Attract, Engage, and Delight Customers Online: Inbound Marketing Book Report


By Joanne Savoie-Malone.

“Business Development” encompasses selling, marketing, advertisements, leads, communications, and so much more. Elaborate courses and  complicated methodologies can be overwhelming.  AND, most importantly, they are not fun.

In their revised edition of INBOUND MARKETING: Attract, Engage, and Delight Customers Online, Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah show us that business development does not need to be intimidating.

INBOUND MARKETING is a mind shift in business development and the way we conduct marketing strategies. In today’s digital world we need to unlearn traditional marketing strategies. Marketing and business development CAN be fun and NOT that complicated and overwhelming.

First, we need to understand that we live in a time where everybody turns to the internet for products and services. Today we pay attention to companies with great web content and not the ones with big budgets and elaborate TV ads.  We first do a Google search to find companies with which we want to do business.  We also research products via e-mail, instant messaging, texting, Skype, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more.

Consumers perform research online to choose companies and products to meet their needs. Businesses that spam with “cold calls,” e-mail blasts, and direct mail turn people off; people are getting very good at blocking them out.  INBOUND MARKETING recognizes these behavioural changes as opportunities and the book explains how marketers can make the most of this shift online.

Brian and Dharmesh discovered INBOUND MARKETING and wrote about it as they were engaged in the realities of successful business development.  They are not academics who talk up the latest theory.  They profess that you get found by people on the web who don’t want to be interrupted. Rather, they want to be helped.

According to Brian and Dharmesh the internet can be broken down into three main areas of where people learn and shop:

  • Google search
  • The Blogosphere: 150 million plus blogs
  • Social media sites: Twitter, FB, LI, Reddit, YouTube, and others

They also say that your website should be a HUB and not a MEGAPHONE.  If your site is a megaphone, people visit, click around and never return because of sales-oriented messages that don’t compel them to stay. Your strategy should be to create a hub where you are in the middle.  Your site should have great content to ensure that many websites and people connect to you for information.

Some readers will read your content through a feed reader or RSS (really simple syndication) reader.  RSS allows content to be published and pushed to users who are subscribed to your feed.  Furthermore, your readers are automatically notified when you have created new content on your site.  Since not everyone is up to speed on RSS you should also give your people, those visiting your site, the ability to subscribe to your site via e-mail.  You also want to distribute your site’s content to social media, such as Twitter and Facebook.

Brian and Dharmesh also advise to save the money and time you were going to spend designing your website.  Nowadays, people are looking for information, interesting content where they can read and learn, not flashy colours and design.

Instead of redesigning your website do the following:

  • Add collaborative functionality like a blog
  • Create compelling content that people will want to consume
  • Focus on where the real action is: Google, industry blogs, and social media sites

The new way to do business development is to GET FOUND BY PROSPECTS.

“Either write something worth reading about or do something worth writing about.”  – Ben Franklin

Great content will attract links from other websites and your products and services will be noticed by other content producers who will then link back to your site.  This will send you qualified visitors AND it will signal Google that your website is worthy of ranking for important keywords.

Examples of content to try:

  • Blog articles on your industry, service or product
  • White papers
  • Videos: two to three minute shorts about your industry (product videos don’t spread as easily)
  • Webinar: hosted through a company like WebEx or GoToMeeting
  • Podcasts: 10-20 minute audio programs or interviews with industry experts
  • Webcasts: live video shows viewed online
  • Visuals: infographics and slide decks

You should think of yourself as a half marketer or business developer and half publisher.  If you struggle with writing content hire a writer or a journalist and post great content on an ongoing basis.  From their pioneering ideas Brian and Dharmesh created free tool like HubSpot, a free CRM tool with the option to upgrade, and Website Grader, a free web analytics software that measures inbound links.

Have fun and explore INBOUND MARKETING, the new way of business development. Learn from authors and experts, Brian and Dharmesh, and draw customers to your products and services via content marketing, social media marketing, and search engine optimization.

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