If you haven’t read Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media and Blogs by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah then you and your business are already at a disadvantage. This is a book worth its weight in gold. I read it cover to cover in just a few evenings and I recommend that you get a copy before your competitors do!

This is a book that ignites your passion for online marketing and gets you motivated and inspired to invest time working on your business.

Best of all, this book really illustrates how all the different elements of online marketing work together. Halligan and Shah show you how to pick which bits to apply to your business and most importantly where to start and how to do it. I guarantee you’ll have many Aha! Moments whilst reading it!

It’s a book of four parts, all broken down into digestible chapters, all with really good ‘To Do’ lists at the end. Each chapter is full of useful and usable information along with real examples that you can go and check out. There are also many ‘How To’ guides and tips lists on things such as getting your own blog going, attracting fans on Face Book and getting followers on Twitter. There’s also a brief introduction to how Google works plus information on doing on-page and off-page SEO – as well as the black hat techniques you should avoid.

Further into the book you get advice on converting visitors into leads, converting prospects into leads and converting those leads into customers. There’s even a chapter on how to pick and measure the people you hire to work on your inbound marketing strategy.

All in all an essential book that anyone who owns, or is in charge of, a web site should have permanently on their desk.

From the contents:

Part one: Inbound Marketing

Chapter 1: Shopping has changed… has your marketing?

  • Who moved my customers?
  • Inbound in Action: Barack Obama for President

Chapter 2: Is your Web Site a marketing hub?

  • It’s not what you say – it’s what others say about you
  • Does your web site have a pulse?
  • Your Mother’s impressed, but…
  • Inbound in action: 37 Signals

Chapter 3: Are you worthy?

  • Creating a remarkable strategy
  • Inbound in action: The Grateful Dead

Part two: Get Found By Prospects

Chapter 4: Create remarkable content

  • Building a content factory
  • Variety is the spice of life
  • You gotta give to get
  • Moving beyond the width of your wallet
  • Inbound in action: Wickipedia

Chapter 5: Get found in the blogosphere

  • Getting your blog started right
  • Authoring effective articles
  • Help Google help you
  • Making your articles infectious
  • Give your articles a push
  • Starting conversations with comments
  • Why blogs sometimes fail
  • The gift that keeps on giving
  • Consuming content with RSS
  • Subscribe to relevant industry blogs
  • Contribute to the conversation
  • Inbound in action: Whole Foods

Chapter 6: Getting found in Google

  • Paid versus free
  • A (brief) introduction to how Google works
  • Picking the perfect keywords
  • On-page SEO: doing the easy stuff first
  • Off-page SEO: The power of inbound links
  • Black hat SEO: How to get your site banned by Google
  • The dangers of PPC
  • Inbound marketing at work: DIY Shutters

Chapter 7: Get found in social media

  • Creating and effective online profile
    Getting fans on Facebook
    Creating connections on LinkedIn
    Gathering followers on Twitter
    Driving traffic with Digg
    Being discovered with StumbleUpon
    Getting found in YouTube
    Inbound in action: FreshBooks

Part three: Converting customers

Chapter 8: Convert visitors into leads

  • Compelling calls to action
  • Mistakes to avoid
  • Optimising through experimentation
  • Inbound in action: Google

Chapter 9: Convert prospects into leads

  • Landing page best practices
  • Creating functional forms
  • Going beyond the form
  • A word of caution
  • Tracking your progress
  • Inbound in action: Zappos

Chapter 10: Convert Leads into Customers

  • Grading your leads
  • Nurturing your leads
  • Broadening your reach
  • Inbound in action: Kiva

Part four: Making Better Decisions

Chapter 11: Make better marketing decisions

  • Levels and definitions
  • Campaign yield
  • Inbound in action: Constant Contact

Chapter 12: Picking and measuring your people

  • Hire digital citizens
  • Hire analytical chops
  • Hire for their web reach
  • Hire content creators
  • Developing existing marketers
  • Inbound in action: Jack Welch and GE

Chapter 13: Picking and measuring a PR agency

  • Picking a PR agency
  • Inbound in action: Solis, Weber, Defren & Roetzer

Chapter 14: Watching your competition

  • Tools to keep tabs on competitors
  • Inbound in action: TechTarget

Chapter 15: On commitment, patience and learning

  • Inbound in action: Tom Brady

Chapter 16: Why now?

About the authors – from the back cover:

Brian Halligan is cofounder and CEO of HubSpot, a marketing software company that helps businesses “get found”. He is a former venture capitalist and seasoned sales and marketing executive. He is a frequent lecturer at MIT and Harvard Business School.

Dharmesh Shah is cofounder and CTO of HubSpot. He is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor, and authors the top-ranking blog OnStartups.com. He speaks frequently on the topics of marketing and entrepreneurship.

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