HubSpot has an outstanding training program that is comprehensive and in-depth. You learn how to use all the various tools in the HubSpot platform, and get a crash course in inbound marketing at the same time.
But if you’re getting started with inbound marketing as a new HubSpot customer, you’re probably overwhelmed with the amount of things there are to learn, and frustrated that you can’t just get started. After all, you made the decision to purchase a great marketing automation platform because you want more and better results!
The secret of getting ahead is getting started!
— Agatha Christie
Agatha Christie says, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started,” and I learned that same lesson myself when we got started with HubSpot over a year ago. Let me share those lessons with you, and help you get started with inbound marketing even though you “aren’t ready”, “don’t know enough”, “can barely login”, or “don’t understand how this all comes together.”
Let’s get started. . .
Write, write, and write some more!
The A number 1, most important, it’s-not-going-to-go-away fact about success with inbound marketing is that you are going to do a lot of writing. For those of us that are not writers or not used to the discipline of creating fresh, engaging content on a regular basis (or at all!), this is really challenging.
Start writing. Start today. Where do you write? Write in your blog. Write like crazy. Write about what you know about your topic area. You may not be the expert, but you have something to say, don’t you?
Let’s make it easy. Pretend you and I have recently met, and now we are seated together at your favorite outdoor cafe, and you’re telling me about the kind of work you do. About what’s involved in that work, how you do it, how much you enjoy it. Got the idea? This is EXACTLY how you write your first blog posts — tell stories! (By the way, I didn’t say you needed to publish these first articles… but you DO need to start writing!)
You’ve probably seen the movie “Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory.” In this movie, Willy Wonka makes you believe in the power of chocolate by telling a story. The movie is certainly very engaging for its target audience – kids from age 7-12. When you’re creating content for your blog, you want to do the same thing. . . Tell stories that are aimed at a particular audience.
What kind of stories should you tell? Well, start with questions. What are the 20 things that you always get asked about your company or products or services? Write these down. Now write full answers to each. Try to tell a story highlighting what you mean in your answer.
This process should give you 20 blog posts, each with a question as a title. Be sure to phrase the question from you prospects’ point-of-view.
Tell day-in-the-life stories. These are the stories you would tell if you and I sat down together for a cup of coffee. These stories are interesting and engaging, and they show a facet of your company, or your company’s beliefs or culture, or how you provide great service, etc. These kinds of stories are very helpful in build trust and authority with your web visitors.
Tell staff stories. Tell about their big wins, or the particular thing that a single person on your staff does so well, or about how an employee saw a problem, brought it to your attention and helped create the solution. We all like to hear about the success of others. Showcase your employees!
Share news stories. This can be your own news, or your ‘take’ on a news item that impacts your industry.
Mostly, the content you need is all within your organization. It’s really just a matter of starting to notice it. And get other people to help you. Tell them you’re looking for stories… ask what stories they have to tell. If you need more ideas to help you generate some stories, we’ve written a free ebook, 107 Ideas for Content Marketing.
If I’m interested in your product or service, what information do you already have that I would find valuable?
Chances are that there is valuable content around your company somewhere. A section of your training manual, a white paper, a case study, an upcoming event people can attend, a free analysis or assessment. You’ve got something I’d be interested in.
Still can’t think of anything? Take the 20 questions and answers that you wrote (see “What kinds of stories should you tell?” up above) and compile them into a simple PDF document titled “20 Things You Need to Ask Before ___________”. Now you’ve created some valuable information!
Make that valuable information available on your website and blog, behind a form where you collect my name and email address (so you can reach out to me later).
Tell everyone! Use email and social media
Now tell everyone that you have these great stories on your website and promote your valuable download or offer. Do this with email and with social media.
Send an email to your list (Don’t have an email list? See HubSpot’s 25 Clever Ways to Grow Your Email Marketing List) that showcases the benefit of me getting this special offer from you. Don’t use corporate-speak — talk to me like we’re still sitting at the outdoor cafe together. Tell me what’s in it for me. Let me know that you’re excited about it.
Use the social media platforms that your prospects use and tell them about it, too. Tweet your offer, like it, pin it, share it. Share it again as appropriate to the social media platforms that you are using. And while you’re sharing, be sure to share other people’s content, too!
Wait a second! What about SEO??
“What about SEO?” you say. Don’t I have to learn all this stuff about SEO before I write? No, you really don’t.
Pick a long tail keyword phrase that works with the blog post and use it in the title of the post. Now use it again in the first or second paragraph. That’s it. Simple SEO to get you started. Remember, the secret of getting ahead is getting started.
Want more SEO? OK. . . make sure your blog posts are 400-600 words and that you publish at least 2-3 times per week. The search engines reward regular fresh content and 2-3 times a week is frequent enough for getting started. Later, you can ramp up to once a day.
That’s the entire Beginner’s Lesson in Effective SEO. 🙂
You’ll learn more along the way, and make adjustments as you learn
Inbound marketing really DOES work, and there are a lot of moving pieces to doing it well. As you create more content, and learn best practices for calls-to-action and landing pages and email campaigns, you’ll become a better marketer and your campaigns will be more and more effective and produce more and better-targeted results.
Getting started with inbound marketing as a new HubSpot customer doesn’t have to be difficult or frustrating. Just use the old K.I.S.S. process and work with what you know. As you learn more, add that new knowledge into the mix.
Do you have more questions about how you can get started with inbound marketing? Give me a call or drop an email. Let’s make 2013 a year of amazing results!