I'm excited that the first 'inbound networking group' launched their website and has begun processing member applications. I asked High Mobley & Larry Holmes, founders of TheBusinessAdvisors.org to write up their thoughts on inbound networking and why they're starting their group. Their article is below. If you're an owner of a B2B company and want to use inbound networking to reach business owners and entrepreneurs near Las Vegas, Nevada, you can apply to join TheBusinessAdvisors.org.
When Pete Caputa, Director of HubSpot's Agency Partnership Program, began writing about the concept of Inbound Networking recently, I got very excited. It's sort of a mashup of inbound marketing and referral networking, pioneered by HubSpot and Business Networking International (BNI), respectively. I got excited because I'm a fan of both. Inbound marketing is the most effective approach I've seen to online marketing, and I'm a big advocate of both the inbound marketing methodology and HubSpot's all-in-one marketing software. But inbound marketing is difficult for very small businesses (VSBs). To be successful with inbound marketing, very small businesses must invest significant time and/or money. So, I'm excited to combine business networking with inbound marketing, so we can reduce the effort, while improving the lead generation results.
We've started our Inbound Networking group and site at TheBusinessAdvisors.org. Our group will be made up of businesses who sell to other businesses, often referred to as B2B. We’re providing our members the ability to implement inbound marketing for their business with the guidance of an online marketing agency. By pooling resources, we can offer this at an affordable price and a much lower time commitment. Our members will work together to build a following of their target prospects: local business owners and executives. By working together, they'll build their following much larger and much faster than any one member could achieve alone.
Why is Inbound Networking such a big deal?
To see results from inbound marketing within a reasonable time frame, a business owner should write several blog posts per week, as well as launch and promote one or two landing page offers per month. That's an onerous pace for the typical small business owner, even if she has a small staff or other assistance. Plus, she would need to spend a lot of time over the first few months reading documentation, taking training classes, and consulting with experts to learn how to use inbound marketing software and tactics.
You might suggest that a business owner should pay someone to help her or just do the work for her. Unfortunately, for an inbound marketing agency to provide these services to a company, they typically need to charge $2,000/month or more. There are more affordable options for content creation and graphics work, but then the business owner would need to proof and edit the blog articles herself and manage another contractor for the graphics work. Some agencies will start at lower fees, but spending less than 20 or so hours per month on inbound marketing delays traffic and lead growth. While many companies devote the time and money needed to achieve great inbound marketing success, many companies don't ever get started.
Enter Inbound Networking for the win!
So what's a small business owner to do if she wants to use inbound marketing but has neither the time nor the budget to do it effectively? Inbound Networking puts many of these small business owners together to create one web site where they can collectively publish lots of great content. For example, an Inbound Networking group of 20 members - who each write just one post per month - would publish five new articles a week to their group blog! That kind of frequency makes for a very strong site in the eyes of search engines. But, it's not just search engine rankings that benefit from the group collaboration of Inbound Networking. By promoting one another's blogs and landing pages, each member gets exposure to a much larger social media following than she could hope to accumulate alone. If each of these 20 group members has a social media following of just 250 people, then there are 5,000 potential customers on social media who could see the links to the blog posts and landing pages of all the group’s members! The reach of the group starts to grow even more rapidly once they begin employing opt-in email marketing and automated lead nurturing to further promote each other's content and offers.
The Inbound Networking Takeaway
It comes down to this: A group of small companies with a common target market are far more effective together than they are individually. Inbound Networkers have access to more inbound marketing resources at a lower cost of both cash and time than any single member could manage by herself. Even more importantly, they can produce better results more quickly by working together.