When I first started working with inbound marketing I was truly amazed about how it worked. I had started my career in television advertising and we used to go through a lot of gymnastics to show an ROI and it usually came down to saying if sales went up it was because of the TV ad and if they didn’t go up then the client was lucky because the TV ad prevented a dramatic sales slump. When we first started streaming video on the internet in the late 1990s at the University of Washington we were still thinking like broadcasters. The only thing that mattered was, as we used to say, the number of eyeballs. When our numbers were not so great we would tell people that the number of people didn’t matter as much as WHO was watching. This was true of course but we had no way to prove it.
Television & Outbound Marketing to Online Marketing
When I left television to start Image Media Partners I could see the value of social media and blogging, I just could not prove it. I was still struggling with how to show a positive return on investment or ROI. That was when I learned about inbound marketing and how HubSpot fit in. I was beginning to understand that the purpose of social media marketing was to do more than “engage in the conversation” and be a “good online citizen.” It was to get people to visit my website and “move the needle,” get them to “convert to a sale.” I was also learning all the buzzwords. I understood that people came to my website because, presumably, there was something valuable there like a blog or an eBook. I knew that I should “build my list” and do “e-mail marketing.” I could get tools that told me how fast my twitter account was growing, and an e-mail program that showed me how many people “opened” my email, and a RSS feed that showed me how many people subscribed to my blog but I could not tell how all this fit together. I like seeing how things work together but I’m also pretty lazy. Downloading one list of contacts and uploading them to another program; comparing clicks on one spreadsheet with traffic on another spreadsheet; making a report with graphs from one program next to graphs from another program was just not making the connection for me. As my college statistics professor used so say ad nauseam, “Association is not causation.” I could see a value but not the connection.
Dicovering HubSot & Inbound Marketing
The HubSpot platform showed me that connection. On one platform I had my blogging tool that was connected to my keywords tool that was connected to search optimization tool that was connected to social media that was connected to my landing pages that was connected to my contact list that was connected to my email tool. When I wrote a blog I could see how that affected my page ranking for specific keywords. I could see what tweets where driving traffic to my website. I could see who came to my website because of a search result or a LinkedIn discussion. I could see who came back again because of an e-mail I sent them. I know, I know…. It is possible to do all these things with free tools and that HubSpot is not for everybody. Google Analytics is great. I still use it. There are some amazing social media tools out there that I readily endorse. See last week’s blog on Top 10 Twitter Tips for your Social Media Marketing Plan. But for bringing all those tools together in one platform I think HubSpot does an excellent job and that is the main reason why Image Media Partners became a HubSpot Partner Agency.
This week in Boston HubSpot is hosting Inbound 2012 There are a lot of amazing people and there will be a lot of amazing presentations and talks, many of them will soon be available online. There are also going to be some pretty exciting announcements from HubSpot about major changes and upgrades to their platform. I can’t tell you what they are right now, I’ve been sworn to secrecy, but I can tell you that the integration of tools that I think are so powerful are just going to get a lot better in this third version of HubSpot. I’ll be able to tell you all about it on Wednesday so don’t miss my next blog.
If you have been curious about inbound marketing and about HubSpot in particular contact us for a free inbound marketing evaluation. If you have any questions about HubSpot let us know in the comments section below.