I was going about my day watching a Youtube video on an insect war between the Bull ant vs. Redback spider (insect wars are pretty cool, if you haven’t watched one already, you’re missing out in life) when a friend called. He wanted to apply for this inbound marketing role but didn’t have too much prior experience which is when he asked me -
“What does an inbound marketer really do man?”
Please refer to this page if you need a primer on "What is inbound marketing?"
One that I didn’t have an answer to right away. So my response was, “Watch insect wars on Youtube? (at lunch hour)”
That really got me thinking so I figured I might as well pen it down, because it’s a long, long list. I even considered starting a podcast!
You never see us but we are present in most of the actions you take online. Are you searching on google? The results are influenced by us. Are you visiting a website? It is us. Are you filling out a form? It is us. Did you just like that ad on YouTube? It is us. Neither can you escape nor can you hide from us. All in all, we don't stalk you (Okay, maybe a little!) but provide value to you all over the web. And yes that's what an Inbound Marketer does at the end of the day, he provides value! But there is a lot that goes under the hood. Value creation is just the tip of the iceberg. Let's take a look under the ocean to see how deep it goes.
We are not just under the hood, we also wear several Hats. Hats of different sizes, shapes, and colors. These hats range from analytical thinking, business acumen, and a creative mindset. We play with numbers. It's like we are behind a data center, numbers drop right on our face in real-time. There's so much associated to an Inbound Marketer that it's often difficult to keep up with exactly what gets done on a day-to-day basis, but I’ve attempted to provide a gist.
What do we do: What comes under Inbound Marketing?
HubSpot - the pioneer of inbound marketing - has this to say about inbound marketing.
This is an inbound marketers biggest strength. We at Znbound have achieved tremendous success with SEO. It is our leading lead generating channel. We research the right keywords applicable for a certain client or business so that they achieve optimized results on the campaigns and content that we run for them and then optimize them for SEO - On Page, Off Page and Technical.
All these SEO learnings are documented in the form of evocative blogs on the website. So, in addition to SEO, inbound marketers also weave blogging stories around SEO. No wonder some of the Znbound SEO blogs are popular with the webosphere e.g. subdomain seo.
We don't just run one campaign at a time. We run various campaigns. We juggle between the results of the campaign and make sure the sales department is in alignment with all the campaigns. Campaign duration can last as long as 6 months, making managing multiple campaigns! Not a Child's Play! Build the Personas. Generalizing has always been a creative activity for me (Not that I love it). According to HubSpot, Personas are fictional, generalized characters that encompass the various needs, goals, and observed behavior patterns among your customers.
Revisit and Analyse ALL Content
This helps me in re-evaluating missed opportunities or new ideas that emerge out of the performance of the old ones. This is one of the most underrated things an Inbound Marketer does.
Given all the things we have to do as inbound marketers, this is extremely important. Marketing automation helps save us time and also helps optimize both conversion as well as sales processes. From nurturing workflows, to lead assignments to auto populating forms, this is a magic tool.
A fun way to learn what your visitors are doing on your website and how you can improve the conversions. It mostly involves placement of CTA's and right presentation of copy on your website and other assets. We use heatmaps, Google Analytics, A/B testing to figure out what’s working and what’s not to hopefully give website visitors exactly what they’re looking for.
We create pages with forms that get results in terms of conversions and leads. We optimize them to generate the maximum qualified leads for a particular business or a client. This particular part of Inbound Marketing is highly effective in getting more business just by making strategical tweaks periodically on the page.
We build the social media presence organically to bring in followers by creating educational content that is evergreen, trendy and humorous.
From Google Ad-words to Facebook to LinkedIn to Bing, there's plenty of platforms wherein we can take advantage of paid advertising. The kind of platform, offer, advertising content, varies for each client and figuring the best recipe takes some experimenting.
Expertise in tools
From Google Analytics to search console to HubSpot to Marketo to Salesforce, as an inbound marketer you’ll find yourself using several tools on an everyday basis. While certifications definitely help, getting your hands dirty and experimenting with the tool itself is the key to championing it.
How do we do it: Methodology?
We manage one or multiple accounts. We are the point of contact, working in collaboration with the whole team to assure projects, tasks, goals, and KPIs are continuously hit.
Analytics consumption and analysis
The numbers game is not just for the stockbrokers or finance majors, we use them too to a really high degree. We manage, measure and analyze marketing performance to maximize its effectiveness and optimize return on investment (ROI). Knowledge of marketing analytics allows Inbound marketers to be more efficient at our jobs and minimize wasted online marketing dollars.
Content creation is one of the biggest requirement for an inbound marketer to generate leads. It includes creating interesting and valuable content that helps visitors first, rather than advertisements that concentrate primarily on showcasing the brand. Content marketing plays a role in all forms of Inbound marketing, including SEO and social media marketing.
It’s important that an Inbound Marketer has a knack for stone-cold research. Inbound Marketer needs to do:
- Competitive Intelligence: Up-to-date about the competitors offering and future endeavors.
- Trend Research: What trends are running in the industry? Are we able to join the wave?
- Monitoring Tools And Platforms: An inbound marketer can’t do without a stockpile of tools – knowing what tools are entering the market and choosing the promising ones are vital to an Inbound Marketers success.
Mastering spreadsheets and creating presentations
Let me break your bubble. I spend 30% of my day on spreadsheets and making presentations and I cannot do without the knowledge of it. When I first started as an Inbound Marketer at Znbound, my excel skills were below average making me handicapped in almost everything I did. Over the months I have taught myself some important skills as well as learned from my teammates which helped me speed up my pace by at least 3x. Inbound Marketing is a data-driven job and we need to use spreadsheets to analyze data and presentations to make it digestible.
Why do we do all this?
It comes with excellent career opportunities
Inbound Marketing has been growing leaps and bounds. Today 67% of consumers make their decision about your service even before they contact you. And that 67% decision is mostly based on your Inbound Marketing results. This number is set to increase in the future. So not having an Inbound Marketer or an Inbound Marketing Agency as a priority in marketing may hurt you in the future.
Lots of room for experimentation
Your curiosity is what drives you. We experiment with multiple different ideas to produce compelling content, drive traffic, secure links, rally communities and spur people to take action. It’s a lot of fun and at the same time an incredible way to learn. There is no limit to use your strategies and creativity. And, possibly its the best way to learn and find what works for you personally is by experimenting.The best companies and experts in all fields are continually experimenting, motivated by an unstoppable desire for what they do. There many great reasons you should be experimenting daily with your blog, your marketing and your business. Inbound Marketers get the perfect opportunities to do so, training you for future roles relatively earlier than others.
Autonomous work schedule
It's time to throw away the tardy slips, 9-5 schedule and outdated, industrial-age thinking. Studies have revealed that autonomy makes employees more satisfied with their jobs and increase productivity. The degree of autonomy for an Inbound Marketer may vary, from having a say in our own goals or the projects you work on, to deciding when and where to do your work. For most Inbound Marketers, it’s important for us to perceive that we have choices and we are the source of our own actions. This autonomy has brought me positive effects on my overall well-being and higher levels of job satisfaction. What is there to lose?
An Inbound marketer can work from any part of the world.
Inbound Marketing skills are global and if we are good, we can work from anyplace in the world. Our skills will be relevant for other geographies, which means we can relocate with ease. It also means that we can go freelance and be a digital wanderer working from wherever we are comfortable. Many of the consultants at our Inbound marketing agency are following this because they have specific abilities and have created strong demand for their time. Once you’re a few years in as an Inbound Marketer, you will be able to do the same.
It’s Super Rewarding
There’s nothing really like the feeling of researching, building and executing new digital marketing campaigns that you come up with and then delivering positive results for a company that you care about. Marketing will not make many features on the web for the “most rewarding careers” but if we are smart with our career decisions we can make a positive difference to the reach of our campaigns throughout our career.
If you are the dollar types, here are some numbers you can refer to.
What goes inside an Inbound Marketers mind?
We strive to produce elite quality work that sticks with the user in the long run. To achieve that, we follow the deep work pattern where we go above and beyond to understand the problem-solution relation of a firm to create content that appeals to the users. This requires us to work 3-4 hours at length, totally distraction free to help keep our focus on point.
Inbound Marketer knows how to take risk. Without risks, there is slow growth. We take risks by modifying the key message and marketing material to gain the maximum traction for our campaigns. Some might not work, but the ones that do, they work tremendously. Risk is a prerequisite for an Inbound Marketer, so if you like adrenaline you should stick to this profession.
Knows how to fail
We fail every day but we do not let it come in our way of trying again. It is easy to take things on your heart, more so your supervisor might be disappointed in you. Not letting that come in your way will decide how you will thrive in this profession and industry because marketing is volatile. Knowing how to deal with it is a number one quality.
Sense Of Humor
My sense of humor has helped me get through the job (At least I like to believe so). There is no way on earth can you carry on with this career without it.Inbound marketers job can be stressful, demanding, and require long hours of work. Between writing blog posts, creating social campaigns, developing email nurturing workflows, and designing landing pages – it will get a little hectic!As a result, without a sense of humor, our tough times will never be pleasant. We don’t want to be someone who is easily dragged down, especially when we have to get stuff done.
Not everything in Inbound marketing is black and white
We face new challenges every day. One of the biggest challenges is not knowing how your next campaign will do even if your last campaign was a killer success. Things that worked for one client may not work for the other client in the same industry. So it is important for us to always give a fresh look to all the campaigns that we do to notice if there is any difference or change in the industry, customers or the firm itself.
What does it take to be a successful inbound marketer?
Remember why’re you’re here and that the end goal is always client success
Take feedback Constructively
You’re going to feedback, lots of it, good and bad. You have 2 options
- Let the not so good feedback bog you down
- Take the not so good feedback constructively and work towards it
Option 2 will often lead you to improving the ebay you do something whether it’s a presentation or an analysis.
It’s important to not just act on feedback, but debate it too, when necessary.
Didn’t meet a deadline because you overslept? That’s alright, just be honest about it. While this honestly a life lesson itself, but it definitely applies here.
Juggle multiple things
We do different and multiple things everyday from SEO to campaign management to client calls to delivering presentations. Doesn't mean that we are not successful with them. It just means that every day has something unique to bring in and that you have to be excited and smart about prioritizing your work.
It is imperative to have a data-driven mindset. In a world where Inbound Marketing efforts can be measured, data really plays a crucial role. Some of my intuitions have been busted completely when I got a chance to look at data. And that's what we need as Inbound Marketers. Visitors, leads, clicks, impressions, customers all bifurcated by multiple other filters are available on our fingertips. Working with that data can help us make better decisions from time to time.
As we’ve discussed, an Inbound Marketer is not a one job profession. It involves the use of multi-variate skills that cover your day with analytics, strategy & operations. It is difficult to keep up with us as we will always be bouncing off different ideas with you.
Well, good thing I waited to pen down what an inbound marketer does, because this would have been a long long call with my friend, who I probably scared away with this list. Well, not everyone can be an inbound marketer, can they?
Here is another post from another HubSpot agency, just in case.