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This blog is based on a recent  interview with Mike Volpe


by Lewis Howes – Author, Speaker and Entrepreneur.

The full transcript and  video is here, which I recommend you look at


Why would you put your effort into Inbound Marketing ??

Inbound Marketing Budget & Results

Lewis: So, what I hear from that is that:

You spend more energy, time and resources or money on creating content, or creating free software, free downloads, free webinars.  So you’re putting that paid advertising money into the free stuff, which is converting twice as well as the paid stuff.  Correct?

Mike: That’s exactly right.

The cost is lower per lead and the conversion rate is twice.  So the cost per customer… it’s 3 or 4 times better. It’s fantastic.

And you’re right.  I think… so we spend some money on creating content and the way that you typically do that is that you end up hiring people.

So I think that in the long term we may have much more as the percentage of marketing budget going to the team and, you know, the people that are blogging and doing webinars and creating content versus buying media.

Building Versus Renting

And I think the interesting… you know, the other analogy if you think about it that way is that:

  • If you’re buying media or advertising from someone else, you’re really renting the capability of attracting an audience because you have to pay them every time you wan to do an ad.
  • If you’re building up your own blog, if you’re becoming your own media company, you’re building something.  You’re purchasing real estate and building your own real estate.  And obviously what you typically want to do is own those assets over time and things like that.

So just like you do with your blog and everything that you do, you’re building up yourself as this media agency, right?  And if you were to take a month off, you would still get a ton of web traffic because you’ve built this up over time.  If you stop paying that bill to that company you’re advertising with, you get nothing the next month, right?

So I think, again, you should want to build and not rent, and that’s another way to sort of think about it.

How would you start with Inbound Marketing ??

How To Start Inbound Marketing

OK. So let’s give them a good example.

  • Say I’m a tech startup company.
  • I’ve got 10-25 employees.
  • I’m trying to grow.
  • I’m trying to get more leads.
  • I’ve got a free software, or a free service, but there’s a paid model as well, but I’m looking to get those free leads in to use the service first.

How do you guys collate the information through your blog, your books, your webinars, etc?  Do you hire… if you’re this company, do you hire someone externally?  Do you have members of the team who are doing different things; developers, CEO, running content?  Do you get all the members of the staff involved?  Or do you use one person?  How would you go about that?

Mike: That’s a really good question.

I’m a huge fan of getting the entire company involved in the effort.  I think we’ve had a lot of success and seen the best success among our customers if there’s more than one person.

Maybe you can have a leader, or a manager for your inbound marketing program, but unless you have multiple people contributing… you know, it needs to be the whole company.  You just sort of change your company philosophy to some degree to really make these things effectively.  We’ve seen the best success with companies that have multiple people contributing to the blog.

Because you get those different perspectives: the perspective from the VP of Engineering versus the VP of Sales and the VP of Marketing or the Co-Founders.  It’s going to be a little bit different.  And that helps you attract different facets of your audience.

Lewis: So, what if a company is not willing to do that?  Do you think you’ve really got to adopt this philosophy? Or you’re going to be struggling if you don’t?

Mike: You know…

  • It will still work to some degree if you have one person sort of dedicated to it and spending some time on it.
  • You will get better results if the whole team is dedicated to it.

IQMS Success Story

I’ll tell you a story about a company called IQMS.  They sell, sort of in that range, or I think they’re around 200 employees.  They sell ear piece software to manufacturers.  They’re based in California.  And what the CEO did, is he decided to basically…

You know it was like when Cortez came to the New World he burned his ships so all the people with him would committed to staying and making a life in the New World.

  • He did that.
  • He fired their PR agency.
  • He cancelled all of their print advertising.
  • And he told his marketing staff of only 2 people, that you need to embrace inbound marketing and make it work and here are your lead goals.
  • And they said, “Holy crap! What are we going to do?” Right?  And then they said, “Well, I guess we really need to make this work.”
  • So they started blogging.
  • And the CEO was great because they did have that leadership above.
  • The CEO created some content.
  • Some other people in the company started blogging and things like that.
  • And they’ve actually seen their business, I forget if it was 10% or 20%, buttheir business increased after having decreased the past 3 years.

And you know, we’re still not in a great economic environment yet, and they were able to see an increase in 2010 after having declined in 2008 and 2009.

He really attributes all of their success to that program and being really, really committed to it.

So again, you’ll have some success if it’s one person, but I would really recommend to folks that they think about really transforming their company.

Lewis: Gotcha.

How would you get started with Inbound Marketing ??

A Simple Inbound Marketing Plan

What would be a simple marketing plan for any company trying to get more inbound leads?

Mike: Yeah.

#1: Website Grader

I think the first thing is, I honestly would recommend Website Grader. It’s totally free. I’d run my website through Website Grader. Usually for many of the smaller companies, there’s usually one or two small changes they can make to their site to improve their search engine optimization, or how they’re site is displayed in search engines.  That’d probably be the first thing.

#2: One Blog Article A Week

After you’ve made a couple of those changes, I think the next most important thing is just to start to create some content.  So I would actually say about one blog article a week is probably fine.

You know, someone like you, you’re passionate about the stuff and you create tons of content. You’re doing hundreds of webinars.  If you can do that, that’s fantastic.  But for many of these folks they’re really nervous about getting started so even one blog article a week will have an effect.

#3: Good Lead Generating Offer

And then I think the third component that you definitely need is:

  • What’s that good offer that’s going to get people to convert and become a lead?

And usually I think a webinar is a great example of something that people can do.  And then you need to take that call to action, that offer to become a lead and put that on your home page, and put it on all of your blog content.

And I think that if you use just those 3 things, the blog articles and the SEO will start to attract more people to your site and you’re going to have that good call to action and you’ll start to get more leads through that call to action.

And then, you know, there are lots of ways to make it even better and do more with it, but those 3 things will get most people started.

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