This is the second half of our two-part series on Inbound Marketing. To bring you up to speed: We’re talking about the industry shift from forced consumer-brand interaction into consensual consumer-brand interaction. HubSpot is an inbound marking tool used to support this change — by engaging and interacting with customers in a more effective, calculated, and less expensive way.
Inbound sounds simple enough, right?
Wrong. You can’t just sign up for HubSpot, sit back and watch the leads rolls in. Nor is it a good idea to set up accounts for the free tools and patch together a system to use them in unison.
You’ll need to learn and understand the fundamentals, techniques and tactics that make up the essence of what Inbound Marketing is. And once you’ve gotten to that point , it takes time and effort to curate the analytics and statistics that continuously stream into your HubSpot or similar platforms.
With each glimpse at the data there’s an opportunity to reform your strategies: write blogs based on more relevant keywords, create more engaging calls to actions, or convert more leads and lower your bounce rate with a new website design.
Lots of times working with a digital agency to manage these programs is a more cost effective and error free solution for listening to, stimulating, and engaging your online communities.
Why inbound marketing is worth your time
Moving forward, small business owners and marketing managers need to ask themselves this question: How has traditional marketing been working for you lately? Is it generating the same leads it used to five years ago? Is your cost per lead on the rise?
My question should by no means discourage anybody from abandoning traditional marketing initiates — remember its the balance between Inbound and Outbound Marketing that will yield success.
My point being, it’s not important whether or not you’ve heard of Inbound Marketing before reading this article, because you knew what it was before someone coined the term. You know that measuring and executing marketing has become influenced more by hard numbers than creative bias and top-down decision making. Marketers have the tools to tap into the pulse of target customers, listen to what they want and then give it to them.
Inbound Marketing is an extremely compelling reason to re-think, re-allocate, and maybe increase your marketing budget. Because now we know where the leads are coming from, we can measure what return there is on running a Facebook contest, and we see that strategic blogging is responsible for a rising increase in web traffic and leads.
Free and low-cost Inbound tools
HubSpot isn’t the only software out there that can boost your page rankings, dramatically increase page views, and convert leads. There are a handful of free and low-cost tools that can do the exact same thing.
There’s also a huge benefit to building out the skill sets for each inbound marketing tool individually. Spending a little extra time and effort understanding the core principles of what each tool is trying to accomplish will yield a more effective usage of HubSpot if and when you decide to make that commitment.
Below is a list of other useful like-minded software that will increase engagement, lead generation and web traffic:
- Shoutlet – Gives brands & agencies the tools to publish, engage, & measure all of their social marketing efforts.
- Compete PRO – Gives you tools to that’ll answer important questions like:
- Who is my competitor reaching that I’m not?
- What keywords are working for others in my industry?
- Where is my competitors’ online traffic coming from and what’s driving it?
- Wildfire Apps – Social media marketing platform used to grow, engage and monetize your audience across social networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
- Radian6 – A listening platform designed to help companies know what’s being said about their brand, industry and competitors online.
- North Social – Customize your brand’s Facebook page with a deepe collection of apps for promotions, fan engagement, and tracking social ROI
- Google Trends – Track trending keywords and topics across the web
- Google Keyword Tool – Find out what keywords are working for you and your competitors
- HootSuite – Manage multiple social media networks and profiles and measure your engagements
- TweetDeck – Social media dashboard application for management of Twitter and Facebook accounts
- Unbounce – Build, publish and test landing pages without IT or software. A/B testing and lead gen make it a powerful marketing tool.
- MailChimp – Free email marketing service: design, send, and track HTML email campaigns with simple tools