Whether you're an inbound newbie and are looking to jump in feet first this year or you've been doing it for a while and it's old hat for you, we all need inspiration sometimes. I think that one of the best places to find inspiration is by following wildly successful and awesome people who do the same thing as you. That's right, hook your social media feeds up with some influencers and sit back and soak in some inspiration.
So if you find yourself needing some inbound marketing inspiration so you can really kick your marketing up a notch this year, check out my list of 6 inbound marketing influencers you MUST follow immediately.
1. Gary Vaynerchuck
Gary Vee is one of our personal favorite influencers that we use to draw inspiration here at HIVE. We've seen him speak in person twice and both Dustin and I own his awesome book and follow him religiously on Snapchat. You could say we're a little obsessed. This man is a seriously brilliant marketing mind.
With GaryVee, it’s all about hustle: get out there, work hard, no excuses, and don’t let past failures hold you back. And he doesn't just talk the talk, he walks the walk too! In fact, He got his inbound marketing start growing his parents wine company by posting videos of him drinking 4 bottles of wine on YouTube and purchasing the word "wine" on Google Adwords before most of us even know what Adwords was. He has since hit gold by investing early in the likes of Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr and started his own marketing company, VaynerMedia to help other businesses find the same success.
Once you've listened to him once, it's easy to see why Vaynerchuck is an inspiration to so many. He's a no-excuse, trust your gut success and his drive and desire is easy to get caught up in.
EXPERT TIP: If you're easily by course language, you might want to hop off the Gary Vee train. He's a passionate person who holds nothing back when he's speaking.
2. Rand Fishkin
Rand Fishkin is co-founder of Moz.com and currently holds the title "King of SEO." Ok...he doesn't really, i just gave him that title, but he probably should. He does, however, sometimes refer to himself as the "Wizard of Moz" so there's that.
Rand not only has a really awesome mustache, he's also incredibly smart about search and getting yourself found. With Google constantly changing it's algorithm, you'll want to make sure you understand where it's going, what Google values and how to use that knowledge to help your business' organic results. Trust me, there is no one better than Rand to help you learn this stuff. He presents SEO topics in an easy-to-digest way and does a great job of providing implementable solutions for any business.
3. Ann Handley
To say Ann Handley has her hands in a lot of projects would be an incredible understatement. Between being the chief content officer at Marketing Profs and best-selling author of Everybody Writes, she also has been recognized by ForbesWoman as one of the top 20 women bloggers and is an active keynote speaker and regular columnist for Entrepreneur.com. And I'm sure somewhere in there she sleeps...actually, you know what, I'm not sure.
It's no surprise that she is one of the preeminent speakers on topics of content and inbound marketing. Handley does an incredible job of connecting with her audience and explaining why content is the future all with an engaging nature and great sense of humor. Some speakers have passion, some have substance, but Handley has both and it makes her ideas both engaging and thought-provoking.
4. Neil Patel
If you've ever heard of Kissmetrics, Crazy Egg or Quick Sprout, you've heard of Neil Patel. If you're a marketer, chances are you look to these company's blogs regularly for inspiration. What you might not know is that you're actually looking to Neil Patel for inspiration since he's the founder of all three. In addition to his wild business success, Entrepreneur called Patel the number one marketer in the world and name brands like Google, GM, and eBay are among his clients.
As an expert in web analytics, marketing and conversions, Patel is also a regular contributor to Inc., Fast Company, Forbes, Entrepreneur.com and TechCrunch. Colleges and Universities across the country even teach his methodologies in marketing classes. As if that all isn't enough, Patel was recognized as the Top 100 Entrepreneurs in the world under the age of 30, by former President Barrack Obama. So if you aren't willing to take my advice, maybe consider taking President Obama's?
5. Marcus Sheridan
Sheridan has an incredibly interesting story about how he got started with inbound marketing. Nope, he didn't start an agency or get a job as Director of Marketing at a huge corporation. He actually got his start when his pool installation business, River Pools and Spas, had a decline in orders from an average of six/month to barely two/month. Not sure what to do, Sheridan took a shot at a new type of marketing. Instead of spending his average $250,000 on radio, TV and PPC advertising, Sheridan went all-in on a new focus: generating sales through informational blog posts and videos. And the rest, as they say, is history.
He realized the value of content marketing when he witnessed it save his business first-hand. From that experience, Sheridan developed his philosophy of content marketing: "They ask, you answer." Since then, he's published a book of the same title and launched The Sales Lion, a website and blog that covers a vast range of marketing topics and advice.
In addition to his vast knowledge on the subject, Sheridan is both personable and enthusiastic about content marketing making him a great addition to this list.
YouTube: The Sales Lion
Book: They Ask You Answer: A Revolutionary Approach to Inbound Sales, Content Marketing, and Today's Digital Consumer
6. Shama Hyder
As the founder and CEO of Marketing Zen, Entreprenuer Magazine has called her the "Zen Master of Marketing." Makes sense right? But it's not just a play on words, Hyder seriously knows what she's doing. She was named one of the "Top 30 Under 30" entrepreneurs in the country by Inc. and, like Neil Patel, has been honored for her entrepreneurial spirit by former President Barack Obama. She’s also the author of the best-selling books The Zen of Social Media Marketing and Momentum. And she's done all of this in just the last few years. It's no secret that marketing is where she is meant to be and following her insights will help you become a better marketer.
There you have it! My six picks for the people you should be following if you really want to up your inbound marketing game in 2017. There are TONS of other smart, funny, and all-around awesome people out there talking about digital marketing but these six powerhouses should at least get you started thinking about how you can make your digital marketing even better this year.
Not sure whether you've got a good start on your digital marketing or not? Need a place to start using the insights from the influencers listed above? Let us help! Schedule a quick 15 minute meeting with one of our inbound specialists! We'll evaluate your marketing and provide you with some tools and tips to help you get started.