How to deliver a simple, low cost Hubspot like inbound marketing solution for your business

Can you compete with Hubspot enabled competitors with your own low cost digital inbound marketing solution?  We think you can, and here’s how we do it for our customers. If you’re in the market for an inbound marketing solution, you no doubt have compared all in one solutions like Hubspot, Marketo and Salesforce Pardot.  These solutions are fantastic, enterprise grade software offerings that make digital inbound marketing simple.  They offer the ability to enter a subscription, turning on all of the components you need to find, attract and manage new leads and customers. The challenge for many small to medium enterprise businesses is the costs, not only from a monthly or annual subscription, but even in setup and configuration.  You can expect thousands of dollars of investment, simply getting these inbound marketing solutions operational. At Consultants.digital we specialise in helping businesses move to digital.  This goes beyond their websites, their CRM, system automation and reporting.  We deliver digital marketing and inbound marketing capabilities to help them evolve and grow their businesses. It’s in these fields of digital and inbound marketing that big vendors such as Hubspot, Marketo and Salesforce Pardot excel, however there are comparable, lower cost solutions that when configured correctly can offer similar outcomes. Here’s a collection of alternatives that we recommend to our clients. We’re happy to share this as we have a passion for helping businesses embrace digital.  If you have any questions or need some help, we’d love to hear from you at Consultants.digital.

What is digital marketing?

Digital marketing, at its most basic, is the promotion of your business, brand or products through one or more of the many internet enabled electronic mediums available today.  Digital marketing provides a faster more broad scale marketing solution that also enables real time measurement, when compared to traditional marketing methods. Digital marketing is often performed by specialists, who are able to track your leads and customers, even if many of them are not yet known.  While Internet websites and landing pages are the most well-known digital marketing mediums, others include SMS messaging, chat software, apps and social media.  Formats of content includes emails, messages, videos, pictures, podcasts and more.  Digital marketing mediums are defined as mediums that provide instant or real time measurement and analysis.

What is inbound marketing?

Inbound marketing has become the most effective marketing method for businesses looking to embrace digital.  Traditional outbound marketing techniques such as buying ads and contact lists have been shown to annoy, and as a result get ignored by, potential customers.  Inbound marketing focuses on attracting leads and customers to you, by delivering timely and relevant content to your customers on mediums that suit them.  By listening to your customers, and adjusting to their behaviour, you can build real audiences who want to do business with you.  This maximises your return on investment through inbound marketing.

Why is inbound marketing important?

The arrival of the internet and a connected world has levelled the playing field for many.  Businesses no longer compete just with local competitors, but also those in other regions, states and countries.  No matter your business or target customer, inbound marketing can help you better identify, connect, manage and convert your target customers.  By the time your customer has contacted you, in many cases they would already have researched you, your competitors and other options online. By leveraging digital and inbound marketing techniques, you can ensure your business is front and centre for your next customer, and at costs that are far cheaper than traditional marketing methods.  Inbound Marketing techniques will deliver you more leads, more customers, and repeat customers at that.

What are the options?

As a business looking to succeed, you will have very clear goals.  You want potential leads and customers to find you online, think your business is the ideal fit, and then engage you and become a customer.  In a traditional sense you want visitors to become leads, leads to develop into opportunities and opportunities to convert to become customers.  And of course customers to buy again. To deliver this, you need to deliver timely and relevant content, to potential leads and customers via mediums or channels that suit them.  You need to deliver website content, emails, blogs, social media posts and then leverage SEO techniques, content tracking and reports.  You have the ability to lead customer thinking, respond to their issues, concerns or ideas, ultimately becoming more collaborative with your audience. By delivering in this way, you’re enabling your potential leads or customers to find you, help themselves to relevant information and engage when, where and how it suits them.  They have the opportunity to interact, ask questions in real time, share tips, information, ideas and wishes with other potential leads and clients. Collaboration is your goal as it begins to turn customers into promoters of your business. Technology on digital platforms makes this all possible.  And as part of any digital or inbound marketing strategy you will need the right tools to deliver.  Here’s the 10 components you can bring together to deliver a Hubspot like inbound marketing solution for any business at a much lower cost.  Most of these solutions can be integrated, all of them can be measured, and each offer a trial to help get you started on your inbound marketing journey. 1. CRM A good CRM is critical. You need to know your customers, be able to segment them and track them over time.  You can then build customised workflows (rules) that enable you to automate each stage of your sales pipeline and customer relationship, so that emails, calls, follow-up steps and content delivery all happen when you want them to. Communication to your clients can then be customised based on their needs, interests and actions to date. There are plenty of CRM solutions out there, but we recommend you ensure that they are flexible (ability to customise), connectable (ability to integrate other solutions in and out) and scalable (ability to handle a lot of customers, employees and data as your business grows). You can’t go forward sending the same message to every prospect, you will just lose them. Our top 3 CRM recommendations:
  • Base CRM
  • Salesforce
  • Highrise
Expected costs: Budget around $30-50 per employee per month. 2. Content No one knows your business, brand and products better than you and your customers.  The best content is content that is fresh, regular and relevant.  You need to put in place a strategy to deliver timely communications on multiple mediums that clients can interact with.  Think not just about direct promotion, but how, where and when your customers are using your business and products, to deliver content that adds value to them.  The best content ideas come from you and your customers, and you can leverage resources outside of your business to bring your ideas to life. Without fresh content, you’ll miss out on thousands of potential SEO driven visitors. Our top 3 content recommendations:
  • In-house
  • Outsourced Writing
  • Outsourced Editing
Expected costs: Budget around $40-100 per article/content piece. 3. Website Landing Pages, Blogs & Forms Your website will be one of the first port of calls for your potential leads and customers.  It should be simple to navigate, have clear calls to actions, and be editable by anyone in your business at anytime, anywhere. It should also contain a blog to enable visitors to search relevant posts and topics, interact as needed, and when ready make themselves accessible to you.  Great form software should enable to you capture data pieces and wider information and surveys when and where relevant. Our top 3 website landing page, blog & form recommendations:
  • WordPress
  • Unbounce
  • Instapage
Expected costs: Budget around $30-50 per month. 4. Helpdesk & FAQ Your clients will have questions, and they will need to interact with you on issues and concerns.  A great Helpdesk solution is simple to search, enables multiple types of content to be integrated like video, images and text, and be easily accessible when it makes sense to your customers. Our top 3 helpdesk & FAQ recommendations:
  • Zendesk
  • Freshdesk
  • Desk
Expected costs: Budget around $20-50 per employee per month. 5. Social Media Social media channels are critical to distribute your content, but also to understand customer sentiment.  You need to tailor messages and content for different mediums, keep posts relevant, and track engagement.  You need a single point solution to post to multiple channels, and then track and respond to engagement as it happens. Out top 3 social media management recommendations:
  • Hootsuite
  • Social Oomph
  • Sprout Social
Expected costs: Budget around $20-50 per month. 6. Email & SMS Marketing Outbound communications will still be needed, but instead of a regular all hands email blast or newsletter, communications should be timely and relevant.  By knowing more about your clients you will be able to send messages tailored to their current needs and interests at that time.  These solutions can be teamed with your CRM, Social Media Management tools, Helpdesk and Website views to tailor what is sent to your potential leads and existing customers. Out top 3 Email & SMS marketing recommendations:
  • Mailchimp
  • BurstSMS
  • MessageBird
Expected costs: Budget around $20-50 per month. 7. Chat, Tooltips & Training Enabling your clients to chat with you as they review your content offers instant feedback and interaction. Many clients will be more comfortable on chat than traditional phone and even email methods due to simplicity and speed.  Tooltips and training is also important, and if you have a website platform or app, or a complex product or solution, utilising tooltip and training technology means your clients can receive help where and when they need it. Out top 3 Chat, Tooltips & Training recommendations:
  • Mytips
  • Clickdesk
  • Zopim
Expected costs: Budget around $20-60 per employee per month. 8. Search Engine Optimisation You have the data, the channels and the content.  It’s now all about Search Engine Optimisation, ensuring that your business can be found, and more specifically presented as the most relevant solution.  By focusing on SEO you can ensure that your content is presented often and at the top of search queries relevant to your business, products and services. Out top 3 Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) recommendations:
  • MOZ
  • Yoast
  • Serps
Expected costs: Budget around $100 per month. 9. Integration & Automation All of the above systems require multiple logins, steps and processes.  Many integrate with each other, but solutions exist to not only integrate all of them together, but also deliver automation taking the manual workload away from you and your business.  By integrating and automating you deliver scalability, while automated actions and responses from your digital systems can provide customers what they need when they need it. Out top 3 Integration & Automation recommendations:
  • Zapier
  • IFTTT
  • itDuzzit
Expected costs: Budget around $30-50 per month. 10. Dashboards & Reporting Nothing works as expected the first time.  You might think you have created a great piece of content, published at the right time to the right audience, but how do you know?  Many sales cycles take some time, so identifying success can take time.  Digital marketing changes this, and everything can and should be measured.  Using Dashboards and Reporting systems you and the team can understand all that is happening with the business, your customers and potential clients. Out top 3 Dashboard & Reporting recommendations:
  • Google Analytics
  • Cyfe
  • Tableau
Expected costs: Budget around $20-50 per month. We’ve outlined 10 groups of individual or point solutions to help you build an inbound marketing solution that can offer Hubspot, Marketo and Salesforce Pardot like results.   As you can see, these total up in the hundreds of dollars, not thousands of dollars, and in most cases cost nothing to set up, let alone require annual lock in contracts. These can all be integrated and automated, delivering you, your business and your leads and customers the latest capabilities and best chance for success. The next step from here is to review your business, align it for the move to digital and map out a plan to evolve to digital, commence digital marketing and ultimately inbound marketing strategies.  If you have any questions or need some help, we’d love to hear from you at Consultants.digital.