The information contained in a new book by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, the co-founders of Hubspot, a leading internet marketing SaaS platform that helps businesses manage most of their marketing activities online is quite exciting for B2B marketers looking to pull in increased traffic and leads to their websites in 2010.
One of the real contributions of Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs is that a vast amount of information and theory about online marketing is now synthesized, refined and contained in a single, hard-cover book. The added twist is the author’s promotion of the idea that you savvy web marketers need to give web searchers what they desire (valuable content) in lieu of what is despised (bland promo/brochureware copy) all the while working to keep visitors engaged with a compelling user experience.
In many ways, this volume will be a game-changer just as David Meerman Scott’s The New Rules of PR and Marketing revolutionized online public-relations. “Inbound Marketing” will interest every marketer looking to stretch his budget, increase brand-awareness, establish thought leadership, invest in his internet marketing activities for the long-term, and, ultimately, create the best website in his respective niche. Again, the creation of the best website in Halligan and Shah’s work extends beyond mere design and development into the arena of content creation and content delivery.
Halligan and Shah argue that websites can attract customers with remarkable content, quality SEO, meaningful social-media engagement, and clear calls-to-action that replace dated, interruption-based, big-budget advertising techniques. Thus, prospects and customers are “inbound” flowing to you by choice in response to your marketing efforts.
Makes Sense, Right?
The book’s argument depends on the idea that remarkable content must be created — in other words, you will not succeed if you cannot produce good content that is both satisfying the informational needs of searchers and piquing their interest enough to potentially earn a link pointing to your website. According to Shah and Halligan, Google gives higher rankings to sites with the best, highest-quality links from third-party sites. This, of course, is nothing new. However, if you look at the big picture, the authors are stating that artificial link-building is a waste at best or of secondary importance (or even downright detrimental) at worst. Their point: If your site is just not remarkable enough in terms of content, value proposition, and positioning to earn a backlink by itself, then other link-building efforts will not have as great an effect.
Link growth is the foundational piece for most truly successful websites. This is true. For the forseeable future, websites will need a grab-bag of tools, widgets, features, and content to attract links. Without them, your website cannot compete in any competitive niche – where active competitors are stacked deeper than the first page for any given targeted keyword. In addition, if you or your search marketing company is building low-quality links or automated link building, your site will never overtake a competitor that is using an aggressive, inbound-marketing strategy as described by Halligan and Shah. Inbound-strategies are future-oriented and need aggressive, dedicated, online marketers to implement them effectively. Here at Wakefly and at other leading search marketing agencies, our link building campaigns are extremely labor intensive and are the product of extensive research to ensure that the 3rd party websites that should be linking to your site are, in fact, doing so [Shameless plug alert: Wakefly is a Hubspot parner]. Too many times are we approached by B2B firms looking for blue chip rankings, only to be dismayed to find they have paid low cost offshore link builders to build spammy, low quality, automated links that will only decrease the chance of their rankings ever reaching the pinnacle for their niche.
In conclusion, Halligan and Shah’s book will help eliminate the idea that Internet marketing is easy and that SEO is trickery. Successful online-marketing is hard, ongoing work that requires new skills, new rules, and a dedication to creating the top website in your niche and working tirelessly off-site to engage customers through social-media networks and the active syndication of high value, fresh content.