There’s a lot of jargon that comes with the world of online marketing. Terms like SEO, inbound marketing, digital marketing, online marketing, PPC, conversion, and calls-to-action can be tricky if you’re not used to the industry, and even if you are, there are some vocab words that don’t seem all that different. One really confusing one is the difference between digital marketing and inbound marketing. Many people use these terms interchangeably, but in fact, they refer to different types of marketing, and do different things. So, if you’ve been wondering what the difference actually is between digital marketing and inbound marketing, we’re going to break it down for you:
The term digital marketing functions as a sort of catch-all for any marketing tactic that’s done on a digital medium. So, things like search engine optimization, website banners, social media campaigns, are all examples of individual digital marketing tactics. While there’s a lot to be done with digital marketing, the term itself doesn’t imply any sort of strategy. Think of it more like a toolbox that contains all of the marketing tools you can use to increase brand recognition, get more traffic, and be seen online.
Unlike digital marketing, inbound marketing is a clear, defined marketing strategy that has precise steps and best practices. While an inbound marketing strategy does make use of a lot of digital marketing tactics, like blogging and improving SEO, it’s a set methodology that works to draw in qualified visitors, and generate leads. It’s an ongoing, holistic strategy that encompasses a number of specific steps. We think of inbound marketing as a philosophy that works to put customers first, and digital marketing tactics help them to achieve that philosophy.
Digital Marketing Vs. Inbound Marketing: Which is Right for You?
Now that you know what the differences are between digital marketing and inbound marketing, how do you know which option is best? Well, it depends on your goals.
Brand Awareness + Short Term Goals = Digital Marketing
If you’re simply trying to grow brand awareness, and get any old visitor to your website, a few different digital marketing tactics might help. Digital marketing tactics on their own work to solve short term goals, like boosting your Facebook page’s reach, or increasing traffic to your website. On the other hand, if you’re trying to generate leads that convert to legitimate, qualified customers, an inbound marketing methodology is probably a better choice. While you can run a Facebook like campaign, or start pushing banner ads, those techniques by themselves will only produce results limited to those initiatives. A like campaign will certainly get you more likes, and banner ads might get more people to your site, but that’s about it.
Qualified Leads + Long Term Goals = Inbound Marketing
An inbound marketing strategy takes each of those digital marketing tactics, and folds them into a larger strategy that does something with the results of each tactic. With an effective inbound marketing strategy, you create content that draws in qualified leads, you develop landing pages and calls-to-actions that capture the contact information of people who are interested in what you’re offering, you deploy email campaigns relevant to those specific contacts, and in the end, you’ll have created a full strategy that makes each of those digital marketing tactics work together to create a whole that’s greater than the sum of its parts. Once you have a complete inbound marketing strategy in place, it works long term to continue to deliver you qualified leads, and boost your conversion rates over time.
Choosing inbound marketing is like playing the long game; it leads to more solid, consistent results. Digital marketing is playing the short game, where you get immediate results, but they’re not often worth as much in the long term.
In the end, it’s up to you to determine what your goals are for your business’s marketing strategy, but when you decide, know Evenbound is here to help you implement! We’re a Hubspot Gold Agency Partner, which means we know every digital marketing tactic through-and-through, and we know how to combine those tactics for an inbound marketing strategy that produces long-term results.
If you’d like to see what that might look like for your company, schedule a free consultation, or check out the case study below to see what our proven strategy has done to produce results for others:
When you’re building out your local contractor website, it can be tough to set yourself apart from the competition. First of all, there’s the business of actually building the site, from deciding on a design and a color palette to putting the thing online. Then there’s the problem of making sure it’s visible. Once you’ve got all of those things taken care of, you have to make sure you’re still standing out from the competition.
All in all, building a contractor website that stands out from your local competition can seem like a tedious, monstrous process, but know that it can be done, and it can be done well. Once you know what to do to make your site stand out, it’s just a matter of implementation. So, let’s get to that recipe for success right away: When it comes to creating a contractor website that stands out from local competition, you need to be clear about who you are, and you need to be technically solid. After that, it’s just about making sure the right people find you. So, let’s break those initial steps down:
Be Clear About Who You Are
The best way ensure your contractor website stands out from the competition is to be absolutely clear about who you are, and why you’re different. What makes your contracting company better than your local competition? Do you have a hyperfocus on customer experience? Are you really great at communication? Do you offer the best prices, or the best quality? Whatever it is, it should be clear, and it should take a site visitor less than 10 seconds to figure it out. Put the heart of your contracting company at the front and center of that new website, and make it easy for potential clients to see who you are, and what you do best.
Let’s say there’s three major contracting companies in your local area. They all quote competitively, and do the same type of work. However, one of those contractors regularly posts blogs that demystify some of the more confusing aspects of the contracting industry, and they share them to their social media pages. That contractor, all other things being equal, is going to be the contractor who pulls in more, bigger jobs. Why? Because they’ve positioned themselves as an educator, and a resource for potential clients who are looking into hiring a contractor.
Remember that the modern consumer is research-driven and educated. The modern consumer wants to gather as much information as possible before they even consider talking to a salesperson or asking for a quote. By offering up the information they’re already looking for, you become that resource that they go to when they have questions, and you’re more likely to be the first contractor they call when they decide it’s time to start collecting bids.
It’s not enough to just write those educational blogs though, you gotta post ’em too! And not just to your website. You should be sharing your tips, as well as helpful information from other industry leaders to your Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter accounts, because if no one sees what you’re writing, there’s not much point in writing it. Sharing useful information gets you followers, and it gets more eyes on what you’re putting out. Active social media accounts are also a great way to set yourself apart from contracting competition just by sheer numbers. Most social media platforms prefer users who post regularly, so if you’re posting every week, and your competition posts just every month, you’re likely to have a bit of a leg up when it comes to visibility.
We should caution: don’t use your social media accounts just to talk about you. That’s probably the fastest way to lose followers. Make sure you’re putting out content that’s relevant to your target audience and your ideal buyer. Whether you wrote it, or another industry expert did, the content that you’re sharing should be engaging, interesting, and answer some question your clients often have.
Address Specific Pain Points
Finally, when you’re writing content and developing your contractor website to stand out from local competition, it’s important to remember to address specific pain points. Sure, you finish projects and meet deadlines, but what pain points do your ideal buyers have, and how—specifically—do you work to fix those?
The more you can do to assuage common concerns that your target market is likely to have when it comes to finding a contractor that’s right for them, the more likely you are to get their business. How do you ensure their project is completed to their specifications, and how do you work to maintain a tight schedule? Specific answers to questions that worry consumers the most is a surefire way to set yourself apart from local competition.
While all of the soft skills above will set you apart from the competition when it comes to consumers, you also need to know how to set yourself apart from the competition when it comes to search engines. Anyone building a contractor website would be wise to remember that it’s not only consumers who are looking at your site and its quality—you also have the internet and its bots to contend with. What exactly do we mean here?
Well, on any search engine like Google, spiders, or bots, crawl websites on the internet to search them for information. It’s these bots that decide where on results pages a site will rank, and it’s these bots that tell Google what your site is about. So, when you’re building your contractor website, you also have to make sure you’re building with search engines in mind, and that means taking care of a few technical details.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the first step to ensuring that your website ranks well on search engines. There’s a lot you can do to optimize your site but start by implementing keywords relevant to your contracting business. These keywords should focus on the specific type of contracting work your company does, your location, and terms that your ideal client might be searching for on the internet. Start with keywords, and once you’ve got a handle on those, implement some of these more advanced strategies from our SEO Site Checkup, to make sure your site is ranking as well as possible.
Google My Business Page
One great way to make sure you’re really standing out from any local competition online is to claim your contracting company’s Google listing. If you have a website, Google has probably already made you a stock listing that tells people who and where you are when they search “contractors near me.” To stand out from the crowd, you’ll want to claim that page, which is actually pretty easy to do.
From there, you can customize your Google My Business page any way you want. Add high-resolution photos, office hours, and information about your company that’s optimized around relevant keywords if you want to stand out from the crowd.
Don’t Hate on Ads
Google search and Facebook ads are a sort of brave new world for those in the contracting industry. Since they’re so new and different, many contractors shy away from them, at a loss to themselves. If you want qualified leads in your area to see your contractor website before anyone else’s, the easiest thing to do is invest in Google search and Facebook ads. These two very powerful programs work to make sure your company is put in front of the right people, at the right time, ensuring ROI and new leads.
Though they’re a little bit more complicated than the old standard YellowPages ad, it’s not by much, and the ROI you’ll receive makes them well worth your time. It’s in your best interest to at least check them out because when done properly, they’re guaranteed to put you ahead of local competition.
In the end, a successful contractor website that stands out from local competition is achieved by optimizing the content you create on that website and the tech that supports it. If you can focus on both aspects of your website, and you optimize for keywords your clients are out there searching, you’re sure to see a marked improvement in your contractor website’s ability to draw in and convert new leads.
If you’re excited about boosting your contractor website’s potential, but you’re not sure about implementation, know that Evenbound can help. We’ve worked with a number of small businesses in your industry, and know just what to do to ensure your site stands out from local competition. The best way to see how we can help your contracting company improve is to have a conversation with our President, John Heritage.
Here at Evenbound, we use WordPress for our own website and blog, and we almost always recommend our clients do so as well. For the purposes of digital marketing, WordPress really can’t be beat, and as an all-around website building tool, most of the world agrees. More than 74 million sites on the internet are built through WordPress, making it by far the most popular content management system (CMS) available to anyone. In case you’re still not buying it, think about your favorite big-name websites: CNN, The New York Times, Ebay, BBC America, Bloomberg America, and even Facebook Newsroom. They all use WordPress. Oh and we forgot one: Beyoncé. That’s right, Queen Bey herself uses WordPress to host her content, post recent updates, and keep her millions of fans informed.
All of these major players didn’t just choose WordPress willy-nilly, either, they chose it for a reason. WordPress is easy to use, affordable, and already optimized for SEO, making it an obvious choice for a number of businesses, celebrities, and news stations looking for a comprehensive CMS that’s totally customizable. But we don’t want you to just pick up WordPress because it’s what Beyoncé uses, so we’re going to give you all the reason why WordPress is the right choice for us, and for our digital marketing clients:
One of the most obvious benefits of WordPress is that it’s free. While there are costs and fees associated with using WordPress if you choose to host with them, or upgrade to a higher-level template, anyone can create a WordPress site for free if they want to. What’s more, WordPress offers two versions of their services: WordPress.com for those of us who need something that’s easy and functional for a personal blog or something that’s relatively small, and WordPress.org for people who plan on hosting their website, purchasing a domain name, and running a business through their website. Either way, a WordPress site can be designed and built for little to no money at all.
Simple, Easy Hosting
Another benefit of WordPress is total hosting flexibility. Almost every hosting service out there supports WordPress, and if you have your own server space, you can self-host easily. There’s no trouble with finding a compatible server or host, because it’s built on free, open-source code that’s easily hosted anywhere.
Optimized for Search Engines
One really attractive benefit that’s made WordPress the obvious choice for us is that Google loves WordPress sites. WordPress uses exceptionally clean, easy-to-read code, which makes it simple for Google to index and crawl their sites. WordPress also features a number of plugins that help you optimize your site yourself. The Yoast SEO Plugin is sort of the gold standard for search engine optimization. It allows you to customize your site title, meta description, title tag, and keyword, and then gives you an indication of how well that page will rank. Best of all, it’s free too.
Easy to Maintain and Update
WordPress is a foolproof CMS that anyone can handle. We often have clients who would like to have control of their sites to be able to post their own company updates and make changes to content when it’s necessary, and WordPress makes it easy for them to do so. It’s easy to pick up and understand, and you don’t need to know any code to make updates or post new content. WordPress offers us a great option to hand over to our clients, as it’s not intimidating, and empowers them to be able to use their own websites however they see fit. You can also set security updates and maintenance updates to occur automatically, so you know your site is always well-protected and technologically up-to-date.
Tons of Beautiful Design Options
More than just functionality, WordPress offers a ton of beautiful, clean design options. In a world where appearance and design can make the difference between you and the competition, WordPress makes it easy to stand out. They offer a number of customizable templates to best display your content, whether it’s a weekly blog or an e-commerce site.
Fully Responsive Themes and Mobile Support
WordPress is up on each and every one of the Google Algorithm’s preferences, which is why they offer a number of responsive themes that scale to fit the size of any screen. What’s more, all WordPress sites are supported on mobile devices, meaning you won’t miss out on traffic anywhere.
Flexibility and Customization
WordPress offers more than 50,000 free plugins, which means if there’s anything you want your site to do, that you can’t do as-is, there’s probably a plugin to help you along. Whether you’re looking to embed PDFs or add in another feature, like landing pages or calls to action, WordPress plugins are the solution, ensuring you can always shift or change your site’s capabilities to fit your unique needs. Again, no coding necessary.
WordPress actually started out as a blogging platform, which means content marketing is in the CMS’s blood. It’s one of the best content management systems for blogging out there, which is why you’ll see a ton of big-name news sites using it for their content development. WordPress not only supports blogs, but makes it easy for you to update and change them, schedule them into the future, and share your blog posts to your social media accounts and regular followers.
Easily Connects to Social Media
When it comes to content marketing, promotion is equally as important as development, and WordPress knows that. They make it easy to link each of your company’s social media accounts to your WordPress site, so you can easily share content and updates, and your site visitors can share, comment, like and otherwise engage with anything they really like on your site.
Analytics and Tracking
As digital marketers, analytics and tracking are our end-all-be-all. Analytics tell us where we’re doing things right, and where we need to improve, so we love that WordPress offers those numbers freely and easily. Any WordPress site comes with an analytics panel that will tell you how many people have visited your site, and how often. With the addition of one or two easy plugins, you can also track the success of your calls-to-action and landing pages, to see which of those are performing best, and which need a few tweaks. If you’re looking to optimize the traffic to your site, WordPress is a powerful, free tool to take advantage of.
For us, WordPress makes our lives easier by making site migration a breeze. A number of our clients come to us with a clunky, older website that has content they’d like to preserve, but isn’t updated, user-friendly or built in a modern CMS. WordPress makes it really easy to migrate that old site onto their framework, and give it an immediate facelift and boost in usability, without losing any of the content or authority of the old site.
Offers Familiarity for Consumers
Consumers love a website they don’t have to think about. Since WordPress has been around for so long and is so prolific, most internet users intuitively know how a WordPress site functions, even if they don’t know the site is built in WordPress. The menu placement is familiar, it’s easy to navigate, it loads quickly, and consumers will find content where they expect it to be, which means people will be at ease on your WordPress site. They’ll be comfortable there, and more likely to remain on the page if they already know how the site works.
The ultimate benefit of WordPress is its longevity. It’s already shown that it can adapt to changing consumer and internet demands, and with more than 74 million sites, WordPress has asserted itself as a CMS that’s here to stay. You don’t have to worry about it going out of style, or becoming irrelevant. WordPress regularly updates to maintain current code standards and will continue to do so, making it a safe, long-term investment for your website. It’s easily customized for any new thing you’d like to do with your website, and best of all, it’s Google-approved.
In the end, when we talk about WordPress, the first description that comes to mind is easy. It’s easy to use, easy to implement, easy to change, easy to track, and easy to update. And if you’re considering digital marketing at all, WordPress is definitely the first CMS to consider. It comes with a ton of SEO benefits built-in, and you’ll be able to integrate any and all content marketing best practices with the touch of a button.
If you think WordPress might be the right CMS for you, but you’re not quite sure how to get started, get in touch. We manage our own website on WordPress, as well as most of our clients’ WordPress websites, so we can give you the help you need. Check out the case study below for more information about how a great website can help you move to the top of the market.
If you’re unfamiliar with marketing, terms such as digital marketing, content marketing, inbound marketing, marketing automation, digital strategy, and so on can be utterly confusing and practically indistinguishable from each other. In truth, each of these terms has a specific meaning. Inbound marketing and marketing automation are two which are often confused by newbies to marketing jargon. So what’s the difference?
in•bound mar•ket•ing \ ˈin-ˌbau̇nd ˈmär-kə-tiŋ \ ▶ noun. A marketing method that uses content to attract potential customers, then convert them into leads and sales. In opposition to traditional marketing methods, which push advertising copy onto consumers through interruptive advertising (hence the term push marketing), inbound marketing seeks to pull consumers in with compelling content that speaks to their needs. Inbound marketing is therefore customer-centric, rather than marketer-centric.
Inbound marketing employs techniques such as blogging, social media promotion, gated content offers, and SEO (search engine optimization) to attract clients on platforms like search engines and social media sites, which they are already using to research products and services before they make purchase decisions.
mar•ket•ing au•to•ma•tionˌ\ ˈmär-kə-tiŋ ȯ-tə-ˈmā-shən \ ▶ noun. software which automates marketing processes. Includes email automation software (MailChimp, Aweber).
Marketing automation software is a tool, whereas inbound marketing is a methodology. In fact, marketing automation software is a tool that is extremely useful in inbound marketing. Marketing automation software can be used to capture visitors’ information when they convert to leads, and from there, these leads can be segmented based on criteria such as industry, role/position, and place in the buyer’s journey and then be delivered relevant and timely content. Rather than dumping all of your contacts into an email list and sending the same content to everyone, marketing automation allows you to target a specific group of leads or clients, ensuring that you’re not spamming those to whom the content doesn’t apply, and that leads receive content that is specific to their particular needs.
Using marketing automation software to automate some of your lead nurturing marketing processes can be a major component of an effective inbound marketing strategy. Combining compelling, engaging, and pertinent content with targeted promotion and delivery is key to reaching potential customers in the changing marketing landscape.
Want to see what inbound marketing can do for your company? Interested in how you can better use marketing automation? Let’s talk. Click the button below to schedule your free inbound marketing evaluation: