Inbound Networking Groups Will be Lead by Marketing Agencies Who Know How to Network

    Posted by Peter Caputa on Jun 19, 2012 4:51:00 PM

    Just 7 days after proposing the inbound networking concept , I've been pleasantly surprised by the interest in Inbound Networking. People are writing  blog posts about it, there are 20+ comments on the original post, there are retweets" target="_self"><LOVE IT> retweets, etc.

    For the last few weeks, I've been talking to High Mobley about starting a group, Jason Kallio has already recruited members for his, and there are about 20 HubSpot partners waiting for next steps.

    My plan is to help marketing agencies form, lead and own these groups. At HubSpot, my team has helped 100s of marketing agencies grow their business. These agencies, in turn, have helped 1,000s of businesses grow theirs, by signing up these customers on retainer. On average, a HubSpot customer who works with a partner spends a few thousand dollars per month on marketing services and generates about 100 leads/month from their website, as a result of the work that the partner does. The ROI is there. However, it can be better. And we can serve more companies better if we: 

    1. Have a way for small businesses to learn inbound marketing and start generating leads without investing $2k/mo+ right away.
    2. Have a way to help small businesses get their content shared by other small businesses who trust them enough to share it.

    But, this will still take a lot of work and a committment of time and money by each member of the inbound networking group. Based on my experience running networking groups, that doesn't happen without a strong leader, who has the trust and respect of their members, and the ability to focus the group to do what they need to do.

    In order to lead a group like this, the leader will need to be:

    1. A strong networker
    2. A strong inbound marketer

    In the next post I write, I'll propose what I think each member should pay and what work the leader of the group should do for each member, in order to justify that fee. 


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    Topics: inbound networking

    What is Inbound Networking? [Vision]

    Posted by Peter Caputa on Jun 13, 2012 5:43:00 PM

    On Monday, I wrote my first blog post in 3 years. It took me 3 paragraphs to get to the point of the post. The point: I'm launching a new concept called, "Inbound Networking".

    So, what is Inbound Networking? It is a cross between referral networking and inbound marketing. "What the hell is that?", you say?

    First, you need to understand what these two things are:

    1. Referral Networking is a concept pioneered by Business Networking International (BNI) and it's founder, Ivan Misner. Years ago, I was a member of a chapter of BNI, the Golden Triangle. My fellow members grew to trust me and they identified prospects who I could help. Then, they made the introductions. I acquired new clients as a direct result of the referrals I received from my fellow members.  I helped my fellow members in the same way they helped me. You can read more about my experiences with business networking on my old about me page.
    2. Inbound marketing is a concept that we've pioneered at HubSpot. It's the process of attracting traffic to your website, converting traffic to leads, converting leads to sales and continuously analyzing results from each step in order to improve results. Here's a great primer on Inbound Marketing and you can pick up the best selling Inbound Marketing book at Amazon. Here are a bunch of case studies about how inbound marketing helps businesses grow.

    For small businesses, both of these ways of growing a business require a significant amount of effort. With inbound marketing, you must create lots of remarkable content. With business networking, you must develop trusting relationships with lots of people who may or may not ever refer you qualfiied business. Both are hard. Both require committment. Both take time to make an impact on a business's topline.

    Here's how Inbound Networking will work:

    1. Members will first establish trusted referral sources in their industry or geography by joining an established 'inbound networking group'.
    2.  They'll create and publish educational content and offers that demonstrates their expertise and invite prospects to engage with them. 
    3. They'll tap their network of businesses to share their content with their followers, fans, subscribers and customers. This 'content sharing' will drive traffic to their content and capture leads in the process. Members will work together to build an ever-growing audience of followers, fans and customers by reciprocating.
    4. In the process, groups and members will build authority and traffic from search engines, a bigger following on social media, a larger blog subscribership and a bigger opt-in email list. 
    5. Members and groups will improve results over time by continuously analyzing and learning what content, offers and marketing techniques work for each member.

    This looks like more work, right? So, why should someone combine them? While creating content and building trusted relationships with referral sources will still require hard work, commitment and time, combining the two will do a few things. Inbound Networking will:

    1. Reduce the time it takes to generate qualified leads compared to doing business networking and inbound marketing alone.
    2. Instantly create a larger audience for each member's content.
    3. Lead generation and client acquisition results will accelerate over time as inbound networking groups grow and build an online audience and online marketing assets.
    4. Effort creating content and building trusted relationships will produce ongoing results well into the future.

    What do you think? Anyone already doing something like this?

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    Topics: inbound networking

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