Should You Cut Your Digital Marketing Budget in a Recession?

Should You Cut Your Digital Marketing Budget in a Recession?

Should You Cut Your Digital Marketing Budget in a Recession?

As digital marketers, this is a question we’re getting a lot right now. And it’s a big one.

Many companies, our clients included, are struggling with the decision to spend more on digital marketing, even if they’re unsure of future revenue, or pause their inbound marketing strategy to save where they can. 

It feels like a Catch-22. If you’re marketing, you’re pulling in leads, but you’re not sure what to do with them right now, or even if you can convert them at this point. 

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If you’re not marketing, you’re saving money, but you’re not filling up your pipeline or maintaining your market position — which for many industries is a hard thing to get in the first place. 

So, what’s a business to do? 

Our president, John Heritage just posted a blog on his LinkedIn about exactly this. He’s been engaging actively with our clients through all of this, and the conversations he’s had have put a spotlight on what really happens when you cut your digital marketing budget or pause your marketing agency in a time of recession or crisis.

A Case Study:

The Real Effect of Cutting Your Digital Marketing Budget Amid a Global Crisis

I’ll leave it to you to read John’s full post — it’s a good one, with plenty of data to back it up — but I’ll also give you a quick synopsis here, too. 

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John’s article takes a look at two very similar clients, with opposite reactions to the COVID-19 crisis. Both clients function in technical B2B industries. Both clients use Evenbound to manage their entire marketing program. 

The Clients

Client #1 asked to pause their marketing program until they know that the industry is going to move past this crisis. They’re concerned their revenue will drop, and they don’t want to spend money if they don’t have any coming in. 

Client #2 chose to lean into their marketing program. They felt they’d recently made big gains positioning themselves in a competitive market, and don’t want to lose that market advantage They felt it would be better to fill up the sales pipeline now, so their sales team could hit the ground running when the economy gets back to work. 

John mentions in his post that both decisions are valid. They’re both based on sound logic, and each client is just working to do what’s best for their company. 

That said, the data that’s starting to emerge now (we’re about 6-7 weeks into Michigan’s Stay Home, Stay Safe Order) is telling. Take a look at the high-level KPIs for each of these clients.

The Results

Client #1 (Paused Marketing Efforts)

Client #2 (Continued Marketing Efforts)

Again, John’s article will help make more sense of the data as a whole, but the big picture here is that client #2, who chose to keep investing in digital marketing, has made significant gains in all major KPIs — traffic, leads, and sales.

Their sales conversion rate isn’t perfect, but we knew going into this that it probably wouldn’t be. People aren’t buying right now, but they are planning for a future where they will buy. Client #2 is perfectly positioned for this, with a significant number of leads in their pipeline, ready to convert when the sales team can really get back to full steam. 

Though Client #1 will probably be fine, they haven’t gained any market share, aren’t adding leads to their sales pipeline, and have opened the door for competitors to beat them out online. 

Considering Cutting Your Digital Marketing Budget in a Recession?

That’s not a decision we can make for you. It’s up to you.

But know that by cutting your digital marketing budget, you’re probably going to make your climb back to breaking even more difficult. Like client #1, you’re going to have to work a little harder to fill up your pipeline when we all go back to work. 

Companies that keep marketing, even a little, during this time, are helping to maintain their market position, and fill their sales pipeline with qualified leads, just as client #2 did. 

Even if you’re not making conversions now, you’re setting your sales team up for success when they’re able to get back to work, and when buyers are ready to make purchasing decisions again. 

I think John summed it up pretty well: 

And I get that, “Just keep marketing” isn’t a compelling reason to do it, especially when it’s coming from a digital marketing agency. So, here are 5 key reasons to keep marketing, based on the actual data we’ve been seeing over the past few months:

5 Reasons To Keep Digital Marketing in a Recession

So we’ve shown you data from our clients, and we’ve told you, as experts, why we think it’s a good idea to keep marketing. But, you’re a savvy businessperson, and you know better than to take the word of a marketer at face value. Good critical thinking on your part. 

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Here are 5 reasons, based in fact, and on tangible data, that it’s a good idea to keep digital marketing, even in a recession. 

01. Search Traffic is Up

Internet use is up 70%. As more people are in lockdown, more people are turning to the internet for work, for entertainment, and more. 

If you’ve got great digital content, you’re going to see a spike in organic traffic. If you don’t have great digital content, now is a good time to start creating it. 

Now, we know that conversions are down. Neil Patel said it himself.

That doesn’t mean that educational content isn’t useful right now. 

Just because people aren’t buying, doesn’t mean their eyes and lead conversions on your site aren’t useful to you. 

The more quality content you create now — that’s targeted to keywords and phrases that are relevant to you and to your ideal buyer — the more leads you’re pulling into your pipeline.  

And the more leads you have in your pipeline, who are ready to make a purchase as soon as accounting says, “go ahead, we’re getting back to business”, the more sales you stand to make, and quickly when we’re all back to work. 

That really sets your sales team up for success.

Take this time to create great content. Content that answers your ideal buyer’s top questions, solves their pain points, and helps them make the decisions that are best for them and their companies. Those buyers are searching for those answers, and they’re searching now.

When you’re at the top of the list (and search engine results pages) with quality content that answers questions, informs, and solves problems, you’re also going to be at the top of the list when those people are ready to buy.

02. PPC Advertising Costs Are Down

A global crisis means that many companies have paused their marketing and advertising efforts. Social media advertising rates and PPC costs are down.

And it stands to reason — if there’s less competition, and fewer companies bidding on search terms, that bid cost will go down. 

For you, this means there’s some opportunity to reconfigure your paid digital advertising campaigns for keywords that are relevant to your business. 

Since conversions are still down a bit (though not as much as you’d expect), it’s important to be smart here, but if you’re doing paid advertising right, you can see some serious results. Neil Patel has shown that his paid ads have increased in ROI from 31% to 53%.

That’s a significant increase in ROI, showing that he’s paying a whole lot less, to get a whole lot more. 

We’d suggest you take a look at your paid ad strategy and focus on two main areas of user intent — awareness, and decision making. Awareness ads, especially on social media platforms, will work to keep your name out there, solidifying you as an authority in the industry. 

Their cost is significantly lower right now, which means that when people do convert, you’re getting a whole lot more bang for your buck.  

03. Digital Marketing is Both Flexible and Scaleable

Their cost is significantly lower right now, which means that when people do convert, you’re getting a whole lot more bang for your buck.  

A huge advantage of digital marketing is that it’s not static.

You’re not putting down a huge chunk of money to wait and see what it returns. 

Digital marketing is comprised of a multitude of tactics — blogging, social media engagement, paid search advertising, social media advertising, email marketing, conversational marketing, the list goes on. 

Some of those tactics are easier and less expensive than others, and some might cost you something, but only what you are willing to spend. 

The beauty of digital marketing is that you get to decide what works for your business, and optimize those efforts based on the results you’re seeing.

If something’s not working, making a change is easy. If your budget is light one month, you can scale back paid ads to just the campaigns that are producing results. Or you can shift your efforts to nurturing the leads you have with content and email marketing. 

Digital marketing is one of the few marketing and advertising opportunities that can produce significant results while being flexible according to your capacity, and scaleable to your available budget. It makes sense to lean in now, with whatever you’ve got. 

04. You Have the Time to Make Necessary Improvements

It’s never a good thing to have your sales team stuck at home. It’s not ideal, and we’re not getting around that. But, this is an opportunity to make improvements. 

In normal times, your sales team, your marketing team, and everyone else is typically functioning at full capacity. 

They’re on the road, handling client meetings, drawing up quotes, and more. There isn’t much space to optimize or improve your process when everyone is so busy. 

Right now, you have the opportunity to take a close look at how your marketing and sales processes are working, and make the necessary improvements. 

We’ve had clients who have decided to use this time to improve a long-outdated website.

They’ll move out of this crisis with a fresh, new digital face for their company that’s also working to draw in leads. 

We’ve had clients who decided to use this time to improve their sales process.

Setting up a solid sales pipeline with deal stages, and clear visibility on what deals are in the pipeline, and where, can do a ton to streamline sales, improving your reps ability to focus on closing hot and warm leads when the time comes. 

Finally, sales and marketing alignment is another great place to spend a bit of extra time right now. Get your sales and marketing teams together on a zoom call, and work on some alignment strategies. 

While this isn’t an ideal situation for anyone, we can’t control what has already happened. 

You can control how you use this time to move your business forward. 

05. You Have the Space to Gain Market Position

Finally, maintaining a digital marketing strategy allows you to gain a better position in your market. For many industries, your company’s reputation is everything. If people know your name, you’ll get the business.

But, you have to build up a lot of awareness, and a lot of trust to gain that reputation, and that’s where digital marketing comes in now. 

At this point, you have the time, and you have the space, to work to better position yourself as a leader and an authority in your industry. 

Many companies have halted all marketing and advertising efforts. That means there’s room for you to grow and move up. The greater your authority online, the better positioned you are on search engines, which in turn boosts your competitive position in the market. 

Take this time to do some research and identify where those opportunities exist. 

Write educational content that helps people. Update your website to show new visitors what you are capable of, and what sets you apart in the industry. Then take all of that work, and promote it. 

Together, these efforts work to position you higher, and more strategically in your industry. With a bit less competition online right now, and a bit more effort on your part, you’ll start to see your position rise, just like it did for client #1 in the case study mentioned earlier. 

That helps you draw in more site visitors, who become leads, who eventually — when the economy reopens — turn into sales.

What Can You Do Today, To Ensure Growth Tomorrow?

Choosing to extend or pause your digital marketing budget at this time really comes down to this question: what can you do today, to ensure growth tomorrow?

For any business, the answer to that question might look a little different. And it’s true that not every business will have the budget to market as they were before this crisis happened. But, if you have the ability, any level of digital marketing is absolutely an opportunity for growth at this time.

If you’re new to digital marketing or aren’t sure where to start optimizing or reconfiguring your existing strategy, you might just need a fresh pair of eyes to help you out. The Evenbound team is here to help. We’re happy to answer any questions you might have. 

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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 your small or midsized business 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. 

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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. 

Slack-home-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. 

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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.

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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. 

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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.  

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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?

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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.