas and takeaways from the conference. It’s a great way to keep the ideas flowing after you get home as well!
Get to know your HubSpot Account Team
INBOUND is more than just keynotes and breakouts. Set up a time to meet up with your HubSpot account reps. Schedule a coffee or time to meet them at Club INBOUND. Your reps are essential for helping you get to know the inside scoop with the tool, but they can also recommend the best things to see while you are in Boston!
If you see Dharmesh or Brian, Try to say Hey!
The HubSpot co-founders, Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shaw, try to spend a ton of their time talking to real customers during the week of INBOUND. It might be hard to grab a few minutes of their time, but just give them a quick wave or say hi!
Meet Vendors and Partners
If you are looking for help with HubSpot, this is the place to look. There are tons of vendors and HubSpot partners that can help you with website development, content creation, inbound marketing strategy, workshops and more!
Some partners have booths and tables around the conference, but many (like us) can be spotted attending breakouts, giving presentations and networking with our fellow marketers. But if you want to set up a meeting, contact us to schedule a time during the conference!
Quick Note: Ed's speaking this year in the Hacks, Tips & Tricks track so be sure to check out the information on his session: "Learn to Create a Video Strategy that Drives Leads".
Take Lots and Lots (and Lots) of Notes
I know this seems like a no brainer, but it’s important for several reasons. For a lot of people, writing notes helps commit ideas to memory, so that’s an important reason on its own. But, it’s really important to take notes that go beyond just what the presenter is saying.
A lot of the best presentations will be made available after the fact, so don’t worry so much about writing down every word that they say verbatim. Instead, focus on writing down how to use the ideas, the brainstorms that the sessions spark for you. The brilliant ideas yet to be fleshed out.
Writing down your key takeaways and ideas will help you connect the dots and recall those ideas once you are back in the office and the daily to dos creep back in your mind. More importantly, it will allow you to revisit those ideas for months and years without having to hold every single one in your memory. Taking pictures of presenters’ slides can be another easy way to capture lots of information without the need to write everything down.
PRO TIP: Don’t forget to take notes of conversations you had with other people at the conference too, sometimes a simple business card isn’t enough when you get back to the office!
Don’t Forget Your Chargers and Notebooks
With 20,000 marketers fighting to power their devices, outlets can often be hard to come by. If you haven’t gotten a portable charger, you might want to invest in one before you leave. (I love my Anker Powercore.) Make sure your laptop, phone, and tablet are all charged up and ready for the day before you leave your hotel. It’s also not a bad idea to bring along an extra notebook, just in case you aren’t able to refuel during the day.
Ask Tons of Questions
This is your big chance to learn from experts and tacticians from all over the country (and the world). Don’t spend all your time talking, make sure to ask tons of questions and learn what is successful for others. Have a question in a session? Ask it!
PRO TIP: If you are in a relevant industry, spend some of your time asking questions and getting interviews with people around the conference. Here's one that Reputation Ink did at last year's conference with Ed
Take Short, Intentional Breaks
With several days of brain-filling breakout sessions, it’s important to take a few intentional breaks to reset. Plan some time to check your work email, make a phone call to home or just take a short walk outside.
Make the Most of Social Media
There is a lot of chatter that happens on Twitter and Instagram using the conference hashtag (#INBOUND17). It’s a cool way to capture the best quotes, ask questions or start conversations. You can even tag your favorite speaker or find groups of people doing meet ups all over the Boston area!
PRO TIP: If you meet someone new, don’t hesitate to add them on LinkedIn right away. If you wait until you get back, you might forget how you met. Send them an invite to connect and include a personalized note that will remind them of what you talked about in case they don’t see it until they get back to the office the following week.
Don’t Miss the Networking Events
From Seaport Parties to Boylston Street Bars, inbound marketers know how to throw a good party. Check out the conference hashtag #INBOUND17 and inbound.org to get an idea of all the networking events that are happening throughout the week. They are a perfect way to meet other like-minded marketers, look for exciting jobs or just have a good time!
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… Or the Entertainment
HubSpot doesn’t skimp on the entertainment either, Club INBOUND has a resident DJ and happy hours are known to feature bands or other entertainment. Not to mention the headlining entertainment acts like Cyndi Lauper in 2012, One Republic in 2013, Amy Schumer in 2015 and Trevor Noah in 2016. This year’s headline? Comedian Judd Apatow, and while you may not know his name, you’re probably familiar with one of the movies he’s worked on like Anchorman, Talladega Nights, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Bridesmaids and Begin Again.
Come Rested and Mentally Prepared for a Packed Week
Between the breakout sessions, networking opportunities, entertainment and just the sheer volume of people, this conference is no joke. In the 4 times I’ve been to Boston for INBOUND, it’s not uncommon for me to wake up at 7 AM and go to bed around 2 AM. Not to mention the fact that you sit in 6-8 sessions every day hearing some of the most brilliant marketing minds.
PRO TIP: Sleep is crucial, so use these tips to reset your internal clock to make sure that you are up and ready to roll when the day gets started!
Get Your Work Done in Advance
One of the biggest things that can distract you from getting the most out of a 3-day conference is your work back at the office. Do your best to plan in advance and clear your to do list so that your co-workers can get their work done while you are out of the office.
If you know that you’ll need to be in communication, set specific time blocks for people to follow up with you. Try not to check your email during the week to make sure you don’t miss out on any good nuggets.
Prioritize Your Takeaways and Tactics
When you get back to the office, or maybe even on your trip home. Spend some time going through your notes. Look over all the tactical ideas and make a to do list and a list of ideas/discussions you want to cover when you get back into the groove. Prioritize that list and keep it handy so that you don’t lose track of all the ideas you had. Ultimately, you are not going to be able to implement all of your ideas right away, so it will be good to have a running list that you can refer to throughout the year.
Make Use of the On-Demand Content
Like I mentioned earlier, HubSpot records a lot of the sessions and makes them available to attendees and sometimes on their YouTube channel. Save your favorite sessions and revisit them throughout the year as reminders of the brilliant ideas. It’s also an easy way to check in on other sessions that you didn’t get a chance to attend.
So pack your bags, grab your chargers, take an extra nap and get ready for an awesome week! Cause once the week of INBOUND rolls around it’s not going to stop moving.