Why Every Small Business Owner Should Become Inbound Certified
In a previous life, I was the Marketing Director for a tile and stone importer/distributor. During this time, my team had partnered with an advertising agency to help with our digital marketing efforts. When I met the owner of this agency for the first time, she introduced me to a marketing automation platform called HubSpot. I had heard of it before but really didn’t know much about it. However, I was immediately intrigued.
HubSpot’s approach to marketing (aka Inbound Marketing) made complete sense to me. “Don’t interrupt buyers. Attract them.”
“OMG! It’s the simplest concept ever!” I thought to myself. So why the heck weren’t more companies employing it?
Inbound Marketing is defined as “a strategy that focuses on attracting customers, or leads, via company-created Internet content, thereby having potential customers come to the company rather than marketers vying for their attention.”
The term was actually coined by Brian Halligan, co-founder and CEO of HubSpot, back in 2005. “From there it was a slow crawl. It began to show up in tiny blips and bleeps on the Internet in 2007. In 2012 it really started to grow. Today, it's as familiar a concept with online marketers as Search Engine Optimization - today's undeniable acronym of SEO.” (Nextiny Inbound Marketing)
So what’s the difference between Inbound and Traditional Marketing? Let’s hop in our time machine and take a trip back to 2001 …
In 2001 I was working in sales at a local fitness club. Part of my job involved going through the phone book and randomly calling as many people as possible within a few hour span. Caller ID was a hot new item in homes so, when I got lucky enough to get a person on the line, my job was to solicit a gym membership.
Ok, guys. As I’m writing this, the feelings of pure DREAD are all coming back to me! Dialing each phone number knowing that the end result would be most likely be one of three things: 1.) Getting an answering machine (because those were also a popular item at the time). 2.) Getting hung up on. 3.) Getting cursed at for interrupting someone’s dinner.
To make matters worse, my boss would force me to make these horrendous calls in a small room that was attached to his office. He would listen in on each and every call, critiquing every word I said. It was torture. Cruel and unusual punishment. I knew people didn’t want to be interrupted at home. I knew the tactic didn’t make an ounce of sense. Reaching out to random individuals who we knew nothing about … desperately hoping and praying for that 2% chance they were remotely interested in joining a new gym.
Again, it was 2001. The Internet was nothing like it is today and sales people didn’t have the tools they have today. So companies resorted to interruptive measures like cold calling, cheesy TV or radio commercials, and direct mail. That, my friends, would be considered Old School or Traditional Marketing.
Inbound Marketing takes the opposite approach. It involves attracting strangers who are actually interested in your product or service. This can be done through “blog posts, eBooks, videos, or any other content that answers questions your prospects are asking.” (HubSpot)
Once you attract these strangers to your website, the next step in the process is converting them to qualified leads. “Use landing pages to promote valuable material. Engage serious prospects with clear calls to action.” (HubSpot)
The last step of Inbound Marketing involves helping “your leads become delighted customers. Collect the information they share with you so you can help them on the issues that matter most to them.” (HubSpot)
Attract. Convert. Close. Delight.
Now you might be thinking that all of this Inbound stuff sounds great ... if you’re a marketer! Well I’m here to tell you that EVERY small business owner needs to become an expert at Inbound. And it’s easy to do. HubSpot offers a FREE course on the subject and I promise it will positively impact at least one area of your business (if not many).
The HubSpot Inbound Certification consists of 12 online classes and a final exam to prove you’ve gained some new and amazing knowledge! You can get all of the details (or start the course today) by visiting: https://certification.hubspot.com/inbound-certification
So why should you consider taking time out of your already hectic work schedule to do this?
1. You’ll get the tools to enhance your marketing.
Taking HubSpot’s Inbound Certification is going to empower you to make smarter decisions when it comes to the way you market your small business. You’ll learn about developing customer personas so you can more accurately connect with potential customers.You’ll discover how to amplify the already fantastic content you have with social media. You’ll dive into the fundamentals of blogging and why it’s so critical to a thriving website. These are just a few of the many topics covered in the 12 classes.
2. You’ll become part of a community.
The HubSpot Community is an awesome one. Ever since I discovered it, I’ve entrenched myself in learning more. And I love it. There are over 100,000 certified Inbound professionals out there. By getting certified, you’ll become a member of this inspiring and exclusive group! “Get help on your latest marketing campaign by asking the inbound community. Consider this community an extension of your marketing and sales team.” (HubSpot)
3. You’ll grow your business.
I can only imagine how much more productive my time at the fitness club would have been had I been equipped with the Inbound Marketing Methodology. I was wasting countless hours making calls by playing eeny meeny miny moe with names in the phone book. Instead, I could have been socializing with people wandering through the health food section at our local grocery store … or passing out free passes to people I encountered in the neighborhood walking trail. Scouting out more qualified leads. With today’s technology, we can do this without ever leaving the comfort of our office! The Inbound Certification Class will teach you how.
Inbound leads cost 61% less than leads acquired via traditional marketing campaigns. Becoming Inbound Certified will help you “build your strategy on a framework and methodology that aligns marketing and sales, and supports predictable revenue growth for your organization through closed-loop reporting.” (HubSpot)
Don’t procrastinate. You need to do this for yourself and your small business. Inbound has changed the path of my career and the way I do marketing. I am fully convinced it will do the same for you.