Quicklet on Brian Halligan and...

Table of Contents
Quicklet on Brian Halligan and... Table of Contents

Table of Contents

I. Quicklet on Brian Halligan and
Dharmeh Shah's Inbound
Marketing: Getting Found Using
Google, Social Media and Blogs
About the Book

Introducing the Authors

Overall Summary

Chapter by Chapter Summary and Commentary

Key Terms and Definitions

Interesting Related Facts

Sources and Additional Reading

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I.

Quicklet on Brian
Halligan and Dharmeh
Shah's Inbound
Marketing: Getting
Found Using Google,
Social Media and
Blogs

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About the Book

When it was released in the fall of 2009, The Boston Globe called Inbound Marketing:
Getting Found Using Google, Social Media and Blogs, “…quite simply the best collection of
practical, tactical advice I’ve seen to explain this important shift in marketing.” Which
raises the question, “Which shift is that?”

According to Brian Halligan, one of the book’s two authors, “People just don’t listen to ads
or read spam emails, and we don’t pick up the phone if we don’t know who it is.
That kind of marketing is broken.” The alternative is to have customers find the seller,
rather than the seller, or marketer, interrupt potential customers with marketing
materials and unsolicited calls. Inbound Marketing is all about how to do just that.

Authored by the co-founders of Hubspot, which sells software to accomplish the
processes described within, Inbound Marketing reveals the practical steps to be taken to
develop a new kind of marketing strategy, using blogs, Facebook pages, Tweets and
interactive Web sites to help potential customers field a marketing venture, rather than
resorting to the traditional methods of high cost multi-media advertising, direct mail,
email, or cold calling by a sales force.described and implemented by Seth Godin in
Permission Marketing ten years earlier. When Permission Marketing appeared, social
media was not yet prevalent, and Halligan and Shah have produced practical methods of
converting the social networks used daily, (in many cases constantly) by both employees
and potential customers into a marketing

Since publication, Inbound Marketing has sold over fifty thousand copies and has been
translated into nine languages. The New York Times, in reviewing the book, commented
that some of the advice it contains is “dated,” and refers to the book as, “…really just a
primer. You won’t glean anything new if you know the basics of search engine
optimization…”

Much of the book is duplicated in Hubspot’s Inbound Marketing University, developed in
collaboration with several MBA programs and business schools including Harvard
Business School and the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

It’s doubtful that Inbound Marketing will replace traditional means of reaching out to new
customers; television ads still sell a lot of Bud Light, direct mail still makes up the bulk of

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customers; television ads still sell a lot of Bud Light, direct mail still makes up the bulk of
the daily delivery and spam filters are as in demand as ever. But for a practical, step by
step guide to implementing a strategy to build a social media presence for the neophyte,
Inbound Marketing is an essential addition to a marketing manager’s bookshelf.

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Introducing the Authors

Brian Halligan is a co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Hubspot, an Internet
marketing firm with over 250 employees based in Cambridge, MA. A native of New
England, Brian grew up attending public schools in Westwood, MA before earning a
bachelor’s degree in electronic engineering at the University of Vermont and an MBA
from the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In his second book, Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead, Brian notes that he has
seen the iconic band perform over one hundred times since his days in high school. His
bio on Hubspot’s web page notes that he “is learning to play guitar,” himself, as well as
his being an ardent Red Sox fan, as befits a true son of New England.

Brian is a frequent public speaker, a Senior Lecturer at MIT, and an avid user of social
media including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Inc.com. He was awarded the Ernst &
Young Entrepreneur of the Year- New England Region Award in 2011.

Dharmesh Shah, the CTO for Hubspot and a co-founder of the company. He is the author
of OnStartups.com, his blog which has over 25,000 subscribers worldwide and provides
advice and guidance to entrepreneurs and investors. Dharmesh writes in
OnStartups.com, “…I figured out that there are others out there that are also fascinated
with startups and what it takes to make them succeed. So I started this blog.”

Educated at the University of Alabama-Birmingham and MIT, Dharmesh worked as a
software developer before starting his own company, Pyramid Digital Solutions, in 1994.
Pyramid was sold to SunGard Business Systems eleven years later, and Dharmesh
worked with Brian Halligan to found Hubspot. OnStartups began in November 2005.
Currently the OnStartups LinkedIn group includes over 140,000 members.

Dharmesh is both an angel investor and seed investor for numerous startup companies
and projects, and is a sought after speaker and consultant. OnStartups blog about
Dharmesh states, “I still write code as it keeps me in touch with reality and makes me a
better entrepreneur. Plus, I enjoy it.”

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Overall Summary

In its infancy the World Wide Web was blissfully free of advertising, largely because
traditional marketers were adverse to taking financial risks on an unproven medium. The
days of interruption free browsing are long gone. As pop-up ads, spam and false links
developed, so did software, often free, to combat their increasingly odious presence.

At the same time caller ID became ubiquitous, as did voice mail and the ability to both
block calls at home and subscribe to national no-call lists. TiVo and DVR allows television
to be viewed while ignoring the seemingly endless commercial breaks. Direct mail,
usually referred to as junk mail, goes straight to the trash, or possibly the recycle bin for
the eco-enlightened. The result is a nightmare for marketing departments eager to get
their message to a consumer increasingly hostile to the unwanted imposition on his time
and attention.

The rise of social media and the dominance of Google as the web browser of choice
presents an alternative to the traditional method of marketing by interruption, and
Inbound Marketing describes, in detail and with working examples, how to exploit it
successfully. Its thesis is simple, getting found is better than pursuing potential
customers. How to get found is the message, and where to position oneself to achieve it
is its message.

Halligan and Shah ask the entrepreneur to ask first if what is being offered is worthy of
being found and, if so, how to ensure that it will. By exposing a service or product via
quality blogs, interactive marketing techniques, independent reviews and discussion on
social media, and keywords that ensure hits during web searches, Halligan and Shah
demonstrate how customers will be pulled to the savvy entrepreneurs website, rather
than repelled by obnoxiously repetitive advertising.

Formatted in a style resembling a seminar with experienced web developers and
entrepreneurs, Inbound Marketing is not an in-depth dissertation in the traditional
marketing sense. Indeed it recommends hiring criteria for marketers that is not in line
with those of most existing business schools and practices. In that sense it is not
revolutionary, but warns of the revolution taking place and how those who recognize the
fact and position themselves to take advantage of it will derive the greatest benefit.

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Inbound Marketing is not simply about writing website content and blogs. It discusses how
to convert visitors to leads and leads to customers, how to hire the best people for the
new way of marketing and how to install systems to monitor progress and success.

There are discussions on tracking the competition and how to monitor the inevitable
changes that are coming as new marketing techniques continue to evolve. Inbound
Marketing offers advice to exasperated marketing managers faced with limited and
shrinking budgets struggling to find ways to adapt and maintain websites that become
outdated almost as soon as they appear. It is written for the entrepreneur with a new
idea or product, with a limited budget and the pressures of time, but it can be used by
savvy managers willing to surrender to new ideas and business realities.

For those born after 1980, the world without the World Wide Web is inconceivable. Just as
cell phones, in less than two decades have largely rendered pay phones, (and to an
extent, hone based land lines) obsolete, so the social media dominating today’s web are
eliminating the ways of advertising depicted in the nostalgic Mad Men. Getting products
and services to consumers is and will always be the lifeblood of any business. Many
businesses consider themselves to big to fail, for them the lessons and arguments
presented by Inbound Marketing will be dismissed.

Digital cameras eliminated the need for film, Kodak and Fuji have felt the pinch.
Newspapers around the world are shrinking to the point of being unrecognizable as digital
content replaces them. Even the Personal Computer, barely thirty years old, is feeling
pressure from tablets and smartphones.

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Chapter by Chapter Summary and
Commentary

Part One

Inbound Marketing

Chapter 1 Shopping Has Changed…Has Your Marketing?

Inbound Marketing begins by stating, “The fundamental task of marketers is to spread
the word about their products and services in order to get people to buy them.” Listing
the various means of accomplishing this task, the writers note that they have become
obsolete, as potential customers have become adept at blocking them. Telemarketing it
thwarted by caller id, direct mail is ignored and spam filters block unsolicited email. In the
last decade, potential customers have all but vanished from marketers who rely on the
tried and true methods of the past.

Asking the question, “Who moved my customers,” the authors describe the massive
movement to the internet over the past decade by people looking for products, services,
and information. The authors break down the internet into three main areas; search
engines, such as Google, the blogosphere, where information is gathered and shared,
and the social mediasphere, where information is exchanged and discussed amongst like
minded groups and friends.

Citing the example of Barack Obama’s use of inbound marketing techniques in the 2008
presidential election, the advantages of using direct communication through social
media, the authors explain how more people can be connected using less funding. More
for less is an advantage to inbound marketing that will be cited throughout the book.
Quoting Jon Frenchman, who had been the media consultant for John McCain’s 2008
presidential campaign, they note that Obama, with less money but significantly more
Facebook followers, (over three million to McCain’s 610,000) engaged in conversations
with potential voters, while McCain used social media only to broadcast his message.

While the use of the 2008 presidential campaign presents interesting numbers and
contrasts in the use of social media, it should be noted that the social media were flooded

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by avid supporters of the candidates and their message. It is unlikely that the
presentation of a consumer product will generate the same emotional or visceral support
as will a potential candidate for the White House. The authors suggest that the reader
visit barackobama.com and “look around.” Readers who do so will find exhortations to
visit several other sites and get involved.

Political campaigns thus are not an effective means of evaluating the benefits of what the
authors have dubbed Inbound Marketing, as they have always been designed to draw
people to them and get involved in drawing in others. Rather, the use of social media
within the historical political environment can be evaluated for its effectiveness in other
areas of marketing.

Chapter Two. Is Your Web Site A Marketing Hub?

Websites are too often built as a simple online brochure, little different from the paper
and ink brochures handed out at trade shows. Chapter two asks the reader to think
megaphone when considering such sites. An alternative is offered. “Instead of
broadcasting to their users with a megaphone, the top-ranked sites today have created
communities where like-minded people can connect with each other.”

Reminding the reader that, “It’s not what you say–it’s what others say about you,” the
focus is shifted off the website, to sites where others can connect with you and users of
your product. “Ultimately, this ‘outside’ focus will drive people back to your site.” The
effective website is compared to New York City, which is serviced by multiple major
highways, rail systems and depots, three major airports and an international port. The
ineffective website is compared to a small Massachusetts town with limited access to the
outside world by mass transit.

Likening the transit systems in New York to search engines, the authors describe the
need to make the website similar to New York, a major hub of activity.

Having subscribers to your site connected via RSS is described in detail, as is up-to-date
email subscriptions, with both means touted as effective methods in driving people back
to your site in response to new postings.

The necessity of distributing site content to social media is discussed.

Directly addressing frustrated marketing managers who reluctantly face yet another
costly redesign of their website the authors offer an alternative. “Save the thousands of
dollars and countless hours you were going to spend on the redesign (sic) of your site and
do three things.” These are; add a blog, create compelling content and shift focus to

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Google, industry blogs and social media.

37Signals, a Chicago based builder of project management tools is cited as an example of
successfully developing and maintaining the type of interactive web presence described
in Chapter 2. The authors state that the appearance of their website has changed very
little over the preceding five years, while the content changes daily.

The techniques described as marketing by interruption, direct mail and spam, which are
the same thing delivered by different media, telemarketing, which is door to door sales
by phone, and print advertising, were largely developed by John Patterson at the turn of
the twentieth century to sell cash registers. Knowing that one register sold would
generate conversation amongst the customers who had their sales rung up upon it,
Patterson backed up the sales with testimonials, brochures and newspaper
commentaries.

The techniques presented in Chapter Two are not greatly different. They are not new.
They are re-applying a tried and successful method of letting one’s customers become
one’s best salesmen, using updated tools and communications. Ultimately, it is the need,
not the product, that generates sales. Patterson developed ways to create need, which
would drive customers to his proverbial door. The same technique is presented here.

Chapter Three. Are You Worthy?

Chapter Three points out the dual edged nature of the internet when it comes to
marketing, although it allows you to reach a great many more potential customers it also
allows exposure to global competition. In converting to inbound marketing, in which your
product will be found by seekers rather than presented through interruption, it is
essential to have a remarkable value proposition, one which will spread of its own accord
across the web.

“There are two ways to create a winning strategy in an era where remarkable ideas
spread virally and you face more competitors than ever,” according to Halligan and Shah.
One is to think outside the box, as it were, rather than following the existing rules of the
marketplace. The example of Apple’s introduction of the iPod is cited and explained as a
result of such thinking.

The other is straightforward. Be the best at what you do within the rules of your market
niche.

For the first method it is necessary to widen your boundaries to create new markets, for
the second your boundaries must be narrowed to embrace a smaller niche. Defining your

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approach is an essential step in developing your inbound marketing strategy.

The Grateful Dead are used as an example of developing first a niche market and then an
inbound marketing strategy to build their brand. For those unfamiliar, the Dead made
records that sold poorly, yet attracted a singularly faithful audience. Brian Halligan is a
self proclaimed Grateful Dead fan. He uses them as an example of using inbound
marketing, allowing their fans to come to them and eventually becoming “one of the
highest grossing bands of all time.”

The use of the Grateful Dead as an example of a successful inbound marketing strategy
is somewhat fallacious, the sort of anecdote expected in a seminar to inject a
lighthearted moment. It is akin to Yogi Berra’s comment about making the right mistake.
The Grateful Dead simply made records that did not sell particularly well outside of their
own genre, though their fans were devoted followers. As an example of what can happen
when devoted fans spread the word amongst themselves, leading to increased followers
their example can be instructive, but the implication that they developed and
implemented an effective inbound marketing strategy is misleading.

They did not give records away. They charged competitive prices for their performances.
They often performed at large music festivals. They followed the traditional methods of
the day. They achieved success, though not as one of the highest grossing acts of all
time, due to longevity and continuous work. There is a significant difference between a
successful strategy and a fortuitous result. One does not necessarily follow the other.

Part Two Get Found By Prospects

Chapter Four. Get Found By Prospects

In addition to a remarkable value proposition one must create remarkable content about
one’s products and services. Remarkable content attracts to your web site, which in turn
attracts the notice of search engines, indicating your site is worthy of increased attention
via keywords. Remarkable content also moves quickly across the social media sites. A
remarkable blog will spread quickly across the social media relevant to your product or
service and draw more attention, more site visits and potentially more customers.

It is therefore obvious that there is a need to create remarkable content on a continuing
basis. The way to do so is to create a content factory. Halligan and Shah state, “The
people who win really big on the Web are the media/content companies (e.g. Wikipedia,
New York Times, TechCrunch, etc.) who have a factory for creating new content.” They
go further and redefine the role of the successful marketer, “The savvy inbound
marketer learns from the media companies and is half traditional marketer and half

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content creation factory.”

The authors suggest creating content that can be produced quickly and spread online
efficiently, suggesting, in descending order, one page blog articles, five to seven page
white papers, two to three minute videos, live Powerpoint presentations, ten to twenty
minute podcasts, and live online videos, all related to your industry.

Creating remarkable content and optimizing for search engine visibility will enhance your
web site for hits during Google searches. The authors suggest hiring a journalist/writer
rather than a career marketer as your company’s next marketing hire.

Tracking progress is recommended through the use of following bookmarks and the
number of times a new site links to yours. The authors cite Wikipedia as inbound
marketing in action for this chapter, with its six million links to other sites, meaning there
are six million links on the web which will direct the user to an article within Wikipedia.

Wikipedia is viewed as a dubious source by both scholars and consumers, often the
articles it contains are considered inaccurate or of biased viewpoint. Some of its articles
are poorly written and others are too detailed technically to be understood by readers
lacking fundamental training in the subject matter. But there is no denying its ubiquitous
nature. A Google or Bing search on virtually any subject results with Wikipedia near the
top of the results.

To use the author’s own example, that of the Grateful Dead, a Google search of their
name resulted in the corresponding Wikipedia article listed number two, after only the
band’s official web site. Wikipedia, which relies entirely on external developers for its
content, is thus one of the most frequently visited web sites extant. The authors believe
that similar traffic can be developed for smaller wikis, developed for the niche a company
occupies, driving traffic, and customers, to the developers web site.

Allowing external sources to develop content for a company web site seems risky, and
developing a staff sufficient to produce a level of content approaching that of Wikipedia
would be cost prohibitive. For example, allowing a former employee access to your web
content may not be the best approach. Developing quality content, and monitoring
content provided by external sources, are not cost free exercises, and costs would
necessarily increase with scale.

Chapter Five. Get Found In The Blogosphere

The value of blogs as a means of engaging potential customers and linking to other sites,
“makes sense for many types of businesses for many reasons.” Establishing your

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business as an industry “thought leader” is one, another is the ability to change the
information on your web site without changing the site itself, generating repeat traffic.
Another benefit is an increase in search engine rankings, each blog article adds a page to
your web site, increasing its visibility to Google and other search engines.

Technical issues, such as assigning the blog address to your website rather than the
domain of the blogging platform, are discussed and the authors recommend allowing for
comments and providing email and rss subscriptions. They also recommend keeping the
articles short, avoiding anything over one page, and to remain focused on your industry
or events which have an impact upon it. Providing links to relevant articles or videos is
highly recommended, as is the insertion of video within your own blogs.

Inviting professionals within your industry, noted speakers and trainers, or customers with
strong online presence to act as guest bloggers is another technique which the authors
recommend to provide diversity and a fresh voice to your blog. Interviewing via emailed
questions provides a change of format and another viewpoint to supplement or reinforce
your own. In this manner, the workload of producing new and fresh content can be
spread around.

The importance of attracting the right audience, and assisting Google in finding that
audience for you, is given paramount importance, with the inclusion of the subject
incorporated it the blog’s title. Linking key phrases that relate to your web site is
recommended and described. The use of numbered lists and famous names, “10
Leadership Lessons From Don Corleone,” for example, is referred to as a highly
successful ploy.

“Pushing,” the blog by posting links to it on social media and asking readers to share it is
presented as a means to increase traffic, as is linking the blog to social bookmarking
sites. Asking personal contacts to review your blog and forward it with comments to their
personal contacts, beginning a chain of reviewers is hardly innovative, but certainly will
increase exposure.

With that in mind, the authors warn that most blogs fail because, “the author or company
writing the blog oversells their product or service.”

Subscribing to a good RSS reader, (the authors recommend Google Reader) will allow you
to subscribe to relevant blogs within your industry and engage in their conversations, with
the obvious goal of having them reciprocate. The authors recommend replacing the
morning newspaper with a review of the blogs to which you subscribe. Commenting on
those blogs and leaving accurate contact information will drive traffic to your own.

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Several methods and metrics for tracking the success of a blog are mentioned and their
values compared. The success of a blog is determined by the amount of inbound traffic,
the number of comments generated, and the number of links to other blogs. The authors
contend that six months to a year of following their recommendations will result with the
blog being one of the best sources of new customers for your company.

Using the blog Whole Story as an example, the authors demonstrate how Whole
Foods has established their presence on the web using the blog not to advertise products
but to attract customers through exploring the topics of health and nutrition.

The line between interruption and inbound marketing blurs a bit when the technique of
directly emailing contacts with requests to read a blog is broached. The desire to engage
potential customers through the creation of compelling articles is not much different than
the hope that advertising copy will be read by accompanying it with attractive
photography.

Inviting comments on blogs, and even traditional media articles, has become
commonplace. Unfortunately the rule of civility and decorum don’t always apply.
Comment sections nearly always require a moderator to maintain some sense of order,
the additional cost of providing a referee to keep comments clean and on topic is not
discussed. Just as blogs remain online for years, so do adverse comments.

Chapter 6. Getting Found On Google

Although the number of Google searches per day is cited, it is almost certainly obsolete,
as would be any number cited here. Suffice to say that millions search the web for
products, services, information, and fun every second of every day, and if your site is not
highly ranked on Google it is missing those searches. It would be as if your store front in
the shopping mall were to be behind a curtain.

A Google search results in a search engine results page, or SERP. The SERP displays both
organic results and paid results, which are essentially advertising by sponsors. Google
offers paid advertising, in which a company pays Google for every time their ad is clicked.
According to Halligan and Shah, “You pay Google to send visitors to your web site, and
how much you pay is based on how many people are competing for those same
searchers.”

Unpaid, or organic search results are based on Google’s determination on which sites
best answer the queries contained in the search. Increasing the chances that your web
site is the best answer for those queries is what search engine optimization (SEO) is all

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about.

The authors stress the need to appear as one of the first ten listings on the SERP. “A
recent study shows that Google’s first page captures over 89 percent of the traffic, and
most users will not look beyond the first page.” The key is not to be listed by Google but
to become highly ranked by Google.

Google ranks pages during a search based on the combination of relevance and
authority. Relevance is based on matching keywords and content. Authority is determined
by Google, based on the number and authority of sites linking to other sites. A high
authority site, as determined by Google, raises the authority of any site to which it is
linked.

When selecting keywords their relevance towards your company’s business is paramount.
Selecting keywords which are relevant, but less likely to be used by competitors is
recommended. As authority increases more commonly used keywords can be added,
since your recently acquired authority will increase your ranking with Google.

Page titles are highly important and the authors provide tips to maximize their efficiency.
Establish links to high authority pages, the value of pay per click campaigns and several
other approaches are discussed. The authors also warn against using techniques to
exploit holes in Google’s software. The practices of keyword search stuffing, using link
farms, and content duplication are all schemes to generate the false impression of more
hits, and will result in Google ignoring your site during a search.

The authors recommend the use of Website Grader, or similar free software, to aid in the
evaluation of your progress. Tracking the efficiency of the keywords you selected, as well
as the number of actual hits to your site and the ratio of visits to sales will allow you to
monitor your success, as well as provide possible subjects for you content factory. For
example, increasing hits on an article discussing a new or revised product may dictate
the need for an article discussing its impact on the industry.

As this is being written, in May 2012, Google is implementing yet another change in its
search engine. Called Knowledge Graph, Google has called this change a “critical first
step towards building the next generation of search, which taps into the collective
intelligence of the web and understands the world a bit more like people do.”

How this change will affect the recommendations in this chapter, if at all, remains
unknown at this writing. Google has changed the way it displays results based on
keywords, yet it appears that keywords and authority remain integral parts of a search.

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The contention that high quality, compelling content is what will drive people to your site
remains valid, but the best sites are of little value if they are not seen by Google. The
recently applied change is a reminder that companies need to be aware of every change
in the way Google conducts searches and displays results in order maximize their
visibility. Monitoring progress is not enough, monitoring Google’s changes, and how to
apply them to your site for maximum benefit, is something that needs to be
accomplished religiously, or the best content will be invisible to the desired audience.

Chapter 7 Get Found In Social Media

Comparing social media, as the previously have Google, to a watering hole the authors
write, “more of your potential customers hang out at the social media watering holes, so
this is where you need to hang out too, if you want to engage with them.”

The authors recommend using the same persona across all social media sites, to
establish continuity and consistency. Either a personal photo or an avatar reflecting some
part of your business logo is suggested as a profile image. An interesting bio, establishes
your credibility and confidence in your business expertise.

Using social media, in addition to your website, increases your reach across the internet.
Once a business page is created on Facebook, its multitude of features allows you to
drive traffic to your web site. The viral nature of Facebook can create hundreds of
potential customers through the links to one users page following yours.

The creation of a business page on Facebook is described step-by-step, suffice to say that
following the directions on Facebook itself is a simple procedure. Creating a sub-domain
for your Facebook page on your website is recommended and again a relatively simple
procedure.

Once a presence on Facebook is established it needs to be updated regularly to be an
effective marketing tool. This will require having someone being active on your page as
frequently as possible. While potentially an added cost to doing business the authors
assert, “Having a presence on a social networking site is swiftly becoming as important as
having a web site.”

In May 2012, in a poll conducted by the Associated Press and CNBC, half of those
surveyed said that Facebook is a passing fad. Whether it remains a vital force online or
passes the way of Compuserve chat rooms remains to be seen.

LinkedIn is discussed in a similar vein, with the establishment of new groups and the
joining of existing ones relevant to your industry considered an essential tool for further

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expanding your reach. A group established on LinkedIn should be added to your web site
as well as your email signature and discussed in your blog. Adding an rss feed to your
LinkedIn community will allow you to maintain an active presence on the site without daily
monitoring.

The use of Twitter to drive readers to your blog is covered, with recommendations of how
to create persuasive microblogs. Twitter’s tools to find potential followers with shared
interests, and how to use them to build a group of followers, are covered in detail.

The authors express disdain for the use of automated following tools. “Our advice: stay
away from robotic approaches to building relationships online. Social networks are about
being social and building genuine relationships for mutual gain.”

Digg’s front page, according to the authors, receives over 25,000 views in a single day.
Because of the nature of the Digg community, they recommend submitting only the very
best articles from your blog. The methods of scamming the Digg community are
discussed and of course the authors recommend not using them.

The use of other social media sites, such as YouTube and StumbleUpon, are discussed
and the means of using them to create interest in your products, services and expertise
are explored. The need to create content that compels fans to seek more is the common
thread throughout all the social media sites.

The authors themselves assert the need to be responsive and active on all the social
media sites, a chore which will be time consuming and distracting to anyone tasked with
other responsibilities, such as creating compelling content on a blog. The daily use of
social media is a full time job, simply engaging in the question and answer activity on
Linkedin could consume several hours a day.

In order to properly engage on multiple social media sites employees need to be
dedicated to the task as their main responsibility. It doesn’t take many visits to a page
that hasn’t been updated for several weeks to discard that page forever. What has been
discussed to this point is not simply setting up a system to allow potential customers to
find you. It is an active, dynamic program, requiring constant attention and maintenance,
which will allow you to engage several communities on a continuing basis.

In order to receive incoming activity you will need to be outgoing, with information,
activity, and discussion. Those who have approached the program expecting to create a
system that will drive customers to them will have by now discovered that they need to
constantly reach out or those customers will instead drive on by.

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Part Three Converting Customers

Chapter 8 Convert Visitors into Leads

The actions taken in the preceding chapters should have created a stream of visitors,
which now need to be converted into paying customers. Visitors to the web site that have
approached it via the steps listed to now may not necessarily have arrived at the site’s
home page. They may have connected to a blog or other page on the site. The authors
here describe the need to compel the visitor with a call-to-action.

The call to action is a giveaway in order to receive the visitors contact information, either
a webinar, a free e-book, a trial offer, and so on. They suggest the call to action be a
clickable image, prominently placed on every page on your site.

Warning against using a “Contact Us” link as a low response call to action, the authors
stress the need to obtain a visitor’s contact information for inclusion in a database.

All calls to action should use a principle the authors refer to as VEPA, an acronym for;
Valuable, Easy to use, Prominent, Action oriented. To determine what would be most
valuable to visitors to your site it is necessary to determine what drove them to the site in
the first place, data derived from monitoring your inbound marketing traffic as described
in the preceding chapters.

The goal is for visitors to your site to do more than just wander around, enjoying the
compelling content you’ve created for their benefit and leaving. You want them to leave
their contact information behind once they’ve dropped by.

“Generally businesses underestimate how valuable offers need to be in order to obtain
people’s contact information,” say Halligan and Shah. They suggest experimenting with
increasingly valuable offers

to see which generates the best response.

Offering a free gift to visitors in exchange for information is a sales technique as old as
the profession itself. There is little new here, other than the need to take advantage of
the increased exposure to which you’ve subjected your web site using the techniques
provided in the previous chapters. Offering to send the customer additional information
or a free sample/trial in return for obtaining their contact information allows the web site
to feed the sales force a continuous stream of leads.

An acceptable conversion rate, according to Halligan and Shah, is five percent of visitors
leaving behind their contact information. Every business would necessarily need to

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determine what their own level of success needs to be in order to justify the expense of
developing the system and maintaining it, as well as the value of the free offer.

Chapter 9 Convert Prospects into Leads

Prospects, different from visitors, arrive at your web site as the result of a targeted
approach, either through a pay per click, paid advertising, or email marketing campaign.
The web site should be configured so that prospects arrive at your site on a landing page,
specifically configured to receive them. “A good landing page can convert 50 percent of
its visitors into qualified leads while a poor one will convert less than one percent.”
according to the authors.

“Your landing page has one function only: to get people to fill out your form!” The authors
suggest removing navigation to the rest of your site and reducing offers on the landing
page will increase the likelihood that visitors, who have arrived here in response to a
solicitation, will do just that. They suggest, rather strongly, that since you’ve invested
money to draw them here that you reduce the options they have to drift elsewhere on
your site.

With this in mind, graphics should be limited to “eye-popping” images, and any
explanatory text should be kept simple, a short, bulleted list is suggested.

The form itself should be kept as simple as possible, with minimal information asked of
the prospect. Name, email address and a brief questionnaire over what products and
services the prospect is interested in should suffice. The form should be configured to an
autoresponder, ensuring the prospect receives a confirmation that the form has been
received.

According to the authors, “The biggest problem most companies face is not converting
more visitors to leads, but rather getting more visitors in the first place.” They suggest
spending eighty percent of your time getting more visitors and twenty percent converting
them to prospects.

They suggest as well that landing pages be configured so that they can easily be
changed, and their impact measured, by you, rather than by your IT department, should
you have one. The same advice applies to the forms on your web site.

The goal with landing pages is to obtain information which may be used by the sales
department to follow up with a prospective customer. Sales departments will ask for as
much information as possible, lengthening any form, and the authors suggest resisting
the pressure to do so.

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In smaller companies, in which there is no sales department, the entrepreneur will need
to decide how much information to ask for in the form. Judge for yourself, whether you
would be inclined to provide a raft of information or just a few lines and construct the
form accordingly.

The authors, in chapter nine, have somewhat dismissed the needs of the sales
department and espoused the concept of increased volume of prospects increasing sales,
rather than increasing the percentage of conversion of prospects. That concept may not
sit well with all organizations, each will have to weigh it on its own merits within their
industry.

Chapter 10 Convert Leads To Customers

Not all leads become customers and the authors turn here to the means of determining
quality leads. “By ‘quality’ we mean those leads that are likely to become customers.” To
determine quality, there are means of grading leads, some available via commercial
software, and some which can be developed manually.

One means is to determine the referral channel, whether the lead arrived via Google
search, blog visits, social media, etc. Tracking of the various means of arriving at your
site is strongly suggested. (Hubspot sells software to help you do this)

Answers to questions on your contact forms is another method of grading leads, although
in the previous chapter it was suggested that the forms be kept as short and simple as
possible. Here the authors recommend finding just the right balance between too much
and too little to get the right length on your lead forms.

Evaluating the data obtained from the steps above allows you to determine if the lead is
ready to be turned over to sales or if more nurturing is necessary. “The idea behind lead
nurturing is to maintain communication and dialog with these leads so that when they are
ready to buy, your product is at the top of their mind.” The nurturing program should
consist of contact through email, telephone and postal mail.

Nurturing leads can lead to tweaking of the landing pages discussed earlier, as well as
having an effect on the content of your blogs and interaction via social media. Objections
from prospects can be overcome obliquely by a new article on your blog, or via a forum
discussion on Facebook, tools previously separated from the sales process.

Having applied the steps recommended up to this point you will have broadened your
reach into markets that were seemingly closed. Announcing new services and products

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through social media will, for example, extend your reach through your own contacts to
their own, and through them to theirs. In addition, identifying the needs addressed by
your products and services through social media forums and blogs will have enhanced
your credibility as a leader in your industry.

Sending out large email campaigns and marketing through pop-up ads has conditioned
people to respond to them as conduits for propaganda, largely dismissing them unless
they were in the market to acquire the goods or services so marketed, a fortuitous
circumstance at best. Sending out the same information via social media reaches people
conditioned to use that media for information, making them more open to new ideas, and
enabling immediate verification of their value.

Part Four Making Better Decisions

Chapter 11 Make Better Marketing Decisions

Halligan and Shah redefine the traditional marketing pipeline as a funnel. Inputs at the
top of the funnel are all existing marketing campaigns that drive targeted and untargeted
traffic, the output at the bottom are customers. The authors describe the process as a
funnel because the input is funneled through a process which results in a much smaller
output.

The funnel is a measuring device which allows the marketing manager to decide which
processes work best and produce the most customers at the bottom. Divided into four
stages, prospects, leads, opportunity, and customer, the funnel provides a measurement
of marketing effectiveness. “The key to an effective sales funnel is not the decision
criteria–it’s that you have a funnel and that you consistently measure it.”

With a channel for each marketing effort, the efforts can be measured against each
other as well as evaluated singly at each stage of the funnel, checking for efficiency at
drawing prospects, converting them to leads, and so forth. The authors recommend that
the two worst performing channels be replaced with the inbound marketing techniques
described in the preceding chapters, with additional inbound marketing channels added
as its effectiveness is realized. “Use this information to help you decide which programs
to double down on and which to eliminate.”

Eliminating the least performing channels as revealed by the funnel includes the so-called
“sacred cows”, such as conventions and trade shows, if they are in fact not performing as
well as the other channels.

Measuring effectiveness of each marketing effort by the means of equal criteria through

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the funnel will drive marketing decisions by the results.

Using a single measuring device to evaluate each separate marketing channel provides
clear data as to wear marketing dollars are spent for maximum efficiency. The stages of
the funnel will be different for every company, based on its operating procedures, and
thus must be determined by each company individually.

The recommendation to establish the funnel stages by a meeting of the marketing
department allows a say from employees responsible for individually marketing channels.
It would be wise to make such a meeting a short one, and to have some basic funnel
ready for modification, rather than create it from scratch at a meeting of all employees.
It is also evident that the funnel as a measuring device will not be effective unless the
same criteria, without exception, as applied to each channel.

Chapter 12 Picking and Measuring Your People

“The next several decades will usher in an era of inbound marketing.” Asking the
question of what this means for your marketing staff, the authors a list of
recommendations they refer to as DARC; Hire Digital Citizens, Hire for Analytical Chops,
Hire for Web Reach, and Hire Content Creators. Although the acroynym seems a bit
strained, it provides the basis for a marketing department ready to apply the inbound
marketing strategies discussed in the preceding chapters.

Interview questions regarding an applicant’s fluency using social media and Google are
suggested. The authors suggest hiring only applicants which have previously
demonstrated expertise using social media, including YouTube and Google.

The wealth of information being provided by the properly set up inbound marketing
strategy will require constant and perceptive analysis to extract the maximum benefit.
Testing for analytical ability during the hiring process is highly recommended.

Just as sales and marketing representatives with an extensive contact list were highly
desired by companies in the past, the future will require extensive web contacts, which
the authors call web reach. Applicants with extensive Twitter followers or a large number
of Facebook friends are highly desirable, according to the authors. People with extensive
web contacts, not just a large email contact list, help widen the top of the marketing
funnel.

As previously stressed, compelling content is at the core of the successful inbound
marketing program. Content creators must be able to consistently produce
knowledgeable, remarkable copy. The authors have earlier recommended hiring a

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journalist or professional writer for this position, rather than a technical writer, and
suggest testing their skills by having them write on your blog prior to hiring them. The
blog can then be measured for its effectiveness in drawing hits.

“Many professional marketers today are so steeped in the traditions and skill-sets of
outbound marketing that it can be difficult to get them to learn new skills.” The authors
suggest that it can be tried, recommending reading their book as a start, or sending them
to Inbound Marketing University. Methods for evaluating progress and developing skills
are suggested as well.

Basically, the authors suggest rewriting the job descriptions and skill requirements of your
marketing department, and acknowledge that some resistance will be met. As noted
before, there are many people out there who think Facebook is a passing fad, that
Twitter has little value professionally and that time spent on social media is time wasted,
not productive work. Indeed it can be.

Another advantage of the inbound marketing strategies not stressed by the authors is
much of it can be accomplished off site. It isn’t necessary to come into the office, as it
were, to produce blogs, interact with Facebook and LinkedIn, or follow on Twitter.
Telecommuting is another practice frowned upon by many old school managers and
business professionals, but one which will inevitably grow in the future. Indeed the social
interaction required by successful inbound marketing programs could well replace the
social interaction within the workplace.

The recruiting and interviewing process will require revamping, particularly in larger
organizations. Before a successful inbound marketing program can be implemented the
best employees need to be identified and their skills quantified by those responsible for
the hiring process. This will require training them in the rudiments of the new skills and
abilities required. The authors do not address this need, but it will rapidly become evident
in practice.

Chapter 13 Picking and Measuring a PR Agency

The authors define PR agencies as having two core competencies, lists of relationships
with print media people and developed skills interrupting print media people with your
organization’s new offerings. “However, both of these core competencies have
problems,” they assert.

Problem one is that print media has largely been supplanted by the blogosphere and
social media as a source of information, particularly rapidly evolving information. The
second is that journalists and print media professionals also have access to the

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blogosphere and social media, negating the need for PR agencies to bring new
information to their attention.

The authors recommend evaluating the PR agency and each individual member of the
team on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, et al. “The second filter is to see whether the PR
agency eats its own dog food.” Halligan and Shah recommend running the prospective PR
firm’s website through Website Grader. “If they really understood inbound marketing,
they would find the time to better market themselves.”

They also suggest asking the PR agency to provide the names of some existing clients
and then running those clients web sites through Website Grader. The use of these three
steps should ensure hiring the right PR agency for your organization.

Measuring progress with the PR agency is suggested and several tracking methods to
monitor their success expanding your brand are discussed. Google search is the primary
method of tracking. “If your brand is increasingly mentioned in Google, your PR agency
should be rewarded.

There is not a lot of information in this chapter, indeed the authors seem to feel a PR
agency is unnecessary if your marketing department is staffed with enough people
complying with their DARC model. Whether to hire one is an individual decision based on
many factors, budget being among them. But it is clear from the authors’ comments that
the work accomplished by a PR agency is readily duplicated by a strong inbound
marketing staff.

On the other hand, the authors’ note that there are a growing number of PR agencies
adept in the process of inbound marketing, providing an alternative to developing an
inbound marketing program in-house, particularly during the transition from traditional
outbound marketing. Again, every company would have to decide for itself if the use of a
PR agency is the right call for their goals.

Chapter 14 Watching Your Competition

Describing the Web as “a flattener of all marketplaces” the authors’ point out its unique
efficiency at spreading ideas and information about new products and services. Citing the
need to be a little paranoid about your own company’s information, they assert that there
are many ways for you to track your competition.

They suggest going again to Website Grader and doing direct comparisons between your
web site and those of your competition. They warn to pay special attention to new startup
competitors as they will be more likely to be placing a special focus on their web

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presence.

In a similar vein, they suggest direct comparisons of Facebook pages and fan bases, and
using Twitter.Grader to provide comparisons there. On Google, a search of your brand
will provide a numnber for links, while a search for a competitor will do the same for
them.

Measuring your performance against your competitors, as well as evaluating their web
presence, will provide data from which you can determine areas where you are being
beaten by the competition and thus need further evaluation. If they have twice as many
Facebook fans, maybe you need to enhance your presence there. More followers on
Twitter might direct you to increase the frequency and relevance of your tweets.

Tracking the results from the various web tools on a spreadsheet, and checking them
monthly, will provide guidance not only on the performance of your competitors and
marketing effectiveness, but on the overall market as well.

There are those who consider themselves too busy to care about what the competition is
doing, with the somewhat smug attitude that if they do everything right themselves the
competition will be left behind. The tools available for free on the web allowing you to
monitor your position in the marketplace are invaluable sources of information on
changing conditions and trends.

The authors don’t mention in this chapter monitoring your competitors blogs, but it would
seem to be a good idea to do so, especially since the likelihood is they are monitoring
yours. Hardly spying, the review of public exchanged information on social media is
nonetheless a gray area, with the courts in several states trying to decide if following
someone on Twitter constitutes stalking, for example.

Chapter 15 On Commitment, Patience and Learning

The authors compare learning inbound marketing to learning to play a guitar. It is an
inapt analogy, as learning to play the guitar requires physical co-ordination, learning to
shape the hand in strange configurations and moving the fingers with previously untried
dexterity. There are mental lessons to learn as well.

But the point being made by the authors, that many try and give up before they ever
learn to play a simple song is true. “In other words, there is a big hurdle at the beginning
of learning to play guitar and this hurdle weeds out those people not fully committed.”
Their point is that full commitment is necessary when implementing an inbound
marketing program.

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“If you have not started doing inbound marketing yet, get started today before your
competitors do,” they write. The authors are confident that the process they have
described in the preceding chapter will work for any organization, regardless of size.
Although they acknowledge that there are points at which progress may seem slow, they
urge their readers to persevere.

They cite the example of Tom Brady, as a measure of perseverance in a closing pep talk.

The inbound marketing techniques and processes described would seem to be easy to
implement, with the biggest obstacle being the conversion of those marketing
professionals schooled in the old school outbound strategies and hardened to its habits.
Like any change, there are those who will face it by resisting it to their utmost. There will
be those who will say, “That’s not marketing. It’s something else.” And in a sense, they
will be right. It isn’t marketing in the sense of presenting information to the masses in the
hope that a percentage of them will pick up on it.

Just as cellular technology has largely replaced long distance phone rates, just as the
telegram, once a wonder of communication, is all but extinct, changing conditions have
changed the marketplace. The tools discussed in Inbound Marketing are relevant today,
even if Facebook is a passing fad it will be replaced by another communication program
uniting people across the internet. Hershey, once known as the chocolate company that
never advertises, has a Facebook page with nearly five million likes. That should be
impetus enough.

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Key Terms and Definitions

Interruption Marketing: Marketing method in which the attention of a prospect is attained
by interrupting whatever they are doing and asking for their attention, whether by email,
direct mail, commercial break or any other means. All outbound marketing is based on
the technique of interruption.

Remarkable (sic) Content: A term developed by the authors to describe the compelling
content and copy developed on blogs, newsletters, Facebook forums and other such
media. The authors italicized remark to stress the need to develop compelling content
that the readers would remark upon through their own blogs or other social media.

Social Media: Defined by Webster’s as media for social interaction, social media allow for
what was formerly known as “word-of-mouth” advertising and marketing to take place
across the Web and other platforms.

RSS: RDF site summary, often referred to as Really Simple Syndication RSS allows a
subscriber to be fed lists of desired information by subscription, creating syndicated feeds
on a desired scheduled. The authors’ recommend subscribing to Google’s free RSS
reader, there are many others to choose from available on the Web.

Content Factory: A group established for the purpose of creating compelling content for
blogs and other articles on a consistent continuing basis. As remarkable content is at the
core of successful inbound marketing, according to the authors, the need for a strong
team of writers and video developers is stressed, with its creation as a content factory
highly recommended.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO): The process of improving the quality and volume of
web traffic to a website. SEO techniques such as improving the authority of a site,
developing effective keywords, and developing better visibility to search engines is at the
core of the inbound marketing process.

VEPA: An acronym developed by the authors derived from; Valuable, Easy to use,
Prominent, and Action oriented. VEPA is the standard by which calls to action by visitors
to your website should be measured for efficiency.

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Conversion: One of the goals of an inbound marketing program, conversion is the process
by which visitors to your website respond to one of your offers and provide follow-up
information, enabling them to be converted to prospects and eventually leads.

DARC: Another acronym, used in reference to establishing criteria to build a successful
inbound marketing team. DARC refers to; Hiring Digital citizens, Hire for Analytical chops,
Hire for Web Reach, and Hire Content Creators.

SERP: Search Engine Results Page, generated by a search engine in response to a query.
The goal of inbound marketing is to have your website listed within the top ten results for
a given search.

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Interesting Related Facts

Brian Halligan’s lifelong love of the Grateful Dead led him to write Marketing Lessons
from the Grateful Dead, a book that applies inbound marketing techniques to the band’s
career.

Inbound Marketing has had seven printings and sold over 50,000 copies, and has been
translated into nine languages.

Brian Halligan coined the term inbound marketing as a result of studying Seth
Godin’s Permission Marketing.

The Boston Globe ranked Hubspot as the number four Top Places to Work Awards list for
the year 2010.

Hubspot has no established vacation policy, allowing employees to take as much time off
as they wish, whenever they wish.

Inbound Marketing University’s (IMU) website offers a link for a free Internet Marketing
Kit, an example of the technique described in the book.

IMU offers a course of 18 internet marketing webinars which lead a successful student to
a certification as an Internet Marketing Certified Professional

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Sources and Additional Reading

The Boston Globe: Hubspot is sold on email marketing

Boston Globe names Hubspot

Vacation Anytime

Inc.com: My Story: Brian Halligan of Hubspot

CNN.com: Things Entrepreneurs Never Tell Their Investors

Hubspot.com: Can PR Firms Lead the Inbound Marketing Revolution?

Presidential Internet Marketing Data

Media Marketing Hub: Media Marketing Hub

37Signals.com: About 37Signals

Forbes: Add ‘Inbound Marketing’ to your Marketing Options List

Social Media Connects Us to Friends, Not Prospects

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About The Author

Larry Holzwarth
Larry Holzwarth is a freelance writer and submarine veteran. A former US
Navy systems analyst, he has been a corporate writer on diverse subjects,
a professional trainer, recruiter and lecturer.

A lifelong student of history, he enjoys reading, camping, hiking and Reds baseball. After
traveling extensively he returned to his native midwest where he resides near Cincinnati.

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