What’s the Difference Between Sales and Marketing Strategies?

What’s the Difference Between Sales and Marketing Strategies?

The goal of every business is to sell something to someone. Whether it’s a product, service, or information, the business has something that it provides to its customers, for a price. For that reason, it seems like the point of sales strategies and marketing strategies are the same—to sell that thing. But in reality, the purposes, goals, and methods of sales and marketing strategies differ, by necessity.   What is the difference between sales and marketing strategies, and why does that matter to your company? 

What is the purpose of marketing strategies?

Marketing is what you do to reach potential future customers. It can be outbound marketing, which entails pushing your product/service/message to your audience through things like advertising, or inbound marketing, which includes bringing people in through content strategy and search engine ranking. At any rate, marketing’s purpose is to get your information in front of possible clients. To accomplish those things, marketing teams strive to:

  • Reach target audiences through various forms of marketing, including social media, PPC, content, and more, tailored to those audiences’ unique needs.
  • Provide visitors and prospects with information about your company’s products and services that is tailored to their stage of the buyer’s journey, their goals and challenges, and their specific pain points.
  • Provide the sales team with marketing qualified leads (MQLs).
  • Analyze and evaluate marketing efforts for effectiveness and return on investment (ROI).
  • Provide reports and analytics on the ROI of marketing efforts to relevant stakeholders.

What are the goals of marketing strategies?

As you can see, the goal of the marketing strategy isn’t to make sales. Particularly in the B2B world, there aren’t many cases of a person seeing an ad and deciding then and there to buy. Instead, it’s to reach potential customers and raise their awareness of your products, services, and company, and the benefits of all of those to them.

Marketing practices are designed to support sales, but not make them, necessarily. This is because not every visitor to your website or company in your target market is a good fit for your company/product/service. This could be true for a variety of reasons, such as they’re not far enough along the buyer’s journey to make a decision, their budget, or their pain points.  Leads that aren’t a good fit, for whatever reason, aren’t leads—they’re a waste of your sales team’s time. Click To Tweet

They’re not going to answer calls or email, and they’re going to (pun very much intended) lead you on. Good marketing filters out those bad prospects and provides the sales team with leads that are vetted, a.k.a, MQLs.

What is the purpose of sales strategies?

It seems like the goal of any sales strategy is pretty straightforward: make sales. While that is a goal, sales strategies are so much more complicated than that. Sales teams are tasked with managing relationships with prospective customers and guiding them to a purchase decision. In order to do that, sales teams must:

  • Connect with leads and prospects through various sales practices, including quote requests, pitches, demos, etc.
  • Provide prospects and leads with information relevant to their pain points and needs that helps them make a decision about purchasing your company’s products or services.
  • Determine whether marketing qualified leads (MQLs) are ready or eligible to become sales qualified leads (SQLs).
  • Guide new clients through the purchase process.

Why do sales and marketing strategies need to align?

Because if they don’t, you’re wasting time, money, and resources. You’re going to have a low ROI on both your sales and marketing efforts, and you’re going to be missing out on potential leads, sales, and revenue.  

Your company needs alignment of its sales and marketing strategies to be truly effective. In fact, according to Hubspot, misalignment between marketing and sales can cost companies 10 percent of revenue per year, or more If you consider the goals of marketing and sales strategies, even though they’re different, they’re in support of a bigger, common goal: increasing revenue. Click To Tweet   Aligning sales and marketing strategies can result in 36 percent higher customer retention, 38 percent higher sales win rates, and up to 208 percent more revenue from marketing efforts.

How do sales and marketing strategies work together?

How exactly your sales and marketing teams begin working together and collaborating on strategy is going to be unique to your situation. 

Sales and marketing alignment looks different for a company with already established in-house sales and marketing teams than for a company with no marketing team at all (or no marketing team, yet—we can help with that!) or for a company with sales and marketing teams spread out across various locations.

To align your sales and marketing efforts, communication between your sales and marketing teams is crucial. This ensures that sales has input on the kinds of marketing content that will be useful, that common goals are created, and that everyone is speaking the same language and understanding each other’s terminology. 

How can a CRM help sales and marketing strategies align?

Something else that’s necessary for cohesion between sales and marketing is that both teams are using the same tools and technologies effectively. Customer relationship management software (CRM) is one of the best ways to facilitate easy communication between sales and marketing teams and to move leads through the marketing/sales funnel. 

We are Hubspot Gold Agency Partners, so we’re pretty partial to Hubspot’s CRM, and it has some great features that enable quality sales and marketing alignment. These include intuitive communication, defined MQLs and SQLs, and useful, relevant analytics and reports, among other handy tools.   

Sales and marketing strategies have different goals, but when you put quality strategies from both teams together, you can see some seriously positive results for business growth. If you’re looking for help building quality sales and marketing strategies we can help

zeeland-lumber-ctas


Anatomy of a SERP (Search Engine Results Page)

Anatomy of a SERP (Search Engine Results Page)

If you’ve ever used the internet, you’ve seen a SERP.

SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) are the pages that return a list of web pages in response to a query you enter into the search engine. You’ve seen them on Google, Bing, Yahoo, and even Ask Jeeves, if you’ve been on the internet for a while.

For the most part, we as consumers don’t give SERPs a second thought. They return the answers and the web pages we’re looking for — so we get on with our day. But as digital marketers, SERPs play a huge role in everything we do.

We need to know how SERPs work, so we can optimize our strategies to get on the first page as much a possible. So, whether you’re new to digital marketing, or are looking for some insight about ranking highly on SERPs, this blog will offer a complete breakdown of the anatomy of a SERP. We’ll tell you what everything is, how it got there, and what that means for you as a marketer. Let’s get started with a basic query anyone might type in:

Let’s say you entered “how to open a coconut” in Google’s search bar.

You’ll end up with a page like this after you hit the enter button. This is your SERP.

serp-how to open a coconut

It’s a list of results a search engine has pulled together to offer you the best possible answer to your question. Let’s look a little closer at this particular page because it’s returned some interesting results.

The first thing you see on this SERP is the “snippet” Google has published at the very top of the page.

What is a Snippet?

A snippet is a piece of content that a search engine pulls off of a webpage in an attempt to answer the user’s query immediately.

Usually, a snippet comes from one of the first page SERP results. Let’s take a closer look at this snippet:serp-snippet-how-to-open-coconut

This is an example of excellent SEO at work. Food Network is obviously a huge platform with tons of ranking authority, but they’ve done a good job of optimizing for this specific query by titling their page “how to break down a coconut.”

Google recognizes that this page title is very similar to my query, and thus returns Food Network’s short, one paragraph answer in a snippet.

This is a big win for Food Network. A first-page ranking and a snippet callout will drive major traffic to their site, especially for a common search query like this one. (This specific query is searched about 14,800 times a month.)serp-search-results-number

Suggested Queries, or “People Also Ask”

Next up on the SERP, you’ll see Google’s suggested queries based on the one you just entered. If you’re not seeing the answers you wanted, you can choose one of those other questions, and the dropdown will offer up a different snippet.serp-people-also-ask

These “people also ask” suggested query snippets are great places to get ideas for blog posts that will rank well, and they’re a wonderful place to rank. For example, HealthfulPursuit took advantage of the key phrase “opening a coconut in 7 simple steps.”

They rank highly for that specific key phrase, and since it’s a very targeted phrase — telling people how to open a coconut, step by step — they’re going to see qualified traffic. Any consumer who didn’t find enough information in the first snippet Google provided can scroll a little further down the page to find a perfect breakdown about opening a coconut.

Finally, you’ll see the rest of the results on the SERP. All of the videos and the suggested web pages displayed are organic results for this query.

You might notice something odd about this SERP. Can you guess what it is?

There aren’t any ads.

Why?

It’s likely that “how to open a coconut” is just too general a search term for any company to spend money on. It doesn’t signal any buyer intent and actually shows that the consumer probably already has a coconut. They just need help opening it. There’s little incentive for anyone to buy anything here unless you had a coconut-specific machete company, I guess.

Let’s look at the SERP for my query, “where to buy a coconut,” instead.

serp-where-to-buy-coconutThis is a search query with significantly more intent. I searched “where to buy a coconut”, which signals to Google that I might be interested in actually buying a coconut. So, this SERP looks much different than the previous query.

I’ve only included the top part of the first page on purpose, to call out: 1) the ads, and 2) the local search results.

Search Engine Ads

We’ve all seen Google Ads before. It’s not really a revelation, but it is important to see how ads show up in SERPs if you’re considering making paid advertising a part of your outbound marketing strategy.

The ads shown on this page are all display ads — they display an image of a product, and link over to the site where you can purchase the product. Advertisers have to pay to get this placement, but Google also plays a part by selecting only the ads it thinks are most relevant to this query to display. Click To Tweet

Why do you care?

Because this a perfect example of how search engine advertising works, and how you can do it well. Google Ads appear at the top of SERPs and display the products most relevant to the user’s query.

If you want to have ads that appear first on relevant pages like this, it’s important to consider the users’ intent when bidding on keywords, and make sure that every phrase you bid on is relevant to what you’re offering.

Local Search

The last component of SERPs I’m going to talk about today is local search. Though local search results do appear under ads, they tend to get the most clicks, no matter what.

They’re specifically relevant to each unique user. When I searched “where to buy coconuts” Google offered me results that were close to my immediate proximity.

It's important to remember that SERPs do a lot more than just find you the best answer to your question. They also try to populate results that are specific to you personally. Click To Tweet That means that every time someone searches “where to buy coconuts”, the results will be different based on their specific location.

This is important for you if you have a brick and mortar business that encourages foot traffic.

If you do, you should make sure you’ve claimed your business on search engines, and work hard to boost your website’s SEO so that you’re ranking well for local search results like these. The more Google associates you with your location, the more you’ll show up organically for relevant searches in your area. (Want to know more about local search? We got you.)

SERPs are an integral component of any digital marketing strategy. You need to know how they work, so you can leverage them for the best traffic, whether it’s from paid or organic search results. We hope this little guide gives you a bit more insight into the anatomy of a SERP. If you’ve still got questions, we’re here to help!

Leave us a message and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can. And if you’re looking for more digital marketing support, just let us know. We’d love to offer any advice or guidance you need to grow your business and your brand.

esafety-ctas


Evenbound Hits Gold!

Evenbound Hits Gold!

Evenbound is excited to announce our promotion from HubSpot Silver Agency Partner to HubSpot Gold Agency Partner. Since 2012, we’ve used the HubSpot platform to reach the amazing clients we continue to partner with today, and we’ve helped those clients learn how to engage with, and utilize the HubSpot platform for their own effective, measurable growth. Our Gold Agency Partner status serves as an acknowledgment of the positive results we’ve delivered to clients using our unique inbound marketing strategy in conjunction with the HubSpot platform.

What Does Hubspot Gold Agency Partner Mean?

To award Gold Status to a partner agency, HubSpot evaluates a number of metrics to see how well the agency is 1) bringing in new clients, 2) providing exceptional service to, and retaining existing clients, 3) empowering clients to use the HubSpot platform and its variety of applications on their own, and 4) delivering inbound marketing success to each client.

To sum it up with a few words from HubSpot, “The HubSpot Partner Tier Program acknowledges those Agency Partners who have not only brought the inbound message to the most clients but also those who executed inbound services to the highest standards.”

Thank You!

We’re grateful to HubSpot for their support and partnership, and we’d also like to thank our incredible clients for their dedication and loyalty to our company. This promotion encourages us to keep pushing the inbound marketing envelope, as we continue to strive for exceptional, measurable growth for our inbound marketing clients.

 

About HubSpot

HubSpot provides inbound marketing and sales software that helps companies attract new visitors, convert warm leads, and close customers.

About Evenbound

We’re a growth agency. That means our business is growing yours. From pulling in qualified leads to training your team how to shorten the sales cycle, we work with you every step of the way to grow your business with the right clients. Evenbound is a 100% in-house team of specialized tacticians delivering the competitive advantage to clients in construction and manufacturing industries.  

zeeland-lumber-ctas

Digital Marketing and Inbound Marketing: What’s the Difference?

Digital Marketing and Inbound Marketing: What’s the Difference?

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:

Digital Marketing

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.

Inbound Marketing

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:

werner-roofing-ctas

Creating Compelling Content [Without Giving Away Company Secrets]

Creating Compelling Content [Without Giving Away Company Secrets]

As a digital marketing company that believes strongly in the power of content marketing to draw in qualified leads, we get a lot of questions about how to write content effectively. Probably the most asked question when it comes to creating content is, “but won’t we give away company secrets?”  And the answer to that is sometimes, yes. Creating compelling content often means creating content that divulges how your company got to be where you are, and what it is that makes you special. But that’s not a bad thing, and we promise it’s not going to ruin your company or give your competitors a leg up. Here’s why:

If you’re looking to create compelling content, the first thing you need to do is forget everything you think you know. Giving away your company’s secret isn’t going to lose you money or turn clients away.

If You’re Worried About the Competition:

Don’t worry about the competition. At least not when it comes to content marketing. Unless you have some highly prized product like the Google search algorithm that no one could never engineer or produce or that is so top secret your business would literally crumble if one extra person knew it, your competition probably already has the formula. We hear it all the time: “I don’t want to put out too much content, because then my competitors will know how I do what I do.” If we’re being honest, they already know. All lawyers go to law school. All roofers know what products are on the market, and which ones are the highest end. All manufacturers have access to a wide variety of manufacturing methods. What really sets you apart is how you conduct business, and how you interact with potential clients.

If you’re a roofer, it’s not how you put on shingles or what shingles you put on that makes the difference. What makes the difference is that you’re respectful to homeowners, you complete projects quickly, and you make sure your crews clean up after themselves. What might make you stand out even more is an extra-spectacular warranty or service program, but people will have to know about it if you want that to set you apart. When you get down to it, your secret sauce isn’t all that secret. Heck, even McDonald’s has given away the recipe to their secret sauce:

But, if you’re still not quite comfortable with a company tell-all, there are still plenty of ways to write compelling content that endears you to followers and generates quality leads. Start by identifying what makes your company different. Is it your product? Is it your service? Or is it how you interact with clients that truly makes your company better than all the rest. Then, write content that speaks to that exact point.

Tell the What and Why

If you’re genuinely worried about revealing too much, focus on just writing about the “what” and the “why” and leave out the how. What is your product or service, exactly, and why are you the best provider for that good? What’s your elevator pitch? Content doesn’t have to tell how you make your super awesome product, but it should tell potential buyers why they should purchase it from you, and what exactly they’ll get out of working with you.

If you think about it, Panera Bread doesn’t necessarily give out the recipes to their food items, but they do tell you what’s in each of their dishes. This helps people choose healthy meals that they’ll feel good about, but it doesn’t mean they’re giving away their product for free. And even if Panera did give out their recipes, would that mean they’d no longer have customers? No, because people really go to Panera because it’s a fast, healthy lunch option they don’t have to feel guilty about eating.

Address Legitimate Questions and Fears

One of the best ways to get a consumer’s attention is to answer a question they’ve had about your product for a while, or resolve a fear they might have about your product or service. Today’s consumer needs to be fully informed before they’ll even consider making a purchase. They’ll analyze every pro and con of a product, and if they can’t find that sort of information, they’re less likely to purchase it. By creating posts and blogs that answer some of your target clients’ most frequently asked questions, you’ll be able to a) create content that’s genuinely useful, and b) draw in more qualified leads with the content that your target audience is already searching for.

Sell your Process

Consumers are absolutely obsessed about how things are made. Take one look at Youtube or Reddit, and you’ll see streams of videos that show how even the most common household products, like mascara and Pop-Tarts, are made:

You’ll notice that very few of those video-watchers are likely to start making their own Pop-Tarts from scratch, or designing their own, custom mascara. Most of these consumers just want to know what’s going into the products they purchase and use every day, they don’t care about making them themselves. What’s more, it’s just plain cool to see hundreds of Pop-Tarts sliding across the screen. If you want to create compelling content, you can’t go wrong with a short 1-2 minute video that shows how you do what you do. Even if you sell a service, clients want to know what to expect at each step of your service, which is why breaking down what you do into easy-to-follow steps grabs people’s attention.

Demonstrate Capabilities

A great way to generate content that turns site visitors into clients is to demonstrate your capabilities and your results. For home services pros, this often works best with before and after pictures, showing the old (really ugly) kitchen, and the new, shiny kitchen that you’ve renovated. For anyone who’s results aren’t necessarily visible, case studies are your best friend. People interested in what you have to offer will love a case study because they show measurable results for clients just like them.

For us, we’ve found that digital marketing sometimes throws off clients who aren’t tech-savvy. Since you can’t immediately see, with your own two eyes, the results that our services deliver, some people are wary of what we have to offer. We’ve found case studies to be exceptionally helpful in solving this problem because they give cold hard facts: how many leads we delivered each month, how much traffic our clients now see, where that traffic is coming from, and most importantly, how much revenue our efforts generated.

New call-to-action
When you can provide hard numbers like that, people are more likely to respond, because it’s specific and honest. Consumers are tired of the same, general marketing statements like “this will change your life” or “massively increase your returns” that companies boast about, but never prove. People want to see cold hard facts, and they’re excited by content that delivers that, so if you want to draw in qualified traffic, put up a few case studies showcasing the results you’ve delivered.

Get Emotional

Finally, don’t be afraid to get emotional. There’s nothing consumers connect with more than a great story, so be sure to tell them yours. The more a consumer knows about your company and about you, the more real you feel, and the more likely they are to reach out to you. With the rise of internet and technology, there’s been a loss of genuine human connection in business, so if you can find a way to show your clients that you’re more than just a building or a product, you’re likely to have content that more people connect to.

Creating compelling content can be a lot easier than you think if you just identify that thing that sets your company apart. Because in the age of the internet, there isn’t much the consumer doesn’t know or can’t find out. The best way to build a content marketing strategy that delivers legitimate leads is to be honest and helpful, and create a connection with that potential customer. Because when a consumer has their choices narrowed down to you and a competitor, they’re going to pick the option they feel they have the greater connection with, and if you’ve been helping them along by answering their questions directly and providing content that helps them figure out what their options are, they’re going to choose you.

Content marketing is what we do. If you’re struggling to finesse your content marketing or larger digital marketing strategy, we can help. Get in touch by sending us a message at your convenience.

New call-to-action

Revamping your B2B Website in the New Year

Revamping your B2B Website in the New Year

Regularly updating your B2B website is necessary to keep up with changes to the Google algorithm, as well as web design best practices. If it’s been a while since you’ve tested your site for optimum performance (an issue may B2Bs have), you risk not being found by potential customers. Here are a few tips to revamping your website to maximize good traffic.

Mobile Responsive Design

If your B2B website isn’t mobile responsive (i.e., viewable on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets and adaptable to any screen size), it should be. With most consumers using their smartphones for web browsing and online research, a mobile responsive site is crucial to reaching your potential customers, especially B2B customers, who may be doing their research on their phones quickly between meetings or sales calls.

If you’re using a WordPress site, you can easily find templates that are mobile responsive; entirely custom websites are trickier, and require testing to ensure that they appear and function as you intend on desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.

Update Metadata

Accurate metadata is critical for being indexed by search engines. Metadata, if you’re not familiar, describes the individual pages on your B2B website. Title metadata affects how titles appear in browser windows; meta descriptions are the text that shows up on search engine results pages, and keyword metadata designates a specific keyword for the page. Ensure that you have custom meta descriptions, a keyword designated, and appropriate title metadata for each page of your website, or search engines, and the potential clients using those search engines, won’t find your site.

Fix Broken Links and Redirects

Broken links annoy site visitors and can lower your search engine rankings. Luckily, they’re easy to fix. You can go through all of the links and all of the pages to ensure that they work, or you could use a tool like Check My Links. If you find broken links or 404 errors, you can resolve the issue by updating the link, if possible, or using a 301 redirect, which will help you maintain the original ranking power of the page, as well as the original keywords and metadata, while still helping visitors find the what they’re looking for.

Get Rid of Pop-Ups

Google has started penalizing certain kinds of pop-ups, called intrusive mobile interstitials, which your current site may be using. If your B2B website has a pop-up message that viewers have to dismiss before they can view the page content on a mobile device (aka a standalone interstitial), a layout where the top portion of the page looks like a standalone interstitial, or a pop-up that covers the main content of the page while they are looking through the page Google will penalize your site, as these types of pop-ups are intrusive and affect the viewer accessibility of content on mobile devices.

Completing these quick checkups on your B2B website can make all the difference in your search engine ranking and site performance, driving more qualified traffic to your site. For more on revamping your site to enhance SEO, check out our SEO Site Checkup. If you have questions on how to improve your B2B site’s SEO, get in touch. Our SEO experts can help you achieve excellent site rankings and implement SEO best practices. 

New call-to-action