The Insanely Complete Guide to Inbound Marketing with Hubspot

Table of Contents

This guide is a combination of 15 years of developing my craft and knowledge of doing inbound marketing with Hubspot.

Can Inbound Marketing get me Results in the Time I Need?

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As a business owner, I’m sure you have goals and these goals have a timeframe of when you would like to achieve them.

This is an area that always comes up for discussion with clients so I put together this article to discuss if inbound marketing can get you results in the time you need.



In 2013, according to a study conducted by HubSpot, 41% of CEOs reported that inbound marketing generated a positive ROI. So it is not a question of whether you can get ROI from inbound marketing but more if you can achieve good ROI within your timeframe.

Smart goals for smart businesses

The first thing you need to ask yourself is: Are the timeframes for my goals realistic? If you are just starting out with inbound this can be hard to figure out as you have no idea what is involved and how long everything takes to show results.

This is why I would recommend you come up with some S.M.A.R.T. goals.

S.M.A.R.T. being:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

Coming up with some really solid goals will help you to understand how inbound marketing fits into your sales and marketing goals.

How long inbound marketing realistically takes

I would say in simple terms it would depend, but to give you a timeframe I would say 6 months at least. This of course would depend on a few things, your budget and how much you are going to contribute to the content.

I typically see some strong results with inbound within this time period. You need to work out what works. It reminds me of a website I once saw which sold SEO services. They had a picture of a man in a suit wearing a blindfold and the text underneath said “ How other companies do your SEO strategy”.

Although not true of all SEO companies, personally I do not believe in bad-mouthing other companies to try to make a sale, they were making a good point.

I will be honest, no agency you work with can really present you with a strategy with a 100% guarantee that it will work and if they do they are just not telling the truth.

I would recommend a test strategy for 4 months to understand what works and what doesn’t, then and only then can you create a strategy for the next six months based on what actually works instead of what may work.

Can you reach your goals without inbound marketing?

Yes, you can reach your goals without inbound marketing. I guess you didn’t expect me to say that, did you?

I want to be honest with you, if what you are currently doing is working for you and can be scaled to reach your goals in the timeframe, then no you don’t need inbound marketing.

Your marketing is working just fine.

If you however don’t believe what you are currently doing will reach your goals then you need to be thinking of how inbound can help you achieve your goals on time.

A Reality Check

One thing to remember is that the time you want to achieve your goals has to be grounded in reality, just because you want something doesn’t mean it is achievable. It takes time to build up a steady stream of leads via inbound and build content to attract the right kind of people. There is no quick fix, no magic wand I’m afraid.

You have to be committed to the success of your inbound marketing and committed to long term success, not a quick fix. Talk to an agency to come up with some solid S.M.A.R.T. goals that everyone is happy with.

Conclusion

Time is money and the quicker you can grow the better but these things take time.  Create some S.M.A.R.T. goals and work with your agency to get results which I would expect will take 6 months or so. If your current marketing is scalable then stick with it there, is no need to change but if inbound can help you scale and grow then definitely grab it with both hands.

Now it’s your turn

Is your marketing scalable? Do you currently have trouble reaching your goals? I would love to hear your story in the comments below.

What is an Inbound Marketing Agency? And Why you Should care

The contrasts between outbound and inbound marketing can mean a complete world of difference when it comes to a company’s ROI, revenue, sales numbers, and of course how their marketing is perceived by others.

Tactics that are categorised under outbound marketing are continuing to become obsolete, whereas inbound is becoming an increasingly high profit and consistently successful method. Things such as traditional marketing continue to lower in value, while online marketing is only set to rise.

So, what exactly is inbound marketing? How can it benefit a company? Some of the methods utilised include:

  • Creating meaningful and informative content through blog posts, Ebooks, videos, whitepapers, Webinars and generalised web content that helps convince the visitor landing on that specific page to become a warm lead
  • Online advertising such as Pay-Per-Click advertising (PPC), and using such tools as Google Adwords and Bing Ads
  • Email campaigns and newsletters sent on a regular basis to keep in constant contact with leads and customers alike
  • Social media management on platforms specific to your market for better overall acknowledgement of the business to the rest of the Internet.
  • Conversion rate optimisation and Usability to remove the roadblocks the users face when using your website
  • Search Engine Optimisation or (SEO) brings all this together by bring you targeted traffic that is ready to enter your sales funnel

Costs Per Lead

It’s all about finding high quality and eager leads that want to become a customer, but which method of marketing does it better? According to HubSpot,a marketing automation provider an inbound marketing lead is as much as 61 percent less on costs compared to outbound marketing.

Specifically, the average cost for a business that focuses primarily on inbound marketing is only £89.61, compared to £229.67 for outbound-minded businesses.

This is especially helpful for non-enterprise level businesses because that means more of the marketing budget can go toward lead nurturing and making sure the customer has a memorable and positive experience. This in turn leads to even more sales and revenue.

 Meaningful Communication

As society becomes ever more connected and experiences a deeply personalised web, the idea of outbound marketing starts to feel archaic. Customers want to feel like they’re actually respected by the companies they do business with, and treating everyone like a number in a database (and portraying that sort of thinking publicly) is not the best way to win over leads.

Inbound marketing is able to go deeper and make those intimate connections with consumers, allowing for businesses to actually feel like they provide a highly sought after value that can’t be found anywhere else.

Countless Avenues

Finally, inbound marketing can be found practically anywhere and implemented with basically every segment of a company’s marketing strategy. Companies who want a bigger piece of the video marketing industry can do so with an inbound marketing agency, while at the same time putting money toward a robust PPC campaign and maintaining a business blog. Inbound is everywhere, will continue to dominate, and isn’t ready to leave anytime soon.

Inbound marketing is a highly affordable solution for small and medium businesses as such businesses continue to allot more of their budgets to inbound efforts, especially when so many customers consistently using their computers and mobile devices. This means the cost per lead is only going to keep going down and make a level playing field for businesses wanting to become leaders in their industry and beyond.

3 Advantages of Lead Nurturing that will Make your Customers Smile

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Fact:  Successful lead nurturing will turn more of the visitors to your website into customers.

I really hope this first sentence has caught your attention and has motivated you to read the whole of this article as this will help you to understand why your business should be doing lead nurturing.

What is Lead Nurturing?

If you have come to this blog already having a good understanding of what lead nurturing is, then you can skip this section and move on to the next.

Some would say lead nurturing is email marketing 2.0 but I would say lead nurturing is just building relationships with your potential customers and helping them. Notice I underlined the word helping as this is such an important point. We do not want to spam your potential customers with marketing messages, we want to help them make the right buying decision, even if that means sometimes they don’t buy from you.

By creating effective lead nurturing campaigns that your potential customers will love, you increase the probability that they will buy from you. We would all rather buy from people we know and trust. When I talk about lead nurturing I’m not just talking about email, there are so many other ways you can help. You can create product videos, webinars and how-to videos. You can talk to them on the telephone or meet them in person. Too many businesses try to go straight for the sale on the first meeting, let them get to know you first.

Lead nurturing builds great relationships

One of the best advantages for me when it comes to lead nurturing is building relationships. We, humans, are social creatures and we love to socialise with others. I believe business should be the same. Lead nurturing lets your potential customers get to know you better and learn more about you as a business and your great products or services.

People buy from people, not a name, so be personal and add some humour and fun to your marketing, don’t be boring.

Increased leads for your business

Over 95% of the visitors to your website are leaving without making a purchase or even revealing who they are. The advantage of lead nurturing is that you can start to reclaim some of that 95%. By offering these potential customers something that is helpful to them, you are more likely to see this visitor return to your website.

By offering them something to download in exchange for their email, you can then start to build relationships with this prospect. Just giving them awesome content can be enough to persuade them to return. They may even decide to join your newsletter or subscribe to your blog.

Perhaps some prospects will decide to subscribe to your YouTube channel because your videos are so good. They may even sign up for one of your webinars or take a free trial. These are all great touchpoints for you to become friendlier with your prospects.

Increased sales for your business

Now that these prospects are in your sales funnel you can now call them leads. Not all of these leads will turn into customers. According to research done by marketing Sherpa 79% of marketing leads never convert to sales. The most common reason for this is the lack of lead nurturing as 61% of B2B marketers say leads are passed straight to sales.

Lead nurturing and marketing automation will allow you to score your leads. You can easily assign points to your leads when they perform desired actions. A lead who visits your pricing page, looks at your about us page and downloads three guides are far more qualified than someone who only visits your website once.

You can assign points to these people and they can only be sent to sales when people are actually interested in buying. This not only saves so much time, it actually helps increase conversions as when sales contacts a lead they are already familiar with your company and are interested. This eliminates the need for cold calling.

You should always build relationships first and sell second. That was a very important lesson I learned and remember these are real people and they should be treated as such. Always consider their feelings and needs above yours and they will become brand advocates that will help sell your products and services.

You will even make some great friends along the way and surely that’s what it is all about.

Now it’s your turn

What are the experiences you have had with lead nurturing and how do you build relationships with your customers? I would love to hear your story in the comments below.

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Advantages Of Inbound Marketing – You Would Be a Fool To Ignore This!

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Many businesses today have been left a little shell shocked by the rapid marketing transitions that have occurred over the past few years. And just when they thought they had their online marketing covered by launching a website, they find they are struggling again. Dwindling web traffic, irrelevant web content and outdated online marketing methods can put a business way behind its competition and miss out on its share of the market.

If this sounds familiar, there is an answer and it comes in the form of inbound marketing. You may have already heard of it. You may already be using it without realising it. Whilst a business website is a great start, inbound marketing can take your marketing efforts to the next level.

Start the dialogue

Inbound marketing means pushing the direct sales pitch to one side and going for a more engaging, two-way, proactive approach to marketing. This method of marketing is relatively simple to implement, it costs less and it gives you so much more in return. According to the marketing software giant, Hubspot, inbound marketing leads can cost 62% less to manage than outbound leads.

Examples of inbound marketing methods include:

  • A regularly updated blog – give your audience information that answers their questions, that  is fresh and engaging. Not only will this attract more visitors, but it can also boost your search engine rankings considerably.
  • Social media marketing – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. These are great ways of creating dialogue with your target audience.
  • Keyword optimisation on all website pages – Target your keywords to your audience and write your content for people, not just search engines. Make every page relevant to your visitors.

Turning strangers into promoters of your brand

There is something big happening in social media and it is benefiting businesses everywhere. If you not already engaging with your audience over Facebook or Twitter, you might want to consider creating a social media presence for your business. More and more businesses are making use of Facebook business pages and Twitter accounts to keep their audience in the loop with product news, promotions and any other snippets of information their audience will find interesting.

By creating a fresh, exciting and engaging dialogue with your target audience you create interest in your brand, enhance your reputation and direct your audience gently towards your services or products. And if they like what they see, they are sure to tell others. Just one Facebook ‘share’ or ‘like’ could put you in front of so many more people.

The foundations of inbound marketing are very much built on trust. By avoiding the pestering sales pitch and gently steering your audience into trusting and liking your brand, they are more likely to feel compelled to find out more about you and what you have to offer. The days of cold-calling are almost over. Inbound marketing brings leads to your door and what’s more, they will be receptive to your sales message when it is time to deliver it.

Small changes can reap big rewards

By making some relatively small and cost-effective changes to your marketing strategy you can start to see some big changes. Creating a blog, launching compelling offers on Facebook, creating targeted landing pages and optimising your web pages are not necessarily radical changes, but they can bring you some huge rewards.

What’s more, inbound marketing is measurable. There are many tools you can use to analyse, measure and improve your inbound marketing methods to ensure you get the best returns from your marketing efforts.

Could your business benefit from inbound marketing?

Any business, large, medium or small could benefit from implementing a number of inbound marketing techniques. Whether you are looking to reach out to a new geographical area, boost your web traffic or promote a new product, inbound marketing can work very well indeed.

Now it’s your turn

Are you using inbound marketing methods already? Are you seeing results?

Inbound Marketing vs Paid Ads vs SEO

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Inbound marketing, SEO, paid ads… which is actually going to get you results?

There are so many marketing terms and methods floating around the internet now, making it difficult to know which ones to adopt.

Maybe you have a friend who swears by Google ads, despite the fact that you’re hearing great things about this whole ‘inbound marketing revolution’ – and then there’s your direct competitor, who seems to be an SEO wizard.

Trying to decide who’s right can be the source of many headaches, especially with so many contradictory articles online. It’s easy to see why you’re confused about where to turn.

Over my many years as a marketer, I’ve tried all three and know exactly how they work. But here’s the thing; who said any of them have to be mutually exclusive?

Below, I’m going to talk more in-depth about each one, and the best way to use each of them to your full advantage as part of a more holistic approach.

SEO

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) these days basically equates to everything search engine-related and is by no means dead. In fact, I’d say there’s definitely still a place for it in your marketing campaign today.

However, if you’re looking at SEO as a singular solution, without embracing content marketing, social media marketing, analytics and more, it’s probably true that you’re limiting the results you can expect to achieve from your efforts.

Just think, if you’re concentrating all your time and energy into getting more and more people to your website, without changing anything about the way your website actually converts, you’re probably not going to get that many new customers.

In order to see the real results, you need to successfully incorporate SEO into part of a wider, more holistic strategy, such as inbound marketing. This brings me to my next point.

Inbound marketing

I want to start this section by setting the record straight about inbound marketing. It’s not just another marketing trick you can adopt for a few months to get fast results, before abandoning again – it’s an entire methodology that requires your company to actually change its culture.

You won’t get fast results, either – in fact, when done right it can take anywhere between 5 and 18 months to really take effect, depending on your buying cycle. The good part? The results (when you finally see them) can be very powerful.

This is because inbound focuses on shortening your buyer journey by answering all the questions and pain points your prospects have along the way, allowing them to make a better, more informed decision, faster.

A good inbound marketing campaign will encompass a variety of different elements, including content marketing, social media marketing, analytics, marketing automation software and yes, SEO.

Paid ads

Paid ads, or PPC (Pay Per Click) involves paying Google (or as the case may be, LinkedIn,Facebook or a number of other places) to place an ad in a prime spot. You set your budget, and the length of the campaign, and proceed to watch your money slowly disappear into the ether every time someone clicks on your ad.

The idea is that the bigger the budget, the more traffic you’ll drive to your website. You can also be pretty precise with the people you attract, by using very specific target keywords and making sure they end up in the right place on your website – such as a landing page that’s sure to convert (do you see inbound already creeping in?).

Or, you could just do what some companies do and give a very generalised keyword, direct them to the homepage, and then wonder where all the money’s gone. Especially if you don’t keep one eye on managing your budget.

Although outperformed by inbound (which costs a lot less) at almost every turn, paid ads also have their place. For instance, it can be a particularly good strategy to continue using PPC in the early, barren months of your inbound marketing campaign. It can give you the little boost you need while you wait for your inbound campaign to really take off.

Conclusion

With so many marketing terms around, it can be tough deciding which one is right for your business. I’ve tried all three, and there’s no reason any of them need to be mutually exclusive. In fact, you can easily adopt SEO and paid ads together as part of a more holistic approach, such as inbound marketing – which actually encompasses many different elements.

Relying singularly on SEO could mean you’re limiting the results from your marketing efforts, but can still be particularly effective when used as part of a wider strategy. Paid ads may be outperformed by inbound, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t still use them in the first few (often difficult) months of your campaign to give you a bit more of a boost.

Have you had any success with these techniques?

What Results to Expect from Inbound Marketing

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A question we hear from every business owner we speak with is “What results can I expect from inbound marketing?” Well, here is the answer.

Manage Your Expectations

Upfront it is important to understand that inbound marketing is radically different from traditional marketing.

Instead of spending money and seeing an instant spike in results, you’re going to see slow, steady growth with inbound marketing.

Inbound marketing is about building a repeatable system that compounds upon itself over time.

Building a lead generation machine through inbound marketing is similar to training for a marathon. It doesn’t happen overnight, but the long term benefits are undeniable.

What to expect if you take the inbound leap:

  1. Lots of work
  2. You will need to train new habits
  3. Little-to-no visible results for 3-4 months
  4. Steady growth results from steady activity

Don’t just take our word for it, here is what a few of our fellow inbound marketing agencies say about what it takes to succeed with inbound marketing:

Meg from The Whole Brain Group says “Lots of work. We often tell clients that deciding you’re going to take an Inbound Marketing approach is like buying a membership to the gym: you’re only going to see results if you get there regularly and work up a sweat.”

Mike from Square 2 Marketing says “Marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. You have to execute inbound marketing day after day, week after week, month after month.”

Success from inbound marketing takes time, but it is well worth the work.

What Results to Expect from Inbound Marketing

There was a study published by MIT called Return on Investment from Inbound Marketing through Implementing Hubspot Software. In this report, Annie Hung analysed website data from Hubspot customers and customer survey data from a random selection of Hubspot customers. She pulled out some great numbers that can help businesses new to the inbound marketing space better understand the road ahead.

Here are some quick hits from the MIT report:

Increased Traffic – 92.3% of surveyed Hubspot users saw an increase in website traffic from inbound marketing.

Increased Leads – 92.7% of surveyed Hubspot users saw an increase in leads.

Increased Sales – 49.2% of surveyed Hubspot users saw an increase in sales.

Overall Increase in Leads from Inbound Marketing

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This chart shows that depending on the number of leads you’re currently collecting through your website, what to expect after active use of inbound marketing for 6 months and 12 months.

You can clearly see the compounding effect that inbound marketing has on the total number of leads in the marketing database.

Unlike paid forms of marketing, inbound sticks. Once a new blog has been posted, it is live and indexed by Google. 2,3,4 years down the line it will still be there and can still drive traffic to your website.

Both B2B & B2C See Results with Inbound Marketing

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It doesn’t matter if you’re targeting customers are other businesses or consumers, after 12 months inbound marketing delivers a significant increase in lead volume.

If this is so Great, Why Doesn’t Everyone Do It?

I think a lot of business owners and CEOs don’t want it bad enough. They say they want to grow, but when the rubber hits the road they’re not willing to make the necessary changes within themselves or within their organization to make it work.

It takes discipline to stop talking about how great your widget is and to start thinking about a customer’s problems. It takes time to think about blog post topics, content offers for landing pages, and to write emails.

The Opportunity

This new reality means that there is an amazing opportunity for companies that really want to grow. Companies that are willing to make the changes necessary and who begin to create content that helps people live better lives are the ones that will find success.

5 Inbound Marketing Stats that Prove your Business Is Falling Behind

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Inbound marketing is revolutionising the way businesses sell to their customers, in the best possible way.

The truth is, you won’t find a bigger champion of inbound than me – you’re probably already aware of that if you’ve looked at any of my previous blogs.

However, the reason inbound marketing is so effective is that it’s a far more engaging, customer-focused way of essentially “selling without selling”. This is because customer behaviours and attitudes have changed, and we have to adapt to meet their evolving needs.

There’s no cold calling, in-your-face ads or overly pushy sales techniques of the past – it’s all about providing value to the customer by solving their problems and answering their questions and concerns.

Below, I’m going to discuss five great inbound statistics that perfectly demonstrate the importance of inbound marketing – before discussing exactly what they mean for your business.

So, without further ado…

The statistics

Before I go over the stats, you can read more about what inbound marketing actually is, and how it could benefit you, right here.

1. 86% of B2C marketers are now using inbound marketing (via Content Marketing Institute)

It’s not just another useless buzzword or phrase – inbound marketing has really taken off, and if it’s not part of your marketing strategy, you’re going to get left behind. If you’re a B2B business, even more of your peers are using inbound – 91% actually.

2. Marketers who make blogging a priority are 13 times more likely to achieve positive ROI (via AkkenCloud)

Are you blogging? The occasional blog here and there, whenever you feel like it or can find the time, isn’t really what inbound marketing is all about. You need to sit down with your team and pinpoint the questions and challenges your customers are facing – and write your content around that. I’d recommend you publish a minimum of two blogs per week if you want decent results.

3. 80% of business decision makers prefer to get information via articles as opposed to ads (via Content Marketing Institute)

This is because people like it when their problems are addressed and it feels like they can relate to what you’re saying – rather than just having your sales messages shoved down their throat. If a customer (or business decision-maker in this case) feels like they are getting value, they’re more likely to decide to buy from your company.

4. 93% of companies who use inbound increase their lead generation (via Hubspot)

Inbound marketing is a fantastic way of generating leads, and they also cost a lot less (about 62%) than traditional outbound marketing – it’s no wonder it’s catching on! You too can generate more leads – at a lower cost – by harnessing the power of www.

5. 94% of links users click on are organic – not paid for (eConsultancy)

This also means that PPC makes up just 6% of total search clicks – mind-blowing, isn’t it? So if you’re still spending the bulk of your marketing budget on PPC, you’d be better off throwing your money down the drain. Instead, come up with quality content that includes the sorts of questions and key phrases your customers might type into search engines when looking for a solution to their problem. It might be worth brainstorming with your team to come up with some of the most effective ones.

Conclusion

So, are you convinced yet? There’s no doubt that inbound is taking the marketing world by storm, and if you haven’t cottoned on yet, you’re definitely missing a trick. Inbound isn’t about pushy sales tactics, in-your-face ads or cold-calling – but it does have everything to do with creating valuable, quality content that your customers will love. So, go forth and utilise the power of inbound – you might not believe the results!

Five of the Best Books on Inbound Marketing you are Likely to Read

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Before you invest in anything it is always a great idea to do some research so you can get an idea of what kind of risks are involved and what kinds of rewards there are.

Inbound marketing is no different and you must find and read the best and most relevant books. The reason you have landed on this page is probably that you are looking for ways to learn more about inbound marketing. There is no better way to do that than by reading a good book.

I love my Kindle. I take it everywhere as it is the easiest way for me to consume books these days. I wasn’t always such a fan of the Kindle, as I loved the smell and feel of a real book in my hands. “There is no way you will get me to change!” I used to say.

My brother bought a Kindle for my Mum as a Christmas gift, at the time he did not realise that my Mum was slowly losing her vision as a result of her diabetes. This was a shame as my Mum has always loved reading.

So my Mum silently passed it onto me so as not to offend and worry my brother. After a couple of days fighting with the ‘stupid thing,’ I was hooked. So much so,  I bought my wife one for her birthday soon after. She loves it too!

One of the books I talk about here is only available as an Ebook download but if you would like to read it on your Kindle I will show you at the end of this article how you can easily get a PDF onto your Kindle.

Why Should I read a Book on Inbound Marketing Anyway? What’s in it for me?

Bluntly put, inbound marketing is the best way for your business to succeed online. I am not going to give you a sales pitch because that’s the whole point of inbound marketing, there isn’t one. By arming your customers with the information they need to make an informed purchase and nurturing them through your sales cycle you will see an increase in leads and sales.

Book 1 – Inbound and Content Marketing Made Easy

Inbound and Content Marketing Made EasyThis is by far the Best Book on Inbound Marketing I have read  and in fact it is one of my favourite books of last year. It’s that good.

Marcus Sheridan, the author, has an addictive writing style that makes you just want to keep reading. When you are finished reading this book you will feel like his best friend. This is a rare talent only reserved for people who really know how to communicate through the written word.

This is not the longest book you will ever read but boy it is good.  Marcus owns the largest fiberglass pool company in America and tells us how inbound marketing and Hubspot helped save his business and helped his website ‘River Pools’ become the most visited Pool website in the world. My post on How to generate leads for your business really helps drive home Marcus’s message in this book.

Marcus now runs his own inbound marketing company, The Sales Lion, which is where you can download this fantastic book. After you have read it you will be fired up and ready to embrace inbound with open arms.

If like me you also want to hear more of Marcus’s thoughts and ideas, you can listen to The Sales Lion great weekly podcast.

Book 2 – 6 Pixels of Separation

6 pixels of seperation

I must confess I have never actually read this book as I listened to it as an audio file purchased from iTunes.  I used to have a three-hour commute every day and listening to audiobooks really helped fill that void. I also listened to countless podcasts on inbound marketing.

For me, this book written by Mitch Joel was one of those life-changing books. Mitch really gave me the kick up the arse I needed.

This technically isn’t a book about inbound marketing but it is a book about how to take advantage of blogging and the internet to compete in the digital age.

It teaches us that the barrier for entry is really low and anything can be achieved if you adopt a giving and teaching approach to business.

Just like Marcus, Mitch has an excellent weekly podcast by the same name as the book, where he interviews great minds within the industry.

Book 3 – Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media and Blogs

Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media and Blogs

This book is the most in-depth book and will go into far more detail about inbound marketing than the others. It’s written by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, two of the most influential and knowledgeable people in inbound marketing today.

Both Brian and Dharmesh are co-founders of Hubspot, the world’s most famous inbound marketing software. In this book, you will find a lot of case studies on companies and even music bands that have used inbound marketing to their advantage and thrived.

Although this book is full of great advice and teaches you a lot about inbound, I would still recommend you read Marcus’s book first as this will really get you interested in the subject from someone who has lived it. But I would recommend that you read this as well.

Book 4 – Optimize: How to Attract and Engage More Customers by Integrating SEO, Social Media, and Content Marketing

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This book goes into great detail about how to create effective content strategies to attract your business leads. Lee Odden is a great writer and really gets his message across well. Although I would say this book is not for beginners and can be a little overly technical at times. However, if you read the other books in this list first you will have no trouble following along with this one.

As content is a massive part of inbound marketing you will want to make sure you create a content marketing strategy that really answers your customer’s questions and addresses their pain points. Tell them what’s in it for them.

Book 5-The Marketing Agency Blueprint

the marketing agency blueprint

I am really lucky to have two books that have really changed my life when it comes to business and I can easily say this is one of them.  At first glance, you may think that this book is not for you. However, this book will teach you about how an inbound marketing agency should be acting.

It will show you how companies charge; it will also show you what to expect from an inbound marketing company.

I believe that we are your partners and the closer a relationship you have with your inbound marketers the more successful it will be. This book will also show you how great companies are being totally transparent in what they do and how they charge.

You should use this book as a guide to how you want your inbound marketing partners to conduct business.

How to Transfer EBooks or PDF to Kindle the easy way

If you do not have a kindle or have no intentions of buying one then you can skip this part but as I promised I will show you an easy way to transfer a PDF or eBook onto your kindle.

If you have ever tried to transfer a PDF to kindle you will understand how impossible it is to read. You probably just connected your Kindle to your computer or laptop and transferred it that way.

I feel your pain. There is an easier way. Did you know you can email a PDF straight to your Kindle?

If you login into your Amazon account and click on your account>manage your kindle.

You then want to click on personal document settings on the left-hand column. Here you will see your kindle email address, if you don’t then you will need to set this up.

This email address is the one you want to send your ebook or PDF to. In the approved personal documents email list you should add your email address and make sure you always use this address to send the PDF to your kindle.

To send your book or PDF to your Kindle just attach the file to an email and make sure you put the word CONVERT as the subject line and this will convert the document to the right file to be viewed on a kindle. If you do not it will not display very well.

Then just click send and in a matter of seconds, you will have your book on your kindle.

To Close

I really hope you go out and pick up some of these books and find these the Best Books on Inbound Marketing as you need to learn more about the subject of inbound marketing. Today’s businesses really need to be informed on how modern marketing works. I saw too many businesses in my day as an SEO manager not understanding how SEO works. This is understandable but inbound marketing turns the focus back on you and your company. People buy from people so put more of you into your marketing.

Have you started on the path of inbound marketing? Then share your thoughts below.

Still not convinced? Then tell us why.

Do I Need a New Website for Inbound Marketing?

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Are you ready to try inbound marketing, but worried it’ll mean a whole new website?

Doing inbound the right way can require a big investment and it’s easy to see why the idea of paying for a new website on top of everything else could be a nightmare.

Over the years, this has been a major concern for many businesses I’ve worked with, especially when the budget was already tight.

However, you can stop worrying right now. The good news is, you DON’T need a new website for inbound marketing to be successful.

Below, I’m going to tell you what you need to know to get started with inbound using your existing website.

Why keep your existing website?

The truth is, I very rarely recommend changing an existing website at the start of a new inbound marketing campaign, and there’s a very good reason for this.

When it comes to your website, it’s true that a new design may look impressive, but if you haven’t optimised it for inbound marketing, it most likely will not perform any better than your current one.

In fact, you’ll probably encounter exactly the same old problems as you had before.

The real difference comes from website optimisation: essentially finding out exactly what visitors need from your website, and then providing it.

In the past, we’ve managed to build very successful inbound marketing campaigns for our clients using their existing websites. One client, in particular, managed to increase his sales by 187% – with very minimal changes to his current set-up.

This did mean we were limited to his old design, but it just proves that inbound can still be successful without having to make any changes to your website’s layout at all.

The only time I’d recommend scrapping your old website and starting again from scratch is if you’re currently getting no traffic or conversions whatsoever.

How to optimise your website

The first step is to gather data on what’s actually working on your website and what isn’t. After all, a new design may look nicer, but it won’t solve your problems if the content and navigation is vague or confusing for visitors.

You can gather lots of helpful data by using tools such as Google Analytics and heat maps – the latter of which will tell you exactly how customers are behaving on each page.

Next, you need to make sure each page has a specific goal. Think about your visitors’ journey when they arrive on your homepage: where do they need to go next, and what’s the most logical step after that?

You also need to figure out if there’s any extra content or call-to-actions (CTAs) you need to offer in order to get them to take that next step – or if there’s anything else in their way that might be stopping them.

You’d be surprised how much of a difference can be made just by providing the right information at the right time – and it’s also much cheaper than the cost of a brand new website.

A new approach to web design

One of the best approaches I’d recommend is to invest in growth-driven design for your website. It means that instead of changing your website all at once, you simply pay a monthly retainer to a company so that your website is looked at and improved upon section-by-section.

Each section will be changed, tested and improved on to grow along with your business – which in my opinion, is much better than paying £10 – £20k every few years for one static web design that’ll get tired really quickly.

Growth driven design means you’re constantly evolving to not only meet your own changing business needs but also the changing needs of your customers.

Think of it as the smart way to do web design – kind of like A/B testing on a much bigger scale.

For more information, take a look at this website on growth-driven design.

Conclusion

If you’re getting ready to sign up for inbound marketing, but are concerned it’ll mean paying for a whole new website; don’t worry. You can still run a very successful inbound marketing campaign with your existing website – and one of my clients even managed to increase his sales by 187% this way!

You should, however, be prepared to optimise your website for inbound marketing, which means basically analysing its performance and working out how your customers are behaving – and how that can be improved upon either with content, navigation or extra calls-to-action (CTAs).

You should be thinking about improving your website gradually so that it evolves with your business over time – this is known as growth-driven design and is one of the smartest and cost-effective ways to handle website improvement. Sort of like A/B testing on a larger scale.

If you could change one thing about your website right now, what would it be? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

What to Expect After 6 Months of Inbound Marketing

I know it’s tough in the early days of inbound marketing.

Picture the scene: You’ve been doing inbound for five months, and you were expecting to see results by now. Money’s coming out the bank, you’ve spent hours coming up with helpful, engaging content, and you don’t know if any of it’s ever going to pay off.

When people come to me with these worries, I just want to give them a big cuddle and tell them “it’s going to be alright – you just have to trust me”.

I’ve helped so many businesses over the years who experience this exact same problem, and believe me, it does come – just not always in five months. Especially if you’re starting from scratch with not a lot of content and website visitors behind you.

That’s what really sucks about inbound – you really need to understand your business; what works, and what doesn’t. Did you know, a typical prospect can read up to 100 pages of your website before even becoming a customer?

Pause and think about that for a second.

100 pages – that’s a ton of research. If you already have 100 pages under your belt, you’re well on your way to success.

In the meantime, and to give you a more realistic idea of inbound, I’ve broken things down into a typical six-month timeframe of what you can expect from your inbound marketing efforts.

Month 1

This is strictly the planning stage. There should be a lot of research going on by your inbound marketing agency or team, including a content audit, looking at the flow of your website (if you have one) and how it will all come together (if you don’t), plus the developing of your buyer personas.

This is what’s known as ‘building the engine’ that’s going to take you on the road to success – it all starts right here.

Month 2

By Month 2, you should be ready to launch your inbound marketing campaign. This may include a new website, or a content rethink on the old one. You’ll probably have your first marketing assets by now – such as ebooks or white papers – that you can use for your content offers or call-to-actions (CTAs) at the bottom of your blogs.

Talking of your blog, that should now be up and running (if it wasn’t already) and your very first pieces of content should have gone out. We’re making progress!

Month 3

You should be slowly getting in the habit of contributing towards regular content, which is used to drive a steady stream of traffic to your website – it’s the fuel you need to power that engine we talked about. As a rule of thumb; the more content, the better – but that still doesn’t mean instant results.

If you’d never written a blog post before, and don’t have a lot of content, it might take an entire month for someone to even see your content come up in a search result. This is because of the process Google goes through when indexing new content – you have to keep building on your visibility and credibility.

Month 4

By now you should have started seeing changes in your website traffic, especially from organic search. You may begin to see some indication of new leads coming in – especially if you’re working with an agency, as they’re always on the lookout for getting ‘quick wins’ to help you acquire leads and sales in the early, barren months.

However, if you’re going it alone and you’re not getting much in the way of leads through yet, don’t panic – it’s still early days, and as I said above, it could take an entire month until your content is seen.

Month 5

More higher quality leads should have begun trickling in by now, and you’ll find a lot more ‘middle of the funnel’ leads coming through – the ones who are more interested in speaking to you about your product or services.

Your content will be showing up a lot more in Google searches, which is why you’ll begin to see a difference in the amount of traffic you’re receiving.

Month 6

This is typically where the corner really starts to turn. It’s been a tough five months, but finally you’re starting to see a pay-off for all your hard work – which I’m sure we can all agree is a great feeling.

You may still have a long way to go, but you’ve now got a powerful engine behind you to generate new leads and sales, and it’s only going to get better from here.

Want to see results faster?

Remember, the time it takes to see results from inbound marketing really depends on your average customer’s buying cycle, and it could take anything from 5 – 18 months to start seeing tangible changes.

However, there ARE a few tips and tricks that I can give you can try to see results from your inbound marketing efforts faster – although, if you’re already with an agency, they’ll probably have this covered for you.

Visit my blog ‘How Long Does Inbound Marketing Take to Work?‘ and read the section called ‘Tips to speed things up’ – hopefully this should help you out in those particularly tough, early months.

Conclusion

The first months of inbound marketing can be harrowing, and it’s not always an easy road to go down – you’re putting a lot of time and money in, and not getting a lot back in return. Don’t worry – this is normal, and you will start seeing results, as long as you give it time and keep the faith.

To help give you a more realistic view of inbound marketing, I’ve put together the above six-month timeframe of the results you can expect to start seeing, and when. And remember, inbound marketing can take anywhere from 5 to 18 months, so if this isn’t you yet, it could just be that your buying cycle is a bit longer.

What do you think about having to wait 6 months?

5 Problems with Inbound Marketing You Need to Know

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Are you thinking of trying an inbound approach for your business?

Inbound marketing has plenty of champions out there – me included – but that doesn’t mean it’s completely hassle-free. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Many of my potential customers expect me to only sing inbound’s praises, but the truth is:

If you’re thinking of starting an inbound marketing campaign for your business, you have to be aware of some of the problems and pitfalls that come with it, as well as the potential benefits.

Having helped so many businesses overcome some of these problems over the years, I pretty much know them inside-out – as well as ways to overcome them.

That’s why I thought I’d put together the following blog post, highlighting 5 problems with inbound marketing:

1. It takes time to work

This is one of the biggest downfalls of many experiences with inbound marketing. If you’re looking for an instant fix, this probably isn’t the route for you. In reality, it can take several months until you start seeing promising results from inbound marketing – and not every company can tough it out for that long.

Of course, there are other ‘quick wins’ you can do in the meantime while you wait for your inbound efforts to take effect, such as Google ads and adding clever CTAs to the content you already have, but in essence, you need to be in it for the long game.

2. It can cost money

This is probably the most obvious one. If you’re going all-in with inbound marketing, you’ll probably have to fork out the budget for a marketing automation platform and an agency to guide the way – potentially costing you tens of thousands per year.

This isn’t necessarily the best idea for smaller businesses or those on a very tight budget, as you simply might not have the money to spend – and putting a limit on your marketing efforts will also limit your success. The truth is that if you want to see tangible results, you have to really spend a good amount of money to get there.

The cost is always relative to the results you will receive. A £30,000 investment to generate £500,000 is a good deal indeed.

3. It can soak up your time

Not everyone realises how involved inbound marketing can be – for instance, you can’t simply leave all of the content creation to your chosen inbound marketing agency or marketing team, as they aren’t the experts in your industry; you are.

You will be expected to give up at least an hour or two every week to help come up with ideas for content, and to best answer the questions your customers (or potential customers) are asking.

And if you decide to write all the content yourself (instead of having an agency or freelance writer do it for you), you could suddenly find yourself with very little free time at all.

4. It needs plenty of co-ordination

In order to experience the best possible success from inbound marketing, you need a carefully thought-out strategy, which includes a full content calendar for all the content you plan to put out months in advance.

You need to coordinate with your chosen agency, the writer, and even the graphic designer to make sure everything stays on track – it’s not always easy, especially if you also have clients to deal with and a business to run.

5. It requires a culture change

Last but not least, inbound marketing doesn’t work if it’s seen as just another quick marketing fix or trick that you can adopt for a few months and then abandon. It requires an entire culture change and has to filter through to all levels of your business – including sales.

Changing a company’s culture in this way can lead to a lot of resistance at first, so you need to be clear on why you’re making the change and ensure it’s followed through – which can take time and in some cases, re-training.

Want to learn more about inbound marketing? Read my Beginners’ Guide, here.

Conclusion

Inbound marketing has many great potential benefits – and if you’ve been doing your research, I’m sure you probably read about them every single day. But before you try it for yourself, it’s important to know about the common problems with inbound, so you can weigh up the pros and cons.

  1. It takes time to work
  2. It can cost a lot of money
  3. It can soak up your time
  4. It needs plenty of co-ordination
  5. It requires a culture change

Would any of these problems stop you from doing inbound?

How to be Confident Inbound Marketing will Succeed

Are you worried that inbound marketing won’t work for you?

I would be surprised if this wasn’t one of your main concerns, as inbound marketing does require a good investment, and you don’t want to waste your money.

The many businesses I have helped by turning their inbound marketing investment into more sales will sing inbound marketing’s praises.

But they were once the same as you; worried and unconvinced that inbound marketing is the best solution for their business.

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In this article I hope not to necessarily convince you that inbound marketing will succeed – instead, I want to explore the facts, and the reasons why you may feel unconvinced.

Hopefully once you have finished reading this article, you will be better informed to make the right decision about whether inbound marketing is the route you want to go down for your business.

Lets first look at the reasons why you’re worried:

You are doubtful it will work in your industry

Many business come to me with this very issue, and I even wrote a full blog post on this very topic called 7 Signs Inbound Marketing Will Work in Your Industry

to you determine if it is indeed a good fit.

Suffice to say that if you are concerned about this, you need to search for case studies within your industry to see if anyone else is doing it well.

A great resource to do this is looking at HubSpot’s (an inbound marketing software company) website, as they have 100s of case studies covering a wide range of industries and sectors.

Even if you cannot find any case studies, this doesn’t necessarily mean it won’t work – perhaps no-one else is doing it which could mean there is a massive opportunity for your business to take the lead.

You think the costs are too high

I don’t hear this concern as much as you would think, because I am careful when I tell someone what the cost of inbound marketing will be.

When I first meet you and you ask me that question, I won’t be able to tell you straight off the bat – not because I am trying to hide anything, but because I won’t know myself.

Not until I understand your challenges and what you are trying to achieve.

Then, I will be able to work out a cost based on the amount of work required to achieve your goals.

Not only this, but if I told you a figure straight out the gate without attaching any value to it, of course you will say it’s too expensive.

However, if I was to demonstrate how much revenue it could achieve for your business, it would then put that cost in a better light.

If you are working with an agency, they will work with you to understand these numbers.

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For me, this is one of the first things I do, and if inbound is not going to be profitable for you then I will recommend that we go our separate ways.

The quicker we establish this, the better for everyone.

Make sure you know the expected returns before you say ‘yes’ to inbound marketing.

You think it’s going to take too long to see results

Yes, it’s true that inbound marketing can take 6-18 months to work. You need to think of inbound marketing as a marathon.

The time it takes to work can be shortened, but what that comes down to in most cases is budget. If you want results in three months, then you have to do a lot more work over a shorter period of time – which will cost you more.

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As long as you understand the first few months of inbound are going to be tough, but also understand that it will get better, then this should not be a concern for you.

However, all the explaining and reassurance in the world will not really matter if six months down the line you haven’t seen any results.  

It is usually around this period when I start to hear my clients’ concerns that it is not working. I get this concern so often, I decided to write a guide about what to expect after your first 6 months of inbound marketing. Have a read –  I’m sure you will find it helpful.

Interesting stats and resources that support inbound marketing

There are so many convincing facts about inbound marketing out there so I have curated a shortlist to the ones that I found to be the most compelling.

Conclusion

Feeling confident that inbound marketing will work requires some faith at the end of the day, but you don’t want to base your decision on faith alone.

You need to overcome your fear that it won’t work in your industry and to do that you need to be confident that it has worked before, by reading case studies and looking at the length of your current buyer’s cycle.

If someone takes minutes to decide whether to buy from you, then inbound may not be the best fit.

Ensure the cost of inbound marketing clearly demonstrates plenty of value to your business and check out the inbound marketing stats above.

But always remember that inbound marketing is not for everyone, so maybe you don’t need any convincing that it will work because perhaps it won’t.

I would love to hear the reasons you think inbound would not be successful for you.

Let me know in the comments below and I promise to reply.

How Long Does Inbound Marketing Take to Work?

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Are you worried about how long inbound marketing will take to deliver results?

I’m not going to lie to you; the first few months of inbound can be tough.

You’re thinking about investing both your time and money and spending hours putting together lots of great quality, informative content – so of course, you’re going to want to see a return on your investment.

Out of the many people I’ve helped, every single one of them has had this concern when thinking about adopting an inbound approach.

So, before you reach that tipping point (and trust me, you will), you just have to keep your faith in the process, because it does work given time.

Below, I’m going to try and alleviate your worries in the most non-frustrating way possible.

How long is a piece of string?

The (sometimes annoying) truth is that inbound marketing can really take anywhere between 5 and 18 months before you start seeing results. This is because it really comes down to the natural buying cycle of your customers.

So, for instance, if your typical customer takes 18 months to make a purchase, inbound marketing won’t necessarily be able to change that right away.

However, with the inbound marketing data you’re collecting, you’ll be able to analyse the process and shorten that buying cycle by providing the right content at the right time; therefore shortening their decision-making process.

The good news is that most buying cycles aren’t that long, and on average you should expect to see some early results or indications that inbound is working by about your fifth or sixth month.

What else can affect it?

In some cases, you may see results faster depending on your starting point. So, if you’re starting from scratch with your website, blog and content, you’ll likely have a longer lead time than someone who already has a website with thousands of visits.

Perhaps you’ve already got some marketing assets to leverage, such as ebooks, white papers or blog content – and a few carefully-placed CTAs and social shares may help you score some quick inbound marketing wins.

If you’re working with an inbound marketing agency, they should already have this covered for you. Going it alone? Then it might be worth taking a look at the next section.

Tips to speed things up

There ARE some tips and tricks you can try to see results from your inbound marketing efforts faster. These include:

  • Looking at ways to leverage your existing database of customers or leads (but never buy these!)
  • Look at content you already have, as mentioned above. A few clever CTAs could make all the difference.
  • Look at your website flow; can potential customers easily find the info they need? If not, fix it.
  • A/B testing. Bear in mind this only works if you have a high level of traffic already.
  • PPC in the early months can help you get more leads as long as you stick to your budget.
  • Social media ads.

Your inbound marketing agency should be able to tell you if some of the above ideas are worth trying for your business and give you advice on your next steps.

Conclusion

If you’re still waiting to see any real results from your inbound marketing efforts, hang in there. The frustrating truth is that it takes time (between 5 and 18 months), and one of the best ways to judge this is by taking a look at the natural buying cycle of your customers – i.e. how long they take before making a purchase.

Inbound marketing is all about shortening down that cycle by providing the right content at the right time so that your customers go through a much faster decision-making process. Saying that most businesses will start to see early indications that inbound is working from around their fifth or sixth month – if that’s not you, don’t panic! The day will come, as long as you don’t throw in the towel too early.

How long have you been trying inbound marketing?

Why an Inbound Marketing Checklist will Save you Time and Money

If you have become overwhelmed with the task of keeping up with online marketing, you are not alone. Inbound marketing has evolved into a complex art and mastering it has never been more important. Developing a system for success begins with creating an inbound marketing checklist, and following through with it.

Keeping up with analytics, re-evaluating your social marketing strategy, making sure your blog content is relevant, all of these things take time. Inbound marketing has become so important that there is an entire conference devoted to it, Inbound.

With that in mind, it is surprising how few businesses fully grasp the importance of using online marketing tools to grow their business. These are just a few statistics that highlight how important it is to stay current and know your audience.

  • 88% of consumers who search for local businesses on a mobile device call or go to that business within 24 hours.
  • 90% of all media interactions are screen based.

  • 93% of small and medium business websites are not mobile compatible.
  • 85% of customers search for local businesses online
  • 72% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations.

Having an inbound marketing checklist can keep your efforts focused, simple, and effective. The following are some tips that can help keep your inbound marketing efforts more streamlined, giving you a better return on your marketing investment.

Stay on top of your blog

Regardless of how often you post, you should check your blog daily so that you can respond to comments and questions. If you find negative feedback on your blog, respond professionally and stay focused on the solution. Of course, if comments are offensive or abusive, delete them. Monitor your blog, looking for the following things:

  • Is your blog content relevant, engaging, and informative?
  • Is it search-engine friendly?
  • Do you have current contact information on your blog?
  • Are you interacting with your readers by responding to comments and questions?

Be sure to monitor your analytics

This is an incredibly important part of your inbound marketing checklist. Not only do you want to know how much traffic you are getting, but you also want to know where that traffic is coming from. You also want to know who is visiting your site, what they are reading, downloading, and commenting on. There are a ton of tools out there that can help you analyse this data and turn it into valuable leads.

Have a daily social media routine

Social networking is incredibly important, and it can be easy to drop the ball if you are not careful. You need to check your social media throughout the day. Ones to watch are Twitter, Linkedin, Google+ and Facebook.

Use analytics to stay on top of trends, and keep up your end by sharing, commenting, and responding.

There is a “magic mix” when it comes to social network content. It consists of 60% third party content, 30% your content, and 10% of your content offers, with links to a landing page. Try to stay with this recipe as much as you can.

Make time to stay current with what’s happening in the world of social networking and how it will affect your business.

Make sure that your content provides value and is not just a sales pitch. Be a good follower by sharing relevant content and connecting with your followers.

Don’t neglect your website

Your website can get lost in the midst of blogging and social network marketing, but it is important and should be updated and relevant. You should be checking analytics on your site weekly. There is no need to check more often.

If you check daily, you will miss trends and not get a very good picture of your site progress. Checking page views can give you a good picture of what is working on your site. Do the pages with the most views have a call to action?
Is your website mobile-compatible? With more and more consumers logging in to websites on their mobile devices, it is more than just a good idea that your site is optimized for mobile viewing.

Follow up with and analyse your leads

When it comes to leads, you should be checking on them daily and weekly by sending follow up emails with offers and using analytics to track how leads are getting to your site, what they are downloading and viewing, and tailoring your content to attract new leads.

Having a daily and weekly inbound marketing checklist is the best way to ensure that your marketing strategy is working. By paying attention to analytics, you are able to spot trends and to determine what content strategies are working for you, and what aren’t. Keeping close tabs on your social media is essential for reputation management and for developing rapport with potential clients and customers.

Following up on prospects and leads, where they come from, and how they got to you should be part of your checklist.

Inbound marketing can seem complicated and time-consuming. To make sure your efforts don’t go to waste, and you are getting a good ROI, make sure you are checking these items off your list on a regular basis:

  • Blog
  • Social Media
  • Website
  • Leads
  • Analytics

Your inbound marketing checklist is only effective if you stick to it. Create a checklist that is tailored to your marketing goals and the needs of your business.

Re-evaluate it on a regular basis to ensure that it is working for you. How is your current online marketing strategy working for you? If you don’t know the answer to that question, it is time to find out.

Do you have an inbound marketing checklist?

What Does an Inbound Marketing Agency Do?

Have you ever wondered what an inbound marketing agency actually does? Many people can be confused by the term ‘inbound marketing, as they don’t really know the benefits they will receive when hiring an external agency. This is because the definition of ‘inbound marketing is not always clear.

Popular online marketing website, Hubspot, defines inbound marketing as ‘creating and sharing content with the world’, which in turn ‘attracts qualified prospects to your business and keeps them coming back for more. Hubspot claim that ‘Since 2006, inbound marketing has been the most effective marketing method for doing business online: so, why would you not take advantage of inbound marketing?

If you have an online business then inbound marketing is a must for your overall marketing efforts. If you do not have the time or expertise to start your own inbound marketing plan, this is where an inbound marketing agency comes in.

The four essential elements of inbound marketing

A successful inbound marketing agency will have both in-depth experience and knowledge to create shareable content for your online business, which will attract new customers and promote your brand online. The following three steps outline how an inbound marketing agency will plan a successful online strategy for your business.

Attracting the right traffic

In order to attract the right customers to your website, an inbound marketing agency will create exciting and niche relevant content that will encourage people to share this information on their social media channels and raise awareness of your brand or business online.

This is most commonly done through the below efforts:

  • Determining the correct keywords that you should be using for your target audience
  • Making sure that all website pages are optimised for search engines, which will enable customers to find your business
  • Blogging regular and creating interesting and shareable content
  • Sharing posts, promotions and business news across your social media channels

Converting visitors into customers

Once you have got the attention of your target audience, you will want to turn their visits into customers. This can be done in the following ways:

  • By making sure that ‘calls to action’ are visible on your website and across all online marketing materials.
  • Creating and maintaining landing pages and forms in order to collect customer details.
  • By ensuring that you have a customer database, which will allow you to keep contact details of previous visitors to use for future marketing campaigns and offers.

Creating exciting content and engaging with your audience

The key to any successful inbound marketing strategy and to keep customers interested in your website is to engage with your target audience. As Bill Gates famously said: “content is King

This involves the following:

  • Offering customers bespoke offers relevant to their interests and personas
  • Using social media to your advantage to interact with customers, provide customer service and find out what is being said about your business online
  • Providing exciting and interactive content for your email marketing campaigns, which will encourage customers to visit your site again

Why you need to invest in inbound marketing

Gone are the days of building a customer base by solely cold calling potential households. With the advancement of the internet and online technologies, the need for a successful inbound marketing strategy is more important than ever for businesses trading online. B2B, B2C and non-profit organisations can benefit from having a website and using social media channels to promote your business and reach new potential customers.

In Europe alone, 63.2% of the population used the internet – in June 2012 according to internetworldstats.com – which means, if you are not already taking advantage of inbound marketing, you are missing out on a large number of potential customers.

Remember, the overall aim of inbound marketing is to attract, convert and maintain your customers. So, make the most of inbound marketing by hiring a successful agency with a track record of managing effective campaigns for their clients.

Now it’s your turn

Let us know your questions about inbound marketing in the comments below.

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Who are the Best Inbound Marketing Companies?

As more and more businesses are waking up to the possibilities and successes of inbound marketing, more and more inbound marketing companies are born. So who is the best inbound marketing companies in the UK?

Here at Stargazer, many potential clients ask me “who are the best inbound marketing companies”, and which would be best suited to their own business.

And that’s a very good question. Some inbound marketing companies specialise in their own niches, whilst others provide a range of inbound marketing services that are very affordable for small businesses trying to make their way up the ladder – there’s something for just about everybody.

So, without further ado, here is a quick run-down of 8 of the best inbound marketing companies:

1. Deeply Digital

About: Deeply Digital is a Hubspot partner based in Leamington Spa, and deal in all things www. Their website has lots of great resources and helpful content you can download, including how to make Twitter work for your business, and 8 steps to optimising landing pages.

Specialises in: N/A

Monthly Cost: Not published

2. Struto

About: Inbound marketing agency Struto have a background in information technology and telecommunications, so they best understand the challenges we face in today’s digital age. They take the time to listen to their clients, and their passion in marketing shines through.

Specialises in: B2B organisations

Monthly Cost: £3,000 – £9,500

3. Tomorrow People

About: Tomorrow People is an inbound marketing agency with a difference – for example, the About Us page really gives you a personal feel about who you’re working with. The website also perfectly represents the inbound marketing methodology and is really a joy to use.

Specialises in: N/A

Monthly Cost:  Not published

4. Iconsive

About: Inconsive is the only Hubspot partner agency in the UK that works to develop and implement inbound marketing strategies for companies that sell SaaS solutions. They don’t sell billable hours and believe inbound marketing should be a profit centre that drives qualified leads forward.

Specialises in: SaaS

Monthly Cost: £3,000 – £10,000

5. Indigo

About: Indigo is an inbound marketing agency and Hubspot partner based in Hermitage, Berkshire. They offer a wealth of inbound marketing services including group and 1-on-1 coaching, full-service consultancy, Hubspot management and bespoke campaigns. Their website also has plenty of useful resources that you can download to learn more about inbound marketing.

Specialises in: N/A

Monthly Cost: Not published

6. The Eight

About: The Eight is an award-winning inbound marketing company whose main values are motivation, a hunger for knowledge, thought leadership, innovation, insightfulness, demanding, accountability, and bravery. Their website contains ‘insights’ and useful, downloadable resources related to all things www.

Specialises in: N/A

Monthly Cost: Not published

7. Inbound

About: Inbound is an inbound marketing agency based in Leicester. They offer a range of services, including content marketing, conversion rate optimisation, paid advertising, SEO services, social media, and web design & development.

Specialises in: N/A

Monthly Cost: Not published

8. Concentric

About: A Hubspot partner, Concentric is an inbound marketing agency based in Brighton, East Sussex. The company offers three different packages (starting from a very affordable £600 per month), depending on your budget and the level of support you need from inbound marketing.

Specialises in: N/A

Monthly Cost: £600 – £4,500 per month

Conclusion

The power of inbound marketing is no longer an exclusive secret, as more and more companies beginning to offer their own inbound marketing packages. But which are the best, and why? It’s a question many potential clients ask me, and it’s true that no one inbound marketing agency is equal – with each having its own pricing structures and (in some cases) specialist areas.

Above, I’ve put together a quick summary of 8 of the best inbound marketing companies, to give you an idea of what they’re all about.

Have you used any of these best inbound marketing companies? I would love to hear what you think below.

How Search Engine Placement Integrates with Inbound Marketing

Think about yourself as a consumer. Do you generally get information about products from the newspaper and flyers in the supermarket or from content-based sources, like blogs, podcasts, and social media? Is it easier for your friends and business associates to contact you by sending you letters in the mail or with a quick email?

This same line of questioning is crucial in modern-day marketing success. What is more likely to attract customers: traditional advertising strategies or inbound marketing techniques?

A 2013 report by HubSpot found that only 22% of leads come from traditional marketing methods, which include mail, trade shows and telemarketing. When it comes to the strategies that top the list as the most effective, the same players are named over and over with search engine optimisation, better known as SEO, leading the pack.

In the same 2013 HubSpot report, 14% of leads are attained through SEO. Going a step further, 15% of marketers claim that SEO provides above-average conversions from leads to customers. Clearly, marketing managers and business owners see the steps necessary to attaining search engine placement as critical in marketing success.

What Is Search Engine Placement?

Search engine placement refers to the placement a website receives on search engine results pages, also called SERPs, and it has been highly desired by companies for more than a decade. After all, companies cannot attract leads without being seen.

Its end goal is to drive rankings, something generally accomplished through SEO. Prior to the release of Google’s Panda algorithm change in February of 2011, SEO largely involved a high keyword density. After Panda, however, sites were forced to meet Google’s high-quality page requirements in order to receive a better rank. For more information why not read our jargon-free guide to search engine placement.

Google Penguin, an update to Panda, was released in April of 2012. With these changes, web-based content now needs to be high quality and unique in order to receive favourable rankings, leading to the heightened focus on SEO in inbound marketing strategies.

How is Search Engine Placement Used?

Inbound marketing is a five-step process:

  1. Attract Traffic
  2. Convert Visitors to Leads
  3. Convert Leads to Sales
  4. Turn Customers Into Repeat Customers
  5. Analyze for Continuous Improvement

Essentially, it is used to attract traffic and thus facilitate the other four steps. In getting the ball rolling on any inbound marketing campaign, having a reputable page to attract traffic is extremely important and in order to accomplish this, high search engine placement is a necessity.

Inbound marketing is an integrated process; it takes more than one strategy. For any content-based marketing strategy to succeed, taking the steps to focus on search engine optimisation is a requirement. Producing high-quality SEO content is necessary to drive rankings, making it a critical part of achieving a desirable SEO.

Why Is Search Engine Placement Important?

A study by the Search Engine Journal indicates that 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results. Furthermore, in a study done by Northwestern University, researchers discovered that students prefer to use top-ranked pages, viewing them as more credible and reliable than lower-ranked results.

This mindset is echoed in the general public, as well: would you trust the search engine result for Facebook on the top of the first SERP or the bottom of the tenth? Most people will choose the first result, trusting it to be more legitimate.

For companies that have a trusted and tested web presence, marketing is a much easier mountain to climb. Understanding how to use it as a positive strategy to get ahead in search engine rankings is a critical part in mastering a content marketing campaign.

While reaching out to consumers and generating leads may require other routes, like social media marketing, blogging and email campaigns, having a reputable and professional website can make or break taking a lead and turning it into a sale.

It is an essential part of accomplishing any number of successful inbound marketing campaigns. The higher a company’s SERP ratings, the more likely they are to be seen and trusted by consumers. By using SEO to generate unique and high-quality content, marketing managers and business owners can use SEO to attract traffic and consequently drive sales.

To reach out to consumers, putting yourself and your content front and centre makes all marketing strategies more effective. Are you doing enough for your search engine placement?

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How Do I Know if Inbound Marketing is Worth the Investment?

Are you considering inbound marketing but aren’t sure if it’s going to be worth the investment?

This is something you should definitely be thinking about carefully if you see inbound marketing as a potential way to grow your business.

To make the best decision, you need to know the true value that inbound could bring.

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Maybe you’ve tried other methods that just didn’t work in the past, and want to avoid making the same mistake again – which is perfectly understandable.

I speak to many business owners every day who ask me this question and share the same concerns, so don’t worry.

To make things a bit easier, I am going to go over some questions you can ask yourself to determine whether inbound marketing is worth the investment for your business.

Do you know your numbers?

How much do you think inbound marketing could increase your revenue?

To know if it is worth the investment, you need to be able to answer this question.

If you are currently speaking with an inbound marketing agency, they should be able to help you understand this.

If not, then try this handy inbound marketing revenue calculator that will give you an idea of how much extra revenue inbound marketing could bring your business.

The more information the agency knows about your business, the better they can understand if you are a good fit for inbound and what measurable results you could see.

What are your goals?

Similar to the above, you need to think carefully about your goals and whether you have realistic expectations of inbound marketing.

For instance, say you want to increase your revenue by 50% – that seems like a fairly good number, but how are you going to achieve this? How much of a part will inbound play?

Will you adopt an inbound culture?

Inbound marketing is a methodology and requires a culture change within your business – especially from your sales team. For inbound to be worth the investment, you will need to adopt inbound across your whole business.

If you don’t, the investment may not see the returns that were promised to you.

According to HubSpot– a leading inbound marketing software company – the businesses that adopt an inbound culture the most actually see the best results.

Why are you looking at inbound marketing anyway?

What has brought you to seek out a solution to your current challenges? Are you seeing limited success with your current marketing efforts?

If so then inbound may be the lifeline your business needs.

Let me be honest with you; there are no guarantees with inbound – if there were then the cost to do it would be a lot more expensive.

Like with any investment, there is an element of risk.

If you are someone who always likes to play it safe then inbound may not be the best fit for you. However, if you are someone who is prepared to take some risks with the potential to see some massive gains, then inbound could just be the answer.

Every partner I have ever worked with took a risk when they started with inbound, but every one of them were glad they switched to a more inbound approach for their business.

Conclusion

Deciding whether inbound marketing is worth the investment can take some careful consideration. However, it’s also a question that can be answered by looking at all the facts.

Ask yourself:

  • Do you know what extra revenue inbound marketing could bring to your business?
  • Do you know how much inbound is going to cost?
  • Are you totally bought into the inbound methodology?

Being able to answer these questions will go a long way to helping answer your question about whether inbound is worth the investment.

Try out the inbound revenue calculator and then come back and add a comment below, telling me your thoughts. Is inbound marketing worth the investment to you?

How Much Should Inbound Marketing REALLY Cost?

how-much-does-inbound-cost

Considering inbound marketing for your business, but unsure how much it’s going to cost?

Maybe you own a small business looking to increase your leads and sales with limited resources, or you already have your own marketing team just raring to get started – all you need is a bit of guidance along the way.

Whatever the reason, one thing’s for sure; trying to find the one definitive cost of inbound marketing online can be infuriating – simply because there isn’t one.

In fact, wherever you go, whether it’s an agency or a cost calculator, you’ll most likely always get quoted a different price – which is why I thought I’d put together this blog post to help you work out how much inbound marketing should REALLY cost.

The average cost of inbound marketing

Let’s get started with the basics, shall we?

The average cost of inbound marketing can be anywhere between £1,000 and £10,000 per month – and yes, I’m aware that’s a significant margin.

Your own inbound marketing costs will come down to a number of factors, such as whether you choose an agency or decide to do all your marketing in-house, along with which kind of software package you opt for, and the amount of content you intend to produce each month.

Let me break it down for you a bit more.

Determining your costs

In order to determine your inbound marketing costs, you (or your chosen agency) should first perform a full audit on your website and the content you already have.

If you have out-of-the-box content (such as ebooks, whitepapers, infographics, videos etc.) that you can leverage, it could reduce your overall costs.

If you do decide to go down the agency route, the first thing they should do is determine your challenges, as the amount of content you will need to create will be dependent on your goals and inbound marketing strategy.

In order to effectively figure out your costs, you should expect your chosen agency to carry out a scoping project that shows you everything that needs to be done, from your website flow and content to a content marketing blueprint (CMB), content calendar, and all your outlined costs.

This should be provided in one, clear document, along with the total cost in an easy-to-understand, detailed quote (this may be chargeable).

What exactly are you paying for?

A solid inbound marketing strategy should include the following as part of your costs:

  • An inbound marketing writer to work with you on ideas, conduct interviews and write the content
  • A professional editor to check the content fits the persona and is written to spec.
  • An experienced graphic designer to come up with visuals and infographics for your content
  • An inbound-certified strategist, experienced in SEO, automation software and email workflows.
  • A project manager to oversee your campaigns and put together your monthly marketing report
  • Inbound marketing automation software – the glue that holds your marketing efforts together

An inbound marketing agency should provide all of this for you. However, if you decide to do all of your marketing in-house, you should check you have a big enough team to cover everything mentioned above.

You should also make sure your chosen agency (or in-house project strategist/project manager) are inbound marketing certified.

What else can affect cost?

It’s also worth noting that no two agencies will charge the same, so it’s wise to do your own research, get a few different quotes and talk to a few different agencies before you pick the one that seems right for you.

In my own research, I’ve come across agencies offering stripped-down support packages for as little as £600 per month, to full enterprise-level inbound marketing packages for over £10,000.

For a better idea of some of the best inbound marketing agencies out there, take a look at my recent blog post ‘Ratings/Reviews: Who are the Best Inbound Marketing Companies?’

If you decide to do all your marketing in-house or recruit a freelance writer or designer to complement your team, their rate could also vary depending on experience level and geographical location. You may decide to conduct interviews to see who is the best fit for your team when taking this into consideration.

Ways to save on budget

Are costs already spiralling out of control in your head? Don’t panic – there ARE ways you can save on budget.

Your first option on a budget is to do ALL of your inbound marketing in-house. However, the time it takes to find good writers, designers, and get your inbound marketing certification takes time – which is why it’s often easier to go down the agency route.

Or, you could try taking care of various elements of your inbound marketing (such as a the design, or content creation) yourself, but still have the expertise of a certified inbound marketing strategist guiding the way.

Some inbound marketing agencies offer custom (or stripped down) packages that offer basic support for your own team, or a limited amount of monthly content.

Analysing and tracking results

Finally, it’s important to invest in software that allows you to analyse the effectiveness of your inbound marketing efforts and helps you to achieve the best possible – as I mentioned briefly above.

Inbound marketing automation software (such as HubSpot) can help you every step of the way, from measuring which content is generating the most leads and sales, to exactly how your email marketing, landing pages and social media campaigns are performing.

They can also be an end-to-end solution and help you with what’s known as lifecycle marketing, which tracks your visitors right through to the end of their journey when they finally become customers – so you know exactly what’s working and what isn’t.

Software like this can cost anywhere between £1,000 and £20,000 per year, and usually needs to be paid up front, so it’s important to figure this into your costs.

Conclusion

If you like the idea of inbound marketing to help grow your business but aren’t sure whether it’s financially viable, the above guide should help give you a rough idea of how much you can expect to pay, depending on your needs.

The average cost of inbound can be anywhere between £1,000 and £10,000 per month, and will depend on which agency and software you choose, and the type of package you decide to go for. If you have the time, you could even opt to save on budget by doing some or all of your inbound marketing in-house.

Remember, you should factor in the cost of:

  • An inbound-certified writer
  • A professional editor
  • An experienced graphic designer
  • An inbound-certified project strategist
  • A project manager
  • Inbound marketing automation software

Is Inbound Marketing the New SEO?

inbound marketing and seo

Having worked in the SEO industry for over 10 years, I am now the founder of an inbound marketing agency.  With my experience and knowledge I thought I would take this opportunity to discuss the following questions:  Is inbound marketing the new SEO?  Why are so many SEO companies calling themselves inbound marketing companies?

Why are SEO companies changing to inbound marketing?

I cannot speak for every other SEO company but I can tell you my own experiences of the industry and hopefully, this will give you a better understanding of why this has come about.

The phrase “inbound marketing” was really first mentioned by Seth Godin before anyone else was talking about it. Seth is considered the leading mind in modern marketing and is a voice every business and marketer should be listening to, in my opinion.

A lot of great SEOs will tell you that they have been doing inbound marketing for years it is just under a different name.

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” – Bill Shakespear

Mostly I would have to agree with this, but I think that these SEOs are referring to content marketing, which is a sub set of  inbound marketing.

It has taken years to get where we are today with marketing.  First came along Google, the first piece of the puzzle, which empowered people to search for the things they wanted instead of being told what they wanted. At the same time blogging was becoming more popular, and then along came Facebook and Twitter which was the final piece in the puzzle that makes up what we call inbound marketing today.

So, we have Google that lets consumers research and find the products and services they want, we have business blogs that help the customers with their research and help them with their pain points and finally we have Facebook for customers to share this research and recommend great products and services they have found. Search, blogging and social form the building blocks of inbound marketing.

If you take a look at some of the best SEO companies a lot of what they are doing is inbound marketing, it’s just they are not calling it that.  SEO, like social media and Facebook, are different cogs in the same inbound marketing machine. There is nothing to say that this may change in the future, other services may be added that complement inbound to make it even more effective.

It is not much of a big leap for SEO companies to move into the inbound marketing industry. The only people that are losing out in all of this is the consumer. If SEO was not confusing enough they now have inbound marketing to deal with. However I do think inbound marketing is an easier concept for businesses to understand.

This is all happening because we are still a young industry and we are going through a constant state of change and marketers have so many different ideas as to what works.

The industry is crying out for a certification or a body that represent us all so we can finally have rules and best practices. The problem is  everyone is arguing about what works and what doesn’t, what services should be offered and what they should be called. The closest thing the SEO industry has to an industry body is SEMPO (Search Engine Marketing Professional Organization) who are a non- profit organisation which serves the search and digital marketing industry.

I am personally proud that I work for an inbound marketing company as inbound for me is the first big step into a more mature digital marketing industry and does not require you to do anything that may get you banned from the search engines.

The SEO cat and mouse game

SEO is sold on the promise that it is the solution you need for online success. The reality falls much shorter than this as some think because you are at the top of Google your problems are over. This could not be further from the truth.

About four years ago I wrote an article on Site Pro News called SEO can lead a Horse to Water but you Can’t Make it Drink which discusses that just because you are at number one in Google does not mean you will get more sales.

Search engine optimisation is split into two different categories on-site and off-site. I do not have a problem with on-site as this is the process of making your website more attractive and visible to Google and for the most part actually helps Google.

It is the off-site part that I start to have problems with, link building in particular. I don’t care what Google says publicly but there is no way they like this behaviour no matter how ethical it seems to be.

The reason you do link building is to rank higher in Google, so by design you are trying to manipulate the search results. It doesn’t matter how you dress this up, this is what you are doing. Over the years every SEO tactic has gone the way of the Dodo because Google keeps changing the way it ranks websites to combat SEOs that try to link build their way to number one.

So you see, to me this is a pointless endeavour and it is you, the business owner, who is paying for this. They spend all your budget building links with article marketing, forum links and directory submissions to try and get you to number one.  While at the same time Google is going behind them devaluing all these kinds of links. All the money you have paid these companies is going down the drain.

The other problem is that if you are a new website and your competitor has 10,000 links there is no way you could possibly catch them. I don’t care how good the SEO company is, they will tell you it’s not about quantity but it’s about quality. This is a way to try and get around this argument. Although this is true there is no way quality websites are going to link to brand new websites. Well there is but that involves creating remarkable content which is the basis of inbound marketing.

Don’t get me wrong, there are SEO companies out there that are doing amazing jobs but there are just too many of them that are not. That is why if inbound marketing gets more of these SEOs to take notice and join in then the better the industry will become. Inbound marketing does not require you to try and manipulate Google.

SEO has a very important part to play in inbound marketing and there is some really amazing talent in the industry that deserves to be recognised.

Be Remarkable

The first rule of inbound marketing is to be remarkable. That is by having a great product or service that stands out and is unique. If the only difference between you and your competitor is price then there is nothing much remarkable about your business.

You need to start with exceptional products or services but one other thing that will help you stand out is how you treat your staff and in turn your customers. If you create great places to work and amazing customer service you are already better than 99% of businesses out there.

I will be writing a post on the companies that I have personally worked with that I think are remarkable but for now here is a quick list.

Now it’s your turn

What do you think of the current state of the industry? Do you think SEOs get a bad rap and what has been your experience?

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Discover the Best Inbound Marketing Ideas That Work

best inbound marketing ideas

The greatest thing about inbound marketing is all of the endless possibilities that it brings to any company’s marketing strategy, especially when compared to older, traditional methods. While outbound normally meant only a few main strategies, there can be dozens of channels all generating high-quality leads and sales from all sorts of types of content.

But, what happens to be the best inbound marketing ideas and methods? Which ones consistently provide the best results for any business? It is best to segment all of the ideas into how they can be implemented.

Directly Connecting With The Customer

Being able to build a strong connection and community with both customers and leads is increasingly becoming a staple in any inbound marketing strategy. And with the help of technology, being able to provide such a customer experience has become much easier.

Here are some ideas to consider that can be implemented right now:

  • FAQ Pages: Frequently Asked Questions pages (FAQ) are one of the best ways to convey information in a neat and easy manner while also allowing leads to better understand a company’s services or products. Normally they are independent pages on the business website, or they might be part of a forum.
  • Free Consultations: This is an unbeatable incentive that several businesses utilise, and it helps create a better connection between the business and potential customer. Normally a free consultation can be found at the middle or end of the sales funnel, but it can sometimes be found at the top as well.
  • Free Samples & Demos: In the same vein as free consultations, there are also free samples and demos to consider implementing. They can be easily monitored and automated for consistent data on leads.
  • Webinars: Exclusive, hands-on communication that provides further content and information to the lead while also cementing a business as a thought leader. Webinars can be pre-recorded or done live on a consistent schedule.

Providing Free Content

Different from the free consultation, sample, or demo, these are incentives normally reserved for leads which are certain to become customers and already have been integrated into the sales funnel, normally being near the end of the process. However, there is top funnel incentives that can be utilised as well in this section.

For top of the funnel free content, there is:

  • White Papers: Normally downloadable ebooks with content which provides useful information for the lead as well as planting the idea that the business providing the content has the best product or service. White papers are some of the most commonplace free content found in inbound marketing today.
  • How To Guide: A close cousin to the white paper, the how to guide normally can be a collection of blog posts from the business blog placed into a neatly organised ebook, which can then be offered for free.

Then, there are middle or bottom of the funnel ideas to consider. Such as:

  • Case Studies: A business needs to be able to show some success stories within the sales funnel, and the best way to do this is through case studies that can be given to leads for free.
  • Catalogs: When a lead is interested in becoming a customer, they are going to be interested in learning more about the products and services being sold. This is where a catalog, whether print or digital, can come in handy to provide even more insight into what the lead can expect from the company.

Businesses need to be able to have an automated and constantly fed funnel that can be easily replicated or changed at any given time, which means having a good archive of content ready to be used on standby. White papers, case studies, and other such content found within the funnel can be easily put together in such a fashion.

Other Forms of Content

Businesses also need to focus outside the sales funnel and look at other means of generating leads through inbound marketing and content. Leads are all going to have a different “trigger point,” so a business must be able to provide that point of conversion from any angle. To have a well-rounded and balanced inbound marketing strategy, content such as online video tutorials, consistently blogging with a branded company blog, publishing online articles, and of course, continuing on with a social media strategy need to be included.

Again, ideas for the best inbound marketing are endless and can be arranged in all sorts of different automated sales funnels and processes. All it takes is being able to build up a strategy and then simply changing it every so often to keep it fresh and consistently bring in high-quality leads.

How to Market your Business with Inbound Marketing

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The team over at HubSpot have created a great infographic that covers How Inbound Marketing Works, From Start to Finish. However, there is only so much you can put in an infographic. The section that discusses the creation of your website is a little light, so we’re going to delve into that topic here.

Your website should be central to your marketing efforts, both online and offline. This is the only space on the web where you control the user experience from beginning to end, and it’s the best place to gather data about your customers.

Send traffic to your website

Far too many websites rely on Facebook, Yelp, Google+, or some other website to direct traffic to their business. Sure, you can probably bet that Facebook and Google will not be going out of business any time soon, but they both change their service offerings regularly.

Just look at the recent list of changes implemented by Facebook, or the decision to kill the Google Reader project. These changes may seem trivial unless you rely on these services. Particularly, when you rely on them for your business.

With inbound marketing, you need to know that the marketing assets you develop will not be phased out by a third party. The only way to do that is to create landing pages, blog posts, and other content on your own site. Social networks then become the spokes that drive traffic back to the hub that is your website.

Convert visitors into leads

When visitors take the time to follow a link to your website you need to make every attempt to convert them into a lead. This means you want to target your message and put it in front of the right audience.

This begins with the development of your pay-per-click advertisements, blog posts, social media updates, and other sources of traffic for your website. You want to make sure the message sent out to these traffic sources matches the landing pages on your site.

For example, car stereo consumers may be looking for loudspeakers or CD players. If a customer clicks a link on a social media post talking about loudspeakers, they expect to find a landing page with more information about loudspeakers and not CD players.

This is a very basic example used to illustrate a point. However, many inbound marketers find themselves sending mixed messages to their customers and wind up with a high bounce rate. Also, the best landing pages eliminate distractions and focus the visitor on completing a single objective.

If you don’t have your own website you can’t create these landing pages because someone else controls the advertisements and other distractions that appear on your page.

Transform leads into sales

When you match the right message on a great landing page with the right audience, you’re going to start building your leads database. The next step is to convert these leads into sales. As you move leads through your sales funnel, keep in mind that some leads are just waiting for some additional information.

Once they know they have found a solution to their problem and a company they can trust, they will buy your products or services. Your website is the place to address these common concerns. This makes it easy for future visitors to find the information they need when they visit your site.

Also, this can help to reduce cart abandonment from confused customers. Many websites have a FAQ section that addresses some of the most common situations that come up. However, you can also use your blog as a way to educate customers about the solutions you offer for the problems they are facing.

This is a great way to position your company as a market leader and showcase your products and services.

Measure twice

One of the best things about inbound marketing is the ability to learn about your customers. You will likely find that you get more B2B customers through social networks like LinkedIn. On the other hand, you’ll find that Facebook and Pinterest are great social networks for B2C marketing.

Measuring the traffic that comes into your website from each source is only the beginning. You should use an analytics platform that allows you to dig down into the data and learn more about your customers. Do you know:

  • Which social network delivers the most sales to your business?
  • Do pay-per-click advertisements result in sales or just traffic?
  • Which of your status updates brought in the most leads?

If you can’t answer these questions then you need to spend more time with your analytics data or implement a better program for collecting customer data.

Trying to develop an inbound marketing plan without having a great website is very difficult, if not impossible. Your website serves as the central hub for all your marketing efforts and your other accounts are spokes that send visitors back to the site.

This helps you qualify your visitors and focus on great leads which can be converted into customers. Additionally, you can collect the most information about your visitors and customers when they interact with your website. This makes your website an indispensable tool for inbound marketing.

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7 Signs Inbound Marketing Will Work in Your Industry

Not sure if inbound marketing will work in your industry?

This is a legitimate concern, and it’s true that inbound marketing may not work for your industry.

I’ve personally spoken to many companies about this and, after listening to them talk about their businesses, it’s been clear that inbound marketing was indeed not a good fit for them.

So, how do you tell if it will work for you?

In order to help you out, I’ve put together this blog to help you identify the signs that your business is a good fit.

By the time you reach the end of this post, I hope to have helped you understand if inbound will work in your industry.

1. Do your customers go online?

I know what you might be thinking here – doesn’t everyone these days?

But, what I actually mean is: Do your customers use the internet to find your industry services or products?

Many would say everyone with an internet connection does this – but not all.

I spoke to a video production company recently who totally relied on word of mouth when it came to businesses finding them.

True enough, when we did some research on how many people were searching for their services, I found it to be very low.

So, if your customers are not online, maybe inbound won’t work for you.

2. How long does it take you to sell?

By this, I mean how long is your sales cycle?

If people take mere minutes to decide whether to use your business or not, then inbound may not be a good fit.

If however, your sales cycle last several weeks or even months, this would indicate that they require a lot of nurturing. In this case, inbound marketing could be the perfect fit for you.

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3. Is your customer’s lifetime value over £500?

This really comes down to if you would see a return on investment with inbound marketing. Inbound costs around £30,000 a year and if your margins are low then perhaps it is not a viable option.

As an example, if your margins were £50 per sale, then you would need to sell a lot to make the investment worth it.

4. Do you know your customers?

How well you know your customers will determine the quality of content you or your agency will create.

Although an agency can help you create buyer personas that are a representation of customers in your industry, you really need to know the questions they ask you every day for inbound to be truly successful.

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5. Do your customers use social media?

Although not essential, it’s still beneficial if your customers are active on social media. This is because if someone sees something they particularly like, they’re more willing to share it with their friends or colleagues.

Creating content that you can share on social media is a great way to attract new customers to your website.

In saying that, we do have clients that get no results from social, but still do very well with www.

6. Are your salespeople finding it hard to reach customers?

Every day I hear this challenge from sales teams, and it’s usually a good indication that your industry is marketing in the wrong places.

Salespeople tell me that they just can’t reach their ideal customers anymore. They are simply not calling or responding to their marketing messages.

If this is the case, then perhaps your industry needs a more inbound approach to its marketing.

7. Is your current marketing not meeting your goals?

I would assume that one of the reasons you are considering inbound marketing is that your current marketing is not getting you where you need to be.

It is simply not helping you reach your sales targets. If this is the case, it may be similar to your salespeople saying they can’t reach customers.

Your industry’s buying behaviour may have changed, and inbound is a solution that reflects and adapts to that change.

Conclusion

Discovering whether your industry would benefit from inbound marketing can be hard, but take a look at the questions below. If your answers are mainly yes’s, there’s a very good chance inbound marketing could help you.

  • Are your customers online?
  • Does your sales cycle last weeks or months?
  • Is the average lifetime value of a customer greater than £500?
  • Do you know your customers well?
  • Do your customers use social media?
  • Do you find it hard to reach your customers?
  • Is your current marketing not working?

Let me know your industry in the comments below and I would be more than happy to take a look and see if inbound marketing is a good fit.

Social Media: Inbound Marketer’s Best Friend or Mortal Enemy?

Even though social media is hailed as the inbound marketer’s dream medium for getting to know prospects and increasing conversions and closes – even the Inbound Marketing Summit is concentrating on and stressing the importance of social media as an extremely useful tool – there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Adding social media marketing, social TV and social CRM to the inbound marketing toolbox has many advantages and some pitfalls that inbound marketers have experienced.

One of the biggest problems inbound marketers have with social media is the overwhelming amount of work required to stay active on multiple social networks. MyLife recently conducted a national survey on social media behaviour and found 52% of people considered a “vacation” from social networks. The solution is not walking away from social media, instead, you should make a plan and utilise inbound marketing software.

Social Media Plan

The job of inbound marketers is to stay engaged with customers and you can’t do that when you’re on a social network “vacation”. However, you also can represent your brand properly when you’re overwhelmed by a constant barrage of status updates, content creation, and email. BoldThink wrote a post with some great suggestions for creating a social media plan. They suggested focusing on consistency, relevancy, using the rule of third for content creation, and developing an editorial calendar. However, they skipped over a very important part of developing a social media plan.

You should approach your social media plan as you would any other part of your business and create a business plan. In addition to the things listed above, you should set goals and objectives for your social media marketing efforts. These should be measurable metrics that can go into an ROI calculation. This data will help you to objectively decide where you can free up some time on social media. Anything you’re doing that is not contributing to your goals and objectives is a waste of time. In business terms, these tasks are having a negative impact on your social media ROI and they need to be phased out.

Inbound Marketing Software

One of the great things we can do with computers is automate repetitive tasks. This is something we tend to overlook in social media. Sure, live posts may, or may not, rank better for SEO. However, if you’re considering a social media “vacation”, it would be much better to automate your posts than to back out of a social network entirely. There are many programs available to help you schedule your posts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.

Rather than spending your day watching the clock to post your updates in real-time, you can use these tools to automate that process. This will allow you to focus on other, more profitable, aspects of your social media plan. For example, you could dig into the analytics tracking your posts to figure out which type of content resonates most with your target audience. Then you can use that information to create better posts tailored to this audience and schedule them to go out automatically.

Social Media Burn Out Protection Plan

As you can see, the best way to avoid social media burnout is to plan ahead and use the tool available. This includes creating a business plan for your social media efforts, identifying your goals, selecting quantifiable measures for these objectives, and calculating your social media ROI. Anything that is not contributing to your ROI needs to be phased out in favour of more profitable ways to spend your time. Combine this with inbound marketing software that helps you to automate repetitive tasks and you won’t feel so overwhelmed. In fact, you’ll likely find that you’ve been spending a lot of time on social media projects that are not helping your company. Once you focus on the tasks that are contributing the most to your social media ROI, you will find inbound marketing becomes much more enjoyable.

Now it’s your turn

Do you currently calculate social media ROI? If not, are you overwhelmed by social media?

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Why Good Inbound Marketing Companies Don’t Guarantee Results

Thinking of investing in inbound marketing?

Perhaps your inbound marketing agency has told you they don’t offer any guarantees.

As a business owner, this is not really something you want to hear, as inbound does involve investing good money and you want to ensure that your investment comes with as little risk as possible.

I always remember one guy’s reaction when I told him that we don’t offer guarantees.

“You don’t offer any guarantees! Then it is me that is taking all the risks.”

Why_Good_Inbound_Marketing_Companies_Dont_Guarantee_Results.jpgAlthough I understand why he said that, it is not entirely true. The agency does take on board some of the risk, but yes: most of the risk will be on you.

This is why you must choose your agency wisely and make sure they demonstrate not only the risks to you but also the gains you can realistically expect.

In this post, I will talk about why great inbound agencies don’t offer guarantees and the reasons why.

Every investment has risks

Every time you make an investment, there is an element of risk involved. To be honest, if there were no risks in inbound marketing and we could guarantee results, then it would be a lot more expensive.

Not only this, but absolutely everyone would be doing it. However, my job is always to try and remove as much risk as possible.

Think back only a few years and you would find it hard for any digital marketing agency to give you a good idea of expected results, as it was difficult for them to join the dots and calculate return on investment for what they were doing.

Heck, even TV, radio and newspapers ads still can’t tell you.

In today’s world, we have tools like HubSpot that do a fantastic job of giving us the data we need to work all these things out.

This means that your agency should be able to give you a good indication of the results you can expect.

Granted, it’s still not a guarantee, but I think it is the next best thing.

Wouldn’t you agree?

Before I move on, I would just like to say that you should always be very wary of anyone who is offering you guaranteed results. This is usually just a tactic to differentiate themselves from other agencies and tell you what you want to hear.

But how can an agency guarantee something that they are not in control of?

Can your sales team sell?

When we get down to it, inbound marketing can get you leads, but ultimately it’s your sales team’s ability to be able to close sales that really matters.

You could argue that it is the quality of the leads that should be in question, and you would be correct. It’s not only the job of inbound to bring you leads, it should deliver quality leads, leads that are most likely to buy.

However, being able to sell is a skill every business needs to survive. When I first started in business I was terrible as sales, but I learned that inbound marketing is a methodology that is not limited to marketing.

There is no point in having a fantastic inbound marketing strategy just for your sales team to resort to tired old tactics of selling when these leads make contact with you.

With inbound, you have to know when to back off and let the prospect make up their own minds.

You’re not fully committed

Inbound marketing is changing marketing and sales forever, but for it to work you and the agency have to form a strong partnership and be committed to its success.

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I see this time and time again; the people who see the most success with inbound are the ones that are fully committed to the methodology.

If you are looking for old school marketing where you pay and don’t have to do anything more, then sorry to tell you, but those days are over.

You lose track of what is important

The most important thing for your business is to get more leads and sales, as this is the real reason you are considering www.

It’s the number one reason most businesses come to me, and you shouldn’t lose sight of that main goal.

In the past, I have parted company with people who lose sight of this and get far too bogged down with the small things.

If you are waiting for everything to be perfect, then you will never get anything done. Content that you ship in the early days may not be perfect; expect that and just let it go.

It is better to be 80% perfect and out there than 100% and not.

I always tell my partners this, as the path to inbound marketing success it littered with the bodies of people who just won’t let go and trust the agency – let them do what they do best.

I personally can’t guarantee anything if you don’t follow my lead.

Businesses come to me because they need help reaching their customers and don’t know what to do, but some become inbound marketing experts as soon as you try to help them.

This all comes down to trust, and you should never hire an agency you don’t trust.

Why don’t they offer pay per performance?

This is a great question, and this is something I would love to offer clients. You only pay for the leads the agency get you.

There are a few problems with this model that would need to be worked out before I would considering offering it to partners.

  1. Inbound marketing is not like Google ads where you pay for a click and you know how many leads it gets you. One piece of content could generate you leads and sales for years to come. So how do you measure this?
  2. Leads don’t equal guaranteed sales – like I mentioned before, it comes down to your sales team, not the agency.

I for one am always looking for ways to offer partners a better service and remove the risk involved in inbound marketing.

Pay per performance is an interesting method, and I’m sure someone will work it out eventually, but until then you need to weigh inbound marketing up and see if it is worth the investment to your business.

Sometimes inbound marketing might not be the best fit for your business, but that’s ok.

Conclusion

Every investment comes with risk, but inbound marketing can give you good indications of what results you can expect to limit this risk. An agency can’t offer guarantees because they have no control over your ability to sell.

Not only this, you need to be fully committed to its success and you need to stay focused on what is important.

Apart from offering guarantees, what else could we inbound marketers offer you to reduce the risk and make you feel more comfortable in trying inbound marketing?

Let me know in the comments.

8 of the Best Inbound Marketing Blogs You Need in Your Life

Inbound train

We are all busy people and finding the best information on inbound marketing takes time. So we all look to the top inbound marketing blogs to get this information, but the problem being it is not always easy to find the best ones.

There are already great lists out there like this one from Hubspot and another one from Impact. Two great blog posts and they have some really great blogs listed. The only problem is that there are over 64 blogs in the combined list. Not all of these blogs post content all the time and some of the content varies in quality and no one has time to read that many every day.

This is why I have put this post together, to cut through the long lists and give you eight inbound marketing blogs that you need in your life. This list is short so if you add them to your RSS reader (I would recommend Feedly) you can have all the best inbound marketing news and tips straight to you every morning. I would estimate that you would only need to spend around 30 minutes a day reading these great blogs.

How did I decide which inbound marketing blogs were best?

I personally read over 115 blogs on inbound marketing from the last 30 days to see which ones were the best. My criteria for determining the best eight were:

  • How often did they post?
  • How relevant was the content?
  • How helpful was the content?
  • Was the content easy to read?
  • How often did I click on their posts from Feedly?

Impact Branding & Design

This is my personal favourite and every day it manages to get me to click due to their great titles and content.

impact branding and media

Inbound Marketing Agents

A fantastic blog that has really great content which will help you get more out of your inbound marketing.

inbound marketing agents

Savvy Panda

Not as well-known as some of the other blogs but they really put out some quality content.

savvy-panda

Social Media Today

This blog has many guest posts from all the experts and covers topics from inbound marketing, social and SEO.

social media today

Econsultancy

Technically not just an inbound marketing blog but they share so much great content they had to be on the list.

econsutancy

Hubspot

The Daddy of them all, no one puts as much content out there as Hubspot and lucky it is of high quality too.

hubspot

The Sales Lion

The posts on this blog are like hidden gems and are so well written you can’t help but read them all.

the sales lion

Big Idea Blog – Infusionsoft

This is the one to watch, they have been really upping their game lately and posting some really helpful content.

infusionsoft

Now it’s your turn

We all have our favourite inbound marketing blogs and I hope you enjoy some of these listed. Heck, I hope that you consider the Stargazer blog as one of your best inbound marketing blogs.

Are there any blogs you enjoy reading every day that you think should be on this list?

Do you disagree with the ones I have listed? Then let us know below.

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4 Inbound Marketing Services that will SkyRocket your Sales

It can be very frustrating when your businesses website is not performing as it should. The number of leads you see every month seems to be stagnant when they should be increasing month after month.  If you don’t have leads you can’t get sales, to be more accurate, you can’t get sales if you don’t attract the right kind of visitors to your website but we will get to that in a moment.

You as a business owner or marketing manager may be thinking that there must be a way to get more traffic and sales via your website. All you hear from experts is how powerful the internet is for generating leads and sales.

Don’t worry, every business has been there, you just need the right kind of advice. This article will teach you the 4 core inbound marketing services that will help your business generate more traffic, leads and sales online. As inbound marketing sees 54% more leads generated than traditional outbound marketing your business should be embracing www.

The four core inbound marketing services

As I have said, inbound marketing is built around 4 main services. Take a look at the image below to get a better idea of how inbound marketing works.

inbound marketing methodology

Attracting the right kind of visitors to your website

It all starts with traffic because without it you have no one to turn into customers but it’s not just about the volume of traffic, it’s about the right kind of traffic and to attract this traffic you, first of all, need the right kind of content.

Most visitors to your website will not be ready to buy as they may be researching the best solution so you have to create content that attracts these people.  Your visitors are usually in three different stages when they visit your website and these three stages coincide with your sales funnel.

  • Top of the funnel middle
  • Middle of the funnel
  • Bottom of the funnel

If your visitors are at the top of the funnel they are just in the research phase so you need to create content that attracts them. Creating a business blog and content around your customer’s questions and pain points will attract the visitors you need to turn into customers.

Identifying the words that people type into search engines will also give ideas of what is the best kind of content subject to write about.  Also remember it is about them, not you.  Always try to ask yourself what kind of actions your visitors can take after reading your content that will help them.

You can also use social media to promote your content, getting it shared will increase your audience and over time this will bring more relevant visitors to your website.

Converting your visitors into leads

By creating great content that your customer personas are attracted to (customer personas are basically your ideal customers) you will start to see a steady rise in your website traffic. Maybe you are already receiving a good amount of traffic but you’re not getting leads? This core service of converting traffic will help you to understand how to get more leads from your website.

The way we convert your traffic into leads is done with three main techniques:

  • Calls-to-actions
  • Landing Pages
  • Forms
  • Offers

To convert traffic you first need an offer to persuade your visitors to give up some kind of identifiable information. Usually at this stage it would just be a name and email address. This offer will also be relevant to their needs and will help them make the right buying decision. This could come in the form of a whitepapers, Ebooks or ‘ how to’ guides. The possibilities are endless.

Once you have created these offers you now need to promote them with calls-to-actions. These are like little adverts usually placed at the bottom of relevant content to entice the reader to click through. You can see a call-to action on the top right of this page and also at the bottom of this article.

Once your visitors have clicked your calls to action they will then be presented with what is called a landing page. These pages are optimised for conversions and display the benefits of downloading your content. Here are 37 wonderful examples of landing pages.

They also contain forms for the visitor to fill in their name and email to receive the content. That visitor is no longer a stranger but is now a lead.

Converting more leads into sales

Not all leads are created equal and not all of them will turn into sales. These leads will be at different stages of your buying cycle, most companies buying cycles look like this:

  • A subscriber
  • A lead
  • A sales qualified lead
  • A customer

At this stage we want to move as many people as we can through the buying cycle until they become a customer. By being able to identify your leads are sales qualified, which usually means they have requested a quote or signed up for a demo or trial, you can then pass the leads that are interested in sales. What would that mean to your business if all the leads your sales team received were sales qualified?

By using lead nurturing you can nurture your leads through your sale stages. Creating email workflows will allow you to send relevant information to your leads and help them move through your sales process.  Also by using lead scoring we can identify which leads are sales qualified, all automatically.

Using software like HubSpot, which integrates with your Customer relationship management software,  you can gain some really powerful insights into your lead’s behaviour.

Turning customers into brand advocates and promoters

consumers

Many businesses think that this step doesn’t exist but in reality, this is one of the most important steps of all. It is so important to delight your customers and you do this by creating unforgettable products, services and experiences that your customers will love. With 71% of UK customers saying they would recommend a company to another based on a positive customer service experience, you cannot afford to drop the ball now.

Lots of these recommendations will come via social media so make sure you are listening to what your customers are saying.

By further using email marketing to connect with your customers on a regular basis, you can turn those into promoters who will help sell your products or services. Not many of your competitors can say that I bet.

It can seem hard for business owners and marketing managers to generate more leads and sales online if you don’t know what you are doing but if you create content that attracts the right kind of visitors then you can nurture them into sales qualified leads with lead nurturing. Next, turn them into promoters with email marketing and social media, you will be amazed at the difference it will make to your bottom line and ROI.

Now it’s your turn

What are the biggest marketing challenges you face? Please let us know in the comments below.

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Is Inbound Marketing a Good Fit for My Business?

A question I often get asked is ” Kevin where did you get those glasses?”

Another more important question I hear  is, “Is inbound marketing a good fit for my business?”

This is a great question and many people ask me this because they are concerned that their customers may find them online by searching for questions to their problems.

Without knowing your business it is hard for me to say exactly if inbound will be a good fit for your business or not.

However a good rule of thumb is that if your customers or clients require information or ask lots of questions before making a buying decision, then inbound marketing could be a good fit.

If you sell a more impulse product like a pair of trainers then perhaps people don’t require a lot of information to make a decision.

They like how they look and the price is good so they buy.

Not really much more to it than that, so in this case perhaps inbound may not be a good fit.

I hope this helps to answer the question.

Got your own questions you want answered?

Got a question that you want to be answered about inbound then just fill in the short form below and I promise to answer it.

3 Simple Inbound Marketing Goals you Should be Focusing on Right Now

goal

One of the biggest problems I see when companies start with inbound marketing, or indeed any kind of marketing, is that they have no defined goals. Every business owner should, first of all, define what it is they want inbound marketing to do for their business. According to Hubspot business owners only spend 8% of their marketing budget on analytics.

“You can’t improve what you don’t track.”

The following explains the three main goals your business should be focusing on when building your business online. If you do not track and strive to improve these three goals then it will be really hard for you to increase sales online.

Inbound marketing goal number 1: Traffic

Let’s face it, without traffic there would be no sales. If no one visits your website then they can’t turn into a buying customer. One of your three main goals should be acquiring more relevant traffic to your website. Notice I said relevant traffic because not all traffic is good. You need to attract the best kind of people to your website who may be interested in buying your product or service.

The best way to do this is by creating content that is relevant to their needs. By answering your customers’ questions and addressing their pain points you will attract the right kind of people to your website.

By creating a business blog and frequently publishing relevant content (at least twice a week) you will drive the best kind of traffic to your website as 46% of people read blogs more than once a day.

I would recommend you start with written content but over time experiment with different types to see what your audience responds best to. For example, a “how-to” video may do better than a written blog post on the same subject.

Where your traffic is coming from is also important and by using inbound marketing analytics you will see which channels are driving the best results for your business. You can then promote your content more on the channels that work and less on the ones that don’t.

Inbound marketing goal number 2: Leads

Most of your website visitors leave your website without making a purchase so turning more of these people into leads can seem difficult. However, by using some tried and tested inbound marketing strategies you can turn this new found traffic into leads.

Since we are now drawing the right kind of visitors to your website we can now encourage them to identify themselves with landing pages and call-to-actions.  By using a call to action on your blog posts you can entice your visitors to click through to a landing page.

A call-to-action is like a little advert that encourages your visitor to click on it to register for a webinar, download content or even request a quote. These call-to-actions then move the visitor onto a landing page where they are invited to fill in a form to give some information, usually just a name and email address.

Now that these visitors are identified, you can nurture them with lead nurturing programmes to convert them into a customer.

Inbound marketing goal number 3: Sales

This is everyone’s ultimate goal. However, without the two previous goals mentioned above, there would be no sales. It is now possible to turn these leads into paying customers which, as I mentioned, is our ultimate goal. To turn these leads into customers we are now going to need to nurture them. Now that we have their email address we can send them timely, helpful emails. Notice I said helpful emails!  This is not an excuse for you to spam these leads, you want to build relationships and trust and above all be helpful.

By sending timely, helpful emails that move your leads through your sales funnel you can turn more leads into sales.

To do this we create email workflows or lead nurturing campaigns that help to move your leads through the sales funnel and by using what is called ‘lead scoring’ we can assign points to each lead to determine how hot they are. As not all leads are ready to buy, what we are trying to achieve is to identify marketing qualified leads that we can send to sales.

By doing this you will cut down on cold calling and your sales team will be a lot more informed about the leads marketing sends them, not only this, they will already be aware of your company and will have shown an interest in you.

Conclusion

Since a lot of companies do not identify their inbound marketing goals at the start it will become very hard for them to improve. Knowing what is important can give you focus on what activities you need to do.

So by concentrating on driving the right kind of traffic and converting more of that traffic into leads and sales you will see your business steadily grow.

Now it’s your turn

What are the biggest challenges you face when marketing your business online? Please let us know in the comments below.

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Inbound Marketing and CRM the Perfect Combination?

inbound marketing loves crm

Inbound marketing can generate your business some seriously hot leads but without the CRM to track what’s going on, you will have some real difficulty sorting through those leads.  Tracking these leads will also keep your sales team up to date with leads behaviour and which ones are ready to be contacted.

If your business manually passes leads onto your sales team, or they are involved in cold calling, then inbound marketing and a CRM (customer relationship management) system are exactly what you need.

If your company is also seeing good growth then a CRM is the perfect way to help you and your business save some serious time and by adding inbound marketing into the mix, you will discover that you will close more leads, quicker.

Can I just use one without the other?

Yes, you can, but why bother? Depending on which inbound marketing software you use you can even get a free CRM thrown in.

Infusionsoft is one such software that fits this description. For a very reasonable price of around £135 per month, you can not only receive top-notch inbound marketing software but you will also get a free CRM already built-in.  This CRM may not be as great as something like Salesforce but if you are just starting out, it is a very good option.

Speaking of Salesforce if you are using software like Hubspot which does not come with a CRM  you can integrate it with Salesforce very easily and with prices starting at as little as £3, it won’t break the bank. If you want to learn more about which CRMs integrate with Hubspot, I would check out this great article called The Top 12 CRMs You Can Integrate With HubSpot.

What are the benefits of integrating a CRM with my inbound marketing?

The biggest benefit from combining these two powerful pieces of software together is that you will be creating a closed-loop marketing system. This means that you will be able to identify which channels are converting not only into leads but sales. You can even tell how much money each channel is earning you. This will go a long way in justifying the ROI of social, SEO and blogging.

This will really help laser target your marketing efforts. With integrating your CRM you can also tell (depending on which inbound marketing software you are using) which types of content are the most successful so you can start to create more exceptional content on the same topics that convert and your target market really responds to.

This gives you a holistic view of where your marketing is working and where it is not. This is information that most businesses do not have at their disposal. Remember the old adage “I know half my advertising is not working, but which half?” well, that is a question you will never need to ask yourself.

A stitch in time saves nine

Time is a very important commodity and the more time you can save the less money is spent. Time management is something that a lot of businesses don’t pay too much attention to and it is something that we here, at Stargazer, take very seriously. This could be saving time by limiting meetings to 15 minutes or removing them altogether and always striving to create more effective processes.

The key is not to cut corners but to save time by improving the way you perform tasks. So if your inbound marketing software and your CRM are talking to each other there will be a lot of time saved.

No need to manually add leads from your inbound software to your CRM. This alone can be a massive time saver. Your sales team will be so much better informed about the historical behaviour of your leads. No more searching through countless emails to find important information.

The coordination and collaboration between team members will also be greatly improved no longer do the sales team have to email other members of their team to find out the latest information with a particular lead. This will also be a lot more professional from a customer perspective when the salesperson knows the history. There is nothing worse than speaking to businesses and they do not know the history of past conversions you have had with them, and you have to explain it all over again. It is frustrating for the customer and looks unprofessional.

So my advice to you is if you are thinking of integrating your CRM with your inbound marketing software, I would definitely give it a try. In no time at all you will see some real benefits and you will wonder how you ever managed without them both.

Have your say

What CRM do you currently use? We would love to know. Why not share your experiences with your inbound marketing and CRM systems below.