Brian Halligan is the founder and CEO of HubSpot, an Internet marketing software company that helps small and medium-sized businesses get found on the Internet and converts website visitors into leads and customers. He is also the author of Inbound Marketing: Get Found In Google, Blogs, and Social Media.
It used to be that you could efficiently grow your businesses by interrupting potential customers with outbound marketing methods like cold calls, email spam, and advertising. Today people and businesses are tired of being the targets of so much outbound marketing and they're getting better and better in blocking it out.
At the same time, people and businesses have fundamentally changed the way they shop and learn, turning more and more to Google, social media sites and blogs to find what they want. Inbound marketing helps companies take advantage of these shifts by helping them get found by customers in the natural way in which they shop and learn. The following are Brian’s five steps to help you get “get found.”
Be remarkable. Ten years ago you needed to spend gobs of money on PR and advertising to spread the word about your idea. Today the friction that marketing must overcome is very low for remarkable ideas such that they can spread on their own. Unremarkable ideas languish unfound regardless of how much PR and advertising you do. So make sure you have a unique, remarkable offering as it will spread like wildfire on the Internet if it's truly different.
Create content. Once you have your remarkable product or service, start creating lots of content about it—including blog articles, videos, podcasts, and tweets. Remarkable content about your remarkable product gets hyperlinked from other websites. Those links send you traffic, and they also tell Google that you should be higher in the rankings.
Optimize content. Before publishing your content, you need to “optimize” it for Google and for the people on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc who will spread it. For Google, you should include some of your “keywords” in the title of your content piece so it will be easier for Google to find it. For readers, you should make your titles as irresistible as possible. A good model for this is this blog that uses titles like “The Art of Schmoozing,” “MBA In A Page,” and “The Top 10 Lies of Venture Capitalists.”
Promote content. Once you have a remarkable piece of content that is optimized, start spreading it. Post it on your blog, email it to your newsletter subscribers, tweet it, update your Facebook fan page and LinkedIn profile with it. If the content is remarkable, others will spread it for you. As that content spreads, you will have more people follow you or subscribe to you, so that the next piece of content you publish will have a wider audience in the future.
Measure results. You need to measure your results for each channel. For example, you should compare your results for Google organic branded search, Google organic non-branded search, Google paid, blog, email, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn group, and tradeshow campaigns to each other. For each campaign, you need to track visitors, leads, opportunities, and customers over time. Then double down on the campaigns that are working and kill the ones that aren’t.
The fundamental way in which humans shop and learn has changed dramatically the last five years because of the increased power of word-of-mouth and search. Therefore, you need to change the way you market your products to match the way people learn and find out about them.