Hubspot Training

I’m studying for the Hubspot inbound marketing certification, the basic piece of marketing knowledge that people using the internet need. I have a few plans for what I’m going to do with it once I have it; I’ve talked with a few people about my ideas, and I think they’ll work. Plus, it’s something that can be broken down into individual elements, and those I can delve into more deeply here.

The part of the Hubspot certification that interests me most is the first step, “Attract.” This is where you take strangers and turn them into regular visitors to the site using tools like (as show by the company’s inbound methodology) blogs, keywords, and social publishing. There are statistics — Google Analytics — that show how many people visit the site, but as one of my advisers said, it’s mostly a vanity statistic. What you need is people who are actually reading to come back and investigate more. How does that happen?

From what I’ve seen, it helps to have a little bit of an established network. You can’t just post a website or a blog and expect it to take off. If you have an established name, even among just a few people, the website, the social media presence, will add to that existing presence and make it stronger. Working with established names: that’s one part of my idea. But one thing at a time; Hubspot certification first.

Writing Niches

The goal for me is to highlight my writing niches — the things I specialize in when I’m putting together articles, blog posts, marketing material and the like. There’s a bit of a Catch-22 here, where publications and potential clients want to see your writing in their niche, but you can’t produce writing until you get a gig from a client. You can write for free, but that defeats the purpose of a lot of writing. You’re writing to earn money from your talent, and there’s no shame in that.

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But I’m not starting from scratch. I have been writing for a while, and plenty of my work is here on my site. The next step is to increase the number of publications and clients available to me, and for that I’ll need to network, build those relationships. This also is not a good way to bring in cash quickly, as you need time to build up the relationships, you need to provide help to people without expecting anything in return. Networking meetings are one option, though I’m not sure how they’re supposed to work:

  1. The free ones are a get together over drinks, where you wander around and trade business cards. Everyone there wants a job, and everyone else knows it, but you can’t come right out and beg for a job. You’re there to “meet people.”
  2. The paid ones are extremely expensive, limited to one person per industry, and (at least based on the times I’ve been to those meetings as a guest), a time to socialize (aka “meet people”). There never seems to be people actually giving one another leads. I’m not sure what they’re paying for. It’s like a fraternity, with less hazing and more coffee.

Thanks to the internet there’s also passive networking via forum posting and podcasts (and blogs, as long as they’re regularly updated).  Time to concentrate on my niches, and “meet people.”

Buyer Personas: Goals and Challenges

The second part of the Buyer Persona I’m developing to help shape my work is “Goals and Challenges.” What are my customer’s goals? “Making more money” is a goal, true, but it’s everyone’s goal, so I’ll leave that out. What do they need to improve to get more attention and more serious buyers, which will in turn lead to more money?

Goals

I’ve heard more than one client say, “You say it better than I could,” and a few have even said my handwriting is better, or typing is faster. Goal: The client knows what he wants to say, but not how to say it in the best way.

A lot of my writing is a starting point, where I create the content after discussing with the client about what they want to communicate. Many times, I am given notes, when the client isn’t sure of what they really want to say. They have a half-formed concept, and need to see it on paper or on screen before they can go any further. I put the ideas together in a way that makes sense, then the client goes back and edits it, adding to their original thoughts here, revising the concept there. Goal: The client needs someone to get their ideas organized and transcribed.

Some of my writing (and certainly what I try to do for myself) is more like marketing, where I am not only trying to explain a complex topic simply and comprehensively, but also encouraging people to learn more about it after reading what I’ve written. That has to do with the inbound marketing process: Hubspot calls it Attract-Convert-Close-Delight. At this point, I’m still mostly on the “attract” phase. That’s the next step for me, being more visible and easy to access online. What I do for others I can do for myself, too. But that will be the topic of a future post. For now, the goal is: The client needs to attract more buyers or at least “evangelists” for their product or service.

Three Goals:

  1. The client knows what he wants to say, but not how to say it in the best way.
  2. The client needs someone to get their ideas organized and transcribed.
  3. The client needs to attract more buyers or at least “evangelists” for their product or service.

Challenges

The goals can also be worded as challenges (for example, “Challenge: The client has a lot of ideas but doesn’t know how to organize them”). But let’s instead keep it separate. The biggest challenge for someone with no name recognition and not a lot of presence is building on what little presence there is until a “tipping point” is reached, and a path to success takes shape. Usually, if there’s no presence there’s no money, so that’s the place to start. Challenge: The client has no money to spend on marketing or writing.

Another suggestion by social media experts is to find a niche, a particular subject you’re interested in, and just focus on that. One strategy is to find the niches that are most desired and will therefore pay most. Another is to start with an idea, and figure out the best way to discuss that idea. “Writing” is too broad. “Writing about writing” is still too broad. “Writing about developing a buyer persona” is more focused, but a way to be even more specific is writing about a particular buyer persona — the one I’m working on here. Challenge: The client needs to find a niche.

Even if a client does find a niche, it won’t be unique. There are 7.5 billion people on Earth, and though only a fraction of those use the Internet, and an even smaller fraction are promoting themselves and their products or services, there’s still a lot of competition. So, what can be done to stand out from a crowd? The easy answer is to “go viral,” have a strange or funny video or message that attracts an unusual amount of attention all at once. Most of that will fall away after the next viral hit comes along, but some will remain. You can’t manufacture something viral (that’s kind of the point, though businesses do try). So, it’s better to be consistently unusual. Challenge: The client needs to stand out and “go viral,” if possible.

Three Challenges:

  1. The client has no money to spend on marketing or writing.
  2. The client needs to find a niche.
  3. The client needs to stand out and “go viral,” if possible.

Three goals and three challenges; six new avenues for me to explore with my clients. I’ll dig in to each one soon, as I develop my buyer persona.

What are your ideal client’s goals and challenges?