Small Business Growth Strategies that Boost Revenue

Small Business Growth Strategies that Boost Revenue

Small Business Growth Strategies that Boost Revenue

When we talk about growth strategies, we think it’s important to talk about tangible strategies you can implement today to help drive growth. There’s a lot of information out there about diversification, market penetration, market segmentation, and acquisition. Those are legitimate small business growth strategies, but they’re nebulous, not actionable. 

Yes, it’s important for your overall business health to do things like diversify and acquire new products/services and even other businesses, but that doesn’t help you grow in real-time. 

Those are strategies that bring you growth, but they don’t set you up to support that growth in the long term. That’s why we’re here to talk about small business growth strategies that can help you boost revenue in real-time, helping you prepare for long-term growth, and supporting your company in a sustainable way. 

Today we’re talking about small business growth strategies that:

a) help you get the word out, 

b) deliver you the qualified leads you’re looking for

c) help you close better deals, faster. 

Best of all, each of these strategies is measurable and results-driven. 

You want growth, right? There’s no point in investing in a growth strategy if you can’t see the results it’s delivering. 

So, without further ado, here are a few of our favorite small business growth strategies that boost revenue in ways you can track:

Set Growth Goals

If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a million times — it’s hard to implement a growth strategy if you don’t know where you’re growing to. 

Setting growth goals is an integral part of your small business growth strategy. Think of it this way: how will you know which strategies to implement if you don’t know what you want to grow?

It’s one thing to say, “I’d like to grow my business,” or “increase revenue”. It’s another to actually sit down and make that happen. 

I won’t belabor this point because we’ve already written a lot about it, but set SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely), and develop your small business growth strategies to help you meet those goals. 

Once you’ve set your growth goals, you’ll have a better idea of which of the following small business growth strategies can help you meet those goals.

For example, driving traffic helps bring in more leads, focusing on customer loyalty helps with customer retention, and increasing local SEO helps do both, with the added benefit of increasing your digital presence. 

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of those key small business growth strategies:

Create Value that Draws in Leads

Sure, your product or service has value to people, but it’s tough for customers to take that at face value. Other than selling something, how can you create value for your potential customers and leads? 

Content is always a great place to start. You have the knowledge and you have the authority in your industry to create helpful content. Developing content that showcases both of those qualities and answers questions that your potential customers are asking creates serious value that will start to draw those leads into your business. 

It’s tough to grow a business without customers. 

By creating value with blogging, with content offers, and dynamic social media channels that offer the information your ideal audience is looking for, you start drawing in those customers you want.

How does creating value boost revenue? 

When you offer valuable information, you build both trust and authority with your prospects. By providing helpful answers to their questions, you become their go-to resource. So, when they do finish their research and get ready to make a purchasing decision, you can bet your business will be at the top of their list. 

Not sure your content creating is creating value? Make sure you have calls-to-action on your blogs and articles and make sure you're tracking conversions on your content offers. Click To Tweet All of these tools can show you exactly where your customers are coming from, and how your valuable content is contributing to your bottom line. 

Drive Traffic

When it comes to small business growth, it’s all about traffic. Whether you’re a brick and mortar business or strictly digital, traffic is important. You need people in your store and on your website if you want to grow your company. 

Drive traffic with:

Social Media

Point people to your valuable content, your new video, your awesome website, or your attractive content offer by sharing it on social media. Make sure you’re choosing the platforms that are best for your industry, too, like LinkedIn for B2Bs, Facebook for home services and local, community-focused messages, and Instagram for any exciting visuals. 

Strategic SEO

We’ll talk more about SEO later on, but developing a website that’s tailored to specific keywords and topics that your customers are searching for is key to getting the traffic you need to grow your business. 

Backlinks

Backlinks help you boost your domain authority (basically, how important search engines think you are) but they also drive traffic. When another site links to your page or piece of content, everyone who comes to that site has the potential to click over to you. If you don’t have backlinks yet or don’t have the power to get backlinks, it all starts with great content. If you’re writing unique, interesting content that people relate to, it’s naturally more shareable.

How does driving traffic boost revenue?

Well, if you’re generating more of the right traffic — that ideal target audience who’s genuinely interested in your product or service — you’ve got a higher percentage of qualified leads on your doorstep just waiting for your marketing and sales teams to close the deal. 

Traffic is also an easy one to track. Use Google Analytics to measure your influx of traffic over time. If you have marketing software, that’s also a great place to look for results. 

See where your most promising leads are coming from, which pages they’re landing on, and which content they seem to prefer, and you’ll be able to keep optimizing both your traffic growth strategy and your content strategy for better results. 

Increase Local SEO Efforts

For most small businesses, it’s all about location, location, location. You’ve got to start getting your name out somewhere, right? If your business is location dependent, meaning you offer a product or service in a specific area, local SEO is key to your small business growth strategy. 

As a local business, you want to be at the top of the list when someone searches for, “roofing near me” or whatever local search is relevant to your business. Local SEO is how you get there. 

As small business growth strategies go, local SEO is a solid one that offers tangible and measurable results. We won’t go into the key points of implementing SEO, but you can find plenty of information about how to get started with local SEO on our site, and from digital marketing leaders like Moz and HubSpot

How does local SEO boost revenue? 

Like I said before, this is a great small business growth strategy if you’re looking for measurable ways to boost revenue. 

First and foremost, when implemented properly, local SEO works to put your company in front of qualified leads in your area. 

You can tell that your local SEO strategies are working by tracking your traffic, your SERP (search engine results page) rankings, and just by measuring how many of your leads are coming from organic search results. Again, marketing software and Google Analytics can help you get all of these numbers. 

Like many growth strategies, local SEO does have its limits. When you’re working hard to get your company to rank well for local search terms, you’re going to see more local traffic. But all this growth strategy can do is get those leads to your website or sales team. From there, it’s still up to you to actually convert those leads into sales. 

That said, it’s hard not to grow when more of the qualified local leads you’re looking for are coming directly to you. 

Build Customer Loyalty

These days, consumers are more engaged than ever with the brands they choose to buy from. Most consumers take pride in supporting companies they believe in, whose beliefs they align with, and whose products and services they love. In the digital age, growing your small business is about a lot more than just selling a product. 

Today’s most successful small businesses stand out by building relationships and trust with their customers and prospects. 

How do you do that? 

Think about how your brand is interacting with people.

In the digital era, consumers are seeking that sense of connection wherever they can find it. They want to buy from brands that “get” them. Brands that understand their pain points and work hard to support their goals and needs are brands they’re likely to stick with. 

This might seem like a lot of personal, touchy-feely advice, especially for small businesses in B2B industries, but it’s true. No matter who your consumer is, whether it’s an engineer looking for the next great tool to support their research and development, or a local homeowner seeking a new roof — how they perceive your company matters. 

If your company and brand seem human and approachable, they’re more likely to buy from you. If they feel like they’ll get personalized customer service, and you deliver, they’re going to keep buying from you in the future.

Today’s consumers, in every industry, are looking for personal connections and exceptional customer service. If you can deliver that, your small business is going to start seeing your growth. Here’s how you can make that happen: 

Deliver personalized messages.

Email marketing is a great place to start. If you’ve been doing any kind of digital marketing, you’ve probably collected the email addresses of previous customers, potential customers, leads, and prospects. Use those email addresses to start delivering the personalized service and messaging that can build that customer loyalty. 

Segment your email list, and start putting out marketing messages that really resonate with each segment of that list. 

For new prospects, that might be information to help them through the consideration phase of their buyer’s journey. 

For past customers, that might be reminder emails when its time to get their product serviced or inspected, or helpful information on how to use your product or service for the best results. 

When you are able to deliver the right message, to the right person, at the right time, you’re not just developing a successful email marketing strategy for your small business.

You’re also building positive, strong relationships with leads, prospects, and previous customers, all of which keep your flywheel spinning and contribute to small business growth. 

How does building customer loyalty boost your revenue?

  • 70% of companies say that retaining customers is significantly cheaper than converting a new one. 

  • 80% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase when brands offer a personalized experience. 

The more personalized and positive your experiences with leads, prospects, and customers are, the more business you’re going to win and retain. 

And of course, when your customers love your products, your services, and your company, they’re going to talk about it, which means word of mouth marketing for your small business. And that’s one of the most effective small business growth strategies out there if you can get it going. 

Growth strategies are integral to the success of your SMB. Whether you’re looking for more local leads, hoping to convert a greater number of leads into sales, or you’re looking for ways to increase customer retention, we can help

All of these small business growth strategies I’ve mentioned today can be combined into one overarching strategy that puts your business ahead of the competition. If you’re ready to grow your SMB, we’re ready to develop a tailored strategy that’s guaranteed to deliver. 

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5 Simple Steps to Sell Your Boss on Inbound Marketing

5 Simple Steps to Sell Your Boss on Inbound Marketing

5 Simple Steps to Sell Your Boss on Inbound Marketing

As a digital marketing company that spends the majority of our time helping clients grow their inbound marketing strategies, we can say definitively that inbound marketing works. And if you don’t believe that, head on over to our case studies, where we’ll take you step-by-step through all the ways inbound marketing has returned serious results for clients in a range of industries. 

If you’re here, though, you probably already know inbound marketing works. You’re just trying to figure out how to sell your boss on inbound marketing.

Maybe you’ve seen inbound or digital marketing putting your competition in that number one spot, or maybe you’re just tired of printing out physical marketing materials that no one ever looks at. No matter the reason, you’re here to figure out how to sell your boss on inbound marketing, and we’re here to help. 

Here are 5 ways to show your boss that inbound marketing is legit.

As in, it’s a legitimate marketing method that produces the leads you want, the sales you want, and the ROI you’ve always dreamed of. No joke, it’s actually that good. Here’s how you get your boss to realize that too. 

Step 1: Make Sure They Know What Inbound Is

Before you can launch into the multitude of benefits that inbound marketing will provide, make sure you’re on common ground. You’ve been in the marketing world for some time now — you’ve got the jargon down and the basic methodologies are clear to you. Your boss probably hasn’t spent as much time in the trenches as you. 

Try to find a short, concise, and direct way to explain what inbound marketing is to your boss. Chances are that if you’re out looking for ways to set your company apart, your boss already trusts your opinion, and is willing to listen. Just make sure you don’t take up too much time explaining the process. Stick to: 

  • A definition
  • The basic goals of inbound marketing
  • An outline of the Attract, Convert, Close, Delight flywheel
  • The benefits of inbound marketing

We have plenty of clients who’ve never heard of inbound marketing and who just came to us for a new website. Don’t assume that your boss knows what inbound marketing is. If they do, great, but if you really want to sell your boss on inbound marketing, it’s important to start on the same page first.

Step 2: Paint a Picture (It Doesn’t Have to be Pretty)

Once your boss knows what inbound marketing is, paint them a picture of where your company is now, and how inbound marketing can help you get to somewhere better. Like I said in the subtitle, this doesn’t have to be a pretty picture. 

If you only get 50 visitors to your website a month, let your boss know. And let them know that’s really bad, too. 

It can also be helpful to paint your company’s picture in relation to your competition. No VP of Marketing or Sales wants to see that the competition is doing better than their company. 

Use a free site like Ubersuggest to get some initial info on how well your competition is doing. Are they getting more traffic than you? Do they have a better position on Google for your keywords?

Lead with data. When you can paint a clear, factual picture, and back it up with real data about a) how your company is doing, and b) how you could be doing with inbound marketing, you’re going to earn some buy-in from your boss. 

Step 3: Show ’em The Money

Your boss cares about the bottom line. No biggie. We all live and die by profit margin. Inbound marketing holds up, and there are plenty of studies to show it. Click To Tweet

How do you prove the ROI of inbound marketing to your boss?

Easy:

Case Studies

Case studies are one of the easiest ways to show your boss why inbound marketing is worth the investment. Do a little searching around and find some case studies that represent companies similar to yours. (You can start on our site, we’ve got a bunch of FREE ungated case studies over here, showcasing inbound’s results for a number of industries.)

Industry Studies

You’re not the first person to have to prove inbound marketing’s ROI to their boss. ROI is important to most companies, and to answer that need, there are plenty of industry studies out there showing exactly how much bang for your buck you get when you invest in inbound. 

 

 

For example, did you know that: 

  • It’s 61% cheaper to deliver a lead with inbound marketing versus traditional marketing tactics. 

  • Inbound marketing tactics generate 54% more leads than traditional paid marketing methods. 

There’s a lot of info out there on the internet that can help you make this pitch. Come armed with data, statistics, and a compelling story, and you should be able to convince your boss to at least check out inbound marketing. 

Your Own Estimates

If you’ve got the tools and the time, it doesn’t hurt to present some real numbers to your boss, either. 

Getting a few cost estimates about how much it’ll take to get your company started with an agency, and take a few demos to see what types of tools, like HubSpot or Facebook Advertising might be helpful.

Many digital marketing agencies are happy to offer a few cost estimates, and they’d love to tell you what they can do for your company too.

If your company is serious about hiring an agency for some sort of marketing help, it’s worth it to have those estimates on hand. That way you can show your boss the real projected ROI you’ll see when you do invest in inbound marketing. 

Step 4: Get Someone Else On Board

If I had to pick, I’d say go talk to sales. Have you ever met a sales team who felt like they were getting enough leads? 

Inbound marketing is an easy sell to sales teams, because it delivers qualified leads directly to them, and helps take a lot of the legwork out of their day-to-day.

Bringing the sales team in as backup shows your boss that a) you’re not the only one who thinks this is a good idea, and b) that inbound marketing is something everyone can get on board with. 

When your boss sees that this is an initiative that can prove results, and that other team members will get on board with, their decision is a lot easier. 

Most company decision makers shy away from new initiatives for two reasons: 

  1. They’re afraid the cost isn’t worth the rewards. 
  2. They know the initiative is worthwhile, but they’re afraid to spend money on something the team might not use. 

Your data already proves that inbound marketing is worthwhile. If you can get someone else at your company onboard with inbound marketing, you solve concern #2 as well. That puts you in a great place to sell your boss on inbound marketing. 

Step 5: Make Inbound Marketing an Easy Decision

Here are a couple of things you can do to make your boss’s decision for inbound marketing a little easier:

  • Show them the work you’ve done

  • Clearly outline your top three inbound marketing agency choices

  • Show them how making the switch to inbound can help your company grow

  • Invite them to an informational call or demo with one of your top-choice agencies

When your boss sees the work you’ve put into this, they should be willing to at least hear you out. That’s your foot in the door policy. Show them what you’ve learned, and show them why you think inbound marketing is going to be good for your company. 

If you do all the work, and present the real, tangible growth benefits that inbound marketing can offer your team, you’re doing everything you can to sell your boss on inbound marketing.

No one but your boss knows exactly how he or she will respond, but at least you’ve done everything you can to set yourself up for success. 

We get that making the switch to inbound marketing is a tough choice. Especially for manufacturers and B2Bs, inbound can feel like a foreign way to do things. If you know inbound marketing could help set your company apart from the competition and grow your business with more of the right leads knocking on your door, come talk to us

We’d be happy to get you the information you need, and we’ll even talk to your boss for you if you want. And, for more info to strengthen your inbound marketing pitch, be sure to check out the case study below. 

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Top Web Design Trends of 2020

Top Web Design Trends of 2020

Top Web Design Trends of 2020

There’s a lot of new going on already in 2020, but one thing we’re particularly excited for here at Evenbound is new web design trends! Since we recently rebranded and updated our entire website, web design is something we’ve had on the brain for a while now. We thought we’d take some of the lessons we’ve learned about new and upcoming trends in web design, and put them into this blog. So without further ado, here are some of the top web design trends for 2020: 

Solid Frames of White Space

If we could pick just one favorite web design trend of 2020, it would definitely be white space.  (Or clean, minimalist themes. Who could pick just one favorite?) Old, clunky websites with huge blocks of text just aren’t cute, and they’re really hard to look at and navigate. 

2020 is the year of minimalism, and that means plenty of white space, which we love. Click To Tweet White space offers immediate, clear organization, and makes it easier for the user to digest everything that’s on the page. 

For all of our SEO fans out there, it’s also a great way to increase your time-on-page. The more whitespace your design has, the more likely a reader is going to stick around. Since they’re getting little bite-sized pieces of information that don’t feel taxing to read, they’re more likely to keep on reading. 

Minimalist Navigation

Great web design makes the user’s life easier. One trend that’s working hard to help site visitors out in 2020 is minimalist navigation. Designers are taking old, bulky dropdowns and bloated menus and turning them into sleek navigation options. Take this menu from Google as an example: with just four available buttons, it’s hard to get lost on this site. 

Ueno is another great example. As soon as you scroll below the fold, the menu minimizes into just two little lines, helping keep the menu from breaking up the design of the rest of the page. But, as soon as you click the lines, their full menu pops right up, ensuring the viewer doesn’t lose any functionality. 

Minimalist Design With Maximized Text and Headers

It’s 2020 and words are back in! (Thank goodness, my content writing job kind of depends on it.) We’ve talked about how minimalist design is taking over, but with that comes a new focus on big text and massive headers. 

This is a design trend that really works to help the reader. It makes it easy for visitors and causal scrollers to see what’s most important on a page, and quickly jump to the sections that answer their questions. 

From a design standpoint, this is a trend that brings impact. When your website is designed with a minimalist style, and all elements are clean, neutral, and sleek, a bold header seriously stands out. The combination delivers an updated, modern feel that makes your website look professional, without being boring. 

Soft Shadows, Layers, and Floating Elements

In 2020, design is all about taking busyness and clutter out but keeping visual interest in. Click To Tweet Though most sites have been stripped down to a clean, minimalist design, we’re adding fun and depth to those clean looks with shadows, layers, and floating elements.

You can see here on our site how our images look like they’re floating off the page, and our HubSpot Gold badge is layered on top of the image. HubSpot’s page has a similar effect, layering the most important image on top of more subtle backgrounds to really make it stand out on the page. 

This trend does a great job of making a site look beautiful and interesting, without getting too cluttered or overwhelming for the user. These elements also work to show your user where they should be putting their focus.

Motion and Interactivity

In 2020, flat websites are over. Exciting, interactive, and visual websites are taking charge by adding motion to the average web-user’s experience. You’ve already seen a bit of motion here on the Evenbound site, as visual elements slide in from the left, right, top, and bottom of the page. If you head to Ueno’s website, you’ll see elements moving everywhere on their site, but in a way that adds to the user’s experience, rather than distracting from it. 

Interactivity is also a big up-and-coming trend. It’s taking off a little bit slower, because it takes more work to implement, but when done properly it’s a great design element to wow visitors, and to keep them engaging with your site. Again, Ueno has mastered this element with “The Interview“. The image below gives you a quick idea of what that looks like, but head on over to their site if you want to interact with it yourself. 

Text-Only Heroes

Big headers and text are popular this year, but a new trend that’s really taking hold in 2020 is text-only heroes. This is a great way to get a message across, it’s visually very clean, and it offers the added benefit of being light and fast to load. Massive header images have been slowing down page speed for years, so it’ll be nice to see some super-responsive, bold heroes. 

Illustrations

Illustrations in web design are one of the most popular trends of 2020. The contrast between handmade and digital visual elements is a hot trend right now, and people are loving the visual interest that cute illustrations bring to an otherwise clean and minimalist site.  

Chatbots

It’s possible that chatbots don’t exactly fit into “design”, but they are an important top trend for websites in 2020. And, since you have to design them, we’re keeping them in this blog. 

Chatbots essentially bridge the gap between you and your consumer. They offer up an instant form of communication that makes it easy for consumers to ask questions the minute they think of them. 

The best chatbots are simple and specific. Check out these three examples below. None of them are obtrusive, but they all invite the visitor to engage with the website in a specific, meaningful way. 

Accessibility for Visitors with Disabilities

When we talk about digital accessibility, we’re talking about building and designing websites in a way that’s inclusive to individuals who have visual, motor, auditory, speech, or cognitive disabilities. Here’s a great resource if you’d like some in-depth info about how to easily design your website for everyone

In 2020, the internet is only getting more popular, and since the majority of us use it every day, it’s important that we make our website accessible to everyone. For web designers, that means designing with accessibility in mind. Adding features like larger text size, as you can see we did for this client below, go a long way in helping everyone use the internet with ease.

Other digital accessibility features you’re going to see more of this year include, but certainly aren’t limited to: 

    • Designing with greater color contrast so those with visual disabilities can still see every aspect of your website. 
    • Including labels and instructions with form fields so the visually impaired can understand what they need to type in each form field. 
    • Web design that allows for keyboard navigation

Web Design Trends in 2020 Put the User First

This year’s most popular design trends have one thing in common — they’re all working to help deliver a better, more seamless experience for the user.

Clean, minimalist designs make it easy to notice and understand the information on a web page that is most important. Interactive elements and motion also help draw attention to key images and portions of a page, without making a subtle design feel cluttered. All of these trends are working together to ensure you are able to quickly identify, and navigate to, the information you need to answer your questions or solve your pain points. 

With web design trends like these, the internet is only becoming more accessible and user-friendly, and we’re sure here for it. And in case you haven’t already, be sure to click around our new website to see some of these new web design trends in action!

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What is Outbound Marketing in 2020?

What is Outbound Marketing in 2020?

What is Outbound Marketing in 2020?

Outbound marketing is and has been a lot of things. If we’re honest, it hasn’t always been great. Outbound marketing is probably best known for annoying push marketing.

Yeah, we’re talking telemarketers, cold calling, that delightful junk mail you’re always throwing away, and basically any form of marketing that pushes a product or service on you, without even attempting to be personal. It’s not relevant, it’s usually poorly timed (ahem, telemarketers who call at dinner time), and it doesn’t usually put you in a positive frame of mind to make a purchase. 

But now that we’re clear about how terrible outbound marketing used to be, we can talk about what outbound marketing is in 2020, and how it can be successful and useful today. We’re going to focus on effective outbound marketing because even though there are companies out there still using traditional techniques like telemarketing, there are better, more efficient, and more positive ways to implement outbound marketing in 2020.

What is Outbound Marketing in 2020?

In 2020, outbound marketing is an effective way to get your message in front of the right people immediately, and on a larger scale than organic and inbound tactics can deliver. 

It’s important to remember that while outbound marketing has been frustrating to consumers in the past, it’s still a successful marketing strategy when applied correctly in a non-interruptive way. As we move into 2020, outbound marketing will continue to evolve. We’ve already seen outbound marketing deliver results for our clients in forms like pay-per-click advertising, social media advertising, and even strategic outbound email campaigns, and we expect that trend to continue throughout this new year. 

In 2020, successful outbound marketing has less to do with what platforms you use, and more to do with how you apply your own strategy to those platforms. Let’s take a look at what outbound marketing that works will look like in 2020.

Successful Outbound Marketing in 2020 Will Be:

Outbound marketing doesn’t have to be disruptive. In fact, it can be a really helpful form of marketing, especially for consumers who are ready to make a purchasing decision. Here’s a glance at what outbound marketing in 2020 should look like.

Personalized

Impersonal, disruptive messaging is the number one reason that traditional outbound marketing strategies fail. When done right, outbound marketing can produce serious results for your company. It puts you in front of a large pool of the right consumers. 

But, you’re only going to get their attention if your message is relevant to their goals and pain points and if it’s not disruptive to their life.

That’s why we’re hoping that in 2020, more people start to look at outbound marketing through an inbound marketing lense. There’s nothing wrong with paid and outbound tactics — they really do work! But, they work best when they’re approached with an inbound mindset of incorporating your message seamlessly into the consumer’s day, rather than interrupting them to shout out an impersonalized promotion. 

Take the time to understand what your audience is looking for. If you’re on Facebook, choose audiences who have a legitimate interest in your product or service. If you’re working on paid ad sets for Google, choose search terms that are relevant to what you’re promoting. No one wants to see an ad for gym shoes when they searched “ice cream near me.”

If you’re hoping to implement successful outbound marketing strategies in 2020, personalized, relevant messages that aren’t disruptive are the key.

Efficient

Outbound marketing tactics in 2020 have a specific purpose — to convert qualified leads more efficiently than inbound tactics can. Outbound marketing gets your message in front of the right consumers, right now. Make sure you’re using that to your advantage. 

Implement your 2020 outbound marketing campaigns where you know they’ll be the most effective, and efficient. Outbound marketing tactics like remarketing and paid search ad campaigns targeted to end-of-funnel keywords are great ways to quickly convert leads who have already shown interest in your company. They just need that little extra push to convert. 

That’s what you use outbound marketing for — efficient, tactical conversions of the leads you already know are interested in your product or service. If you’re trying to use outbound marketing tactics to nurture leads and build relationships, you’re not going to see those immediate results or the ROI you’re looking for, because that’s not what outbound marketing is designed to do. 

Cost-Effective

The time for massive outbound marketing budgets is over. We’re not saying you shouldn’t spend money on outbound marketing, but we are saying you should be strategic about where you spend your budget. Digital outbound marketing methods can be exceptionally cost-effective if you know what you’re doing. How to know what you’re doing? Here are a few good ways to start:

Target End-of-Buyer's-Journey Keywords

It’s worth it to spend money on outbound marketing campaigns that target people at the end of their buyer’s journey. They know exactly what they’re looking for, they just need to make a purchase. 

Long-tail keywords like “Honeywell Commercial Alarm System Installation in Grand Rapids” show you that the consumer has already done their homework, and made their decision. Now, they just need to find a provider. When you bid on these keywords, you’ll show up as a first option for those consumers who are ready to buy. 

Spend on High-Return Markets

If you have a specific product or service that secures higher returns, that’s where you should be allocating your outbound marketing budget. If you can spend less to make more with your outbound campaigns, you’re going to see the ROI and the results you’ve been looking for.

Above all, analyze your outbound marketing campaigns constantly. Keep a close eye on where your money is going, and where it’s delivering leads.

In 2020, the paid advertising market will be more competitive than ever. The best way to get ahead without breaking the bank is to spend strategically on just the campaigns sure to deliver you the best results, and the greatest ROI. 

Strategic

Outbound marketing is one part of a complete digital marketing strategy. It’s important to apply outbound marketing tactics in the spaces where they can provide you with the greatest returns. 

In 2020 outbound marketing will be one of the fastest ways to get your company out ahead of the competition, but it’s important to remember that it’s not the only marketing tactic out there, and it shouldn’t be the only component of your marketing strategy. 

Outbound marketing costs money. And as more and more people are buying into paid social media advertising, pay-per-click ads, display campaigns, and more in 2020, the costs of outbound marketing will continue to rise. 

In order to see significant returns, and to get the leads you want at a price that allows you to keep growing, it’s important to be strategic about where you use your outbound marketing tactics. 

For example, inbound marketing can help you nurture leads with relevant content that answers questions. Outbound marketing can’t do that. Outbound marketing can raise brand awareness, get your company in front of the right leads, and help you close those buyers who are ready to make a decision, but it can’t do the long, hard work of lead nurturing, educating, or building relationships — all important components of an effective long-term growth strategy. For that, you need other tactics and strategies like inbound marketing and excellent customer service. 

In 2020 the key to a marketing strategy that delivers growth is understanding how to balance inbound and outbound tactics for the best results. Use outbound marketing where you can get those quick wins: targeted and remarketing ads, calling consumers back to you at the end of their buyer’s journey, and raising brand awareness. But remember that in the end, outbound marketing is a tool to help you build on an already solid marketing foundation. 

If you use your outbound tactics to supplement an already amazing website, rich original content, and a robust digital marketing strategy, you’re sure to win in 2020. 

Not sure how to implement outbound marketing in 2020? Don’t hesitate to reach out! We’ve got a ton of resources on outbound marketing, and we love to chat about how inbound and outbound marketing can complement each other. We’d be happy to help answer any questions you’ve got. 

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Word of Mouth Marketing for B2Bs: Let’s Set the Record Straight

Word of Mouth Marketing for B2Bs: Let’s Set the Record Straight

Word of Mouth Marketing for B2Bs: Let’s Set the Record Straight

Word of mouth marketing has been a subject of discussion in inbound marketing circles for quite some time. It’s a particularly challenging subject for B2Bs, who function in niche industries like manufacturing. Many B2Bs feel that word of mouth marketing is the only, best way to get leads. And while we certainly won’t disagree that word of mouth marketing is powerful, we do have some thoughts (and some stats to back them up), about why traditional word of mouth marketing is out, and why modern word of mouth marketing can’t stand on its own if you’re trying to grow your company. 

In this article, we’re going to talk about what word of mouth marketing is, in both the traditional and the modern sense, and we’re going to talk about when you need it, and when you don’t. 

Word of mouth marketing (or WOMM for short) is a big component of many marketing strategies, but we’re here to tell you why it shouldn’t be your only marketing strategy. Let’s start by taking a look at what WOMM is: 

Traditional Word of Mouth Marketing

Traditional word of mouth marketing is exactly what it sounds like. Before the internet exploded in popularity, companies built brand awareness and grew their business primarily from having their customers talk about them to other industry members. 

In B2B applications, especially in the manufacturing industry, this was a major driver of business because the industries are so niche. The best way to get quality leads was to have a quality reputation. When you had that, you could rely on WOMM to get you both the leads that you wanted and the ones you needed. 

Unfortunately, following the internet boom, WOMM has seen a slow decline in success, even for those B2B manufacturers who have relied on it as their primary form of marketing for decades. So why isn’t traditional WOMM working anymore?

Why Traditional Word of Mouth Marketing Doesn’t Cut it Anymore 

The number one answer to that question is the internet. When the internet blew up, it became easy for anyone to find the products, services, and solutions they needed, right from their own computer or smartphone. No need to pick up a phone or talk to a friend — the necessary information was directly at the consumer’s fingertips. 

For B2Bs, and particularly B2B manufacturers, this change happened slowly. These industries are niche, and many manufacturers feel that they know the key players without heading to the web. 

Today, though, as many incoming engineers and manufacturing sales professionals are tech natives, used to finding solutions and products online, manufacturers are realizing the importance of having a web presence and a dedicated marketing team. 

In all honesty, if you’re still relying on traditional WOMM to bring in leads, you’re not going to see the same growth as your competition. 

To continue to grow and be successful as a company, in any industry, a legitimate digital presence is a required qualification. 

Why? Well, that’s where modern word of mouth marketing comes in.

Modern Word of Mouth Marketing

If I had a dime for every time a prospective client said, “oh we get 90% of our leads through referrals. We’re not sure if digital marketing will really move the needle.” I probably wouldn’t be writing these blogs anymore. 

Guess what? They’re almost always wrong. Why?

Because while traditional marketing methods did bring in a whole bunch of leads for a number of B2Bs in the past, in today’s digital world, the internet has flipped the switch. 

Enter modern word of mouth marketing.

What is Modern Word of Mouth Marketing?

Also known as amplified word of mouth marketing, this new, modern version of WOMM takes advantage of all the new technology that has erupted in the past decade or so, like Facebook, Linkedin, and Google. All of these platforms encourage what is essentially a digital form of word of mouth marketing with reviews that can be published and shared

For many companies, this amplified or modern WOMM has taken the place of traditional word of mouth marketing. But it’s better. 

With traditional marketing, you could get referral leads, but usually only from people in your area, who you knew or had talked to at a conference or trade show. 

How Does Modern Word of Mouth Marketing Work?

Modern WOMM eliminates the need for any of that proximity. You get all of the benefits of traditional marketing — the company goodwill, the great reputation, and the warm leads — without the constraints.

Anyone can go online, read your reviews, and make a decision about your company and product. They don’t have to be from the same town or even the same country! 

Studies have shown that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much, or more than personal recommendations. 

According to PowerReviews, 97% of consumers consult product reviews.

You already knew that WOMM was important. These facts just drive home the point that digital reviews have taken the place of traditional word of mouth marketing. 

What’s more, this digital strategy works much harder for you than traditional word of mouth marketing. Take a look:

  • Reviews can be shared, posted, and boosted with social media ad spend
  • Digital reviews make it easier for you to connect with your clients and customers. Easily see who’s left a review, and what they’ve said.
  • Build visible trust. The more positive reviews and comments your company gets, the more trust you’ll have with people just learning about your brand. 
  • The ROI is outstanding. According to IMPACT, word of mouth marketing generates 2x more sales than paid ads. And it doesn’t cost you much if anything at all. 

Why Any Form of WOMM  Alone Won’t Get You Leads

Alright, so modern word of mouth marketing is awesome. I hope we’ve made that clear. At no point would we ever say that word of mouth marketing wasn’t worthwhile, for any company in any industry. 

With that in mind, it is important, especially for my B2Bs out there to remember that modern WOMM isn’t going to help your company grow on its own. To explain why, let’s go back to a statement I made about traditional word of mouth marketing earlier.

“The best way to get quality leads was to have a quality reputation.”

That’s still true of modern word of mouth marketing. 

In today’s world, you can’t have a quality reputation without a quality digital presence. 

Anyone who hears about an awesome company, whether you manufacture parts for automobiles or you develop excellent machine test technology, is going to head to the company’s website first. 

If your website is shitty and from 2001, that lead won’t stick around. 

For the sake of example, let’s say you have an awesome new website. That lead is interested in your company. 

But, when they start clicking through your website, they can’t figure out how your products are priced. There’s no pricing sheet for them to download, or even a content offer explaining to them the differences between your products and product models. Or worse, maybe they can’t figure out how to contact you. 

You’ve lost that lead again. 

WOMM is Best Used in Conjunction with a Solid Digital Marketing Strategy

There are a lot more examples I could use, but I think you’ve probably gotten the point. In today’s digital era, WOMM on its own isn’t going to help your company grow. 

While modern WOMM — with reviews and comments that can be shared, liked, and interacted with — is a useful and proven tool, it should not be the only way you expect to generate leads

If you’re a manufacturing company that’s lived off of word of mouth referrals for decades, it’s important to realize that the times are changing. Even with excellent referrals, you’re not going to see the growth you could be capitalizing on if you don’t invest in a comprehensive digital marketing strategy. Things like:

  1. A website optimized for search engines
  2. Calls to action
  3. Unique landing pages that capture leads
  4. Well-ranking content that puts you ahead of the competition
  5. A professional presence on social media platforms

All of these are factors that will help boost your modern word of mouth marketing potential, and help your company grow as a whole. 

Digital marketing works best when it is applied in a comprehensive fashion. 

Just one or two strategies aren’t going to help your company grow. 

While word of mouth marketing is important for your B2B company, it’s important to realize that there are so many other strategies out there that could be helping you get more word of mouth leads, and just more leads in general. 

If you’re still not sure what I’m talking about, or if you’re convinced that digital marketing isn’t going to put you that much farther ahead than the referrals you’re already getting, I invite you to check out the case study below. 

In it, we’ve outlined with clarity how a comprehensive digital marketing strategy has put this cleanroom manufacturer ahead of the competition and helped them grow significantly throughout our partnership. 

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And if you’ve got more questions about word of mouth marketing for B2Bs, or if you’re interested to see how a full digital marketing strategy could put you ahead of those manufacturers who still rely solely on word of mouth, please get in touch. We’re here and we’re more than happy to help.

Direct Traffic Vs Organic Traffic: Everything You Need to Know

Direct Traffic Vs Organic Traffic: Everything You Need to Know

Direct Traffic Vs Organic Traffic: Everything You Need to Know

TL;DR Direct Traffic vs Organic Traffic

If you’re just looking for a face value answer to “direct traffic vs organic traffic”, then organic traffic is any traffic that comes from search engines and is earned, not paid. Direct traffic is any traffic that does not come from a referring website.

Most people think of direct traffic as visitors physically typing your URL into their web browser, but there’s a little bit more to it than that. If you want to dig deeper and learn where all of your traffic is really coming from, keep reading.

To really get a handle on the direct traffic vs organic traffic difference, it’s worth it to understand how all of your websites’ traffic sources are classified by analytics tools like HubSpot or Google Analytics.

Types of Traffic Sources

Most website analytic tools will organize your traffic sources into the following categories: 

Direct Traffic — As we mentioned, direct traffic is categorized as traffic that does not come from a referring website. If traffic is coming from an unknown source, it will likely be categorized as direct traffic as well. 

Organic Traffic — Organic traffic is any traffic that comes to your site from a search engine, but that isn’t paid for. Any organic traffic is going to be a result of your inbound marketing and SEO efforts. 

Paid Search Traffic — Paid search traffic is any traffic that comes from a paid search campaign you’ve launched on a search engine like Google or Bing. 

Social Traffic — Any traffic that comes from a social media website, like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

Email Traffic — If you are properly tagging your email campaigns with email parameters, any traffic that arrives to your site from an email will show up as email traffic.

Referral Traffic — Traffic that comes to your website from any other website that is not a social media platform or a search engine. Someone clicking over from a backlink on another blog would be considered referral traffic.

Other — If you have any traffic that doesn’t fit into the above categories, or has been specifically tagged as “other”, it will fall into this traffic category

Now that we have a clear understanding of all of the different types of traffic sources, let’s dive into two of the most important: direct traffic and organic traffic. We’re going to start with direct traffic because honestly, it’s a little complicated.  

Understanding Direct Traffic

Direct traffic is supposed to be any traffic that’s coming directly to your site. That means anyone typing your URL into their web browser or clicking to your site from a bookmarked link. Unfortunately, direct traffic really isn’t as clear cut as that.

This experiment done by SearchEngineLand and Groupon revealed that as much as 60% of traffic considered to be direct traffic is actually organic traffic. 

How does that work?

Well, browsers don’t always report where visitors arrived from when they make it to a website. If your analytics tool can’t figure out where traffic comes from, they just assume it’s direct traffic. Since that visitor doesn’t have a referral, your analytics don’t know where they came from, and they automatically dump them into the direct traffic bucket. 

Why Do I Care If My Direct Traffic Is Miscategorized?

Good question. 

Does it really matter that a bunch of your traffic isn’t being properly categorized? What’s the point of knowing where your traffic is coming from, and doing all that work to minimize false “direct traffic” visitors?

The answer is data. 

Any digital marketer knows that the best way to improve marketing tactics and draw in more qualified leads is to first know where your leads are coming from, and why.

If you can’t figure out where much of your direct traffic is coming from, you’re missing out on a big marketing opportunity. You can’t see what keywords those visitors are clicking over from or what terms they’re searching for.

So where is my direct traffic actually coming from?

If your direct traffic isn’t really direct, then what is it? Well, the internet isn’t perfect. To give your website analytics tool the proper referrals for every site visit, every little aspect of a link has to be in perfect shape, and that just doesn’t always happen. That said, here are a few specific reasons you might be seeing really high direct traffic numbers:

HTTPS→HTTP Referrals

If you haven’t yet secured your site, you have an HTTP site. That means you won’t see tracking on any visitors coming from a secure, HTTPS, site. This is a function of the secure protocol, and it’s actually a fairly easy fix. 

You just need a third-party SSL certificate, and you can update your site to be secure. Then, you’ll see all the referral information you need from visitors coming to your site from other secure websites. 

Bad Redirects & Missing or Broken Tracking Codes

Another big culprit for unnecessary direct traffic is that something’s not working on your end. Maybe you forgot to put in the tracking code on a new landing page. 

Anyone who clicks through from that landing page to another page on your site will appear to Google Analytics as a new user when they hit that second page. To Google, it seems like you’ve self-referred your own visitor. When that happens and your domain has been excluded, Google will automatically dump that visit in the direct traffic bucket. The same thing happens if your tracking codes fail or break. 

Bad redirects can also be to blame, in a similar way. If you’re using anything other than SEO best practices for your redirects, you run the risk of UTM parameters being stripped out. Complex redirect chains can wipe referrer data, contributing to more direct traffic for you.

Traffic from Mobile Apps, Desktop Software, and Some Email Clients

Unfortunately, sometimes there’s just no way to avoid direct traffic that really isn’t direct. Many mobile apps, desktop software programs, and some email clients, like Outlook just don’t pass on referring information. 

You can tell if you’re having an issue with email if you see a spike in direct traffic right after you send out a big email campaign, but it can be difficult to identify traffic coming from mobile apps and desktop software.

Legit Direct Traffic

And sometimes, some of your direct traffic really is direct. Maybe you wrote an awesome blog that people keep bookmarking, or maybe you have a great reputation in your area and people just navigate directly to your site.

If you haven’t blocked your employee’s IP addresses, you could be getting direct traffic in your analytics from them navigating to the website. Direct traffic is an actual traffic source, so it’s important to remember that some of your direct traffic visitors can really be navigating right to you. 

There are a variety of contributors to unnecessary direct traffic. While these are the most common and the easiest to identify, you can still see direct traffic coming from offline sources, people sharing your site through direct messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, and more.  

While you can’t address all of these instances, there are a few you can fix, so that you’re getting the best possible information about your site visitors, what they want, and where they’re coming from. 

How Can I Address Miscategorized Direct Traffic?

Moz has a really great Complete Guide to Direct Traffic in Google Analytics that shows you not only how to figure out where your direct traffic is coming from, but also how to fix it. Head over there for some detailed specific principles to follow to fix any concerns you have with direct traffic. For now, two of the best ways to make sure you’re doing everything you possibly can to manage unnecessary direct traffic are: 

  • Make Sure Your Site is HTTPS. If your site still has an HTTP web address, you’re going to be missing out on referrals that could tell you a lot about your site visitors. Migrating to an HTTPS site will ensure that you can track referral traffic as best possible, and it has the added benefit of helping you keep up with the future of the web. 
  • Master Campaign Tagging. You can only control what you can control when it comes to direct traffic. You can’t control browsers coming from mobile apps or from sites that aren’t HTTPS. You can control your campaign tagging. The better you are at tagging your campaigns, the better analytics you’ll see from those new site visitors. Again, check with Moz for an in-depth how-to here.

Now that we’ve cleared up what direct traffic is and is not, we can get to organic traffic, which in my opinion, is much less complicated. Remember that some of your direct traffic might be organic traffic that just doesn’t have the proper referral information. If you’re still not sure how that works, take a look at this study by SearchEngineLand

Understanding Organic Traffic

As we’ve talked about before, organic traffic is any traffic coming to your site from search engines that has not been influenced by any paid advertising. Not sure what that looks like? Check out our Anatomy of a SERP for a visual guide to where your organic traffic is coming from. 

How do I get organic traffic?

Organic traffic is generated by your ranking on search engine results pages. The higher your website ranks for search terms related to your company, the more organic traffic you’re going to see. Most inbound marketing tactics and strategies are founded on the goal of increasing search engine rankings to drive more organic traffic. 

Organic traffic is also driven by SEO or Search Engine Optimization. The more optimized your site is for search engines, the better it is likely to rank for those search terms your ideal clients are typing into Google. Check out this case study for some info on how SEO can help drive serious organic traffic and qualified leads. 

What’s the Biggest Difference Between Direct and Organic Traffic?

The biggest difference between direct and organic traffic really has to do with user intent. When you have a lot of organic traffic, that means that you’re doing a good job of developing your digital presence to cater to search engines. You’re ranking highly for specific search terms, which is driving more traffic to your website. When you have a lot of direct traffic, you’re either suffering from some of the issues we mentioned above, or you have a ton of brand awareness in your industry. 

For example, let’s say you’re searching for running shoes. If you’re ready to make a decision and are super loyal to Nike shoes, you’re going to type in Nike.com in your web browser and make a purchase. That’s a great example of quality direct traffic. 

If you’re not sure what shoes are right for you — let’s say you’re new to running or aren’t particularly fond of Nike shoes, you’re going to type into a Google search, “best running shoes for beginners.” When you click on one of the top results that isn’t an ad, you are organic traffic for that website.

For any marketer or website owner, it’s important to understand the direct traffic vs organic traffic difference. We hope this blog helped you identify key differences between the two, and gave you a bit of context behind some of the issues with direct traffic. If you have more questions about analyzing your website’s traffic sources, be sure to get in touch with the team at Evenbound. Our SEO experts are happy to answer any questions you might have.

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