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Inbound marketing certification from HubSpot has come a very long way since I first discovered HubSpot's Inbound University in 2009. Back then I was just getting familiar with the term inbound marketing and trying to understand how and why marketing online was so different from traditional offline marketing.
I was experimenting with blogging, ecommerce and social media marketing with a few of my own websites. I was finding that techniques I knew to be very effective from a long career in newspaper advertising didn't work at all when I tried them in these online venues. As I started looking around for reasons, I stumbled upon HubSpot and their Inbound University courses. I received my inbound marketing certification in early 2010.
Here we are five years later and given that I am still deeply engaged in inbound marketing - having made it my career - that alone should offer an endorsement to the value of it. These days HubSpot Academy has come a very long way from when I first found it. All new updated classes that incorporate the latest technology and tools available to marketers, super slick videos and downloadable materials to go with them that make it easier than ever to understand all the nuances of inbound marketing. Just like when I discovered Inbound University all those years ago, the classes and inbound marketing certification are free to anyone who wants to take advantage of them.
It puts an end to the 30 day advertising campaign mindset. What I was used to in the offline marketing world was a 30 day cycle of constant stress. In the advertising sales arena there was my own 30 day stress of meeting advertising sales goals and the additional stress of the 30 day goals of my clients since it would usually impact how my next 30 days were going to go. Every month a heart pounding race that started with how much we needed, trying to predict how much we thought we could get, then the race to make it happen. The worst part were the times when the "guess how much we could get" ended up falling short. A new month begins, the reset button is pressed and here we go again.
Inbound marketing doesn't work that way. Even though you can layer in 30 day goals and short term campaigns as part of the mix the overall strategy is designed to have leads, sales and customers continuously cycling to you. The toughest part to grasp is getting off this 30 day wheel. Since inbound marketing should have you building a foundation, it continues to grow and functions as a living part of your day to day business life.
Marketing strategy becomes a mousetrap with levers and pulleys. You've seen the elaborate mousetrap concept right? The mouse grabs the cheese and runs away activating a lever that pours a glass of water into a container that launches some other action and so on until a basket is released that captures the mouse far from the trap as he's about to make a complete escape...or something like that. Inbound marketing works this way.
You are building an elaborate network of pulleys and levers designed to capture and convert someone to a lead or customer just before they get away for good. It must be elaborate since there are so many variables involved that might lead one person or another to need our product or service. Trying to skip some of the pulleys and levers in between breaks the entire system and no leads or customers are realized from it.
This process doesn't work in the 30 day campaign mindset - since that usually leads to breaking the system by trying to skip some of the pulleys and levers in a rush to get to the outcome. When it's set up correctly, inbound marketing does work and the elaborate mousetrap concept breaks the outdated 30 day stress-filled, merry-go-round. Getting inbound certification shows you how to build the better mousetrap.
Escape from panic marketing mode. Remember the 30 day campaign? Well, what's it like on day 20 or so when it looks like the goals aren't going to be met? Do you drop into panic mode and operate like the world is going to end when that final day of the month arrives. What's it like coming back to things on the first day of the month after that adventure? A little tougher to call some of those leads and customers back now that you went for broke trying to sell or upsell them a few days ago right? Inbound marketing meets people where they are on the buyers journey and nudges them along the path to becoming customers without burning bridges.
Strategic thinking and longterm strategy. See a pattern here? Most of us tend to be pretty linear in our thinking when we want something, it's only natural. Inbound marketing teaches strategic methods, how to plan for the long haul and sets up a system that will wind up meeting both short and long term needs for business growth and development. You cannot build the elaborate mousetrap without strategic, long term planning and inbound marketing provides tools and methods to achieve it.
A Process that brings order to many variables. When you're operating in the 30 day campaign mindset you convince yourself that you cannot measure a lot of things. The reality is much different. Inbound marketing provides a path to measure and tweak in order to address many variables that go into converting prospects to leads and leads into customers. Being able to measure them allows you to set realistic goals, adjust your tactics for meeting them along the way, and refine a process until it delivers better and better results.
Inbound marketing certifications expire each year since marketing best practices change due to a constant flow of new and updated technology. Every year I get a refresh when I renew my certification. Do you need inbound marketing in your life? Getting the certification is free so be sure to check it out. I'm sure you'll be glad you did it.
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