In an interview for an internship while in college, I was asked what I knew about inbound marketing. To be honest, I had no clue. Inbound marketing is something that is not in the curriculum for marketing majors unless you take a Digital Marketing elective, yet it is something that is a growing force in the real business world. I was unaware of the new world of HubSpot and was left stumbling for words, but got the job and made it a priority to have an easy definition for inbound marketing. What I came up with was creating content so the customer comes to you, a pull strategy rather than a push marketing strategy. The content created brings the potential customer in because they are willingly interested in it, rather than a more traditional method of sending out advertisements with your company’s name and slogan on it.
As a newly hired intern of Revenue River’s marketing team, I had the chance to earn my inbound certification from HubSpot while working my first day on the job. Besides that, it was expected of me to get my certification like everyone else in the office. I was excited to draw from my past experiences while learning more about what Hubspot and inbound marketing is all about. If you do not already know, Hubspot now offers over 10 different certifications, including an inbound basics certification, a Hubspot certification that requires actual creation of content, and more in-depth partner, design, contextual, and sales enablement certifications. Each certification is customized for a different level and expertise, and there are now nine certifications that are free and open to anyone (the inbound certification used to be the only free one).
There are now 9 free HubSpot Certifications.
The Certification Process
The Hubspot Inbound Certification is a series of 12 classes that teach the fundamentals of inbound marketing and the four steps that Hubspot teaches; Attract, Convert, Close, and Delight. The Attract stage is all about how to create content and distribute it to draw in a potential client. Next is the Convert stage, turning the viewers you attracted into contacts. Lastly are the Close and Delight stages; reaching out to your leads and taking the sales process further. The task of watching the videos and retaining all the information for the test can seem a bit daunting.
Once you watch the videos and feel comfortable to take the test, the test is 60 questions long and has a time limit of 75 minutes. You must receive a 75% grade or higher to pass. The questions come from the videos and the slides, asking questions about the vocabulary, what to expect when using Hubspot tool, and how to approach different marketing situations.
Completing Your Inbound Certification in a Day
As it is free and available to all, the HubSpot Inbound Certification is definitely a worthwhile step to improving your knowledge of inbound marketing and how it can fit into any marketing plan. So turn off your Netflix, pour yourself a cup of coffee, and get to work. Here are four steps I took to complete my certification in a day:
Selectively watch the videos
This is obvious as the videos are a main part of the Hubspot classes. You can skip around the videos if it gets monotonous or if they are repeating points. The points are organized in a list, so when skipping through the videos you can choose which points to skip and which points you need more information on. There are many parts of the videos that are included in the test but are not on the study guides or slides, so the videos are a crucial part.
Take the quizzes to see where you're at
The quizzes are a good opportunity to test your knowledge after each video. Each quiz will have a few of the same questions that will be on the final test, so pay attention. If you miss any, you can go back and change them until you find the correct answers. Not only will the quizzes prepare you for some of the wording that will be on the test, it will force you to go back and look up some of the answers which will further ingrain the idea in your mind.
- Study the slides and study guide
It is handy to have the study guide up while watching the video and following alongside, noting which points get brought up. The slides can help you remember some of the detailed points that you may have passed over during the video. They also contain many of the charts shown in the video and most of the key definitions that you will need to know for the test.
- Take the test with your notes handy
After you have spent multiple hours watching videos that feature different HubSpot employees, corny jokes, and a few mascots, you are probably ready take the test and get it over with. This is the time to show off what you learned, although some of the questions can be tricky. With 75 minutes to answer 60 questions, you have over a minute for each question. Take your time and reread the question if needed, many of the questions can be thought through step by step. If you fail the test by getting below a 75%, you still gained a lot of knowledge and can also retake the test. If this is the case, you will have to wait 24 hours to take it again so study your weak areas in the meantime.
SEO is important, but don’t write for a computer
While it is vital to optimize your content for search engines, it is important to remember that you are still writing for a person, not a computer.
A call-to-action is crucial
Inbound marketing is almost useless without a call-to-action (CTA). You did all the hard work to get someone to view your content, but if you leave out a call-to-action then you are not capitalizing on it. A CTA will allow you to get contact information or further interact with the viewer, and it will allow the viewer to ask themselves if they want anything that you have to offer.
This is the baseline
Now that you're inbound certified, the world is your oyster. You have the first HubSpot certification under your belt and there are many more you can now set your sights on. Add the certification badge to your LinkedIn, but make sure it has other certification friends to hang out with.
If not now, when?
Inbound marketing and SEO is a constantly evolving field. What works now to optimize your website, may not be as important in the future. Regardless, the free Inbound Certification from Hubspot helps you build the basic knowledge you need to move forward with your website, digital marketing career or understanding of marketing as a whole. Even if you already have some experience with inbound marketing, you may be surprised with what this certification can teach you. Set aside some time and a bring a determined mindset, with hard work it will only take a day to set the foundation for a range of inbound marketing knowledge to come.
Now I'm inbound certified and have real-world experience in the field (as well as the badge on my LinkedIn profile). Bring on that next internship interview, I'm ready now.