Instead of buying email lists or Ads, Hubspot inbound marketing is about attracting high-quality visitors and leads. This is accomplished by creating and publishing content that interests, charms, and educates target audiences because it gives them value. Inbound marketing content is designed to attract the ideal website audience and progressively move them through the sales funnel until they are fully converted into a customer.
The process of converting audiences or visitors into customers involves several steps from content creation, content promotion, lead capturing (e.g. using forms and landing pages), sending emails, and so on. Setting up the entire process can be quite challenging not just because there are many tools to choose from but also because the process needs to be customized to a business’s specific needs.
That said, one of the best tools to streamline the entire inbound marketing process is HubSpot. In fact, you would expect as much because HubSpot actually coined the phrase ‘inbound marketing’ in 2005. Today, HubSpot is the foremost provider of inbound marketing tools on a single platform and not only includes the essential elements to set up inbound marketing campaigns but also allows the use of other tools created by other providers through integrations.
Depending on your specific use case which may be impacted by the industry you are in, your business objectives and values, your customer’s needs and pain points, etc., the choice of tools and how you apply them may vary. However, HubSpot has put together a robust set of tools that can be used by small businesses and large enterprises alike.
Here are some of the essential elements that HubSpot provides to help you leverage inbound marketing.
First, get organized!
Before setting up an inbound marketing campaign, it is critical to ensure that you have all the right pieces in place. You’ll need to do the following:
SMART Goals. Determine what you can achieve based on past results or realistic goals. Basically, you do this by ensuring that the goals for your inbound marketing are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.
Buyer Personas. Decide who your ideal customer is based on your goals. This will allow you to focus your activities and resources towards attracting people that you want to remain as your customers and that you want to keep as customers. HubSpot has a tool that can help you to create and edit buyer personas.
Define Lifecycle stages. Understand your ideal buyers’ journey so that you can charm them with enough value to progress them through the buyer’s journey until they become customers and advocates to your brand/products/services.
Source: Viral Marketing Communication
Gain alignment. Bring together sales and marketing teams to agree on some basics that will allow them to work together for the same cause. For example, setting some ground rules for who a marketing qualified lead and sales qualified lead is, not only allows for the smooth hand-over of leads from one team to another but it also allows a higher level of efficiency and effectiveness towards converting leads into customers and retaining them to become referrals and advocates.
Once you have these crucial pieces in place, you are ready to implement your inbound marketing strategy using HubSpot.
Attracting audiences through content creation
If you understand your target audience, then you know their needs and pain points. One of the first steps to attract or target this audience is to provide them with content that relates to their problem and solves it.
HubSpot has an inbuilt CMS or Content Management System that allows you to create blogs and publish them for your target audiences.
If you know anything about creating content, then you will be aware that creating content is not enough. You actually need to get the content in front of your audience. An excellent way to do this is through the use of keywords in the content.
Basically, keywords allow search engines to place your content front and center when a search engine user is looking for something related to what you have to offer. You, therefore, have to create your content with such keywords in mind because you are aware that your ideal customer will be looking for specific answers to address their needs.
HubSpot has an SEO tool that will help you find the right keywords for your content. In fact, HubSpot will even help you to create content that will appeal to your audience by helping you to create ‘topic clusters’ through the HubSpot AI engine.
If you prefer, you can use several other online tools such as Google Keyword Planner or Moz to create search engine optimized (SEO) content.
Designing a spectacular website…the easy way
If you have web design skills, you can skip this step. However, you may consider that HubSpot has put together templates that can help designers and non-designers to put together stunning websites that meet the highest visual and technical standards. Through the HubSpot Marketplace, you can choose free or costed templates that will help you put together your home page blogs, subscription pages, landing pages, error pages, etc.
Essentially, HubSpot will help you to design your entire website, create content for it, and manage both the content and the site from within the same platform.
Capture your audience through forms and landing pages
Attracting visitors to your website/blog is just the first step in the inbound marketing process. The next phase is to make sure that you ‘capture’ your audience by collecting their data. The purpose of capturing their data is to ensure that you have your intended target audience, as described by your ‘buyer personas.’ If they fit this profile, you can then proceed to contact them and funnel them into becoming customers. Otherwise, you have to let them go or funnel them into a different marketing campaign if necessary.
One of the best ways to get audiences to give you their personal information is by using lead magnets. A lead magnet is a tangible deliverable/downloadable content (e.g. an eBook, calendar, template, webinars, tutorials, etc.) offered to your audience in exchange for their contact information. The lead magnet needs to provide your audience with something that they value in exchange for their personal data. Visitors/audiences that give you their personal details are then called leads.
To set up your lead magnets, HubSpot has a tool to create landing pages and forms.
You can, of course, choose to create your forms and landing pages by yourself. However, creating them from within HubSpot has its advantages. For example, HubSpot allows you to add smart fields so that your visitor does not have to tediously fill out a form if they have already provided you with the information that you need.
If you are wondering how your audience will find these landing pages and forms, HubSpot has your back with that too. Through CTAs or Call-to-Actions, that you can create through HubSpot, your audience can easily find the landing pages and lead magnets that appeal to them. The CTAs can be placed in blogs that are related to valuable assets that you want to offer your audience.
Lead nurturing through email
Once you capture leads, the next step is to educate them or entice them to consume more of your content but more importantly to get them to understand that what you have to offer can satisfy their needs or alleviate their pain points. You want them to understand and trust your brand, products or services.
Through the lead nurturing process, you address your leads immediate needs and offer them new content once you determine that they are ready for it. This is best achieved by sending personalized emails that address their specific needs and direct them to your content that will facilitate their research/educational process.
HubSpot not only has an inbuilt customer relationship management (CRM) tool to organize, track and nurture your relationships with leads and customers, but it also offers a Workflows tool that allows you to automate and scale personal engagements with your leads.
The CRM tool pools together all contact details including interactions, activities, and notes that you may have taken about them. For example, if a contact downloads a specific lead magnet, opens a particular email, asks you a question, etc., this can all be captured in the same place so that you can have meaningful and relevant conversations.
What’s more, is that different teams (e.g. sales and marketing) will have access to this information so that the lead/customer will have a seamless experience no matter who they deal with.
HubSpot’s workflow tool will allow you to automate the lead nurturing process by setting up a set of actions that are triggered by the lead/customer.
For example, when a lead downloads a specific lead magnet, send them a thank you email immediately and then after 24 hours, send them additional content. The best part is that once you set it up, it is easy to replicate the process for all your other leads and therefore, scale up the automated personalized interactions.
Managing your leads
Once a lead requests a demo, a visit, or maybe accesses several product pages, your lead is now a marketing qualified lead (MQL). The key here is to use the criteria that both sales and marketing agreed upon to define the MQL. If sales and marketing are aligned, then this should be a seamless process where the marketing team hands over the lead to the sales team for the next set of actions to close the deal. HubSpot has Sales hub where the sales team can manage SQL into becoming customers.
Evaluate your data and improve your inbound marketing strategy
The inbound strategy laid out so far assumes that everything will work perfectly. However, we all know that things never happen quite that way. Evaluating your results and tweaking your strategy to iron out any kinks can streamline your inbound marketing strategy so that it gets better over time.
HubSpot can help you in your pursuit of perfection by providing you with the tools to test, measure, analyze and report almost anything that you do within the platform so that you can focus and prioritize your resources and time where it is most needed. HubSpot’s reports and analytics section allows you to do this for everything from emails, landing pages, blogs, CTAs, etc.
HubSpot has a lot of tools and functionality that we have not touched on. For example, you can manage all your social media, link building, pipeline management, lead scoring, set-up sequences, automatic associations of individuals and companies, competition analysis, etc. You can understand and explore all tools or functionalities in the HubSpot Academy. Better yet, you can put any feature that may interest you into practice in your next inbound marketing campaign.