In today’s 10 minute podcast, Shantha Kumar, CEO of BlueOshan talks about the importance of Inbound Marketing in the Indian and global context. Kumar also mentions the use of marketing automation tools like HubSpot and the need to produce quality content to grab the attention of your customers and push them further down the sales funnel. BlueOshan is a digital marketing company based out of India that specializes in inbound marketing, SEO, SEM and marketing automation. The Simplify Podcast is a bi-monthly podcast aimed at breaking down simple marketing concepts.
Here's a transcribed version of the podcast to fill in any details you might have missed while listening in. Enjoy!
So, today's topic is inbound marketing, HubSpot and Branding. Today Kumar and I are going to talk about inbound marketing and its role in building your brand, generating leads for your business and much more. So let's start off with the definition of Inbound Marketing, what is Inbound Marketing and how do you think it can improve your business and generate leads.
See, inbound was a terminology coined by HubSpot. HubSpot is a Boston based product company which started as CRM product and it has now grown into a very very large platform. So… they coined this terminology Inbound Marketing. Marketers are usually sort of… most of us are very familiar with outbound methodologies. Which is more… you try to push stuff to your customers. Inbound is a little bit more scientific. Where, I would say, you use content in a very clever manner to gain traction and there is no hard selling. To put it in very, very simple terms you have tailor-made content based on the way your customers consume products and how they actually buy products. The whole purchase process…you sort of map it out. All of us know how our customers buy stuff but we do not get into the details of defining their buyer persona. You know… how does Kumar, let us say, buy, you know, a Market Research or how does Kumar buy Infographics. Those are the things that are very important to understand because then you tailor make content and then that is what you use in a clever manner to attract his attention. So Inbound is a methodology were you use content to attract your customers and then you nurture them through various taps. There are quite a few interesting tools that are there on platforms like HubSpot, where you, you know, nurturing tools. Once you attract people you have got to retain them. You have got to retain their interest and you have to nurture them through the process. So, this is sort of the big picture you know…30,000-40,000 feet of the Inbound Methodology.
So how long has Blueoshan been using HubSpot?.
We have been using HubSpot for just about a year. In fact, when I started this venture four years ago, I tried reaching out HubSpot but at that time we were so small. 5,6,7 years ago I was quite fascinated by all the marketing automation that was happening in the market and when I started consulting initially, I spoke to most of the marketing automation platforms and HubSpot was something that really caught my attention, but we were too small. We didn't have a structure to sort of onboard HubSpot for ourselves. Finally, last year October, we decided to partner with HubSpot, not only to implement HubSpot for ourselves, but we also become a partner to implement Hubspot for others in the market.
So how does HubSpot work exactly and what are the features that enhance your digital marketing efforts?
HubSpot is a… so you have to look at HubSpot as a very broad platform. Which has got four, sort of, major pillars. This is how I define it. So first is the CRM part, all of us are familiar with the CRM part where you actually store your Contacts, track the source of your contacts… its basically a storage of your Contacts and from where they are coming from.
and is it free?
Yeah…yeah absolutely. The CRM is free and anyone can use it and Hubspot has also made it easy for people to, you know, quickly onboard the CRM, it's very simple. It's a good place to start gives you the confidence you know at least you have all your Contacts in one place which is not the case in most of the situation you know. And the second one is the Marketing CRM or Marketing Hub. It’s not called… or it used to be called as CRM, now it’s called Marketing Hub. The third one is the Sales Hub and the fourth one is the Service Hub. It is a very logically organised structure. So, there is… you need a place to store your Contacts, but you need a very very good process to build your funnel which is the Marketing hub and you need to qualify them, before it can be passed on to the Sales folks and then you need a nice Sales funnel process to nurture your leads and then take them… to retain them and then take them to closure. And after you have closed a customer you have to support them, you have to Service them because you know feedback is everything. It’s very important to know how your customers are experiencing the product and how they are receiving support from you. The whole process of supporting your customer happens in the Service Hub part and that was launched very recently. Each of these Hubs has grown in their own stature. So that's the sort of a broad view of what HubSpot is all about.
What kind of success stories does Blueoshan have with respect to using HubSpot for their clients?
One success story is our own implementation. The thing with HubSpot is, as a partner, when you are implementing HubSpot for other customers you actually become your own sort of lab. HubSpot also insists that you… any partner needs to implement HubSpot for themselves, before they can actually implement it for others. Because it is how you creatively use the software that is critical to delivering results. It's not just the software alone, it’s got fantastic features and its very user-friendly and stuff like that. So, our own success rate has been quite interesting and significant from the point of the amount of traffic we are now generating to our site and the amount of content we have produced. Rohin, you have been a part of the whole content production process. I would say in the last 8 months we have produced content like nobody's business. So, it’s close to 150 blogs or something that is there in our website. We were recently doing an analysis of our Alexa ranking. We were like, you know, something like 2.2 or 2.3 million early this year and we are now sub 500 thousand which is a massive four times improvement in the rank of our own website rank and the kind of quality of leads we are getting and the kind of enquiries we are getting has drastically improved especially the organic traffic.
So, this is within 8 months of…?
It is a process that you need to go through very patiently because producing content… it is not about producing a lot of voluminous content, it is about producing meaningful content… content that will make sense to your buyer's persona. So, if you have 5 different types of persona... in our case, if you take for example, we have decided that, you know, our focus is going to be Marketing Automation and Search Engine Optimization that is driven by Content. Because of it sort of ties up neatly well with the Marketing Automation fundamentals. So, all the Content, if you see… look at our website at recent times, that we have produced, will be around Marketing Automation, will be around HubSpot and will be around Search Engine Optimization So, Rohin, you have yourself written so many articles on SEO that we have discussed.
Right. How relevant is Inbound Marketing in the Indian context and how can it help Indian businesses build their brands and focus on lead generation?
Rohin not only in India. I would say this is a global requirement. Inbound is the way of…is going to be the way of the Marketing world is, what I think. There is, you know, there is so much noise, everybody is trying to push something at somebody right? All of us are going… in certain markets, so many people are going after the same customer and Inbound Methodology is a lot more simple, in terms of how you can structure it, but even though there are complexities around you know producing content stuff like that… but, without content in a world which is completely driven by content, the Inbound Methodology is the only way you can actually reach your content in a meaningful manner and be able to generate demand that is you know…there is… isn’t it a better situation where someone comes and says “hey I am looking this particular service”, instead of you saying hey I have got this, I’ve got this, etc.
Do you feel like Inbound Marketing is going to slowly outgrow the budgets for outbound marketing like, you know, traditional marketing?
Absolutely, I think so too. See the inbound methodology... see you can't rule out outbound completely. You need outbound. Like I said in my previous… in our previous podcast, we were talking about how creatively you can use outbound to support your inbound. It is not one without the other both need to work in tandem. And if it is more inbound and if you are able to get the methodology implemented and if you are able to get it off the ground successfully, the quality of the leads that you are able to generate and the quality of the conversions that you will have will far exceed the kind of investments that you will put into bringing in sort of approach like this. You need outbound definitely it's not that you know you will do away with that. It's going to be there, but it's going to be more and more inbound is my sort of personal view.
Hello… have I lost you..?
Hello… yeah! No No No.
Hi okay… okay.
So we are in two different parts of the world and we are using, you know, this time around, Rohin is sort of trying out voice over IP. I am in the west coast of United States, he is in India. It’s close to midnight and we are doing this interesting podcast.
So I guess that's all we have for today and if you do want to follow our Blueoshan newsletter for more podcasts and blogs on Inbound Marketing and also INBOUND 2018. In fact, that's exactly why Kumar is in the US right now. And how is your experience with INBOUND 2018?
INBOUND 2018 was awesome. This is my first INBOUND. I haven't been to INBOUND before. It was a massive event exceeded everybody's expectations and so much to learn, hundreds of speakers, so many motivating inspirational keynote addresses and I am actually looking forward to 2019. So, we are doing a complete blog series on INBOUND 2018. If you subscribe to our blog you would be able to read and learn from them. And we may even podcast INBOUND, which may not be a bad idea.
Kumar, thank you so much to our audience thank you. That's it for this episode of Blueoshan’s podcast. If you like the conversation, do like us on Soundcloud and help us build our audience. Thanks for joining us and will see you next time on ‘Simplified’.