B2B Articles - April 09, 2016

How to Become an Inbound Marketer

Career Fair 2010 Photo credit: Michael Starghill Career Fair 2010. Photo credit: Michael Starghill, Flickr,

Once upon a time… Yes, that should have caught your attention. Why? We love stories.

That is the magical “secret” at the heart of inbound marketing. Always embracing new ideas and best practices, and letting data drive action, the inbound marketer is working to tell a story for the client. With narrative and storytelling the inbound marketer educates and engages an audience, aiming to first attract attention, then convert a prospect to someone who will close a deal and ultimately be so delighted with the client’s product or service that they share their positive experience and expand the client’s reach.

Skills Needed for Modern Marketers

Graduation day - marketing job

In other words, inbound involves demand generation, lead generation, conversion optimization, and customer acquisition. In an examination of what it means to be an inbound agency, HubSpot enumerated the following as standard inbound services:

  • Analytics
  • Blogging
  • SEO
  • Website Design
  • Social Publishing
  • Calls-to-Action
  • Landing Pages & Form Creation
  • Contact Management
  • Email Marketing
  • Marketing Automation
  • Content Marketing
  • Lead Management
  • Content Relationship Management Set-up and/or Management

So, What Makes an Inbound Marketer?

To be good at inbound marketing, you need to practice. Inbound marketers need to balance a variety of skills, as well as adaptive and agile methodologies for driving marketing success.

A good starting point is providing meaningful participation on social networking sites. Understanding how to use Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn and employ them as drivers for the client’s lead generation.

Read blogs — particularly this one! But seriously, this can help you keep up to date on inbound marketing best practices from different perspectives, as well as industry events for your chosen marketplace. Inbound marketing is all about education and relationship building, so that makes inbound marketers an online chatty bunch about what works.

You might also consider starting your own blog about a topic that interests you — it’s a good way to hone your writing skills while constantly practicing the principles of inbound marketing.

Be yourself. Just as brand persona differentiates the inbound marketer’s clients, personality is what distinguishes one inbound marketer from the next.

Training to Become an Inbound Marketer

Of course, pursuing certifications is smart too. Marketing best practices are always evolving, so add credibility with the introductory HubSpot Inbound Marketing Certification, more detailed HubSpot Certification (which requires a practicum in the CRM), or HubSpot Design Certification. It’s also a good idea to get Google Adwords, Analytics, or App certified.

Certification in Inbound marketing

Inbound marketing certifications

Certifications Provide Valid Proof

What are good certifications to showcase inbound marketing skills?

  • Google Analytics Certification
  • Hubspot's Inbound Marketing Certification
  • Hubspot Management Certification
  • Google Adwords Certification
  • HootSuite Certification
  • Bing Ads Certification
  • Hubspot COS Certification
  • Hubspot Inbound Sales Certification
  • Hubspot Contextual Marketing Certification
  • Copyblogger Certified Content Marketer
  • W3Schools Certifications
  • Treehouse or Code Academy class completions or points

The Full-Stack Employee

Inbound marketers need a variety of skills. Messina (2015) calls it being a “full-stack employee.” Someone who can understand design lingo, write content, make slide decks, search a bazillion terms in Google, analyze data, plan strategy, and discuss the difference between user interface and user experience is going to thrive.


They can cross the aisle to talk to engineering and can make sense of algorithms, programming, and instinctively understand that scaling the backend isn’t the same as scaling the frontend. Though they may not code for production, they understand what GitHub and StackOverflow are for, and can brute force a copy-paste script to perform basic analysis on a CSV file. If they must.

They’re on the latest social apps.. They use narrative and storytelling to involve their audience... Attention is the currency of the age.

Full stack employees have an insatiable appetite for new ideas, best practices, and ways to be more productive and happy. -- The full-stack employee


The word inbound may sound more insular, but the inbound marketer is more of Renaissance person. An inbound marketer is also a collaborator, someone who can work constructively on a team with flexibility and the ability to think strategically both short- and long-term.

Adding Value: Expanding Your Skill Sets to Support Marketing

Considering that an inbound marketer is the modern equivalent of the Renaissance person, there are numerous supportive skills that would add value to your resume. For example, consider diving into horizontally related disciplines, such as coding, business strategy, consultative sales, design, journalism, creative writing, advertising or PPC management, research, or statistics.

For example, skills in coding and web development would put an inbound marketer more in control and faster on their feet. Building and launching websites, landing pages, and interactive experiences are a vital part of the inbound marketing skill set stack.

To build development skills, you need not go back to college and earn another degree. A world of online courses and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) have come into focus over the last decade to fill in the need of a modern, skill-based workforce. A good starting point for learning basic coding is Code Academy or Treehouse, and start simple--explore classes in HTML, CSS, Bootstrap, or beginning Javascript.

Learn coding online - Code Academy

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  • Ferguson, C. (2015). 10 Tips for Becoming an Inbound Rockstar. https://www.nrmedia.biz/blog/10-tips-for-becoming-an-inbound-marketing-rockstar
  • HubSpot (n.d.) Become an Inbound Marketing Agency. https://www.hubspot.com/become-an-inbound-marketing-agency
  • Lewis, T. (2009). How to Land a Job in PR. https://www.pr2020.com/blog/how-to-land-a-job-in-pr
  • Messina, C. (2015). The Full Stack Employee. https://medium.com/chris-messina/the-full-stack-employee-ed0db089f0a1#.642b006rv

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