Customers have shifted the way they engage with brands.
The playing field has been leveled, and that's caused outbound advertisements to be less effective, even though their costs continue to rise.
Not wanting to get stuck in a cycle of dreadful ROIs, companies are diving into inbound. However, while inbound can help solve a lot of challenges, it also presents a problem. Too many marketers don't understand how to actually implement inbound marketing strategies in their own campaigns.
Instead, they focus on quick, easy wins because they're armed with the newest tools and a retro mindset. When you take this approach, you can potentially set yourself back even further because you haven't mastered the inbound technique yet and be back at square one.
5 Steps to Learn Inbound Marketing Fast
Learning anything requires patience. Fortunately, you can follow the lessons of top performers to speed up the process. With inbound marketing, you can also do what a lot of other skills can't. You can put your training to the test, immediately.
The best way to learn almost anything is through the actual execution, but if you follow the steps we have listed, you'll be able to do it in a fraction of the time.
1. Understand the Concept of Inbound Marketing
The first rule of inbound marketing is that you must talk about inbound marketing.
Unlike the outbound approach where you're hoping to be noticed, inbound marketing relies on people searching for a solution and finding your product or service in the results. To do this, you need to provide specific and relevant material that consumers are actually hoping to find. This increases your organic growth (the magic behind inbound).
With inbound marketing, you're positioning your brand as a valuable asset, not one that's trying to steal consumers attention, but one that's actually trying to help. It's the basis of customer-centric marketing, and the faster you can wrap your head around that idea, the faster everything else with inbound will make sense.
The easiest way to do this is to read content from the companies executing inbound strategies well. We'll always recommend reading our articles on inbound, you should also check out HubSpot's material.
Ultimately, the old ways of selling aren't cutting it anymore. Customers have more options and more information at their fingertips, and they've essentially leveled the playing field. This requires you to deliver value in every engagement, unlike previous methods that relied on one-sided conversations.
The largest benefit of the inbound approach is that, if done correctly, you'll attract the right kind of customers at the right time.
2. Identify the People and Companies Doing Inbound Well
If you want to learn inbound marketing fast, you have to be willing to dive into the sea of content. To stop you from drowning, though, you should start with those who are doing inbound marketing really well (it's a much smaller pool).
The Inbound 50 is Growth Hub's list of the best marketing blogs across all marketing disciplines. It's a great place to start your search for content because it's already been vetted based on search and social metrics.
Similarly, HubSpot put together a list of Ebooks in 2012 to help you learn inbound faster. They may seem dated, but most of the Ebooks have been updated and are still relevant today. And on top of that, they're all free.
This list is by no means comprehensive, but if you want to get a taste of what the top dogs are doing, check out these names and subscribe to their email lists. If you can watch how they're engaging the audience with each message or through the content they link, it'll go a long way in teaching you content marketing.
Neil is a wizard at creating engaging content and link building. On his site you can find tons of content, loaded with actionable tips for how you can earn the same results. Many of his blog posts lean towards the lengthy side, but they're worth the read.
Link building is an important part of optimizing your content for search engines, so pay close attention to how Neil handles building external links, as well as generating his own, internal to his site.
Also, check out his podcast Marketing School to fully immerse yourself in the learning.
Marcus took his failing pool company and turned it into one of the nation's largest pool installation businesses (during a recession at that), and he did it through content marketing. He put the customer first, answering any questions they had about their pool problems, and in turn, he earned their trust.
You can check out his content or find some of his speaking engagements on his site, IMPACT.
Russell is world renowned for making so many millionaires through his teachings and system. His most popular books, DotCom Secrets and Expert Secrets, are packed with tips on how to set up sales funnels and email workflows. If you can land these pieces, your inbound marketing strategy will nearly run itself.
Gary blew up his family's wine business by simply finding a new medium to distribute content. Rather than the same boring articles about wine tastes, Gary did videos that were in your face and more engaging, increasing their sales with his often brash style.
Gary is a great person to listen to for thoughts on creating content, but he's extremely knowledgeable about using social media platforms to their full advantage. Also, be sure to look at how he repurposes his content, turning one piece of content into thirty. That's an important skill, especially if you're starting with a smaller team and less content.
3. Take Recommended Courses
To do this, you should start with the free courses that are guaranteed to teach you what you need to learn.
HubSpot Academy is one of the best options for starting. Their courses are free and can teach you about inbound, email, social, and content marketing, or even sales and growth driven design. Many come as a certification that you link to your LinkedIn account to show off your efforts. And, while these certifications may not be the reason a CMO reaches out to hire you, they at least give you a thorough baseline to start implementing strategies.
Since we mentioned LinkedIn, we should also discuss their Learning program. By signing up for a free month, you can start learning from all their classes. They even make recommendations based on your profile's skills. We recommend you plan out which classes you want to take before your trial runs out so you can get the most from that month.
Finally, Google offers the Google Analytics Academy where anyone can how to use their measurement tools for free. Or, you can take their Digital Marketing Fundamentals course to learn more. It's not purely focused on inbound strategies, but will give you a excellent platform to increase your knowledge depth from.
4. Join Conferences
Conferences are one of the more costly ways to learn about inbound marketing, but it can also be one of the fastest. If you're truly interested in learning as fast as possible, however, the price tag of most conferences or conventions are well worth it.
At conferences, you're fully immersed in the topic and theme of the event. Depending on how large the conference, you may be able to select from various speakers and presentations, letting you tailor the lessons to what you want to focus on the best.
Separately, you should look for any local conferences or conventions that being hosted nearby. Odds are that the tickets will be cheaper than the previously mentioned ones, and it could be a great way to network and meet a potential mentor to really jumpstart your learning.
5. Get Critiqued
Finally, one of the hardest, but most efficient ways to learn inbound marketing is to have someone critique your content and strategy.
The hard part is finding someone who's knowledgeable and willing to help. The harder is being prepared to deal with the feedback you may not want to hear.
If you have friends in the industry, that's generally a good place to start since you already have rapport. If not, use your social profiles to see if anyone would be willing to help. You could also use Facebook or LinkedIn Groups to find assistance from like-minded people. Reddit can also be an excellent place to look if you can find the right group for your industry.
Also, keep in mind that the people reviewing your content don't have to be marketers. You can learn a lot from having someone interested in your product or service provide feedback. Even a friend can tell you whether your writing needs tightening, or emails aren't exciting.
Don't limit yourself to not getting feedback from a top-tier professional. Take advice from everyone, understand who it came from, and look at it objectively. That will give a far greater understanding of your performance than if you had gotten no advice at all.
Becoming a Professional Inbound Marketer In a Fraction of the Time
If you want to jumpstart your inbound marketing career, these tips are sure to help you do it. By fully understanding the concept of inbound, coupled with learning from the brightest minds, you're sure to achieve results faster than if you'd done otherwise.
And if you want to further your know-how, you should check out our free guide, Conquering the Inbound Marketing Mountain to learn how to set inbound goals, detail personas, build a team, and understand the key components of an editorial calendar. It's specifically designed to increase your knowledge fast.