Social Media Breakfast Madison

Hubspot expert George B. Thomas, not to be confused with mathematician George B. Thomas, kicked off Wednesday’s Social Media Breakfast with a jam session, wowing the crowd with his beatboxing skills. George is a self-described “inbound Jedi” at The Sales Lion.

George dove right in asking the crowd about their knowledge of inbound and content marketing. He said in his work over the years, he’s found that there are two main problems people face when coming up with a plan – the buyer and budget. He illustrated his buyer point with a picture of actor Ed O’Neill, who played shoe guy Al Bundy on the hit show Married with Children.

George then showed a picture of Zappos, an online shoe and clothing shop. George said Zappos changed the game and is now the shoe guy. “They made it so that you can buy them online, get them, try them and send them back. Things are changing. People are more than willing to get anything they need online,” he said.

George further illustrated his point with a picture of a bookstore, saying bookstores really don’t exist anymore because of e-commerce companies like Amazon. He listed several defunct bookstores, which he says did not realize that the game and the buyer had changed.

George talked about the buyer’s journey, the process people go through when buying a new service or product – awareness, consideration and decision. He said 70% of the buyer’s journey is done online before they ever call a company or visit the contact page. “People have educated themselves and they probably know more about the product you sell or the service you provide before they ever talk to you.” He said if you haven’t become the Wikipedia of your space, users will go somewhere else to buy products.

“Because the buyer has changed, we need to use some automation, we need to be able to have content, we need to be able to do lead nurturing, we need to have a contact database. If any of these pieces are missing, then we’re fighting an uphill battle.”

As for budget, George said companies either have a budget and don’t know where to start or have minimal to no budget. He gave three examples of all-in-one marketing and sales software that companies use – Pardot, Marketo and Hubspot. They cost anywhere from $2,400 to $28,000 for one year.  

Many companies use agencies for inbound and content marketing. Hiring an agency can run $67,000 to $118,000 per year. If a company hires an agency and chooses a marketing and sales software like Hubspot, the company is looking at $76,000 to $128,000 for a year.

So how do you build your own inbound marketing machine? “There are many moving parts to an inbound machine. Social media, analytics, SEO, automation, content, lead conversion, lead nurturing. These are all the buzz words about things we should be doing to do a digital business right,” George said.

George asked the crowd if they use WordPress for their websites and received an overwhelming response. He then discussed various tools to use with WordPress sites.

Content, design and development

Visual Composer – Page builder plugin for WordPress. Gives you a lot of functionality and allows you to set up your pages the way you want to set them up. Cost: $34 one-time fee

George said once you get your website set up, you should be measuring everything that’s happening.

Measure your website

Google Analytics –  Allows you to analyze traffic on your site. You should measure three things – where people are coming from, new vs. returning users and how fast your pages are. Cost: Free

MonsterInsights – Google Analytics plugin for WordPress. Simpler than Google Analytics. MonsterInsights will pipe what’s important to you into your WordPress portal. Cost: $39 – $199/year

Slim Stat Analytics – Web analytics plugin for WordPress. Slim Stats measures top search terms, top referring domains and much more. Cost: Free – $180 one-time fee for a bundle

To drive people to your website, George said focus on keywords and keyword questions. Thinking about experiences with Google, Siri and Alexa, people simply ask them a question. George has started coaching his clients on using keyword questions.

Increase website traffic

Ahrefs – A toolset for SEO and marketing. Allows you to run reports on your websites. Cost: $99 -$999

Yoast – SEO plugin for WordPress. Allows you to set a focus keyword for articles or pages. It also allows you to customize your title and your meta description, the summary people see on the results page when they search your product. Cost: Free – $69

Your website is looking good, you’re measuring results and you’re bringing people to the website because you’re using keywords. Now, how do you convert those people to leads?

Convert web visitors to leads

Mautic – Free and open source marketing automation software. Allows you to build forms and have categories for your forms. Has templates or create custom landing pages. Mautic has list segmentation if you want to market to a specific audience. Mautic is not in WordPress. Cost: Free

Inbound Now – Marketing plugin for WordPress. Allows you to customize forms, drag and drop the forms, create landing pages, see total visits, total conversions and the conversion rate. Cost: Free or $45/month

George said you have to make your site look good, measure everything and focus on the questions that people are asking. “We need to get them in a position where they convert and then we need to be able to segment those contacts and nurture them down the buyer’s journey into our sales and marketing funnel,” he said.

“Go forth and become an inbound marketing hero and rock out the world!”

Hywania Thompson
Written by Hywania Thompson, Writer and Editor, @hywania