Posts Tagged ‘Inbound marketing’

How Hubspot is doing Inbound Marketing? Part1 – Blog Marketing

// December 3rd, 2012 // No Comments » // Digital Marketing, SEO, Social Media

Inbound Marketing specialists do what they preach, do they? I decided to do a bit of research on this and who other than Hubspot to follow and see if they really do follow the principles of Inbound Marketing themselves. So, on what parameters should I start checking their Inbound marketing practices.

The three most important pillars of Inbound marketing are Blogs, Social Media and Organic Search. So let us see how Hubspot is doing on these front.

Blogging:

To start with I visited Hubspot Blog. A couple of Best practices that they preach and I found they follow:

    Content Creation and Frequency of Blog Postings-
    Best Practice: Decide on the topics and set your content calendar in advance to make sure you have fresh and, goes without saying, interesting information for people to come back again and again. Consistency in posting your content is the key in Blog Marketing. Ideally, one post a day should be perfect. It obviously depends on the industry vertical, but I personally feel there shouldn’t be information overload, which today is a growing concern. Hubspot has consistently posted one or more posts every day.

    Frequency of Blog Posts on Hubspot Blog

    Click on the image to see the enlarged view


    Along with keeping it consistent, they make sure their posts are interesting and users are encouraged to comment. How do they do that?? – by using titles/topics like:

  • Questions: How to / Why a Marketer or Enterprise / What’s new with…
  • Numbers: Top 5 Reasons or 10 Critical Factors or 7 Advanced Techniques or 16 Most important things…
  • Using most news making keywords in your industry e.g., Hubspot uses – Facebook / Pinterest / Twitter / LinkedIn / Inbound Marketing /…
  • Other important factor under your content creation strategy is to stick to the Blog Topic and just don’t go about writing about Britney Spears coz that might attract some visitors.

    Content Promotion -
    Best Practice: Content Creation is not of much use if its not reaching to its due audience. So the question is, how would you promote your content on a daily basis? The least you can do is automate Social Sharing and Email to subscribers. Hubspot has gained a huge following with consistent 360 marketing + building subscriber base which they leverage to the fullest to promote their fresh content. I am sure there is a lot of engagement that they gain out of the content promotion… one thing that am not sure of is how is the lead generation out of this engagement, coz most of the content sharing on social hemisphere is happening via fans/followers and is happening from quite some time. So do all the content generate good leads that add value to bottom line or does it just satisfy the Happy Brand Building factor.

    email-automation

    Internal Link Building is important but you got to know how many links are not too many. Link to text ratio per SEO standards is one link for every 125-150 words.

    Call to Action: Strategically placed
    Best Practice: Rule is to align content with the relevant offer CTAs or vice versa just to make sure you have conversions in other words you are generating leads out of your well written content. I randomly checked a couple of Blog Posts at HubSpot Blog and realized that they are rotating their offer CTA’s (Free eBook Downloads) at two positions – Top of the blog post and at right side bar – and that is at many times not relevant to the content of the blog post. Break the rule coz in the internet space there is no one set rule that works. They are rotating their best performing and the latest per the trend information/offers as eBooks. Makes sense isn’t it?
    Some Blog Design Must Haves -

  • Images/Infographics: Mix your content with Text/Images/Infographics/Videos/Presentations to make it more interesting – 10 on 10 to Hubspot on this
  • Long Posts are not liked much: I personally don’t agree. If the topic demands that kind of exhaustive content we can surely put things in place accordingly. What we can do to keep the interest on is to mix the post with some graphics/videos etc and if it still requires more may be divide the post into two parts (Part1 / Part2…) which I am going to do with this post. Hubspot keeps the Balance
  • Custom 404 Error: Everyone knows what this is and the use of the same… but on Hubspot Blog, its interesting. They have a default page with interesting set of contents in front of you as 404 Error landing page.
  • Subscription: Two ways of accomplishing this and Hubspot is increasing its subscriber base by both RSS Feed Subscription and Sign-up for Regular Updates (as another CTA)
  • Other important functionalities: To make your blog user friendly add: Search Box, Header, Footer, Tags and Pluggins like ‘Most Read Articles’ & ‘You might also like’ are good to provide easy navigation…

Hence, this is proved that Hubspot is practicing exactly what they preach when it comes to Blog Marketing… the first pillar of Inbound Marketing for Hubspot is standing strong!

My next post is going to be about the second pillar of Inbound Marketing and that is – Social Media Optimization / Marketing.

B2B Inbound Marketing

// August 15th, 2012 // 2 Comments » // Digital Marketing, SEO, Social Media

All of us know that there is a paradigm shift in today’s Marketing. The shift is from traditional approach of going outbound, to being more inbound in nature with the use of technology. The challenge is more in B2B Marketing circle compared to B2C. The obvious reasons being: the value of a B2B deal is higher hence the sales cycle is longer which makes it a multi stage process; there are generally more than one decision makers and in most cases they are well informed subject matter experts. To add to all of the above, there is nothing called impulsive buying in B2B space for a marketer to make it a mass campaign.

This change is further confirmed by a study done by DemandGen, clearly showing today’s B2B buyer is more informed and empowered.

B2B Buying Behavior Change

As you see it, going outbound (the green part) is thinning. In all other cases buyers are doing their homework, are well informed and are getting in touch with the service providers themselves. Hence, it becomes imperative to be visible and to be found.

With these practical challenges in B2B marketing hemisphere and with ever changing marketing game, what are those basic formulae that today’s marketer should be following? I personally like this approach of questioning self. So, lets start by asking some basic but critical questions to ourselves. As a B2B marketer, whether your prospects found you or you approached them, before you initiate the conversation, be ready to answer if your prospect asks you:

  1. Who you are? (Prospect dint find you/your top guys on LinkedIn)
  2. What is your company into (Prospect dint find Company ‘s link on first page of Google???)
  3. What’s your company’s services (Your website is not easy to go through. Ah damn! that’s so basic)
  4. Who are your company’s partners (not so well known in the industry)
  5. Who are your company’s customers (someone is talking about you as Tier3 vendor in one of the forums / communities)
  6. What’s your company’s reputation (your ex-employee is talking bad about the work culture on social platforms)

Imagine where your sales pitch goes after falling nose down on all or any of the above queries posed by your prospect. Are you prepared??

So now, when you know it is imperative to be found whether or not you are going out to sell, there are things to be taken care from a marketing point of view. This is termed as ‘Inbound Marketing’.
Because Inbound marketing has been a proven concept, everyone is working on making their business easy-to-be-found. Now the Inbound marketing game is more than being visible, its all about earning the attention of your prospects and engaging them in the conversation.

The question is, what are those magical techniques that can do the dual magic of being found and earning attention.

Inbound Marketing Techniques:

  1. Website: Well Designed/Developed
  2. Search Engine Optimization: Optimizing WEBSITE content and codes
  3. Business Blogs: Creating Thought Leadership
  4. Social Media Optimization: Engage prospects on Social Platforms
  5. Digital Asset Creation and Distribution

Step by Step Process of Creating Long-Term Inbound Marketing Plan:

  1. Keyword and Competitor Analysis – Finding Killer Keywords and Putting Them to Work for you. Know how to find keywords and phrases that your target audiences could use to find your business.
  2. Fixing Website – Content + Codes + Call to action + Navigation + On-page SEO – Optimizing your site to make search engine bots love it, even if you think you’re doing “just fine” without it.
  3. Off-page SEO Plan post Penguine/Panda updates – Giving Away Content Will Build Your Business. Your overall search presence can be influenced by your online social interaction, online pressrooms, targeted blogging, and link branding.
  4. Content Strategy for Blog Marketing – Would you be the one to break news about changing trend?
  5. Conversation Plan for Social Media Engagement – your social activity can influence where your site or blog ranks on search engine result pages (SERP).
  6. Digital Asset Creation around Service portfolio – (Whitepapers/ Presentations/ Videos / Infographics / Case Studies / eBooks / Webinars…)
  7. Use Marketing Automation Tool to manage conversations and leads – Be on top of the execution coz this is not a day’s or a week’s activity. It takes months to start getting quality back links and create brand ambassadors

In my next set of posts, I’ll be explaining each of the Inbound Marketing Techniques along with some cheat sheets required at each of the above steps in the B2B Marketing Plan.

Do let me know, if you agree with me that the whole inbound marketing game is no more about just being found…