I am a huge fan of HubSpot and its founders, Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah. Their team members, Mike Volpe and Rebecca Corliss, generously share outstanding content and services (i.e., Inbound Marketing University) to help all marketing professionals continuously improve and reinvent their marketing skills. This organization is the epitome of a social media core value: “It is always better to give than to receive.”
Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs is an outstanding and practical marketing strategy guide targeted to small and startup businesses. Halligan and Shah have written this book with small and startup businesses in mind because their book shares numerous insights from their own experiences as entrepreneurs (i.e., Tips from the Trenches).
The Value of This Book. Inbound Marketing makes a convincing case that marketing success is not limited by the size of our respective marketing budgets. Instead, these limits are now a function of our own creativity and investment of time. Inbound Marketing practically explains how small or startup businesses can practically and effectively compete with larger competitors by executing:
* Social media strategy via channels such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.
* A lead nurturing and conversion process
* A sales marketing funnel process to measure campaign ROI
Inbound Marketing Versus Outbound Marketing
What’s Inbound Marketing? Halligan explains the differences between Inbound Marketing and Outbound Marketing in this blog post: Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing.
Outbound Marketing = Traditional, “Push / Interruption-Based” Marketing. The marketer pushes the message out far and wide hoping that it resonates far and wide with the target consumer.
Outbound Marketing tactics include:
- Trade shows
- Seminar series
- Email blasts to purchased lists
- Internal cold calling
- Outsourced telemarketing
Inbound Marketing = “Pull” Marketing Leveraging the Internet. Any marketing tactic that relies on earning people’s interest instead of buying it. Inbound marketing focuses on helping yourself “get found” by people already learning about and shopping in your industry.
Inbound Marketing tactics include:
- Search engines
- Social media sites
The Inbound Marketing Process Transformation. Three (3) business activities provide foundation for marketing transformation:
- Getting found online
- Converting visitors and leads
- Analyzing and improving
The 6 Practical Benefits of Studying Inbound Marketing
1. Understanding how/why Google plays a signifcant role in your marketing success. Here, Inbound Marketing explains in non-technical terms why inbound links (e.g., links from other websites that connect to your site or blog) play a vital role in your website’s “Google Juice” or Google Authority (e.g., the number of inbound links to your web pages and the authority of those pages linking to your site).
2. Executing practical and actionable “to-do” lists at the end of every chapter. The suggestions are hardly rocket science but they require personal commitment, preseverance, and time.
3. Learning social media marketing tactics for use across all major social media channels. Halligan and Shah ably provide specific examples on how to effectively deploy blogs, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Digg, StumbleUpon, and YouTube.
4. Measuring the effectiveness of your social media marketing initiatives by channel. For example, the book guides you on how to compare the effectiveness of a Twitter campaign versus a YouTube campaign.
5. Implementing a lead nurturing process in all marketing campaigns. Why is this important? Every prospect is at a different place in the buying cycle for your particular product or service. Therefore, you want this prospect to have your organization at the “top-of-mind” even when they’re not ready to buy from you (because one day they will be).
6. Informing marketing decisions (e.g., ROI) by creating a sales marketing funnel process. This process will enable your organization to measure and evaluate campaign yield along with ROI.
The 3 Audiences Who Will Benefit from Studying Inbound Marketing
1. Amateur Bloggers. You will learn how to build Google Authority for your blog by understanding why you don’t want your blog’s URL address to include the name of your blogging platform. For example, if your blog’s URL address is www.myblogname.typepad.com or www.myblogname.wordpress.com that’s not good. Make sure to address this problem — I did and my search engine results are all the better for it.
2. Marketing Professionals (especially CMOs). You will make better marketing decisions by creating a sales marketing funnel so you can measure campaign effectiveness per channel using campaign yield and ROI measurement techniques.
3. CEOs. You will learn how to monitor your competitor’s activity and progress by tracking seven (7) attributes. These attributes can be tracked using free tools on the Internet. These attributes or tools are:
* Website Grade via WebsiteGrader.com
* Number of Delicious.com bookmarks
* Number of inbound links
* Number of Facebook fans
* Website traffic via Compete.com
* Google Buzz of your brand name relative to a competitor’s brand name
If you’ve read Inbound Marketing, please leave me a comment and let me know what you thought of the book. I’m curious to know what you found helpful or valuable.
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