How to start inbound marketing before you buy HubSpot

You’ve decided to practice inbound marketing. Here are the main considerations to explore before you get started.

Written by Jack Cribb
Inbound marketing |   5 minute read

So you’ve decided inbound marketing is for you: fantastic decision. But this can be a confusing leap without the right preparation. It takes a lot of research, planning and effort to gain the success you deserve from inbound marketing

Don't worry, though, we can help you figure out what to prepare before you sign on the dotted line. Here are our main recommendations for how to start inbound marketing.

Inbound marketing: the basics

You and your team need to take the time to research, learn and understand the key ideas of the inbound methodology and the main methods that are used. The methodology is your starting point that you can use as the viewpoint from which things like SEO, PPC, social media, video and content marketing are planned and implemented. 

Here’s a quick and simple reminder...

Inbound marketing revolves around providing reliable and useful content for potential customers in an effort to build trust, so that they’re all the more likely to do business with you in the future. It’s based around offering content like videos, blogs, downloads and infographics digitally so that your site is the one a prospect will return to.

How likely a prospect is to do business with you depends on which stage of their buyer’s journey they’re on.

The buyer’s journey

The buyer’s journey is the specific narrative of actions a prospect takes in the lead up to making a purchase. It’s a more accurate description of the way people purchase today, by using technology and research to inform their decisions.

It can be split into three stages: Awareness, Consideration and Decision.

Buyers_Journey_with_Explanatory_Text-1

A HubSpot infographic explaining the Buyer’s Journey.

There is also a fourth stage, Delight. This is where you further ‘delight’ the prospect by offering further information and great customer service after they’ve made a purchase.

Buyer personas

Personas are the keys to your content creation efforts. Before you get started planning your inbound campaign, you’ll need to research and create these. 

A persona is a character created from market research, customer interviews and surveys and a few educated guesses. They act as a reference point for who you’re tailoring your content to. They can represent a specific demographic, job role, demand or a mixture of all these and more.

Without a persona, you’ll be generating content without a relevant target to aim at. This can make your content appear sloppy and non-specific. Imagine NASA firing a rocket with no general direction - there’s not much point to their efforts. Creating buyer personas helps you to avoid this meandering, which could affect your overall success, by optimising your content for a bespoke audience.

Well-researched, relevant and actionable buyer personas and journeys are crucial steps when it comes to how to start inbound marketing. 

Review your site and social media

These are the two main things that your audience will be interacting with, so it’s a good idea to make sure they’re in good shape. In terms of your website, you may need to sand off some rough edges if you’re going to survive in the inbound world.

Take some time to go over these key considerations:

  • How easy is it to navigate your site?
  • Do you have an active blog?
  • Does your site offer relevant information?
  • Are the pages visually appealing or messy?

The main thing you want from your website is for it to be SEO-friendly. There’s not much point in having a website if it ends up at page 40 of Google’s search results.

This is also the perfect time to do an audit of your site to see whether you have a strong and identifiable brand voice. Developing some brand and tone of voice guidelines is a great way of getting the whole workforce on the same page when creating content. 

Similarly, take a look into your social media presence. Do you have accounts on the main social media sites? How often do you post? You should be making a constant effort to join the conversation surrounding your industry and service offerings. This means reaching out to people or posting about things related to your industry or even by starting the conversation yourself. 

Before purchasing a great CRM like HubSpot, you need to determine where you stand with your website and social media. This will help you to figure out how to best employ HubSpot later on, so that it can be efficiently utilised when building an authoritative presence. You’ll be able to discover:

  • What’s working well.
  • What needs to be improved upon.
  • What needs to be started from scratch.

Determine your KPIs

Determining your KPIs for inbound marketing is incredibly important. They’re the reference points you can look back on to see if your efforts are paying off. Creating this list of performance indicators to work towards can help you when developing each campaign, allowing you to focus on the areas that need the most attention.

For example, you might want to consider utilising these variables as your KPIs:

  • Message click-through rate.
  • Rich snippet opportunities.
  • CTA click-through rate.
  • Landing page conversion rate.
  • Website bounce rate.
  • ROI of specific actions.

If you’re going to use a marketing platform like HubSpot, you’ll be able to easily track each of these KPIs. It’s wise to remember that each of your goals should be created both realistically and methodically. 

The tools to consider

Capitalising upon a digital marketplace can be made faster, more efficient and easier by investing in top quality software or online services that can aid you in your content creation and distribution strategies. You may have already decided upon one of HubSpot’s packages, but what else can you use to complement this CRM?

SEMrush

SEMrush is an SEO powerhouse. It’s a tool that researches keywords, tracks the keywords of your competition, runs SEO audits of your content, searches for backlinking opportunities and so much more. 

Through aiding your keyword research, SEMrush helps you to target industry niches and popular searches more effectively. Furthermore, by identifying new unique keyword opportunities, you’re able to make your site the most relevant to potential customers.

Moz

Moz is an organisation that really get your SEO operations up and running. They work to optimise your website so that it can grow efficiently and organically. 

Using Moz, you’re able to analyse your audience and better understand how they find your business. You can see how specific campaigns are working in terms of improving your site rankings.

Developing an SEO-friendly site is an important part of effective inbound marketing. 

Grammarly

The whole point of inbound marketing is to offer good quality content so that your audience finds education and help in their journey. 

This means your content needs to be spotless. We’re talking about it being grammatically correct, with no spelling mistakes, punctuation errors, syntax issues or any other problems that might rear their collectively ugly heads.

Now, no one is a writing expert. We can write 100 great blogs, 99 of which are all perfect, but people will remember one mistake in that 100th piece of content. Having consistently good content builds trust in a client or prospect. That’s where Grammarly comes in. 

Grammarly is a free writing assistant that’s easily added to your extensions. It detects issues across the board, from grammar to syntax and even issues of tone. As it detects, it offers suggestions of what would be better additions to your copy. It’s the content marketer’s dream software and can really help to put your mind at rest when finally publishing content.

You know what inbound marketing is and your mind is set on trying it out. You also now know what to consider before buying HubSpot, so where do you go from here? Download our expert guide ‘Inbound Marketing 2.0’ for the most up-to-date information on everything inbound.

Amplify your inbound strategies for the future

Here at Digital 22, we’re passionate about keeping up with the evolving inbound landscape. That’s why we created this guide. ‘Inbound Marketing 2.0’ is the best download for anyone wanting to expand their knowledge on inbound marketing.

It covers the newest additions to the world of inbound, such as changes to the Flywheel, the most recent marketing statistics, key updates to persona knowledge, how to go beyond HubSpot and so much more. 

To develop your organisation into a thought leader and enhance your inbound marketing for the next decade, click the link below to download.