I just finished reading a great book on social media and I strongly recommend that anyone interested in social media and market. In fact, I would go so far to say that:
if you only read one book on Social Media this year, read Inbound Marketing!
The book is “Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media and Blogs (The New Rules of Social Media)” by HubSpot co-founders Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah. I am not the only one who is praising this book. Of the 67 reviews on Amazon since the book came out in October, 61 people rated the book as 5 stars out of five, 5 rated it as as 4 out of five and there’s just 1 contrarian moron.
Wikipedia describes inbound marketing as a style of marketing that focuses on getting found by the customer. According to the HubSpot website, Brian Halligan originally coined the term inbound marketing and which others have described as relationship marketing or permission marketing. On the other hand, traditional marketing or outbound marketing is the process by which companies find customers by advertising. The two types of marketing could not be further apart. One analogy in the book refers to the divide as “spending with your brain” (inbound) or “spending with your wallet” (outbound).
The book presents the all information in a very clear and concise manner – and each chapter includes real life examples and tips, and ends with a checklist of relevant to do items.
There are 4 main parts of the book:
- Part 1 – Inbound Marketing: discusses how shopping has changed, asks whether your website is a marketing hub and whether you are worthy.
- Part 2 – Get Found by Prospects: focuses on creating remarkable content, and getting found in the blogosphere, Google and social media. There is a very simple description of SEO (search engine optimization) along with hints for using pay-per-click and organic means to drive traffic to your website.
- Part 3 – Converting Customers: talks about how to convert visitors into prospects, prospects into leads and leads into customers.
- Part 4 – Make Better Decisions: describes how to make better marketing decisions, how to pick better marketing people and measure them, picking and measuring a PR agency and watching your competition
Not only did Brian and Dharmesh write a compelling book, their company lives what they preach. In addition to their corporate website and blog, they provide several great (and free) tools such as Website Grader and Twitter Grader. These tools provide a numerical score of how your website or Twitter account is performing along with suggestions on how to make improvements. They also have a related website called Inbound Marketing University. Inbound Marketing University is self-described as a “a free marketing retraining program for marketing professionals—as well as marketers between jobs—looking to gain new skills to get ahead in the competitive workforce.” The site provides marketing resources, webinars, news and a community forum. along with a series of 15 online/downloadable courses that will prepare you to take the Certified Inbound Marketing exam.
A free chapter from the book titled “Hiring in the DARC Ages” is available on the site. This is one of my most favorite chapters as it talks about the 4 key types of people you should be hiring – digital citizens with analytical chops, marketing reach and content creators. From my experience, many marketing teams need some serious overhauls to get people who understand and contribute in an age of inbound marketing and social media.
The authors conclude with a very strong call to action:
You have in your hands the playbook for getting found by your prospective customers and have no reason not to get started…now, today, this minute.
In the meantime, I found this Inbound Marketing 101 presentation provided by HubSpot Marketing on SlideShare and it presents a good overview of what is covered in the book. This should be enough to whet your appetite until you get a chance to run over to the book store and get your own copy (or read it on your Kindle/iPhone like I’m doing).