Book Review: Inbound Marketing

Posted   Productivity

There’s nothing quite like the creeping chill of November here in Ireland to create the perfect conditions for curling up by the fireplace with a good book.

Luckily, this month’s Teamwork.com book club selection was Inbound Marketing: Attract, Engage, and Delight Customers Online (Wiley, 2014) by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, cofounders of HubSpot.

The 186-page book was originally published in 2009, but enjoyed a revision in 2014 with updated approaches because a lot can change in five years. Without giving too much away, here are some of the strengths the book Inbound Marketing has to offer.

Do unto others

Inbound Marketing has a lot of common sense involved in the concept that you market to humans, and in a way that is how you’d like to be marketed to.

You don’t want to get cold calls, spam e-mails, or see trees wasted on direct mail that misses its target. Your potential customers don’t either.

In fact, to avoid it they avail of caller ID, junk e-mail filters, and recycling bins positioned near the front door for quick disposal of mailers. This makes it increasingly challenging to get your message across to consumers by traditional marketing methods, but opens up other options for informative methods of empowering consumers to learn about a product, service, or business before needing it.

Inbound to conversion

Search engines and carefully chosen keywords partnered with quality blog content to create a new avenue for communicating with customers at are the start of the work, but it doesn’t stop there.

As the book explains through several chapters, the key is to convert website or blog visitors to leads then, in turn, convert those leads to new customers. This is only possible through a proactive digital marketing approach and top-notch staff.

A perfect balance of these elements is difficult to achieve, and if it seems unattainable that can deter any success. This book focuses on giving readers an overview of what can be done to reach that point.

If a step in the process is one you’ve mastered, great! Then you know to focus your efforts on the other chapters. If you read a chapter and think it describes your internal challenge perfectly, you’ve discovered your weakness and can study the advice and do additional research to bring your work to the next level.

Conversion isn’t just about turning leads into customers, but about turning potential into success.

Lost and found

The chapters read like a practical problem-solving manual for issues the modern business faces in the digital age. A list of the chapters quickly gives you an accurate idea of what to expect and makes the book very scannable for quick fixes and takeaways related to a current issue the reader may be facing.

Getting found (aka Findability), being remarkable, and the converting cycle, as well as how your people can help you reach people who aren’t your people…yet.

Chapter 1: Shopping Has Changed… Has Your Marketing?

Chapter 2: Is Your Website a Marketing Hub?

Chapter 3: Are You Worthy? (this chapter focuses on creating your unique strategy)

Chapter 4: Create Remarkable Content

Chapter 5: Get Found In The Blogosphere

Chapter 6: Getting Found On Google

Chapter 7: Getting Found In Social Media

Chapter 8: Convert Visitors Into Leads

Chapter 9: Convert Prospects Into Leads

Chapter 10: Convert Leads to Customers

Chapter 11: Making Better Marketing Decisions

Chapter 12: Picking and Measuring Your People

Chapter 13: Picking and Measuring a PR Agency

Chapter 14: Watching Your Competition

Chapter 15: Commitment, Patience and Learning

Chapter 16: Why Now? (how Outbound Marketing is on its way out and Inbound Marketing on its way in)

Get a grip

This book is an approachable introduction to inbound marketing, social media for business, and search engine optimization. An ideal primer for an increasingly widespread slant on marketing in the digital age and a good fit for entrepreneurs or startups with limited time, resources, or know-how.

For newcomers to the modern marketing landscape or students entering the workforce for the first time, Inbound Marketing is an essential guide to understand the terminology, perspectives, and processes of this more realistic slant on marketing.

If you’ve been working in this field and applying these tools for a few years, it will not necessarily bring you any new knowledge but will definitely affirm what you’re already doing like a hearty pat on the back.

This book may help you understand what you’d be getting out of inbound certification if you’re on the fence about going for that.

Halligan and Shah have made a great deal of inbound marketing knowledge accessible and concise in their book, which allows readers to get an overview comfortably and without being overwhelmed by details they may not need.

It offers insight into the inside of inbound as well as an opportunity to see what elements may be lacking or thriving for the reader through self-evaluation. The chapters are well encapsulated and the language includes ample industry terms to feel informed, but not so much to feel like an industry journal white paper.

As a choice for the latest Teamwork.com book club, everyone enjoyed it and found it refreshingly helpful in a broad strokes manner.

Tune in next month when we divulge our current book club selection. To read about other books we’ve read, check out our Book Club posts here on the Teamwork.com blog.

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