About 18 months ago, Green Leads embarked on an aggressive plan to increase our inbound marketing activity. We focused first on content and blogging and then decided to dig deeper into SEO best practices. Along the way we started drinking some Orange Kool-Aid in the form of Hubspot's inbound marketing educational materials. We weren't looking for a content management system at the time, but they had so many valuable pieces of content on their site that we soon became Hubspot junkies without even being a client. Eventually, we jumped in headfirst and signed up.
We were able to get the site migrated and up and running in less than a month. The first lead came in during the first six hours of going live. Here's the process we went through; I recommend you pay attention to the "homework" parts:
- Pre-Project Education -- We went through all sorts of webinars, videos and documents on Hubspot's site. Knowing the basics was key to the planning of the project: Understand SEO. Understand the value of Content. Understand the basics of online lead gen. Know how moving forward will impact your site and resources.
- Migration -- Hubspot's conversion team takes your existing site and migrates it to their platform. I recommend that you don't peek at the work in progress until it gets a good deal of the way there. You'll want to tweak things and until the team is complete, you'll probably throw wrenches in the works.
- Expert -- In parallel to the migration, your Hubspot Inbound Marketing Consultant will book some sessions to go over best practices. Be religious about doing the sessions and doing your homework between sessions. Hubspot is about education more than it is CMS. If you educate yourself and you implement their methodologies and best practices, you will be successful. (our expert, @kylejames, rocked!)
- Content -- At every trade show I've attended in the past year the mantra "content is king" was heard over and over again. If you want to be successful with SEO, you have to have people visiting and people linking to you. The only way to do that is through content. Make a commitment to yourself that this is a top priority and an ongoing effort. Don't start/stop. Budget time and resources to create content constantly.
- Conversion -- In the end, it's all about capturing the visitors and converting them to leads. Don't lose sight of that. When you are laying out your pages, spend as much time on calls to action as you do content. Make them click on those compelling offers. Then make your landing pages convert.
- Go Live -- I almost made the mistake of holding off my go-live date until I perfected every page. Huge mistake. After a few weeks of tweaking and working on content, Kyle said "Go live, man!" I just turned off the public view of the pages that weren't ready yet and made the switchover. Six hours later the first lead came in. Within a week, the fact that it was live forced us to fix the loose ends. It was up and running.
- Focus -- Once you're live, it's time to start working on your keywords, rankings, content, and ultimately ... leads. However, you can lose sight of the short-term successes by going too wide. Example: Green Leads' obvious keyword that we want to own is "appointment setting." But there are already tons of people ranking high on that one, so we put our initial focus on some other keywords that were easier to own. It worked. In just one month, we had five major keywords that are now on the top of Google's search results. We're still focusing on "appointment setting", but it's not the holy grail.
- Action -- Don't just watch the leads pile up. If the call to action was appropriate for a sales follow-up, then take it. If they did multiple visits or multiple page views (Hubspot tracks this), increase the lead score and contact them. Treat inbound leads as the ultimate prospect lists. Just because they raised their hands doesn't mean they want to buy. You still have to reach out to them and ask for the introductory appointment or the presentation. That lead produced by inbound marketing now turns into an outbound marketing pursuit. Dial the phone. Send the emails. Close the loop. Engage with that prospect, then get the sale.
A more detailed product review coming that will focus on some key features and benefits. Stay tuned.