I posted earlier that Inbound Networking groups will need to be lead by leaders with strong networking and inbound marketing skills. I detailed what steps are involved with inbound networking earlier too. (Read those articles if you want the rest of this to make sense.)
Many people are asking me, "What should members get?" and "What does the leader do?"
Based on my experience helping businesses successfully grow traffic leads and sales through inbound marketing + my experience networking - online and off - here's what I suggest.
Inbound Networking Membership should include:
- A profile page on the group's site for each member. This page should include a "consult request" form or a similar bottom of the funnel offer.
- Ability to publish 1 blog post per month written by the small business.
- After 5 blog posts are written, a top of the funnel offer should be created, like an ebook. The ebook could contain content from the blog posts or other content written by the member.
- Promotion of their offers and blog posts via social media and email.
- Weekly training sessions - in person or virtually - so members can all learn inbound marketing, get to know each other, and can learn how they can best help each other attract traffic and leads.
Inbound Networking Group leaders should:
- Run weekly meetings including:
- Planning editorial calendars for the blog and offers.
- Training the group on inbound marketing, networking and inbound networking.
- Presenting results to the group on a monthly basis.
- Creation of profile page for each member on the group's site.
- Light editing, approval, scheduling of blog posts to ensure quality content is published.
- Compilation of blog posts into ebooks for each member.
- Creation of weekly email to promote new blog and offer content published by the group.
- Scheduling social media promotion
Should there be multiple levels of membership for Inbound Networking Groups?
I think there is a tendency for agencies to make this more complicated than it should be. Based on our data at HubSpot, all of the activities above will be most likely to drive traffic, leads and sales. If businesses want faster or better results, they should simply increase the frequency of bloging, offer creation for lead generation, email marketing and ongoing improvement based on analytics. What we call: the four core services of inbound marketing. The pricing system that PR 20/20 and Kuno Creative have pioneered can probably be applied here; where the major difference in the packages are activity frequency. Group leaders could also just start with one level of membership and charge for more help. When starting a new group, I'd recommend keeping it simple. There's plenty of time to make pricing more complicated.
What should membership cost?
I don't want to set membership fees for group leaders. Eventually, I think some leaders will be able to charge significantly more if they build a large audience, or if they reach a difficult-to-reach-market, or if they are really great at leading groups. In the beginning, I'd like to see 100s of groups form who keep their membership fee low. I'd like to see something in the $100/mo range. That will provide a low entry fee for businesses and enough of a fee to justify the work required by the leader.
How should leaders sell this?
I'd still recommend the same process that agencies should use to sell retainers. Very few of these small busineses have set proper sales and marketing goals or understand how inbound marketing can help them achieve those goals, and how to network effectively. So, education is required. Prospective members also need to understand that they are committing to creating content, helping their fellow members, and actively participating in training and group meetings. If leaders want a lower touch way to pull this off, HubSpot partners could register prospective inbound networking group members as leads and then invite them to our group education process for small businesses.