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NOW AVAILABLE -- "Star Gates: Your Passage to Inbound Marketing"

New eBook From Crawford PR Provides Roadmap to Inbound Marketing Success and Ranks Top Inbound Marketing Companies by Feature, Performance and Price

WASHINGTON, DC -- (Marketwired) -- 06/24/13 -- Crawford Public Relations, Inc. today announced the publication of Star Gates: Your Passage to Inbound Marketing, the first industry handbook to offer detailed analysis of the key expertise companies must master before buying an inbound marketing solution, and to provide objective side-by-side ranking of the "Big 4" vendors: HubSpot, Pardot, Marketo and Oracle Eloqua.

"Star Gates is designed for C-level executives and business owners who are intrigued by inbound marketing's promise -- shorter sales cycles, lower costs and higher conversion rates -- but hesitant to take the leap to the future of marketing," said author James Crawford, president of Crawford PR. "Written in plain English and using the principles of investigative journalism, Star Gates helps prospective buyers make informed business decisions about inbound marketing before committing to a solution. The book provides a detailed analysis of all costs including hidden charges, reviews each vendor's strengths and weaknesses, and tells which companies offer the most attractive deals in inbound marketing."

Star Gates is unique on three levels:

  • Essential Preliminaries: Star Gates is the first book to provide a comprehensive examination and "how to" guide on the four "gates" companies must pass through to ensure inbound marketing success: keyword research, keyword testing, site optimization and content engineering -- essential knowledge that inbound marketing companies tend to downplay because each area requires additional investment above and beyond the cost of their solutions.
  • Side-by-Side Vendor Comparison: Star Gates stands alone as the only guide to deliver a frank, unbiased review of the Big 4 vendors by feature, price and performance, to help potential buyers choose the best solution for their business. In contrast, virtually all other inbound marketing books are written by vendors and their resellers, and have a hidden agenda to encourage purchase of the products versus offer objective analysis.
  • Expensive Add-ons/Hidden Charges: While the book provides many success stories, it also reveals pitfalls to be aware of, for example, one-year, pay-in-full upfront contracts, and add-on expenses such as mandatory training and database storage of contacts that can easily double the cost of an inbound marketing solution.

Among the many valuable insights found in Star Gates:

  • The Power to "Unmask" Online Mystery Shoppers. Companies are often misled on the value of Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools. Neither can reveal the identity of visitors to your website. In contrast, inbound marketing "unmasks" prospects, then grades and scores the most promising as targets for lead nurturing campaigns.
  • Inbound Marketing's Real Value: Relationship Building. Inbound marketing is not a substitute for sales. What it does do: build relationships that improve conversion ratios.
  • Missing Pieces. No solution is truly "all in one." All inbound marketing systems rely on 12 essential components, but most lack 3 out the 12 key modules: keyword research, a blog platform and a content management system. Where these 3 modules are concerned, you must bring your own.
  • Come-Ons to Avoid. All vendors promote monthly rates for their Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), but in reality expect quarterly or annual contracts. Some want the full year's payment up-front.
  • Tuition Fees. In inbound marketing, education is a profit center. Three out of the "Big 4" require you to pay for training on how to use their software, at fees ranging up to $8,000.
  • Database Charges. All vendors store your prospect data, often for a hefty sum that can exceed the cost of inbound marketing software itself. One vendor has 18 separate categories of fees, based on the number of contacts you want to store. Others mask database charges by bundling them into a higher software charge.
  • Higher Sales. Caveats aside, inbound marketing works. Star Gates provides case studies on companies that have used inbound marketing to boost revenue up to 400%.

"There is no question that inbound or 'permission' marketing is the future, destined to supplant the high cost and low ROI of advertising, direct marketing and other forms of classic outbound marketing," said Crawford. "However, this is a young industry where the rule of caveat emptor still applies. To optimize their investment, prospective buyers must master the knowledge of the four 'gates' to inbound marketing success, and understand the strengths and weaknesses of each provider. Star Gates is your guide."

To read the Foreword and Introduction or purchase Star Gates: Your Passage to Inbound Marketing, go to

Based in the Washington, D.C. metro area, Crawford Public Relations, Inc. is a premier provider of marketing, communications and PR services for the digital era. For more information, go to


James Crawford
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