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Sep 05, 2019

Guide to Inbound Marketing for business owners

Article brought to you by Nilead, a website builder platform with fully-managed design, development, and management services.

Inbound Marketing For Business Owners


Table of contents

In 2009, Dharmesh Shah and Brian Halligan, founders of HubSpot, literally wrote the book on inbound marketing.

The definition, as taken straight from HubSpot website: "Inbound marketing is a business methodology that attracts customers by creating valuable content and experiences tailored to them. While outbound marketing interrupts your audience with content they don't want, inbound marketing forms connections they're looking for and solves problems they already have."

In short: Valuable, personalized content helps to bring in customers.

As you may have noticed already, I emphasized the word VALUABLE by putting it first.

HubSpot’s partner program made it easy for any agency to become an Inbound Marketing Partner. Buy the software for yourself, take some online quizzes, and you’re officially an inbound expert and a HubSpot partner.

The reality is that: creating valuable content and effectively push it to the right people at the right time is not an easy task.

Inbound Marketing is not for everyone

There is no solution that can fit all businesses. Before jumping on the bandwagon, check the following fit criteria first:

Right people

  • Do your customers research a lot?
    (If your customers do not research before/after buying, it's pointless to create content for them)
  • Are your customers willing to interact online?
    (If your customers do not interact online, it's harder to track their reaction and engage further with them)

Right product

  • Do you sell high-value products/services?
    (If you sell low-profit products or short-lived products you may not be able to budget for creating content)
  • Do your products need in-depth content?
    (Complex products and services generally work better with Inbound Marketing)

Right Condition

  • Is your sales cycle longer than 1 week?
    (If you sell low-profit products or short-lived products you may not be able to budget for creating content)
  • Do you currently need more high-quality opportunities??
    (Inbound Marketing works best for products/services that require a longer sales cycle)
  • Do you have the resources to create quality content on a regular basis?
    (Inbound Marketing takes time to work, you should give it at least 6-12 months run)
  • Are you willing to share information and insights related to your products/services publicly?
    (It's difficult to generate content if you are restricted in the types of information you can publish)

That said, you don't need to be a huge company to apply Inbound Marketing. You can be a 1 person shop and still run Inbound Marketing well. While many sources recommend generating lots of contents to keep the visitors interested, I strongly advise focusing on quality. If you cannot find the time to write every day, do it every week (or month).

Inbound Marketing action plan

HubSpot has done a great job in detailing the action plan which I strongly recommend that you go through. Inbound Marketing has its root in Digital Content Marketing which I strongly recommend you to read if you are new to the concept. Below, you will find the same task list for Inbound Marketing:

1. Define your Buyer Personas

Learn who are your customers, what they care about.

2. Outline your Marketing Triggers

Identify the events and pain points that cause your customers to look for your solution. These events are known more formally as marketing triggers.

3. Create a list of Keywords

Find out how your customers search for more information about your solution. We have an article on keyword research for beginners that may help get you started.

4. Set your Inbound Marketing Goals

The key to successful Digital Marketing is constant measurement and optimization. Your Sales & Marketing teams should decide what numbers are important for them to measure and improve.

5. Outline your Content Strategy

Understanding the questions, concerns and objections that each of your buyer personas have during the three stages Awareness, Consideration, Purchase will help your content strategy take shape. If you are new to Content Marketing, check out our Content Marketing Strategy article.

6. Design Your Lead Nurturing Process

Each customer has his/her own thought process. The best way to reach out to leads and answer their questions is through a series of automated, personalized contents (usually by emails).

GetResponse and Mailchimp are 2 well-known tools for Email Campaign and Automation.

7. Create a Conversion Focused Content Strategy

Encourage conversation, feedback from your users via multiple channels.

8. Implement an Inbound Marketing Platform

While Inbound Marketing is mostly about the strategy and the content creation, things can quickly get out of hand if you want to scale up the delivery of your personalized content. HubSpot has built a complete system for you to do just that. You could build a landing page with, collect the information and save to HubSpot CRM, automate email marketing and track campaigns efficiency on HubSpot.

Hubspot platform can help you save tons of time, but it does come with a high price tag for small businesses. You can string various tools together such as Instapage, Crisp, GetResponse, MailChimp, Zapier to lower the cost. The drawback is that you will have to live with fragmented data and sometimes it's difficult to integrate all these tools together smoothly.


About the author


Vu Nguyen

Vu Nguyen is an entrepreneur, developer, and founder of Nilead. He loves backend website development and has experience in eCommerce (owning an online store as well as being a developer), Search Engine Optimization, UX Design, and Content Strategy.

Since 2005, Vu has headed and overseen UX design teams for projects in corporations, start-ups, individuals, etc., regardless of their size. He has been involved in both the creative and technical aspects of each project - from ideation to concept and vision, prototype building to detailed design, and build-up to deployment.

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