Last week all the team at #TheLab became HubSpot Certified! Following on from the certification we wanted to share our top 5 tips to implementing your own Inbound Marketing strategy and we highly recommend putting yourself to the test. For those who do not know what HubSpot certification is, it is a fantastic online training facility that teaches you the world of Inbound Marketing in 12 easy to digest classes. These classes can be watched at any pace, with downloadable slides, notes and study guides, and now you have these handy little top tips. It is free for anyone to take, all details on the Online Academy can be found here.

The Inbound Methodology as created by HubSpot can be seen below, everything you do falls into one of these categories. It is important to consider the content creation, buyer personas and buyers journey alongside the Inbound Methodology as the topics relate throughout the process.

The 12 classes focus on 12 different topics around Inbound Marketing, Inbound Marketing itself is the process of Marketing no longer being interruptive instead offering a customer centric experience, that connects with anyone who comes into contact with your brand. Instead of the old fashioned Marketer Centric approach, reaching out to create customer focused, problem solving and educational content that is easily digestible to your target audience.

HubSpot say it perfectly with this quote,

“The inbound certification course will grow your business and your career by introducing you to the inbound marketing movement. You’ll learn how to create marketing that people love through remarkable content, high-converting landing pages, lead nurturing and what we like to call ‘customer delight.'”

Each class focuses on a different topic from Content Creation to Amplifying Content on Social Media, Email Marketing to Smarketing and the Pillars of Delight. These 12 classes then make up the sections of the test at the end of the course, which requires a mark of 75% or above in order to receive the pass, this is where the competitiveness of our office became prominent as to who could get the best score.

The course offers great insight into what is working and how to make the most of it for your business, including giving examples of where the particular areas are working well and how to implement within your business. It also has fantastically written units produced through videos that offer a unique learning experience. Personally our favourite aspect is the use of industry leaders and thought pioneers who elaborate on the subject in hand, this includes Rand Fishkin: Founder of Moz and SEO Expert, Gary Vaynerchuk: CEO of Vayner Media, author and speaker and many more Influential Marketing Geniuses.

The training came highly recommended particularly for those among us who are time stricken as you can squeeze in a session on lunch breaks, downtime and easily finish the 12 sessions and take the test and become HubSpot Certified.

Buyer Persona


A prominent message throughout the HubSpot modules is to create buyer personas in order to fully understand your target audience, which will result in producing exceptional and educational content that your target audience will want to read, share and remember. Repeated many times throughout the training, the aim of Inbound Marketing is to educate as a result of creating remarkable content.

Buyer personas are created as a result of extensive research, no-one said that creating these personas would be easy, but HubSpot guarantees they are worthwhile, and we have to agree. Buyer personas are to put it simply, your ideal customers, in order to create them you must identify trends, problems and solutions, motivations, demographics and much more. As a result of creating these personas you are able to create persona profile stories, that can help tailor the content that you offer in order to make sure it is relevant, educational and helpful for your target audience.

When creating any content HubSpot reiterates the importance of tailoring the content to not only the buyer persona but also the buyers journey, making it relevant as well as informative. The buyer journey comprises of three sections, Awareness, Consideration and Decision, the awareness stage is when the visitor has a problem, the consideration stage is when they have a solution, the decision stage is when the service is provided. Providing the correct content for these stages of the buyer process allows for you to stand out as an expert in the field and attract the visitors to help them to the next stage of the buyer journey.

Content Creation


You have created the persona, understood their needs and which stage of the buyer journey they are at, now you are equipped to produce content. However, as we are sure you are aware, please do not just produce content for contents sake, as Eric Schmidt at Google pointed out;

“We create as much information in two days now as we did from the dawn of man through 2003”  

So please create relevant, educational and more than anything else outstanding content, after all the aim of content is to stand out right?

Like most things, a good plan for content will create the best results, HubSpot reminds us of the importance of before creating anything to think, what is the purpose, the format and the topic. Remember the topic must be something that matters, understanding the problem the persona is experiencing on their journey and the solution you can provide. At #TheLab we feel that after educational content, the second most important factor for the content is to be entertaining, but always remember create content with a purpose.

You have created the perfect content, the solution to your persona’s problem, now you need to make sure they find this solution, content and context go hand in hand at this point. HubSpot reminds us at this point that creating our personas can help us distribute our content as well as create the content, review what your target audience like to do, where they like to read the news and what social media sites they frequent, this is where your content needs to be.

Smarketing


Smarketing, is the slightly cheesy word HubSpot use to persuade our Sales & Marketing Departments to work together as one. We know you secretly love it. The two departments are renowned for clashing, however HubSpot believes that the two working seamlessly together will produce the best results from both departments. It is important to keep continual communication, visibility and speak the same language, as the organisational goals align as a result of the activities of sales and marketing. HubSpot focuses on the likes of understanding the buyer journey and Inbound Methodology and the impact that these have on the stages of the “Leads” for Sales and Marketing, the stage of the buyer journey directly affects the relationship that the Smarketing department has with the visitor, prospect or lead.

At the beginning stages of the buyer journey, the Marketing department is responsible for the contact with the buyer, as at this stage the content is directly a result of education, once the Visitor has turned into a Lead, the Marketing department qualifies them. If they believe they are imminently making a decision to purchase, they will pass the information to Sales who will directly follow them up in order to understand the opportunity and hopefully convert into a customer and promoter. This is the process of understanding and developing Marketing Qualified Leads, into Sales Qualified Leads, at this point Marketing and Sales can continually work together, creating Service Level Agreements that both teams must uphold.

Pillars of Delight


So you have worked out a plan for content creation, you have created and targeted your buyer personas and you have decided how to work seamlessly throughout the departments. You are busy acquiring new customers, you are still delivering exceptional results for your current customers, but never forget the importance of delivering a delightful experience.

After all, as Steve Cannon the CEO of Mercedes Benz USA says “Customer Experience is the new Marketing.”

HubSpot refers to this as The Seven Customer Guidelines. Continuing to promote the fact that it is essential in Inbound Marketing to innovate, to communicate and educate. Change the way customers think of you, be the best answer, always be honest and transparent, build relationships with your visitors, your customers and everyone you come into contact, it will change the framework of your business for the better, trust us, the more personable and experience building the better. Finally, the consistent theme throughout the training, educate, empowering people is much, much better than ignoring them.

This all starts from the inside, the framework, the staff and the attitudes of the team, it is no coincidence that a happy team produces happy customers. The Seven Customer Delight Guidelines incorporates everything from delighting team members as a result of the hiring methodology, to empowering and developing the team, undoubtedly you are aware that listening is key in customer delight. Take the 80-20 approach, listen to their needs, and empathise and acknowledge any concerns they may have, this helps build those long lasting relationships. It is increasingly important to be yourself, trust your team and most importantly educate, educate your team, your visitors, your customers and do not forget, YOURSELF!

Now go get yourself HubSpot Certified and join us in the competition of who got the best mark. If you must know it was Jodie our Head of Operations on 93%, pretty impressive we must say.