HubSpot’s Inbound Marketing Certification Course remains one of my favorite learning marketing resources. I remember the joy (and relief) after taking the test and earning the inbound marketing certification. Back then, it was a scrappy, privately held startup taking on the marketing world. Now, Hubspot’s a thriving public company.
The marketing world changes constantly. To HubSpot’s credit, its HubSpot Academy continuously updates its inbound marketing certification course (and other courses open to the public).
It’s time to refresh my certification. Over the course of the next several weeks, here’s what to expect from the next several blog posts as I prepare for the certification exam:
- Open Sharing. I’ll publish my study notes on this blog as I review each video in the twelve (12) classes.
- Detail. My notes will be very detailed. Many of the slides in the video classes state the learning or take-home-message perfectly. If I think that’s the best way to state the learning, I’ll record the learning in my notes verbatim from the respective slide.
- Context. I’ll provide my context whenever it may help us better understand the inbound marketing and sales concept(s).
Inbound Marketing Certification Video 1: Why Inbound?
Traditional Marketing is Marketer Centric: “You Have to Find The Customer.” It relies on PUSH marketing techniques sending the customer/buyer content even when the she/he doesn’t want it or doesn’t request it. These marketing tactics are based on”interrupting” consumers:
- Cold Phone Calls
- Cold Emails (SPAM) and Junk Mail
- TV commercials, Display ads
The Drawbacks and Disadvantages of Traditional Marketing Tactics. These marketing activities are more expensive. Plus savvy prospective buyers/customers use technology to tune out these interruptions:
- DVRs block TV commercials
- Caller ID screens out cold phone calls / telemarketing
- Email SPAM filters redirect mass generated emails from your target buyer’s inbox
Inbound Marketing Is Customer or Buyer Centric
You Give The Customer The Power. Inbound marketing enables customers so your company/website is found by the customer “on her/his terms.” This is why inbound marketing is referred to as PULL marketing because you’re drawing people in using a variety of tactics:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Blogging by publishing problem solving content. Demonstrating a helpfulness to solve a customer problem
Attraction Based Marketing. Inbound marketing gives the customer/buyer the option to contact the marketer when she/he wants more information. Inbound marketing strives to:
- Become part of the customer conversation
- Be helpful and educational because customers conduct their own research before making a purchase decision
- Support The Phases Of The Buyer Journey Process: Awareness, Consideration, Decision
Conversion Is Key. The Inbound Methodology Marketing and Sales Process objective is to move people along the following continuum: Strangers ->Visitors -> Leads -> Customers -> Promoters
Inbound Marketing and Sales Has Four Linked Stages
Each Stage Serves A Specific Purpose In Moving People Along The Buyer Journey. Here are the four (4) stages in hammered home during the inbound marketing certification course:
- Attract: Turn Strangers Into Visitors
- Convert: Turn Visitors Into Leads by Gathering Contact Information
- Close: Turn Leads Into Customers by Selling Them at the Right Time
- Delight: Turning Customers Into Promoters or Advocates
Each Stage Requires Different Inbound Marketing Tools. Some tools can be used in multiple stages (i.e. email).
- Attract: Blogging, Optimizing Website with Keywords, Social Media/Social Publishing
- Convert: Forms, Calls To Action, Landing Pages
- Close: CRM, Email, Workflow
- Delight: Surveys, Smart Content, Social Media Monitoring
An Important Note About The Convert Stage: Earning Buyer Trust Requires Giving Value. Inbound marketing’s greatest currency is obtaining someone’s contact information (e.g., email address at a minimum). Gaining that information isn’t automatic. You have to demonstrate you can be trusted first.
Trust is earned by:
- Offering the buyer something of value
- Solving buyer problems
- Showing helpfulness
- Publishing interesting content in the form of blog posts, infographics, eBooks, Tip Sheets, or White Papers, etc.
An Important Note About The Delight Stage — Paying Helpfulness Forward. At this stage, you’re starting the inbound methodology cycle from the beginning. But, there’s a massive difference: Your customers act as brand advocates and promoters of your products and services.
Your advocates and promoters describe your products and services to “the strangers” in their respective personal and business networks. Why? Because your advocates and promoters adore the delightful brand experience your company provides.
Thus, the inbound marketing and sales process starts all over (but not necessarily in your direct network). Your advocates and promoters pay your helpfulness forward. They share their positive experiences about your company because you helped them solve their problem. Now, they want to be helpful to “another stranger.”
The Delight Stage is the achievement of The Marketer and Sales Holy Grail: Positive Word of Mouth.
Data Analysis Drives Inbound Marketing and Sales Decisions
What Does The Data Tell You? Understand what tactics are successful. Identify the tactics that aren’t working. Collect. Analyze. Act. Data collected and analyzed in each inbound marketing and sales stage builds the foundation for fact based decision making.
Please let me know if you agree or disagree with my thoughts in the comments. I would love to hear from you. I’m here to read, listen, and learn from YOUR PERSPECTIVE. Comments are open. So let’er rip!
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Photo Credit: by Moyan_Brenn via flickr