Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media and Blogs (New Rules Social Media Series) Hardcover – 29 Oct 2009
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"If you′ve been looking for a trustworthy primer on getting found online, here′s a great place to start. Buy one for your clueless colleague too."—Seth Godin, author of Meatball Sundae "If you have more money than brains, you should focus on outbound marketing. If you have more brains than money, you should focus on inbound marketing by reading this book."—Guy Kawasaki, cofounder of Alltop, and author of Reality Check
From the Back Cover
To connect with today′s buyer, you need to stop pushing your message out and start pulling your customers in. The rules of marketing have changed and the key to winning is to use this change to your advantage. If you′ve wondered how to get found in Google or why blogs and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are important, Inbound Marketing is the book for you. HubSpot founders Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah give you the tools and strategies you need to improve your Google search rankings; build a blog to promote your business; grow and nurture a community on social media sites; and analyze which of your online marketing efforts are working. Stop wasting money blasting the world with marketing messages that nobody cares about. Instead, learn to get found with Inbound Marketing . "If you′ve been looking for a trustworthy primer on getting found online, here′s a great place to start. Buy one for your clueless colleague too." –– Seth Godin , author of Meatball Sundae "If you have more money than brains, you should focus on outbound marketing. If you have more brains than money, you should focus on inbound marketing by reading this book." –– Guy Kawasaki , cofounder of Alltop, and author of Reality Check www.InboundMarketingBook.comSee all Product description
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Halligan and Shah start by reminding us all just how much marketing has changed - broadcast techniques are much less effective, the internet is the first port of call for most people looking for something new, etc. This is becoming something of a commonplace now - see Barnaby Winter's The Brand Bucket: Make Your Marketing Work- although personally I find that many print and broadcast media are still pretty effective - even if their call to action is primarily to attract traffic to your website. They go on to ask "Is your web site a marketing hub?", and advise readers not to worry too much about what the site looks like, but rather to ask whether you have remarkable content (a term borrowed from Seth Godin Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? How to Drive Your Career and Create a Remarkable Future), to encourage people to interact with it.
They then outline elements of the strategies that you need to apply if Google is to rank you highly and if you are going to achieve a first page organic ranking on Google or on other search engines. That starts with regular, remarkable blogging, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), using RSS feeds, moving on to Social media including Facebook, LinkedIn (is LinkedIn really just a social media?), YouTube and Twitter. I also learned about those sites/icons that I have hitherto ignored - Digg, Reddit, Delicious and StumbleUpon and how they might fit into an overall strategy.
Part 3 of the book moves into converting customers - and we are mainly back to your website, and how you get visitors to become leads, by responding to a call to action, introducing the acronym VEPA. The authors discuss what makes a good landing page and the benefits of forms and setting up an auto-responder. They then move to strategies for converting leads into customers. Throughout they stress the importance of using the web's excellent tools for tracking and metrics.
In the final part of the book, "Make better marketing decisions", Halligan and Shah discuss metrics further, the recruitment of inbound marketers - make sure that they are DARC: Digital Citizens, are Analytical, have web Reach and are Content Creators - talk about PR in the digital age and how you use web tools to follow what your competitors are up to.
In the final appendix, called "Tips from the trenches for start-ups" they summarise 26 actions that they recommend you do within the first couple of weeks - most of which would apply equally to an existing company as they do to a new company or project, effectively summarising the advice given in the book.
Any book written about this sector dates very quickly because Google, Facebook, Twitter (and probably all the rest) change things frequently. Halligan and Shah avoid this to an extent by focussing on the strategic level. The tell you what you're trying to achieve by writing a blog, or setting up a Facebook page, but they don't focus on the minutiae of how you do it - which is the bit that changes most often. So they're assuming that most people who are reading the book will be able to figure that bit out for themselves - and I think that that's probably right. If you are a complete beginner, it's probably better to find a local expert to show you how rather than to buy a book, in any case. The authors do promote their own sites - like website (dot)grade which leads to HubSpot (dot)com but personally I see that as great extra resource given away with the book - you can get a great deal of value without paying an additional pound or dollar - and they have an abundant attitude to referencing others who are active in the space.
I do have a couple of quibbles. I love the fact that it's printed on matt paper -all the better to scribble notes - but if you are going to go to the expense of hard-binding a book, I'd be prepared to pay a quid more for paper of higher quality, where you can't see the letters printed on the other side and which don't feel as if they'll disintegrate inside ten years. With regard to substantive content, I do wonder about the extent to which the DARC employee really exists. Whether online or off, certain psychological attributes are hard to combine. The analytical aspects of the DARC candidate may be opposed to the creative facets of the "content creator", and the personal interactivity required to create "web reach". As in the offline world, a team of people, each with complementary personalities, may be what you really need. And this may be pretty esoteric and perhaps this is one of those drawings that you can see two ways, but the "star trek" image on the front cover gave me the impression of something being blasted out, and therefore seemed redolent of old fashioned broadcast marketing rather than conveying the ides of "inbound".
So, if you want to get more business from the world wide web, you should read this book. I've started to change what I'm doing having read this book. If there is a better book covering this subject matter in such an integrated way, please use "comment" to tell me about it. It might well be the second edition of this one!
The premise of the book is that the old marketing is dead or dying. Gone are the days where simply throwing money at print or radio advertising guaranteed succees. Instead, you need to engage your customers. Give them reasons to come to visit your web site, and once they are there give them reasons to come back again and again. Turn your web site into a hub, stuffed with remarkable blog posts, videos and interviews. As the authors put it (they have a pleasing way with words) "ten years ago, your marketing effectiveness was a function of the width of your wallet. Today, your marketing effectiveness is a function of the width of your brain."
"Inbound marketing" is clearly - and explicitly - inspired by authors such as Seth Godin and David Meerman Scott. But where this book differs is in its emphasis on hands-on advice. Not only is it inspirational, but it's also brimming with practical wisdom. Sure, it talks about the power of Twitter. But then it gives you advice on how to choose a twitter handle. Sure, it talks about the rise of the superstar blogger and the death of the press release. But then it talks about how to decide whether you need a PR agency and, if you do, then how you should hire one. Sure, it stresses that your employees will need to learn new skills if they are to survive in this new world. But then it talks about what those skills are, what steps your employees need to take to get them and how you can track how they're doing. Each chapter contains a checklist of things you should do, right now, to start improving your inbound marketing.
This is no dry textbook. It's full of anecdotes, some from the usual suspects (Whole Foods, Zappos and Barack Obama) but from others too: accounting software, a shutter manufacturer and a PR firm among others. It's well written, and there are cartoons too.
Inbound marketing - get found using Google, social media and blogs is an excellent, mainstream introduction to new marketing. If you want to dip your toes into the cold water of social media then buy a copy. If you know all about social media then you almost certainly know people who need this book. Buy them a copy from Amazon. They'll love you for it.