Inbound Marketing Inspiration from The Sales Lion

Greg Linnemanstons
Posted by Greg Linnemanstons on September 14, 2012

Have you ever been surprised by the source of your inspiration?

Anyone who is a regular reader of this blog knows Weidert Group has been a HubSpot partner for a little more than a year, and what an inspiring year it’s been! We’ve been so pumped about the progress we’ve made that we decided months ago we were going to attend the 2012 HubSpot user conference (Inbound 2012) hosted by HubSpot in Boston a few weeks ago. For months we had been hearing about the incredible keynote speakers scheduled to appear, and more recently we started getting hints about a new product release that would by all indications blow us away.

So when Frank Isca and I headed to Boston 2 weeks ago we were prepared to be amazed, and we weren't disappointed! We relished listening to keynote addresses from some of the biggest names in our industry. Rand Fishkin, author of The Art of SEO,  schooled the room on the myths and truths of SEO in 2012. Sitting next to Frank I thought he was going to get emotional about the experience of firsthand learning from the master of SEO.

And Gary Vanderchuk, liquor store entrepreneur and author of The Thank You Economy, talking about how the web will transform business models by shifting power to consumers, blew us away both with the power of his ideas, and the passion (and, yes, artistic use of profanity!) of his delivery.

So when Dharmesh Shah and Brian Halligan, co-founders of HubSpot, rolled out HubSpot 3 in all its glorious details, I felt a little sorry for anything still left on the agenda. How could anyone possibly top that?

But than later that same day, I got the rebuttal in the form of the best hour of the week. For me, based on smiles, energized interaction with his audience, and unabashed affirming head nods, the high point of Inbound 2012 was sitting in on a breakout session by Marcus Sheridan, aka The Sales Lion.

Marcus was someone we had heard about months ago, and we knew a little about his story. He had partnered in 2002 with two other young entrepreneurs in Warsaw, VA, near Richmond, to help grow a swimming pool business. After some early success, the 2008 financial crisis caused the overnight evaporation of most of their order backlog, and forced Marcus to begin a quick search for new ways to generate quality leads. His search led him to HubSpot and Inbound Marketing, which he quickly embraced as a way to invigorate his sales funnel. Marcus put inbound to work and turned his business around in a terrible economy, but this was only the beginning for him; word of his inbound success spread like wild fire, and before long people were contacting him for advice on implementing Inbound Marketing plans for their businesses.

Today Marcus is still a partner with River Pools and Spas, which thanks in part to his Inbound Marketing skills has grown to be one of the top 5% of pool centers in the US even though they're in a relatively small market. Check out their Inbound Marketing case study.

Marcus' breakout session was called 7 Content Ideas To Blow Up Your Brand, Business and Sales in 2012. Great title, huh? It sure got me, and a standing-room-only crowd, in the door. And once in our seats, Marcus kept us completely captivated with the power of his ideas, and his absolutely contagious passion and homespun enthusiasm (favorite word: "Dang!"). 

Without further ado, here are those 7 ideas that are the bedrock of Marcus' content strategy:

  1. Cost and Price. Most sites never address cost, even though that's the first question most buyers ask.
  2. Common problems. Understanding what people worry about most (after price).
  3. Comparisons. Potential buyers always think about the alternatives, so if you can honestly address the pros and cons of your solution to alternatives, your credibility soars!
  4. Awards. Marcus wanted to apply for pool design awards, but couldn't find any. So he created them! Boom! Now his competitors even link to his site.
  5. Breaking News. The East Coast had minor earthquake tremors in 2011. Marcus was first to address concerns of pool owners in his blog.
  6. Ratings & Reviews. Provide a platform to celebrate the best of your industry, and watch them beat a path to your site.
  7. Thought Leadership. Fearlessly advance thinking by using your blog to take on issues, promote change, or encourage new ideas.

This simple content strategy has attracted around 18,000 visitors and over 100 leads per month. With a typical transaction in the $40,000 to $65,000 range, you can see why they call him the Sales Lion. His online efforts are helping keep the pride well-fed.  

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, Content Marketing

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