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As an Inbound Marketing Consultant who works with a dozen different clients throughout the year, I have the pleasure of working with a myriad of clients and get to see which skillsets tend to create successful inbound marketing programs and which don’t.
In every case where we see amazing results and the clients see success, there is someone with a marketing background and solid understanding of digital marketing leading the initiative. It’s not always one person that has all of these skills; sometimes it’s a team that is comprised of members that have these skills and can specialize in the required areas.
During our Inbound Strategy Planning Day that we conduct with every new client we identify this person, the Blog Manager, and make sure that they understand their role and responsibilities for the inbound initiative as the success or failure of the program rests on their shoulders.
Skills Required for Inbound Marketing Success
You don’t have to be an inbound marketing consultant or inbound marketing expert to successfully run an inbound marketing initiative for yourself or your company. However, whoever is in charge of your daily inbound marketing and lead generation activities has to have a core competency in digital marketing to be successful. It’s okay to learn on the job but inbound marketing typically takes 6 to 12 months to see a positive ROI so most companies don’t have time for on job training.
Below are a few skills that everyone managing an inbound marketing initiative should have. We hope that this gives you a good understanding of what it takes to be successful with inbound marketing.
Basic HTML Knowledge
You don’t have to know how to code a website from scratch but you should know how to review HTML source code and make small changes. Most content management systems are WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get) comparable to creating a document in MS Word so it’s not that difficult to create a blog post or landing page using inbound marketing software like HubSpot or in WordPress. However, from time to time you will need to copy some HTML from YouTube and put into a blog post or remove a header tag.
Basic Graphic Design
Can you take a screenshot and add text to an image with an online editing program like PicMonkey or Canva to create a new image? Can you use online stock photography sites and edit the image for a blog post? If you can do these basic activities, you will be fine. However, if you can’t figure out how to insert an image into a blog post or resize the image, you are in trouble.
I've been using Canva a lot lately and really find it easy to use!
If you are not active on the main social media networks yourself (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn) you either need to brush up, and fast, or you probably shouldn’t be managing inbound marketing campaigns for your company or your own inbound program. Most of the social media knowledge that’s needed for inbound marketing involves the utilization of social monitoring or social publishing tools such as Buffer, Radian 6, or HootSuite.
DIY vs. Hiring an Inbound Marketing Agency
If you or the person responsible for your inbound efforts does not have the skills outlined above you should really consider hiring an inbound agency that lives and breathes inbound marketing 24/7. Working with an inbound marketing agency eliminates the learning curve, provides recommendations for your internal team, and gives you a solid basis to implement your program.
Resources and Training for Inbound Marketers
So what if you don’t have the skills that we have outlined and are contemplating or are currently running an inbound program? Here are a few resources that you can use to get up to speed on what you need to know about inbound marketing.
Google Analytics - http://www.google.com/intl/en/analytics/learn/
HubSpot - Inbound Certification - http://academy.hubspot.com/certification
HubSpot Blogs - http://blog.hubspot.com/
HootSuite University - https://learn.hootsuite.com/
Lynda.com - http://www.lynda.com/
This post isn’t intended to dissuade anyone from starting an inbound marketing program. Quite the contrary. This post is meant to provide additional training opportunities and resources to those without the proper skill set to be successful with inbound marketing. and to assure you that you don’t have to go it alone. There are a number of inbound marketing agencies out there that can provide a wide range of services to help supplement the skills of your internal team.