How You Can Use Inbound Marketing to Grow Your Business
What You Need to Know About the HubSpot Inbound Certification
If you’ve been following me on social media lately, you probably saw that over the weekend I earned my Inbound Certification through HubSpot Academy.
The certification was focused on inbound marketing and the basics of this method of growing your business. It was simple, straightforward, and free!
I completed the 2 hour Inbound Certification which you can find here.
It reinforced quite a few things I already knew about marketing. But it also equipped me with new tools and knowledge to grow my business and serve my clients better.
Here’s what you, as a business owner, need to know about the HubSpot certification and inbound itself:
What inbound marketing is and what makes it different
A little background on me: I have a BA in History, and have extensive writing experience including publishing academic papers, writing floor speeches for members of Congress, and being a journalist for a major Catholic news outlet for a summer. Why does that matter? Because I don’t have a degree in marketing, and neither do you need one to run an inbound business.
Inbound marketing is all about serving your clients needs by actually caring about them and empathizing with them. With inbound, gone are the days of the slick salesman and questionable sales tactics. When people say they hate “salesy” language, I really think they’re yearning for the inbound philosophy. They want businesses that have conversations, build relationships, and offer solutions to problems. You don’t need a degree to do that!
This involves creating content that is helpful and draws people in by its sheer generosity. This is why I create content that matters for business owners on my own social media pages, as well as for my content clients: the aim is to provide something genuinely valuable that isn’t filler, but is actionable.
You can’t market anything without a buyer persona
I’ve read and studied endlessly on the concepts of a buyer persona and buyers journey (see below). As a copywriter who is concerned with the audiences of other businesses, including my own, this certification provided an excellent refresher on why this concept is so important, as well as how to implement it.
A buyer persona is an avatar of your ideal client: WHO are you selling to, exactly? You cannot sell to everyone (well I mean you can try, but … good luck). This persona helps you zero in on who is most likely to buy from you. Who has the problem you’re able to solve? Who have your most successful/best customers been? This gives direction for your content, rather than just a fuzzy idea of who you want to work with.
Don’t ignore your unique buyer’s journey
A buyer’s journey helps you understand how your client gets from “I have a problem or challenge” to signing a contract with you or buying your product. This is why I always like to understand how my clients’ audiences describe their challenges and pain points — understanding this helps you tailor your content to your audience’s language so you can speak to them at each stage of the buyer’s journey, from awareness, to consideration, to decision.
Why inbound matters — to me and to your business
I employ these inbound principles in my own business — having this material in my back pocket is already making me a better business owner. But it also makes me a better copywriter.
As a copywriter, I don’t just have my own buyer’s journey, buyer persona, and inbound marketing in mind: I employ all of these ideas when writing with your voice for your business.
So as a business owner and a copywriter, here are a few takeaways from the certification to keep in mind going forward…
- You cannot separate content and your unique buyer personas and buyer’s journey. Understanding these two facets of your business will help you (or me) create content that is most effective for your audience, regardless of what stage of the process they’re in.
- You can’t create content for just one persona, or just one stage of the buyer’s journey. Those becoming aware they have a problem want to read more about the problem and see that you, as a business owner, understand it. Those considering their options want content about potential solutions. And those trying to decide whether to patronize you or not want their questions about your product/service answered.
- … And using a buyer persona to guide your content creation is an invaluable tool. Speaking in your audience’s language when possible gives you an edge when leaning into their challenges and problems, regardless of what type of business you run.
- Your web copy, too, should be driven by your company’s purpose. Does your website convey your understanding of a problem, and inspire trust that you have the solution? If not, then it might need some work to bring it in line with the inbound philosophy.
If you’re a business owner, this certification matters for you
That said, I highly recommend this certification to any business owner looking to gain greater insight and, really, a birds-eye-view of what it takes to grow an inbound business.
My lone complaint: a great deal of the content was directed at product-based, not service-based businesses. So if you run a product-based business, you will find this exceptionally helpful.
If you’re a business owner, this content matters for you. It can give you the tools, knowledge, and framework for growing and scaling effectively.
And if you just enjoy a quick overview like I’ve provided here instead of going through the process yourself, keep checking back — I’m starting another certification in a few days 🙂
Now I want to hear from you: what aspect of inbound marketing do you think will be most helpful for your business? Tell me in the comments!