You’ve taken the first step on the road to inbound marketing mastery - you’ve bought HubSpot. Congratulations!
So… now what?
Kick back and watch the leads roll in? Lob a quick blog post into the ether and wait for Google to pat you on the back?
Unfortunately, inbound marketing is a competitive game and success doesn’t come without doing the hard yards. The first step might be buying HubSpot, but you’ll need to run a mile before the inbound machine really kicks into gear.
There are several fundamental steps every new HubSpot user should take to ensure they start on the right foot, maximise their return from the platform, and adopt an effective inbound marketing framework to use for years to come. Here are the basics every new HubSpot user should practice.
Develop an Inbound Marketing Strategy
If your business has invested in HubSpot, chances are you’ve already given inbound marketing a whole lot of thought. You’ve decided it’s the right path for you, you’ve decided that HubSpot is the right tool for the job, and you've researched inbound marketing pricing to see if it's sustainable for your business.
What you may not have given much thought into is exactly how your business will do inbound. What kind of content can your business create in order to attract the right people to your website? Who are those people, anyway? How can you win the contact information of these people, and what will you do with that information once you have it?
These are all questions you should be able to answer before even thinking about blogging your first blog or tweeting your first tweet. When developing your inbound strategy, other questions to ask yourself include:
- What audience presents the greatest opportunity to my business at this time?
- How can we add value to this audience in the form of engaging website content?
- How will our audience find this content?
- How will we convert them into leads?
- How will we nurture these leads down the funnel until they’re ready to buy?
- Who will be responsible for converting these sales qualified leads into customers?
- Will the journey from lead to customer be a consistent experience for the prospect?
Once you’ve answered these questions, it’s time to begin thinking about how your business can provide value to your audience at every stage of the buyer journey.
A Sample Inbound Marketing Framework
The following framework includes the fundamental elements of a full-funnel inbound campaign - from attracting visitors, converting them into leads, nurturing them until they’re sales-qualified, and delighting them with a seamless after-sale experience.
These are the larger content pieces designed to convert your web visitors into subscribers and leads, which is why you should ‘gate’ these offers behind a landing page form. Your primary assets are the cornerstones of your campaign, and should be substantial enough that your visitors are happy to forfeit their contact details in exchange for it.
Successful inbound campaigns depend on gathering the contact information of the target audience, which is when the nurturing process begins.
These primary content pieces often come in the form of:
- eGuides and Whitepapers
- Templates, cheat sheets and checklists
- eCourses, webinars and PowerPoint presentations
- Microsites, calculators and interactive infographics
- Demos, trials and product walkthroughs.
A full-funnel inbound campaign should include at least one downloadable content asset at each stage of the buyer journey. As a base, these content assets should also have accompanying:
- Calls-to-action to include within related blog posts
- Landing pages
- Email workflows to follow up with prospects who download the offer
You may also choose to include a paid social or Google advertising budget to promote your primary assets, as they are the key to your lead generation program.
You campaign fuel is the ungated content you produce to support your primary assets. This content is usually smaller, often coming in the form of blog posts, infographics and videos.
Each of the pieces of campaign fuel you produce should relate to one of your primary assets and include a call to action directing visitors to its landing page.
For example, if you had a gated microsite that allowed people to check the health of their business through a series of interactive stages, you may write blog posts on the top business challenges faced by tech startups.
The crux of the idea: the web visitors that consume your campaign fuel should also be interested in your gated primary assets.
Behind every successful blog post is a successful content promotion initiative. Inbound isn’t a ‘set it and forget it’ game; every content asset you produce should be promoted so it reaches the right people, in the right place, at the right time.
The content promotion tactics you choose will depend on your audience. Popular options include:
- Social media (free and paid)
- Display advertising
- Content syndication platforms like Outbrain
- Influencer marketing
- Guest blogging
- Email marketing
- Q&A sites like Quora
- Comment marketing on comparable content
- Submitting content on communities like Reddit
- Public relations
Lead Nurturing and Workflows
Attracting prospects and converting them into leads is only half the battle. Every inbound marketing campaign should include a carefully designed lead nurturing process, in order to move contacts down the funnel to the point when they can be handed to the sales team as sales-qualified leads (SQLs).
This process involves providing further value to prospects to answer their questions and satisfy their needs further down the sales funnel. For example, you could send a middle-of-funnel blog article to a prospect that converted on a top-of-funnel (TOFU) content offer.
The HubSpot workflow tool allows you to automate your lead nurturing process in an intelligent way. Simply put, a workflow is an automated set of actions (like sending an email) that occur based on a starting condition (like filling out a form on a landing page).
The workflow tool is a great way to nurture your leads down the funnel by providing further value. Every prospect who downloads one of your content offers should be enrolled into a workflow that matches their stage of the buyer journey.
Implementing Your Inbound Strategy With HubSpot
Once you’ve developed and documented your marketing strategy, it’s time to get your hands dirty within the HubSpot platform. To implement your campaign effectively, you need an understanding of the following basic tools and how they work together:
- File manager: to host your content offer
- Landing pages: to link to your content offer
- Calls-to-action: to link to your landing pages
- Blog: to attract prospects and include relevant calls-to-action
- Email: to follow up with prospects who download the offer
- Forms: to collect contact details from within the landing page
- Lists: to organise the prospects who download the content offer
- Workflows: to automatically follow up with prospects who download the content offer
- Campaigns: to map and manage your full-funnel campaign into your HubSpot portal, including goals, assets and reporting.
- Keywords: to map your campaign’s target keywords into your portal for use in blogs, landing pages and other website content.
There are several other tools within the platform that can be used to support your campaign, but as a base, these are enough to start attracting visitors, converting them into leads and nurturing them down the funnel.
Keeping all of the gears of your marketing campaign working together is a matter of regular testing and constant optimisation. Agile inbound marketing is all about having the ability to change when things aren’t going as planned, hoped or expected. This doesn’t mean changing your strategy entirely, but it does mean being willing to try new things to achieve your campaign goals.
Not sure whether you’re using HubSpot correctly? Request an inbound marketing audit today.