Today, I spoke to Dharmesh Shah, who is a co-founder at Hubspot and co-author of Inbound Marketingting: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs. In this interview Dharmesh goes over what inbound marketing is and how it differs from outbound marketing, results he’s seen from pushing content out through social media tools, and more.
How do you collectively define “inbound marketing” and why is it relevant in 2009?
We define “inbound marketing” as any activity that helps an organization “get found”.
Where as outbound marketing involves in taking a particular message or offering and spending resources to spread that message to as many people as possible (most of whom don’t care), inbound marketing is focused on increasing the probability that those people that are looking for you will find you. Inbound marketing is relevant today because as consumers, we have gotten better and better at blocking classical “outbound” marketing like junk mail, spam and telemarketing phone calls. In order to reach us as buyers, marketers need to find a way to become part of the natural interactions we have when we are searching for information and products.
Do you think there will come a time where there will be no more outbound marketing in use (advertising)?
Unfortunately, bad habits die hard. We don’t expect outbound marketing to go away complete anytime soon. Marketers will continue to use traditional methods to try and reach customers. Our hope is that as marketers get smarter, they will shift their energies more and more to inbound marketing over time. It’s a more efficient — and more sustainable way to reach people.
What results have you seen as a company (Hubspot) from using inbound marketing?
Not surprisingly, HubSpot has been passionate about inbound marketing from the day the company started. The results have been fantastic. Today, a majority of the 15,000+ leads we generate every month are a direct result of our inbound marketing efforts. We’ve experimented with many different forms of content to help draw in customers. Our blog has grown steadily in readership and is now one of the top 50 blogs about marketing online according to the AdAge Power 150 list. The blog has over 13,000 subscribers over RSS. In addition to blog articles, we’ve created cartoons, music videos and humorous skits. Another very effective method to reach customers has been our free set of marketing tools at grader.com (particularly website.grader.com). In terms of inbound marketing, we’ll try just about anything that we think has a chance of engaging our audience.
Your show HubSpot TV has helped build personal brands, in addition to HubSpot’s brand. Was this your intention?
Balancing the promotion of HubSpot’s brand and the people that help create them is not without its challenges. In the case of HubSpot TV is not that surprising that Mike Volpe and Karen Rubin (the stars of the show) are becoming well recognized personal brands in their own right. What has made the show successful is that the audience connects with our personalities. We’re thrilled that the show is doing well and hope Mike and Karen become online superstars. We think the professional and personal brands can grow together.
What is your vision for the future of inbound marketing?
Our hope is that others will join us in the mission to help educate marketers everywhere on the potential for inbound marketing. We’re doing everything we can to educate, train and catalyze inbound marketers everywhere. We think this is a noble cause as inbound marketing is not only a more effective way to reach customers — it increases the overall happiness of us as humans.
Dharmesh Shah is the co-author, with Brian Halligan of new book, “Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs“, an actionable how-to guide to getting found via Google, the blogosphere, and social media sites. Dharmesh is the founder and Chief Software Architect of HubSpot, a venture-backed software company offering a hosted software service for internet marketing. Prior to HubSpot, Dharmesh was the founder and CEO of Pyramid Digital Solutions, an enterprise software company in the financial services sector. Pyramid was a three time recipient of the Inc. 500 award. The company was acquired by SunGard Data Systems in 2005. Dharmesh is also the author of OnStartups.com, a top-ranking startup blog with some 13,000 subscribers.
Nore from Dharmesh: A PDF excerpt from the book is available on inboundmarketing.com/book. Also if you enjoy this subject matter, there’s a community of inbound marketers growing online at inboundmarketing.com.