Evenbound Wins HubSpot’s 2020 Grow Better Sales Impact Award!

Evenbound Wins HubSpot’s 2020 Grow Better Sales Impact Award!

Evenbound Wins HubSpot’s 2020 Grow Better Sales Impact Award!

Evenbound Named a Q1 Winner in HubSpot’s 2020 Impact Awards

Grand Haven, Mich. – Today, Evenbound announced that it has been named a winner in the Grow Better: Sales category in HubSpot’s Q1 2020 Impact Awards. HubSpot, a leading growth platform, uses the award to recognize members of its Solutions Partner Program who go above and beyond to help their customers grow better.

Evenbound was recognized for its work with Vanguard Fire & Security Systems. Overall, Evenbound’s efforts to optimize Vanguard’s sales cycle using the HubSpot CRM contributed to 921 new leads, 96 new customers, and $2.8M closed in Q1 alone. Learn more about Evenbound’s work with Vanguard.

“HubSpot’s Solutions Partner network is amazing – I love to see these companies go the extra mile to make sure their customers are successful,” said Katie Ng-Mak, VP Solutions Partner Program at HubSpot. “Evenbound is one such company that has shown unwavering commitment to helping businesses grow better. On behalf of everyone at HubSpot, I congratulate Evenbound and the other Impact Award winners on this exciting achievement.”

The Impact Awards are given on a quarterly basis in five categories:

  • Grow Better: Sales 
  • Grow Better: Marketing 
  • Grow Better: Service 
  • Integrations Innovation
  • Website Design

In addition to the quarterly awards, HubSpot also gives four annual awards that recognize partner achievements across the entire year: Global Partner of the Year, Partner of the Year, Rookie of the Year, and Customer First. All winners are recognized in the Impact Awards Hall of Fame.

“We’re honored and humbled to have been selected for this award. It highlights our commitment to our work and how we help our clients grow with the HubSpot suite of tools. Competition for these awards is stiff with only a few winners from North America so this means a lot to us.”

John HeritagePresident, Evenbound

Learn more about the Impact Awards and apply here.

About Evenbound

Evenbound is a full-service digital marketing and growth agency and a HubSpot Gold Partner Agency. They use a variety of proven digital marketing tactics like content marketing, email marketing, inbound marketing, paid search advertising, and more to deliver their clients the qualified traffic and leads they need for serious growth. The Evenbound office is located at 41 Washington Ave, Suite #390 in Grand Haven, MI.

About HubSpot

HubSpot is a leading growth platform. Since 2006, HubSpot has been on a mission to make the world more inbound. Today, over 73,400 total customers in more than 120 countries use HubSpot’s award-winning software, services, and support to transform the way they attract, engage, and delight customers. Comprised of Marketing Hub, Sales Hub, Service Hub, CMS Hub, and a powerful free CRM, HubSpot gives companies the tools they need to Grow Better.

HubSpot has been named a top place to work by Glassdoor, Fortune, The Boston Globe, and The Boston Business Journal. The company is headquartered in Cambridge, MA with offices in Dublin, Ireland; Singapore; Sydney, Australia; Tokyo, Japan; Berlin, Germany; Bogotá, Colombia; and Portsmouth, NH.

Learn more at www.hubspot.com.

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Solved: 4 Common HubSpot Onboarding Challenges

Solved: 4 Common HubSpot Onboarding Challenges

Solved: 4 Common HubSpot Onboarding Challenges

Investing in HubSpot is an exciting move for any team. You’ve got a full suite of robust marketing and sales tools, right at your fingertips! 

You have everything you need to start making marketing and sales changes that will deliver serious results in the form of more deals closed and overall company growth. 

But, before you can reap all of those benefits, you’ve got to get through the HubSpot onboarding process

Let’s first clarify by saying that the HubSpot onboarding process isn’t as intimidating as it sounds. 

There is some upfront work, and for any team, a major change in the way you conduct business is going to take a bit of work. But, it doesn’t have to be headaches and stress. 

HubSpot onboarding can be a fun, exciting process, especially if you come into it with a positive attitude, and a plan to tackle some of the most common challenges teams run into. 

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With that in mind, here are 4 of the HubSpot onboarding challenges we see the most often with our own clients, and the solutions we use to navigate these challenges efficiently, so our HubSpot services clients get up and running, and seeing benefits, improvements, and results as soon as possible: 

HubSpot Onboarding Challenge #1

Transitioning the Team

In nearly every onboarding we’ve facilitated with clients, transitioning the whole team onto HubSpot tends to be one of the greatest challenges. 

Your team is already busy. They’ve got sales calls to make, meetings to attend, quotes to write up, and more. Sales reps already have a full-time job (selling), and adding one more thing to the plate can feel overwhelming. They’ll get to HubSpot, but when they have time. 

The problem is that if it’s not a priority, they won’t ever have time. 

One of our HubSpot Certified Trainer’s favorite quotes is: 

It’s all well and good for your team to sit down together for one big onboarding meeting, but everyone has to commit to using the tool regularly if you want to see results. And that’s a challenge. 

It’s hard to get an entire team to do anything at once, much less learn a new tool and transition their sales process to a CRM they’re not familiar with. 

The Solution:

Make HubSpot onboarding a priority

It sounds simple, but I think we all know that in practice, it’s not. 

We’ve said this before, but it’s still a helpful tip: Get your team to commit to using HubSpot just 5 minutes a day. 

Have everyone set up a daily reminder for themselves to spend just 5 minutes a day entering new contacts into the CRM or assigning deal stages to each of their leads. 

This is fairly easy work to do, and even spending just 5 minutes a day in HubSpot will help them build a habit of logging into and working in the platform. 

Another solution?

Make HubSpot a Team Event

Everyone can meet up, either virtually or in person, and spend an hour organizing their contacts in the CRM. 

This is a great time for your team to collaborate — to talk about what tools they’re loving in the CRM, and what problems they may have come across. 

Not only will regular team meetings help enforce the importance of using HubSpot, but it provides an opportunity to get the team together to share helpful information and tips that will help everyone improve. 

HubSpot Onboarding Challenge #2

Making Sure Your Process is Compatible with HubSpot

For many companies, transitioning to HubSpot is a way to make the sales process easier. A tool like HubSpot gives you greater visibility and transparency into all the deals that everyone is working on, and it makes it so much easier to connect with the leads that can provide the greatest returns. 

The problem that often arises, though, is that in onboarding to HubSpot, many sales teams realize their process isn’t compatible with the HubSpot tool. Don’t panic, this is totally normal and can be fixed. 

Maybe your sales reps have all been using different sales processes. Maybe they all have their own literature they like to hand out. Maybe every sales rep has a different idea of what a qualified lead looks like. Maybe your sales process just isn’t standardized.

This is a challenge that can cause a little bit of paralysis by analysis for any sales team. “Great. We’ve got this new sales tool, and our sales process doesn’t fit into it at all.”

Take a deep breath, and keep on reading. There’s a solution here that will deliver serious results for your team.

The Solution:

Sit down as a team, and optimize your sales process.  

The HubSpot CRM is built to optimize sales processes. If yours doesn’t immediately fit into the HubSpot CRM, that just means there’s a bit of room for improvement. 

It’s good to know that HubSpot makes a lot of allowances for customizations all the way through the sales process, so you absolutely won’t be boxed in, but it does work to streamline your sales process by promoting standardization and repeatability. 

Here’s how you adjust your sales process to ensure it’s compatible with HubSpot:

Define what a lead is:

Your team has to figure out what a lead looks like to them. Define each of these:

  • New leads
  • Warm leads
  • Hot leads
  • Cold leads
  • Customers

Define your deal stages:

Now that you know what your leads look like, what do you do with them? This is where your sales process comes in. What is the process your team uses to move a new, warm, or hot lead from an opportunity to a sale? 

Each step of that process is called a “Deal Stage”. Figure out what deal stages make up your whole sales process, and define them for your whole team. A few common deal stages might include:

  • Opportunity
  • Customer contacted
  • Proposal Sent
  • Followed-Up
  • Closed-Won
  • Closed-Lost

Set it up in HubSpot

Once you’ve defined what a lead is, and how your team will handle each of those leads as they move through your sales process, you’ve done it! You’ve made your sale process compatible with HubSpot in two steps. 

Now you can set all of that up in HubSpot. For help here, refer to the next challenge: Knocking Out the Upfront Workload. 

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HubSpot Onboarding Challenge #3

Knocking Out the Upfront Workload

Transitioning to any new CRM is work. HubSpot is no different. It’s an awesome CRM, with wicked sales and marketing tools that can facilitate serious success. But, like any new tool, there’s some upfront work involved. 

Imagine you were painting a room in your house. You could just pick up the paintbrush and go to town, but without any prep work, you’re going to have a sloppy finished product. A quality paint job takes careful taping, prepping any rough surfaces with a bit of sanding and primer, and a little bit of thought into which paint color you’re going to go with. 

Onboarding to a CRM like HubSpot isn’t much different. You’re going to get out of it as much effort as you put in. 

There is some upfront effort that goes into onboarding — you have to bring contacts into the new system. You have to determine what your sales deal stages look like. You have to set up a sales process that works for you, and you have to lay it out in the CRM. 

This might feel like a lot of work. That makes it hard to even think about tackling, which halts your entire onboarding process. It’s a challenge that a lot of our clients run into. Here’s how we work to solve it. 

The Solution:

Assign one person to facilitate the upfront work

A great way to make sure that all the upfront, onboarding work gets done is to assign someone to own it. 

For our clients, that’s usually our HubSpot Certified Trainers. 

Our team handles a lot of the upfront work, like bringing all existing customers into the CRM, setting up deal stages, building out a pipeline, etc. It’s a big benefit of working with a HubSpot Partner Agency — some of that hard, tedious work is just handled for you. 

If you don’t have a HubSpot Partner or HubSpot Certified Trainer: 

Assign someone on your team to own your onboarding process. Make this their primary responsibility for right now, and give them the flexibility they need to really commit to it. 

They can do the work of figuring out:

  1. What your team needs to do to onboard successfully
  2. When it needs to happen
  3. Who can handle which tasks

Think of them as your HubSpot project manager. They take the full project, and break it down into individual tasks with deadlines according to when you want to be fully functional on the HubSpot platform. 

They can then assign individual tasks out to other team members, helping everyone stay accountable. 

With clear direction and leadership, all of that upfront work that seems hard and a lot to tackle is easily broken down into manageable pieces and completed on a timeline that works for your team. 

HubSpot Onboarding Challenge #4

Investing in a Long-Term Solution and Expecting Short-Term Results 

Another problem we see often when we’re bringing new teams onto HubSpot is the need for immediate results. 

But, making a transition to a brand new sales tool and CRM is a walk/run process. You probably won’t see your sales numbers increase exponentially in a week. But if your team really invests and does the work, you’ll start to see serious results the more you use the platform. 

Realistically, it’s going to take a month or two to get your team on board and using HubSpot daily (see challenge #1). Until that happens, you aren’t likely to see a massive upswing in sales. That said, you are going to see improvements. 

The Solution: 

Know what you’re looking at and identify the improvements that matter.

You’re probably not going to see immediate results, but you are going to see immediate improvements. 

The best way to beat the challenge of investing in a long-term solution and expecting short-term results, is making sure you’re looking at the results that matter right now.

Focus on the improvements you have made:

  • Is your sales process a little easier to understand?
  • Does your sales team feel more cohesive?
  • Can you easily visualize all of the deals you have in your sales pipeline?  
  • Does your sales team feel like they’re spending less time on admin work, and more time on selling? 

Those are all major wins, especially if you’re moving over from a CRM that wasn’t working for you, or from no CRM at all. 

Though initial wins might not look like a bump to your bottom line right now, these are all real-time results that will matter in the future.

Keeping the right perspective is the key to keeping your team invested in this new transition, and realizing how much positive change this new investment is making for your company. 

Yes, HubSpot onboarding will eventually deliver huge dividends in terms of increased sales numbers and closed deals, but before that happens, you have to get the actual work and training under your team first. 

HubSpot onboarding might sound like a long process, but with the right attitude, and a dedicated team, you can have everyone up and running in the CRM in less time than you think! Whether you’re considering making the switch to HubSpot, or you’ve hit a roadblock in your HubSpot onboarding process, we hope these solutions help. 

If you’ve got more questions about the HubSpot CRM, HubSpot Sales tools, or HubSpot Onboarding, our team is here to help. With a full suite of HubSpot Services and HubSpot Certified Trainers on staff, we’re happy to answer any question you might have.

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Website Design Best Practices For Manufacturers

Website Design Best Practices For Manufacturers

Website Design Best Practices For Manufacturers

Pretty is as Pretty Does: Great Website Design is More Than Just Beautiful

It sounds like an old line (and it might be) but it’s true. A beautiful website might impress all who gaze upon it, but it’s not bringing you new visitors or leads to look at your manufacturing website. 

We’ve written a lot about why you shouldn’t just waste money on another website redesign, and about what makes a great website, but today, we want to talk about a few website design best practices for manufacturers. 

These best practices focus on what makes for great design, but also, what design elements can make your manufacturing website work for you by drawing in qualified traffic and converting leads. 

If you’re a manufacturer planning a new website or a website redesign, here are a few best practices and key website elements to make sure are included in your new site:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

We have written magnum opuses on website SEO for manufacturers, and so have a million other digital marketing experts (see here and Moz, for a complete beginner’s guide to SEO), so we won’t belabor this point. 

We will say that if you want your website to generate leads, you need to implement SEO tactics. Search engine optimization is absolutely necessary if you want to rank well, rank ahead of your competition, or generate digital leads. A couple of web design best practices to keep in mind regarding SEO include:

  • Pick Keywords and Key Topics – Figure out what you want to rank for (we suggest keywords relevant to your company that have a high search volume and low competition) and make sure your website is built out to match those keywords and topics. 
  • Check on Site SpeedIf your site isn’t speedy, people will ditch. Use Google’s PageSpeed Tool to see how you’re doing, and to get recommendations on how you can improve. 
  • Eliminate Duplicate ContentThis is a tough one for manufacturers because you tend to have technical content, manufacturer descriptions, and product guides that a ton of people copy and use. Do what you can to make sure that the content on your site is original, and you’ll see better performance. 
  • Pay Attention to Meta Data – Title tags, meta descriptions, image alt text, and other little technical updates can go a long way to improve your search engine performance. If you don’t know what these are, check out this guide to SEO Meta Tags, and get to work!

 

We’re not spending a ton of time here because there’s a lot of info out there about SEO, and also because it’s not strictly a website design best practice. That said, if you want to see eyeballs on your site, it’s worth it to invest in some quality SEO updates. 

Intelligent Design From Your Logo to Landing Pages

What do I mean by intelligent design? 

I mean solid, clear branding, and a design that funnels visitors through the buyer’s journey. 

Wait, design does that?

Yep. We’ve talked about it before in our blog about website design elements that boost conversions

A quality design and intuitive color palette works to draw your customers’ eyes where you want them.

It also solidifies your brand in the mind of your leads — an important characteristic for manufacturers, where you’re typically competing with just a few key brands. If your is the most recognizable, buyers are likely to keep you in mind when they’re ready to make a purchasing decision.

A few intelligent website design best practices to keep in mind include:  

  • Keep your branding consistent. Your logo should always look the same. Use the same color palette, font, and general design guidelines across every platform. 
  • White space is your friend. It’s easy for manufacturing websites to become overrun with text and highly technical content. It’s okay to have a decent amount of content but use white space to break it up. Letting your website breathe will go a long way to make visitors feel more comfortable, and less overwhelmed on your site. 

  • Use strong elements sparingly, and with intention. It’s great to have a few bold colors in your color palette, but be sure you’re using them sparingly. On any given page, you shouldn’t be trying to pull your visitor’s eyes in more than one or two key directions. Calls to action and chatbots are two great examples.

A little bit of intuitive design can go a long way. When your design is consistent across platforms, you’ll start to build that brand awareness that’s so important in manufacturing industries.

When you use intelligent design on your website, you’ll highlight call-to-action buttons and forms on landing pages, helping those potential leads convert that much faster. 

Eye- Catching CTAs

This goes to our point about intelligent design. A well-designed website with a consistent, smart color palette can do a lot to pull the eyes of your leads and visitors to the information that’s most important to you. 

When it comes to a manufacturing website, conversions are everything. 

There’s only so much technical information you can put out there before your leads are going to need personal one-on-one help from your marketing or sales team. 

CTAs, or calls-to-action, are what work to convert those visitors into leads. 

By designing calls-to-action that are bright, bold, and eye-catching, you can ensure that whenever your visitors have a question, there’s a CTA opportunity for them to reach out. 

The key to lead generation is providing the right content, to the right person, at the right time. Click To Tweet

You’ve already got two out of three — someone who cares about what you have to say is on your site (they’re the right person). If they’re there for any length of time, that means they’ve found some sort of content they care about (the right content). 

Your CTA delivers that third component — the right time.  

If that lead has a question about what they’re reading, or better yet, has decided they want to talk to a salesperson, a well-placed and well-designed CTA will catch their eye. 

This is exactly the right time to convert that lead, and your CTA is clearly visible and ready to help them out. 

This is one of the reasons it’s so important not to discount design when you’re developing or redesigning a website. If your CTAs are easy to see and navigate to, you’ll see conversions off of pages that offer the right content. If they’re poorly designed or hidden on your page, you’re missing out on qualified leads. 

Strategic Navigation

Manufacturers are notorious for crazy navigation menus. And we get it — you’ve got a lot of products, case studies, brochures, and materials for people to look at. That’s all awesome content, and you do want people to see it. 

It just doesn’t all have to be in your top menu. 

When a visitor shows up to your site and they see a menu with 15 different options, it’s overwhelming. It’s tough to find what they’re looking for, and it might even turn them away. 

Implementing strategic navigation is a website design best practice that works to funnel site visitors exactly where you want them. Work to narrow your navigation or menu bar down to just four or five options, and a contact button. 

And honestly, the simpler the better. “Products”, “Solutions”, “About Us” and your traditional standbys are all great for your top-menu navigation because they’re what your visitors expect. Navigation isn’t the place to reinvent the wheel. 

And if you have more stuff than what fits in your new, strategic navigation bar? Don’t forget the footer! Your website footer is a great place to add a few extra links if you really need them. 

Responsive Design

One key website design best practice that manufacturers can’t overlook is a responsive design. The goal of your website is to draw in qualified leads, right? 

It’ll have a hard time doing it if it’s not designed to meet visitors where they’re at. 

Mobile devices account for more than half of all internet traffic. 

What does that mean for your manufacturing website?

It has to be responsive.

Visitors will navigate away from a website that doesn’t meet their device. What’s more, you’ll lose in search engine rankings without a responsive site. 

Websites that are not responsive rank much lower on search engines than websites that do. This is a problem in two ways:

  1. You won’t get much traffic (read: qualified leads) to your website
  2. Your competitors will outrank you

As we’ve mentioned before, most manufacturing industries are pretty competitive. Even if your competitor’s website isn’t that great, they’re going to rank higher if theirs is responsive, and yours is not. 

In an industry where exposure and reputation really matter, this is an issue, and it’s one that’s pretty easily solved. 

Designing your website on a responsive theme can provide huge dividends, both in your company’s authority, and in the qualified traffic you’re able to draw in. 

Content That Speaks to Your Ideal Buyer

Manufacturers are great at technical content. Your sales team probably has stacks or digital files full of product brochures that run through the specs of any product or part you sell.

The problem with that content is that it’s not always digestible, and it’s also not always the content your buyers want. 

Depending on where your leads are in the buyer’s journey, a product guide might not answer the questions they have about your product. It’s important to develop content that speaks directly to the questions and concerns your ideal buyer has. 

Not sure who your ideal buyer is? We’ve got a Step-By-Step Guide to Defining Your Buyer Persona here to help you out. 

Yes, sometimes that means technical content, but it also means developing content that builds your authority. Content that shows your visitors and potential buyers that you have the best, most helpful information, and are an authority in the industry is what will help you build positive relationships that close sales. 

Think about what would be helpful to you if you were in your ideal buyer’s shoes

Is is it a guide that helps them figure out which of your products is best for them? Maybe it’s a simple glossary of the technical terms they’ll need to know. 

Whatever it is, take some time to build out a bit of quality content that is genuinely helpful. 

The more answers your ideal leads can find on your website, the more often they’ll come back, and the more likely they are to purchase from you when they’re ready to make a decision.

Intuitive Content Layout

Great content is one key to a great manufacturing website, but an intuitive content layout is the website design best practice that will ensure your leads are reading that great content. 

Today’s internet user is not a hard-core reader. No one, not even content strategists like me, read every word in every blog post, case study, or article. 

What they do is skim. 

If your web design strategy includes a content layout that calls attention to the most important parts of your blogs and guides, you can guarantee those leads are reading the information that you know is most important to them. 

A great content layout is the difference between someone glancing at your blog and navigating away and someone filling out a conversion form that turns them into a lead. 

Develop a content layout with lots of whitespace, regular images, media, and headers to break up large blocks of text. 

This will help ensure your site visitors are reading as much of your content as possible. The more they read, the more likely they are to stick to your site, and keep coming back. 

Not sure what great content layout looks like? Take a look at our pillar page for Website Design. There’s a ton of content on this page, but because we’ve got an awesome lead designer, Laura, none of it feels overwhelming. 

You get one little bite-sized piece of content at a time, along with some cool motion and visuals. This encourages you to keep reading — who doesn’t have time for one more little sentence? 

In that way, our pillar pages are working to keep visitors on the page with a killer content layout. 

Motion, Interactivity, and Video

Jumping off the last point: motion, interactivity, and especially video are key web design elements for any manufacturing website. 

You’ve got a facility, right? A plant, a factory, a shop? 

Whatever you call it, you make things. Chances are you’ve got some cool machines and some cool people working for you. Take a video of them, and include it in your web design! 

Video is quickly becoming one of the top web design best practices for any industry, but it’s especially effective for manufacturers because you have things going on. 

What’s more, it’s probably ten times easier to explain your product in a video than it is in a lengthy brochure. 

Video — along with interactivity and motion on your site — works to keep people on your website. 

And, as we’ve mentioned before, the longer someone is on your site, the more likely they are to convert. 

For manufacturers, yes, cool scrolling headers and a bit of motion on the page are great, but we really can’t stress video enough. 

We’ve worked with many B2B manufacturers, and video always works to boost conversions. 

People love to see how things work, and if they can watch a 30-second video over reading a product brochure, they're going to do it every time. Click To Tweet 

If you’re the one with the 30-second video on your site, you’re going to be the one to get the lead. 

Interactive Chatbots

Most B2B manufacturers serve a highly technical industry. 

Whether your site visitors are looking for the right product for their application, or aren’t sure which parts they need for their particular machine, chatbots are a great way to ensure your company is always available to answer those questions, whenever they come up. 

Chatbots can be set to specific product pages and customized in a million different ways to fit your manufacturing company’s needs. 

Are there questions you get all the time about your product line that can be answered easily? Do you have a helpful guide or content that solves some of those questions?

You can set a chatbot up to address any of these problems. Not only does this help you convert leads, but it frees up both your sales and marketing teams from answering simple questions over and over. 

Website Design Best Practices for Manufacturers

Web design isn’t always easy for manufacturers. If you’re new to the process, it can be tough to marry highly technical products and components with a creative, intuitive design that also works to draw in and convert leads. Implementing some of these website design best practices should help. 

Not sure where to start? We get it. Form and function aren’t always easy to put together. We’ve been designing websites that work for manufacturers for decades. If you’re ready for a website that delivers qualified leads directly to your sales team, we’re ready to help.

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7 Work from Home Tips from a Remote Worker

7 Work from Home Tips from a Remote Worker

7 Work from Home Tips from a Remote Worker

Working from home has become the new normal in today’s current landscape. For some of us, this is nothing new. For others, it’s surprising how different working from home actually is. 

It’s a challenge. I get it. And it’s also not for everyone. 

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I’ve been working remotely for Evenbound for about four years now, full time for a little over a year and a half. And let me tell you, there’s a big ole learning curve. 

Many people say, “Oh, you work from home! How do I get into that? It must be so great!”

And really, it is. I’m an introvert and a writer, so working from home is genuinely what I need to get a majority of my work done. But it’s not always the easy breezy life that a lot of people make it out to be. 

(Props to Medium for this very accurate meme, and their awesome post on the realities of working from home.)

If you’re struggling a bit with the recent transition to work entirely from home, 100% of the time, I got you. And I’m here to offer some of the work from home tips that have worked for me. Seven, to be exact:

#1 Create a Dedicated Work From Home Space

This is one of the few work from home “rules” I actually subscribe to. 

It’s important to create a workspace in your home for a couple of reasons.

The one you’ll hear most often is that having a dedicated “work” space helps you turn on your “work” brain. 

That’s definitely true, but it’s also important to have a work space so that your brain knows how to turn off when your day is over. 

One of the toughest transitions you’ll face working from home is that your work is literally at your home. You’re always around it, and it’s always there. Creating a physical space where work happens helps your brain distinguish between that “on” time and the “off” time. 

#2 Build a Routine that Works for You

I am not here to tell anyone how they work best. You know what your best times of the day are, and you know what you have to get done. Set up a routine that helps you work most effectively. 

Identify Your Most Productive Hours

Everyone has a most productive part of the day. 

For me, this is generally the morning, but after I’ve made time for a quality, sit-down breakfast and a half-hour of reading. 

That time to wake up, read some quality content that has absolutely nothing to do with work, and guzzle down a (read: three) cup(s) of coffee, gets me in the right mindset to get my work done. 

Then, I tackle my hardest, most involved tasks in the morning, because that’s when my brain is at its best. 

This might not be your routine. You might be a night owl, or find a certain groove after lunch. Whatever it is, figure out when you’re most productive, and try to schedule your routine around those hours. 

Keep Your Coworker’s Hours in Mind, Too

Building a productive routine means incorporating the rest of your team’s schedule, too. It’s easy for me to say, “My most productive time is around 7am, so I’ll just work from 7am to 3pm, and be done for the day.”

But if my coworkers are working until 5pm, and need things from me, I’m going to be a) gone or b) mentally fried.

None of us exist in a vacuum. Most of us are working with other team members, who need things from us or who need to meet with us. You want to build a routine that helps you be your most productive, but you can’t do it at the expense of teamwork. 

Make sure you’re building a routine that makes space for the rest of your team, and you’ll be more likely to stick to it. 

#3 Don’t Dress for Work (Or Do, I Guess)

“Get dressed for work” is my number one most despised work from home tip on the face of the planet. 

I do best when I get straight to work. Worrying about what outfit to put together only takes time out of my most productive hours, and I’ve never found that I work better in an uncomfortable outfit vs. my pajamas. 

If you find that getting dressed does make a big difference for you mentally, that’s awesome. 

I’m just putting this one out there for everyone else like me who feels like getting dressed to work in front of a computer and see no one is a lot of work. 

I think for most of us, preparing for the day is what really matters. And this goes back to setting up a routine that works for you. 

Taking the time to make and eat breakfast or taking a shower can do as much to shift your mentality into work mode as getting dressed can. So figure out what your “turn my brain on” switch is, and stick with that. Maybe it’s getting dressed, maybe it’s not. 

#4 Take Breaks, When Breaks Work For You

Many other work from home blogs have touted the importance of taking breaks, and taking full, complete breaks. 

I say, do what works for you. 

Personally, I have a tough time getting back into a groove after a full lunch break. If I get into another project, a book, or a TV show on a lunch break, I come back feeling sluggish and not engaged. I do my best when I take quick 5-10 minute breaks to make tea, brew coffee, check the mail, and just eat my lunch. 

Then, when I’m done with work, I’m straight up done. I can let my brain go off and do what it wants. 

Again, this is what works for me. Some people might do better with one solid hour-long lunch break, or a couple of half-hour pauses for different things. 

I think it largely depends on your job. I write best when I have long, consecutive hours of uninterrupted time to write.

If you’re constantly slammed with emails, phone calls, and meetings, an hour long break might be just what you need to decompress and come back to work relaxed. 

Find what works best for you, and stick to it. 

#5 Over Communicate

This is a weird time for everyone. There’s a lot of grief, there’s a lot of uncertainty, and there’s just a lot going on. 

One of the best work from home tips I can offer to make sure that you and your coworkers are all getting as much done as you can is to over communicate. 

Over communicate with your coworkers and your clients alike. 

If you can schedule a quick video call or jump on the phone with teammates, even better. 

It’s easy to lose sight of the team goals when you’re working from home, alone. You’re in isolation, trying to slog through your list of things by yourself. 

Connecting with your teammates can help you feel less isolated, and it has the added benefit of ensuring nothing falls through the cracks. 

Here at Evenbound, we use Slack religiously, and it’s been instrumental as our entire team shifted to remote work during this crisis.

Features like Slack calling, video, and screensharing are super useful, making it easy to get a point across without having to send a million emails. 

Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and call someone.

As we all get more used to working at home, alone, it can feel a little weird (okay, sometimes scary) to talk to a person on a phone

But you can actually get a whole lot more done in a five minute call than you could in a messy, complicated email chain. 

#6 Shut the Door

When you’re done with work, shut the door. 

You have set up a separate work space, haven’t you? 

Whether it’s a guest room, an office, or a closet, flip your laptop closed, physically shut the door, and walk out. 

Like I mentioned in Step #1, one of the toughest parts of transitioning to working from home is that your work is always there. If you’re not careful, it can bleed into every part of your life, which ultimately makes you less productive. 

I like to add onto the “Shut the Door” policy with another activity that really signals to my brain that it’s the end of the day. I might turn on a workout video, take the dog for a walk, or start cooking dinner, just to add another level of separation between me and my computer. 

Because, honestly, it’s so easy to get sucked back into “oh, just one more thing.” 

The better you are at creating and establishing boundaries for your off times, the more productive you’re likely to be in your on times. 

#7 Give Yourself Some Grace

Working from home is not as easy and delightful as some will have you believe. 

Yes, it is pretty cool, and yeah the commute is exceptional. 

But it’s not all sunshine and roses, especially now, when most of us can’t really leave our homes when the work day is done. 

One of the most important things to remember when you start working from home is to give yourself some grace. 

Not every day is going to be perfect. Some days you might take an actual lunch break, only to find that you’re totally worthless afterwards. 

Remember that you’re doing your best, and that tomorrow’s another day. And remember that you’re still probably working more now than you were in the office. Without any drive time or water cooler talk, you’re likely still coming out ahead, even on your least productive days. 

Working from home is a big transition, and no one is perfect at anything the first time. Just observe the areas where you’re struggling, and work to make a plan to improve tomorrow. 

Working from home has its challenges, but the team here at Evenbound is grateful to have this ability. If we weren’t able to work from home, we wouldn’t be doing business. While we’re all adjusting, we’re thankful for our health and the opportunity to serve our clients from just about anywhere.

If you’ve got questions about working from home, marketing from home, or anything else, just let us know. We’re here to help

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What is the Purpose of Business Blogging?

What is the Purpose of Business Blogging?

What is the Purpose of Business Blogging?

I write blogs for businesses every day. It’s like, my job, man. 

But I can’t even begin to count the number of times people have asked me what the purpose of business blogging is. 

Inbound marketing has been around for years now, but it’s still a question for many people: why do we do it? What is the purpose of business blogging? 

Someone asked me about it the other day, and I thought, “Oh sure, let me just point them to the NUMBER of blogs I’ve written about business blogging.”

Only to find that well, I haven’t written any blogs about this. I’ve talked about blogging in the context of lead generation, website design, inbound marketing, lead nurturing, and so much more. But I’ve never actually written about why business blogging is so important in its own right, and why it’s a service we provide to nearly every single one of our clients. 
My bad, guys. Big hole in the content there. But I’m here to make it right. 

Let’s talk about what business blogging is, why we do it, and why for heaven’s sake I just need you to believe me when I say it’s worth it.

What is Business Blogging?

Business blogging is the process of blogging for your business. It’s an inbound marketing tactic that works to get your website more visibility. Just like social media, email marketing, and even digital ads, business blogging is another tactic used to get your company in front of the eyes of qualified leads. 

What is the Purpose of Business Blogging?

The purpose of business blogging is to get you and your company in front of the right leads. In the words of our fearless leader here at Evenbound:
“Content publishing is the lifeblood of SEO. Regular content updates (written around your target keywords) build topical relevance and authority. If you’re not writing blogs and your competition is, you’re gonna get smoked in SERPs.”

John Heritage  President, Evenbound

So you want to get found on the internet? 

You want to show up first when someone googles something you do or a product you provide?

You want to beat the competition?

Well then, business blogging is the tool for you.

3 Key Benefits of Business Blogging

Okay, so business blogging helps you get in front of the competition. But how? 

Don’t worry, I wasn’t just going to tell you something and not back it up. 

Like I said earlier, business blogging is a key marketing tactic. It does more than just help you rank well. When you do business blogging right, it can help you convert more leads through every stage of the buyer’s journey.

If you’re familiar with the inbound marketing flywheel, business blogging is one of those tactics you can use to optimize every point on that flywheel, helping you draw in more traffic, nurture those new leads, close on new prospects, and continue to delight your promoters and existing customers. 

Here’s a look at three of the key benefits of business blogging.

Drives Qualified Organic Traffic

First and foremost, business blogging helps you get eyeballs on your website. How else are people going to find you? Let’s think here:
No one is going to type in your website URL and go directly to your site. It doesn’t happen. When have you actually typed in “www.evenbound.com/blog” to see what’s new on our blog? Imma say never. I don’t even do that, and I live on our blog. 
Paid ads are expensive. Sure, you can get in front of the right people using paid advertising. We encourage it. But, it shouldn’t be your only tactic to drive traffic. Mostly because it’s expensive. You should be using marketing strategies tactically. That means only spend where you’re going to see big returns. For everything else, business blogging is your golden ticket to more, better traffic. 
Buying email lists is illegal. Just don’t do it. Aside from being illegal, cold-emailing random people doesn’t return great results. Again, we’re talking about tactical solutions. You can spend a whole lot on an email list that might return a few leads.
The key to business blogging that drives qualified traffic is keyword research. 
Since this isn’t a blog about keyword research, I’m not going to go all the way into it, but I will leave you with a few keyword research resources here and here.

Essentially, it should be your goal to write blogs that:

  • Are relevant to your business
  • Solve a common problem or pain point your target buyer faces
  • Are centered around a keyword or phrase with high search volume and low competition

That’s the sweet spot for a blog that will rank well, and that will pull in the leads you actually want. Once you do your keyword research, the real challenge is putting out quality content that’s in-depth, and that answers those questions your target buyers are asking. 

But, if you can do all of this, and regularly, you’ll start drawing in serious qualified traffic. The more you blog, and the more consistently, the better results you’ll see. 
That said, I know how hard it is to stick to a regular schedule. If you can work to put out a quality blog even once every two weeks, you should start to see your organic traffic start to rise. 

Business Blogging Builds Authority and Topical Relevance

Okay, stick with me. Authority and topical relevance are both big industry terms, and if your eyes are starting to glaze over, I get it. 
One of the key ways Google ranks websites is according to their authority. 
You build authority in a few ways, but content publishing and link building are the two biggies. (Here’s some info on link building and authority. Here’s some info from MOZ on link building and relevance. And here’s some info on link building itself.)
Content publishing, aka business blogging, is the other key factor that search engines use to determine your authority. And the more authority you have on a given topic, the higher you’re likely to rank. 
Let’s think of it this way:

You’re cooking a steak, and you want tips on the best way to do it. Which YouTube video do you choose? 

 

  • One published by Chef Gordon Ramsay
  • One published by your friend from high school
If you’re like me, you’re probably going to refer to the Gordon Ramsay video. 

Why?

He has authority on the subject. 

As a well-known chef with a body of work on things like grilling and cooking steaks, he’s built authority on the topic. 

That brings me right to topical relevance, which is similar to authority. 

The more quality content you have on a topic, the more topical relevance you have. 

Sticking with our Gordon Ramsay reference, let’s say the topic is cooking steak. 

If you have a blog on each of these topics:

  • How to Grill Steak
  • Step-By-Step Guide to Prepping Your Steak
  • How Long Should Your Steak Rest Before Serving?
  • How to Pan-Fry Steak
  • Which Cut of Steak is Best?

Then you have serious topical relevance. 

Google will always rank the website with the most topical relevance highest on its results pages. That’s why business blogging is so important. 

Though you can’t build authority or topical relevance overnight, steady, consistent posting of strategic content centered around one topic is one of the best ways to get there.

When you have more authority and topical relevance than your competition, you’re going to be the one clients look to first for answers to their questions. 
And that spells serious business growth for you. 

Your Business Blog is a Lead Generation Machine That’s Always On

Okay. So far we’ve learned that business blogging can help you pull in qualified traffic and beat your competition in rankings (drawing in even more traffic). Business blogging still has one exceptional benefit left. 
Your business blog is a lead generation machine that’s always on. 
If you develop it right and optimize it with lead capturing tools like calls-to-action and content offers, your business blog can capture leads every single day of the week, at any hour.
Once you publish a blog, it goes out into the world. You might (read: absolutely definitely should) promote that blog on your social media and through your email marketing campaigns. But after the newness wears off, that blog is still working for you (given that you’ve written a quality blog). 
The key to this benefit is making sure that you have content on your blog that addresses every stage of the buyer’s journey
When someone starts their journey, and queries your topic on Google, they’re met with your blog. They come on over for answers to whatever question they typed into Google. But, if you’ve got content for every stage of the buyer’s journey, and you make it easy for that new visitor to find, you’re not just generating leads, you’re also nurturing them. 
An optimized blog can nurture a new lead all the way through their buyer's journey, providing them with the right information, at the right time. Click To Tweet If that lead keeps coming back for information on your site when they’re finally ready to buy, guess who they’re going to call?
Yep, you. 
You’ve not only built authority on search engines, but you’ve built trust with the leads who read your business blog. By delivering them quality content that answers their questions, consistently, you’ve earned their trust and now you’re their first point of contact when they get ready to make a decision. 
And I think the best part of all of this is that you didn’t have to lift a finger. 
Since you’ve developed a solid business blog where all of this content already exists, your blog is the one doing the work 24/7, anytime a day. 

Business Blogging Gets You the Online Visibility You Need

If I had to sum up the purpose of business blogging in one sentence, I’d say it gets you the online visibility you need. 
Let’s be real. If you’re not on the internet these days, it’s going to be tough to get any kind of lead that’s not a referral. And even the ones that are referrals. If you’re not on the internet, you don’t exist. 
Blogging is one of those tactics that’s easier said than done. Trust me, I get it. If you’re having trouble coming up with topics, sticking to a consistent schedule, or converting leads from your blog, the Evenbound team is here to help. We’d be happy to set up a quick consultation to help you figure out what you’re doing right, and where you might be able to improve. 
If you’re still skeptical about the benefits of business blogging, may I direct your attention to the case study below? This is a great example of how consistent blogging with helped one of our clients make first page of Google and continue growing their business, even four years into our partnership. 
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