Marcus Sheridan tells an amazing story in his book, They Ask, You Answer. To cut to the chase, this book should become required reading for anyone working with inbound marketing. From the perspective of a staunch inbound marketing advocate, I found Marcus’ perspective both engaging and validating, so much so, I read the entire 200 pages in one sitting. I read a lot but I can’t remember the last time I read a 200 page book (made of paper) in one sitting.
One interesting side-note before I get into my review is this: Marcus was not a marketing expert. Marcus didn’t work with a global or sexy brand like Apple, BMW or Coke; he sold fiberglass pools to the local Virginian market. He simply saw an opportunity and went after it.
Get your copy here: They Ask You Answer: A Revolutionary Approach to Inbound Sales, Content Marketing, and Today’s Digital Consumer
Marcus’ Inbound Marketing Story
Marcus was working for a growing fiberglass pool company in Virginia when it happened. The U.S. Housing crash threw the U.S. and much of the globe into the greatest recession in decades. Almost overnight, Marcus’ company had deposits for pool sales vaporize to the tune of $250,000 USD!
Their company found creative ways to eek through the recession, but, one initiative was a game changer. Marcus started fervently blogging. In fact, he blogged every night for 18 months straight. He interacted with their customers and sales team and noticed there were a lot of similar questions. He started to blog about those questions and provided detailed explanations. This marked the shift from selling to educating.
Many companies are solely focused on selling and what their needs are, yet customers care about their needs, not ours. Marcus focused on what customers needed to know to make an informed decision. He bet his business on this strategy and took risks. One such advanced example of his confidence in inbound marketing was to write a blog post about ‘the best pool installers in Virginia’. That isn’t too risky, but, when you learn his company WASN’T on that list, that is enough to make most marketers shudder.
If you’re uncomfortable writing a similar post for your business, remember when others read the post they were on Marcus’ website! In fact, a customer that was about to buy from a competitor was searching Google and found his post. The customer called him to say how impressed she was with the post. Marcus then won the business!
Despite this devilishly crafted blog post, you should read the book for yourself. It is chalk-full of insights such as The Big 5: Blog Articles Topics Guaranteed to Drive Traffic, Leads & Sales
The Big 5 in Inbound Marketing:
- Pricing and Cost
- Versus and Comparisons
- Best in class
RELATED CONTENT: See the full slide-deck for the seminar: LAUNCH SCHOOL: Intro to Inbound Marketing