We're an inbound agency and we love all things inbound, let's just get that out of the way. We've seen the power that inbound has to attract more of your ideal customers and start better sales conversations.
However, although the inbound methodology is far from new, there's a definite lag in the UK market around understanding and harnessing the power of inbound. The two main barriers are lack of knowledge and agency management costs.
Well, here's the good news: we're going to show you how you can both learn more about inbound and how to learn inbound marketing for free - well, as close to free as possible.
What is inbound marketing?
The inbound concept isn't new and neither is the answer to the question, 'what is inbound marketing?', but I'm always surprised at the number of businesses in the UK who haven't heard of it, or who dismiss it straight out of the gate.
It's about attraction
Let's start with the explanation. I do a lot of public speaking and presentations at networking meetings, events, and our very own Leeds HubSpot User Group meet-up and I've really tried to hone the definition of marketing in an inbound way so that businesses can understand what it is and, more importantly, how it can benefit them.
"Inbound marketing is a means of engaging earlier with more of your ideal prospects through content that solves their problems and addresses their needs and goals. It is adaptive to different marketing channels depending on where your prospects spend their time.
It will help you start more sales conversations than less effective, traditional marketing methods."
For us, inbound isn't a tangible single thing but a collection of separate elements and marketing activities. It can be thought of more like search engine optimisation; a group of related activities that add up to a whole that's greater than the sum of its individual parts.
In more firm terms, marketing in an inbound way means applying a collection of the following marketing activities:
- Blogging and larger content production
- Search engine optimisation
- Calls to action and landing page creation
- Website conversion optimisation
- Email marketing
- Social media
- Sales and lead nurturing
- Analytics and data measuring
It's about making the most of what you have
An easy thing to forget is that all businesses are doing some form of marketing. Yes, some are doing it better than others, but whatever activities your doing and whichever platforms you're currently promoting your products and services through, switching to a more inbound way of marketing is actually a lot easier than you think.
The first step is to look at what you're already doing. You can do a quick fact check and mini marketing assessment of your own by asking some simple questions of your business:
- Are you on social media? If so, how is that working for you? If not, what's putting you off - is it a time barrier, lack of understanding, etc.?
- Does your website get a lot of traffic? If yes, then how is that translating to leads or customers? If not, then what can you do to attract more?
- What do you do when you get a lead? Are you nurturing them, or sending an email once and hoping for the best?
- How are you measuring the return on investment of your marketing? Do you set SMART goals and measure the results? Are you analysing results regularly or just winging it?
Once you've identified areas where you're doing well and those where you might need some help, you'll have a better understanding of which activities to focus on improving and which you can start to strengthen and enhance.
For example, if you're already pushing out a lot of helpful content and attracting lots of visitors to your website but not seeing many leads coming through, it might be that you can focus on conversion optimisation and the user journey on your website to help nudge more of your unknown visitors into leaving their contact details.
Conversely, if you are really good at converting visitors into leads, but would like more, maybe you need a content strategy to help attract more visitors in the first place.
Learn the basics of inbound marketing for free
There are tons of resources out there to help you understand inbound marketing including our own introductory guide, but here are a few other resources we'd recommend to get started:
- HubSpot - arguably the leading global authority on inbound
- Inbound Certification - online courses and training provided by HubSpot
- Content Marketing Institute - a hugely popular site for all things digital and content marketing
- Inbound.org - a forum-based curation of the top inbound articles offered by the top industry thought leaders and influencers
- CreatedRed Media's Inbound Blog - a select portion of our popular blog dedicated to marketing in an inbound way
- CreatedRed Media's Free Resources - lots of handy downloadable guides, factsheets and workbooks
Learn inbound marketing through hands on training
Of course, there's no substitution for hands on training or guided learning. This is where you can gain some knowledge and application designed specifically for your business.
Again, the free resources above are a great way to get started and build a solid foundation of better marketing activities for your business.
For more advanced training, we have some in-house solutions for businesses looking to vastly improve their marketing without having to commit to a monthly retainer.
- Learn in a group situation with our popular inbound marketing webinars
- Book a dedicated training workshop day for your team at your place or ours
- Talk to us about creating an marketing blueprint - a personalised strategy created for your business mapping out the exact activities you need to do for 3-6 months to skyrocket your lead generation
Ultimately, it's about doing what works
It's easy to get sucked into a world of buzzwords and fancy, bleeding edge techniques, but the thing to bear in mind is that inbound isn't a new-fangled thing and is hear to stay.
The bottom line is that any marketing has to be measurable and adapt to the conditions of the market. If you're doing some activities and they're working, great! Do more of those. If what you're doing isn't driving results, either look to switch it up and measure again, or ditch it and try something else.