Book Summary: Inbound Marketing – Written by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah

Running a business with long sales cycles can be very frustrating. It is a load of fun dealing with cold calling, traditional prospecting and whinny salespeople. If you run or work for an office equipment, high tech or other business to business sales organization then this book is for you.

Why is this important to me?

I always want to ask this question as if I am sitting in your shoes. Will this summary benefit you if you review it? Companies today have to innovate to earn business. The key word here is earn. Traditional outbound or push marketing works but is much less effective today. Push marketing techniques are blanket advertising, print ads, cold calling, telemarketing, spamming and other intrusive techniques.

Magnetic or pull marketing is very effective today because prospects are better educated. When they want information, they go to Google first and look for relevant content. Pull marketing techniques are SEO (Search Engine Optimization), Social Media, Blogging, thought leadership websites, video, podcasts and a host of other content generating devices.

There is a ton of excellent information in this book. For the sake of time, I am going to profile three important points.

1. Create Content – Most websites are “brochure-ware” meaning that they simply try to sell goods and services. The problems with this approach include: 1. product centered not customer centered, 2. no differentiation from the competition, 3. commodity driven which equates too little profit. Creating content is about helping your defined customers with their problems as it relates to your solutions. This happens with FAQ’s, blog posts, How to – whitepapers and other relevant content. The relevancy of the content is critical and has to be customer driven and not company driven. This quote from Ben Franklin sums it up – “Either write something worth reading about or do something worth writing about.”

2. Specialists – Creating content will allow you to become a leader in your field. Customers want to work with leaders, experts and specialists. This is the quickest and best way to leave your competition in the dust and differentiate your offering from theirs. The easiest way to start doing this is read related blog articles and comment and share them. Take your content and re-purpose it into a blog, video and podcast and shoot it out to YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. People want flexibility with the content and when you provide it, they will take action and follow you. If you compete against larger organizations, this can be a real advantage. Remember that most people are punching a clock and if you show passion for your industry then you will be seen as a Thought Leader and your business will grow.

3. Measure – The best thing about inbound marketing is that you can measure everything. This means you have a running machine that can be tweaked for maximum performance. Google is an unlimited prospecting machine. You can setup a PPC (pay per click) campaign and have feedback in a couple hours. The goal is to keep what works and discard want does not work. Measuring progress will make your inbound lead generation a finely tuned orchestra.

Inbound marketing is the holy grail of lead generation because once you get it right, the lead generation compounds. This is the secret difference between inbound and outbound lead generation. If you use telemarketing then you have to pay the people every day to make calls and they will get a percentage of leads. With inbound marketing, you build your following and traffic which starts to compound which magnifies the Word of Mouth effect. This is a big deal and the key is to give it enough time to bear fruit.

I hope you have found this short summary useful. The key to any new idea is to work it into your daily routine until it becomes habit. Habits form in as little as 21 days. One thing you can take away from this book is inbound marketing has compound effects. Compounding is the secret to growing a wildly successful organization. Become an inbound marketing pro and people will pay you top dollar for your work.

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