Inbound Marketing Strategy for You
In case you hadn't noticed, this Inbound Marketing thing is getting pretty big. 46% of consumers globally are now using social media to drive purchase decisions, and companies are wising up that consumers prefer search engines, eBooks, blogs and Twitter over billboards and direct mail. There's a real need for savvy digital marketing geeks who can effectively sell their skills to businesses and get started increasing their ROI. Until someone rolls out an accredited degree program for Inbound Marketers, candidates are forced to demonstrate, showcase and prove their skills. Here are 7 ways to get started searching for work as an inbound marketing rockstar:
1) Go Back to School
Here's a not-so-little secret: none of our Inbound Marketing Agents have a BA in Inbound Marketing Strategy. Sure, we've got relevant and varied backgrounds - Isaiah was a brand strategist at a major crowdsourcing group, Richard is a Wordpress Master and graphic design guru, and Jasmine balanced technical writing with freelancing business blogs and eBooks. We've worked to develop a skill set that can take our clients from zero to crushing their competitors.
One thing all of Agents have in common is passing Hubspot's Inbound Marketing University with high distinction. Class at IMU consists of 18 video lectures, which are all approximately 1-hour long. Students are offered optional homework assignments and supplementary reading materials. "Professors" include Mike Volpe of Hubspot, Ann Handley of Marketing Profs and Guy Kawasaki. The final exam is comprised of 50 questions in 50 minutes. For beginners, we recommend planning on spending around 25 hours in total preparing for the exam. Seasoned experts may be able to pass with less effort. Regardless, it's the best free, comprehensive certification to prove your skills we've encountered. For more on our experience passing IMU with flying colors, see here.
2.) Write Content
Search engines can't find your website unless it contains content. Developing irresistible content offers is one of the best ways to generate leads, and email marketing is particularly effective at converting leads into customers. Content is the center of any inbound marketing strategy, and every inbound marketer needs to have a proven track record of delivering smart written, graphic or video content. Get started as soon as possible with a personal blog and guest posts in order to develop a portfolio.
3) Work On Your Social Skills
You know what else an Inbound Marketing Agency is going to check for before hiring you? An active presence on major social media networks like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. YouTube, Pinterest and Quora may or may not be a requirement, but it never hurts to display your profiles on your resume if you're going to be handling or writing about social media. Having a Twitter handle of your very own isn't enough. You need to demonstrate that you can use the networks well, on a consistent basis, generate followers and spark engagement.
4) Make Friends With Excel
Those of us who are already helping businesses with their inbound marketing strategy know that it's not a fluffy profession. Social media for business is a far more complex than tweeting pictures of over sized cupcakes via Instagram. For starters, businesses are using social media to increase their bottom line. You can't determine exactly how you're doing or begin to improve without marketing analytics. While you typically don't need graduate-level experience in forecasting or market research, a working knowledge of basic inbound marketing analytics can give you a real boost.
5) Don't Shy Away From Technology
Here's the thing about inbound marketing: it's centered around the use of new, cutting-edge technology. Most content, graphic design, web development and consulting specialists tend to be tech-savvy, early adopters. We're not saying that you need to be an HTML 5 master (though it certainly won't hurt) but the ability to learn new software and social media networks quickly, use a CRM software well, use Wordpress and maybe tweak websites a bit is going to give your resume a serious boost. Hubspot recommends that aspiring Inbound Marketers develop a familiarity with technology that at a minimum includes "comfort, coachability, and the ability to self-teach." Social media and search algorithms are dynamic, and being quick on your feet is the best skill you can have.
6) Don't Drop Out of School
Did we mention that Inbound Marketing is dynamic? Keep yourself up to date by taking advantage of some of the best resources. Fill your RSS feeds with some seriously smart marketing blogs, follow marketing masters on Twitter and feed yourself with content from Mashable, Inc. and other technology-based news sources. Once you've landed your first gig as an Inbound Marketing Rockstar, continuing education will remain part of your daily work if you want to remain effective.
7) Be Inbound
Chances are if you're a recent grad, you've noticed that the job market is a little tough. How can you star? By fully utilizing cutting-edge platforms and technologies. Hubspot's Experiments Manager Sam Mallikarjunan created a website titled HireMeHubSpot to showcase his skills for content creation, landing page design, webinars, social media distribution and more! IMA Content Creator Jasmine skipped the traditional cover letter in favor of something that more resembled a piece of blog content, addressing several of our potential objections to bringing her on our team. While you probably don't need to go to quite the same lengths as Sam, consider sending a Tweet to a potential employer, filming a video or creating an infographic of your skills to really stand out.
Did We Mention We're Actively Seeking a Nashville Inbound Marketing Intern? If you're sharp, savvy and well-prepared to answer the big question of "What is Inbound Marketing?," Contact Us on Social Media for More Details!
Image credit: freedigitalphotos.net/Stuart Miles