Book Summary: Inbound Marketing – Written by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah
Running a business with long sales cycles can be very frustrating. It’s a lot of fun dealing with cold calls, traditional prospecting, and complaining salespeople. If you manage or work for an office equipment, high-tech, or other business-to-business sales organization, then this book is for you.
Why is this important to me?
I always want to ask this question as if I am sitting in your shoes. Will this summary benefit you if you review it? Companies today have to innovate to win business. The key word here is win. Traditional outbound or push marketing works, but today it is much less effective. Push marketing techniques include blanket advertising, print ads, cold calling, telemarketing, spam, and other intrusive techniques.
Magnetic or pull marketing is very effective today because prospects are better educated. When they want information, they first go to Google and search for relevant content. Pull marketing techniques are SEO (search engine optimization), social media, blogs, thought leadership websites, videos, podcasts, and a host of other content generation devices.
There is a lot of excellent information in this book. For reasons of time, I am going to outline three important points.
1. Create content – Most websites are “brochures” meaning they are simply trying to sell goods and services. Problems with this approach include: 1. Product-centric and not customer-centric, 2. No differentiation from the competition, 3. Commodity-driven, which equates to very little profit. Content creation is all about helping your defined customers with their problems as far as your solutions. This happens with FAQs, blog posts, white papers, and other relevant content. Content relevancy is critical and has to be driven by the customer and not the business. This quote from Ben Franklin sums it up: “Either write something worth reading about or do something worth writing about.”
2. Specialists: Creating content will allow you to become a leader in your field. Clients want to work with leaders, experts and specialists. This is the fastest and best way to outpace your competition and differentiate your offering from theirs. The easiest way to start doing this is to read related blog articles, comment on them, and share them. Take your content and repurpose it into a blog, video, and podcast and spread it across YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter. People want flexibility with content and when you give it to them, they will take action and follow you. If you’re competing against larger organizations, this can be a real advantage. Remember that most people are ticking a clock and if you show passion for your industry you will be seen as a thought leader and your business will grow.
3. Measure: The best thing about inbound marketing is that you can measure everything. This means you have a running machine that can be tuned for maximum performance. Google is an unlimited prospecting machine. You can set up a PPC (pay per click) campaign and get feedback in a couple of hours. The goal is to keep what works and discard what doesn’t. Measuring progress will make your inbound lead generation a finely tuned orchestra.
Inbound marketing is the holy grail of lead generation because once you get it right, lead generation comes together. This is the secret difference between inbound and outbound lead generation. If you use telemarketing then you have to pay people every day to make calls and they will get a percentage of leads. With inbound marketing, you build your following and the traffic that begins to accumulate, which magnifies the effect of word of mouth. This is a big problem and the key is to give it enough time to pay off.
I hope you have found this brief summary useful. The key to any new idea is to work it into your daily routine until it becomes a habit. Habits are formed in as little as 21 days. One thing you can take away from this book is that inbound marketing has compounding effects. Capitalization is the secret to growing a wildly successful organization. Become an inbound marketer and people will pay you big bucks for your work.