The other day I was preparing an inbound marketing presentation titled “how to generate qualified leads for your business online” and needed a custom piece of artwork. Nothing too fancy but also not clip-art. A call to my graphics department indicated that it could be days before I got anything from them. Having been around digital media for the past two decades, I knew that every digital designer uses Photoshop. How hard could it be? Here’s what I learned about Photoshop, Photoshop training and how both relate to marketing automation, inbound marketing and generating leads for your business.
I downloaded the Photoshop trial. The install was simple. I opened the app and my screen was taken over by what looked like a workspace. All the usual conventions seemed to apply. File -> New opened a new “canvas”. The pencil tool let me doodle. The polygon tool made… you guessed it, polygons… so things felt comfortable. It was clear Adobe had made the tool fairly intuitive. While this got me to the point where I could make 2-year-old looking pictures, I couldn’t figure out how to put these tools together to create anything close to art. Frustrating! Easy to use tool, not so easy to get the results I wanted.
Training to the Rescue
Brilliantly, I decided to look online for others who had similar experiences and who documented the way they got cool looking images out of Photoshop. Wow. Lots of YouTube videos on Photoshop. Who knew? I sat through a few and learned how to do Gaussian blurs, clone regions of my image, outline areas, change fonts… but an hour into “training”, I knew a lot more about how to use the tool but putting it all together to create art, was still a long ways off. My best effort looked a lot like a paint by number, not an Andy Warhol.
Taking stock of my situation and investment… I purchased the best tool for the job, I had become proficient at using its various features… but these two investments still had not transformed me into a digital artist and I was no closer to getting my presentation finished than when I started. Frustrated, I emailed a freelance graphics designer with my specification and the next day I had a beautiful image in my inbox. That was easy. Lesson… great tool plus awesome training doesn’t make one an instant artist.
Back to the Future: Inbound 2012
While I was waiting for my cool custom graphic to show up, I started thinking back to last summer and HubSpot’s Inbound 2012 conference. If you were there, you recall the opener when Brian Halligan and Darmesh Shah “flew” in wearing orange (of course) jump suits and began telling the audience how HubSpot was all about helping people create marketing that people love… because marketing that people love create leads that generate more business. Makes sense. If you weren’t there, perhaps you can imagine it (I highly recommend going to Inbound 2013 if you’re at all interested in generating leads for your business). Having been in the business of creating marketing that disrupts people in new and sneaky ways for the past decade, Halligan and Shah’s message really resonated with me! But there’s something missing in the HubSpot execution and I only realized it while I was trying to become proficient at Photoshop.
HubSpot has a great online marketing platform. It’s got a content management system, marketing automation, email tool etc. Just like Photoshop, it’s got most every bell and whistle a marketer could wish for… and if it doesn’t have it, David Cancel and his team are busy adding it. HubSpot also has a really amazing training system, called Hubspot Academy. I don’t know if there are as many videos in HubSpot’s training as there are YouTube videos on Photoshop, but if you want to know how to do just about anything in inbound marketing, HubSpot has training for it. But just like my Photoshop experience, having a great tool and having more great training than you have time to take, isn’t getting you measurably closer to generating leads for your business. There’s something missing.
The Missing Link
In my Photoshop experience, what was missing was my ability to take my creative ideas and implement them using the tool and the training I had. Perhaps in time I could have become proficient and actually made digital art instead of paint-by-number. The freelance designer I ended up working with had the same tool I had. She also had access to the same training. What she had that I did not have was a method for transforming ideas (mine) into art using the tool and training. Just like Photoshop plus training didn’t make me an artist, an amazing marketing platform and incredible training won’t necessarily enable you to create marketing that people love or suddenly make your marketing a lead generating machine. What’s missing is what makes your business really cool and unique and how to implement that using inbound marketing best practices… aka an online marketing funnel just for your business. Some clear parallel’s here.
Make Marketing People Love
If you want to be successful creating marketing that people love and generating qualified leads for your business I see three requirements:
- A comprehensive online marketing platform
- Excellent working knowledge of the platform and inbound marketing best practices
- An implementation of your unique value proposition and sales funnel on the marketing platform
You can get the first two of these requirements from HubSpot. The third essential component, however, has been left as an exercise for the marketer. Some marketers seem to intuitively understand how to translate their business value on to an inbound marketing platform. The result is marketing people love and lots of leads… because inbound marketing works! ...Others not so much. Even with an awesome marketing platform and amazing training their marketing looks a lot more like my paint by number graphics than an Andy Warhol (and I am not talking about making eye candy websites here... no one is looking to earn a webby!). But there is hope for all the color blind, artistically challenged marketers out there. There is a process that can transform below average online marketing into marketing people love. It’s called the Content Marketer’s Blueprint™.
Just like my freelance graphics designer had a method for translating my ideas into digital art, the Content Marketer’s Blueprint is a translation of your unique business value onto a marketing platform like HubSpot. Your input, special software and time-tested techniques are used to create a one-of-a-kind Content Marketer’s Blueprint for your business. Once your Content Marketer’s Blueprint is implemented on HubSpot using blogs, premium content, calls-to-action, landing pages, forms and lead nurturing, you have everything necessary to create marketing for your company that people love… and that will generate leads for your business.