What is a Growth Agency? And How to Choose the Right One

What is a Growth Agency? And How to Choose the Right One

Growth agency is a new term you might be hearing a lot lately. It’s going to become more popular here in 2019, so if you’re not quite sure what a growth agency is or does, you’re in luck! We’re about to break it all down for you.

What is a Growth Agency?

A growth agency is a partner whose primary goal is to help your company grow. Click To TweetLike everything in 2019, most growth agencies are going to be digitally focused. Unlike digital marketing agencies of the past that would specialize in one aspect of digital marketing — anything from paid and social advertising to content marketing — growth agencies are beginning to emerge as jacks-of-all-trades that function on a higher, more holistic level.

A growth agency will look at and improve all aspects of your digital and traditional marketing methods, but through the lens of overall growth. They’ll make every strategic marketing and sales move with the intent to grow each aspect of your company from the ground up.

Because a growth agency has such a big investment in their clients, the best ones tend to specialize in one or two industries that they know well, and have history delivering results for.

For us, that’s industrial manufacturing and construction.

What Does a Growth Agency Do?

A modern growth agency will help you grow your business in every possible way. This includes — but is not limited to — support in the following areas:

In a nutshell, it’s a growth agency’s job to partner with your sales and marketing teams to generate more qualified leads, nurture those leads effectively, and help you close on the leads you want for strategic, targeted, holistic company growth.

How Do I Choose the Right Growth Agency?

An agency that’s totally dedicated to your growth and success sounds pretty great. If you’re considering hiring a growth agency to help you boost your marketing and sales efforts, and grow your company overall, here are a few things to keep in mind while you search:

Look For a Team That Specializes in Your Industry

Like we mentioned before, a growth agency’s job is pretty big. They’re focused on growing an entire company that’s not even their own. There’s a lot to keep track of and a lot to remember. You need someone who understands your industry, your target buyers, and the ins-and-outs of your processes.

Most quality growth agencies focus on just two or three industries, so they can offer the absolute best service possible. Look for a growth agency who has worked with companies like yours before, or at least in your industry before. This will give you a leg up as you start to work together and expand.

Look for Numbers and Metrics

Growth agencies should function primarily on numbers. Once they know where your company is at, they should be able to offer up real, specific goals for your future together. They should set goals like:

  • How how many leads they’ll work to get, in a specific time period, like the next six months or year.
  • How many of those leads will convert to sales possibilities.
  • And how many of those sales potentials will close as customers.

Many inbound and growth agencies refer to these goals as SMART goals. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.

For example, a goal to “grow your business” is not a SMART goal.

A SMART goal might sound something like: Generate 30 new qualified leads in the next two months.

This goal is specific: it identifies one specific metric, new leads.

It is measurable: the goal is to generate 30 new leads.

Attainable is a difficult one to explain generally, but let’s say you had 15 leads in the last two months, but are now implementing calls-to-action and landing pages. 30 new leads would be an attainable goal based on your previous metrics, and the new actions you’ve implemented to boost that number.

This goal is relevant to your company growth, because more new, qualified leads means a greater number of potential deals closed.

Finally, this is a timely goal because it’s been given a specific timeline of two months. Without a deadline, it’s hard to say if you’re improving or not.

If you’re getting general goals that sound like, “Oh, we’ll help you grow your company this year” you might want to keep on looking. A great growth agency will offer SMART goals that provide tangible, measurable results.

Look For A Growth Agency With A Proven Strategy

Every growth agency will say their strategy is the best — it just comes with the territory. You have to do the work of making sure their claims are true. First, you need to make sure the agencies you’re looking at have actual, specific strategies that drive growth. Second, you need to make sure they work. Look for a growth agency with case studies, testimonials, or references from previous clients in your industry. Click To TweetThere should be some proof that they actually walk the walk.

One great way to know in an instant if the agency you’re looking at is legit? Their own business strategies. If they’re not implementing all of the strategies they say they’re experts in (website design, content marketing, pay-per-click advertising, case studies, etc.) you might want to keep looking.

Set Up a Meeting

Do your teams jive?

A growth agency is more a partner than a contractor. You’ll be working closely with them to develop content and strategize ad campaigns that align with your message and boost your lead gen potential. You have to like them, or at least feel like you can work with them on a regular basis.

It’s not uncommon for companies to talk to two or three growth agencies before settling on the best fit. If you’re having trouble choosing between agencies, an initial meeting with each team might help you make the decision.

If you’ve been considering hiring a digital marketing, inbound marketing, or growth agency, let’s talk. We deliver specific, measurable growth to clients in the industrial manufacturing and construction industries, and would love to chat about how we can help your company grow in 2019.

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Not sure if a growth agency is right for you yet? Not a problem. Take a look at some of our case studies and previous work for a few examples of the HA Digital Marketing strategy in action.

7 Ways to Apply Inbound Marketing Tactics to Your Facebook Ad Strategy

7 Ways to Apply Inbound Marketing Tactics to Your Facebook Ad Strategy

Optimizing Your Facebook Ad Spend With Inbound Marketing

In recent years, a solid social media ad campaign has become just as important as a PPC ad campaign for many industries. The fact is, most people spend a great deal of time on social media sites, and because of the exceptional targeting power of social media giants like Facebook, the platforms offer the segmentation data and the exposure many inbound marketers are looking for.

If your company is thinking of starting a Facebook ad campaign, or already has a Facebook ad strategy in place, applying a few inbound marketing tactics can help optimize your Facebook ads for ultimate results. Here are 7 inbound marketing tactics you can use to boost the effectiveness of your Facebook ad strategy:

#1 Target Facebook Ads To Your Buyer Personas

Remember those buyer personas you spent so long drafting and editing? Well, they’re good for a lot more than just your website content. Use your buyer personas to determine your Facebook ad targeting settings. You can’t make content (or ads) perfectly suited for everyone — so don’t try.

Instead, segment your ads based on buyer persona, and build different Facebook ad sets to target different personas with different interests. Facebook offers a vast suite of targeting tools, so you can set ads to go out to people with specific likes, dislikes, hobbies, job titles, and more — all things you probably already have outlined in your buyer personas. Use those buyer personas to develop Facebook ad campaigns that go out to consumers you already know have an interest in the products or services you offer.

#2 Set Clear, SMART Goals

Inbound Methodology tells us that we should always set SMART Goals. That is, goals that are Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.

This principle is directly applicable to your Facebook ad strategy as well. Whether you’re looking to boost engagement, or drive traffic to your website, it’s important to define a goal for each Facebook ad you create, so you understand immediately when your ad is successful, and when it’s not. Here’s how you can apply SMART goal setting to your Facebook ads:

  • Specific: 500 likes, or 100 new followers. A specific, ultimate goal for your campaign to work towards.
  • Measurable: If your goal is to drive traffic to your site, is there a certain percentage of traffic you’re looking for? Do you want a certain number of new contacts? How will you measure the success of your Facebook ad?
  • Attainable: If your last campaign resulted in 15 new followers, you shouldn’t set a new campaign goal of 100 followers. That’s just unrealistic. While it would be amazing if you reached 100 new followers, you need to make sure your goals are set based on real, hard data, and are possible to reach. Otherwise, your results will always be discouraging, and you may not be able to see the benefits that your ads are creating.
  • Relevant: Your goal should be relevant to the campaign you’re putting out. If your ad talks about the story behind your company, your goal might be engagement focused. If you’re advertising a free ebook or webinar, your goal might be more conversion-based.
  • Timely: Don’t let your Facebook ad run in perpetuity, but don’t set it to run for just a few hours either. Plan for your campaign to run for a specific amount of time that will help your company work to its goal, and that will produce enough data for you to learn from and implement on your next ad campaign.

#3 Tell, Don’t Sell

When it comes to creating ads for social media, especially for Facebook, it’s key to keep inbound marketing best practices in mind. That means forget about the hard sell. Especially if you’re a B2B company, a “Buy Now” ad isn’t likely to convert the way you want.

The best way to get today's consumer to interact with your brand is to offer something that's actually attractive to them. Instead of running an ad with your company logo and description, offer a free ebook or whitepaper. Click To Tweet Write a bit of compelling content that tells a story, rather than tries to “sell” your company or your product.

Consumers run from the hard sale like the plague, so put effort into drafting a narrative, and offering up something unique and worthwhile. The more interesting and compelling your offer, the more effective your campaign will be.

#4 Test, Smartly

Always test for your goals by sending out more than one version of your ad. You never know what photo, what content, or even what call-to-action button consumers will respond best to, so it’s always good to test your ads.

How to test multiple Facebook ads:

Let’s say you have two different graphics for the same ad. Create one ad set, targeted to your specific buyer persona, and upload the first image to that set. Launch the first set, and then go back into your Facebook ad manager. You can now duplicate that set — so the ad with the other graphic goes out to the exact same consumers — and simply change the image. Set both ads to deploy simultaneously, and you’ll be able to watch the ads progress, and see which graphic performs best in your targeted audience.

When you’re testing your ads, it’s important to only change one aspect at a time, so you know exactly what is driving more or less engagement, and so you can accurately apply those results to future ad campaigns.

#5 Adjust in Real Time

The digital world is fast-moving. Don't wait for your ads to end to determine their success. Click To Tweet

Facebook allows you to adjust and tweak ads at any point in your campaign, and you should take advantage of that. If you’re a few days into an ad that’s just not performing, you can pause it or adjust your settings for better performance. On the other hand, if you have an ad that’s facilitating a ton of conversions and boosted engagement, you can extend it or bump up the budget slightly. Making adjustments in real-time allows you to maximize your budget on the spot. This way, you’re not wasting money on an underperforming ad.

#6 Focus on Long Term Value

While your immediate budget and spending goals are important, it’s equally important to keep an eye on how much you’re spending relevant to your Customer Lifetime Value (CLV). When you’re just starting your Facebook Ad campaign, it’s easy to worry that the money you’re spending isn’t worth the leads you’re getting. A surefire way to figure out if that’s true is to consider your customer lifetime value.

For example, let’s say it costs you $80 to acquire a customer. Let’s also say that your average loyal customer spends about $800 over their lifetime as your customer. Even if you don’t make $800 immediately from each customer, you know that over their lifetime as your client, you have essentially spent $80 to earn $800. That’s a pretty attractive ROI, if you ask us.

Bottom line — Don’t get caught up in the immediate shock of spending, unless you’re shelling out a lot on ads that aren’t producing new business. Your goal should always be long-term success, and to accurately measure that, you need to look at the ratio of what you’re spending compared to what you’ll make in the long run from each of those new customers you’ve acquired.

#7 Inbound-ify Your Facebook Ads — Turn Them Into Funnels

Finally, if you want to apply really successful inbound marketing tactics to your Facebook ad strategy — embrace the funnel.

If you’re familiar with inbound marketing, you’ll know that it’s best practice to create content for consumers in every stage of the inbound marketing funnel. From a stranger to your brand to an interested lead, each consumer at each level of the funnel will be seeking different information. Traditional inbound marketing targets leads moving through the funnel with email workflows that provide the right content, at just the right time. You can apply this idea of nurturing leads through the funnel to your Facebook ad strategy too!

Facebook Ad Funnel Basics

Facebook allows you to create ad funnels, which work much the same as an email workflow.  You start with a top-level ad that tells consumers a little bit about your company. Let that ad run for a few days.

Then, send out a second ad to the consumers who interacted with the first ad. If your first ad was a video, then you can send your second ad to just the people who watched say, 20 percent of your video. If your first ad was a static image, you can send the second one to just those consumers who clicked on or in some way interacted with the first.

From there, you can keep your ad funnel going about as far as you want, until you’re targeting only the most interested, engaged consumers for that particular ad set. This is a great way to optimize your spending, and it also helps to pull people through the inbound marketing funnel, ensuring they’re even more qualified for your products and services by the time they make it to your website.

Though it’ll take a bit more work to set up a Facebook ad funnel, it’s a useful tool that will give you increased insight into how your ideal customers and target buyers react to your social media advertising strategy.

Why Inbound Marketing Tactics Work for Facebook Ads

Inbound marketing tactics are so effective for Facebook advertising campaigns because they are already designed specifically for today’s consumer. The average consumer (who just so happens to be the exact same person you’re targeting on Facebook) prefers a warmer sales experience than the traditional hard-sell. Since inbound marketing is already geared to those consumers, it’s easily applied to a Facebook ad campaign to boost your results and maximize your spend. Learn more about using outbound marketing to attract, engage, and close qualified leads here. 

The foundation of inbound marketing is getting to know, on a personal level, your ideal consumer. If you’d like to know a little bit more about how you can use inbound marketing to grow your company in 2019, let’s chat. We’re a HubSpot Gold Certified Agency Partner, and we’ve been doing inbound marketing for about as long as it’s been around. We’d love to help you grow, so schedule time with our president, John Heritage to see what Evenbound is all about.

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Customer Loyalty = Quality Local Search Results

Customer Loyalty = Quality Local Search Results

The inbound marketing funnel is a great tool that helps us marketers define where each lead is in the decision making process, and treat them accordingly. Are they ready to buy, are they still not sure what you do, or are they total strangers? Most of these stages get a lot of attention with content offers and resources that help them decide what to purchase, and when. You are hoping to acquire new business, after all, so it makes sense to put a lot of emphasis on these pre-purchase stages of the inbound marketing funnel.

One stage of the inbound marketing funnel we’ve noticed is often neglected, though, is the “Promoter” stage.

This is the stage after a lead becomes a client. They’ve purchased your product, they’re satisfied with your service, so now you’re done with them, right?

Wrong.

It’s actually very important to any inbound marketing strategy that you continue to nurture those customers long after you’ve made a sale. Loyal customers are more willing to purchase from you again, they’re 5 times less expensive to keep around, and most important to this particular blog, they can help boost your local search results ranking.

Loyal customers are important to any business because they help boost local search results, and can influence new potential clients to convert.

Before we get into the “how,” let’s refresh on why we care so much about local search:

Why is Local Search Important?

If your business relies, in any way, on customers you meet face-to-face, then local search is important to you. Think about the last time you looked for a donut shop, a mechanic, or anything else you wanted, like, right now.

Did you search, “delicious donuts near me” or “quality mechanic in my area”? Chances are you did. And the shops and garages that Google gave you as top results were probably the first you looked at.

Local search results are important if you’re looking to drive people in your area to your business.

The higher your local search ranking, the more people in your area will be exposed to you. It doesn’t matter what you do — whether you’re a manufacturer, a home developer, or a commercial construction company — if you do projects in specific locations, then local search results are important to your business.

Now, this isn’t the first time we’ve talked about local search results. There are a lot of factors that affect your local search ranking, and we’ve discussed most of them in previous blogs. What we haven’t discussed is how customer loyalty can boost your local search results.

Customer Loyalty = Quality Local Search Results

Loyal customers are the bread and butter of most companies. Even if you’re in an industry like housing development, where people rarely purchase multiple homes, your loyal customers are the ones who can spread the word about what great work you do. There’s a reason HubSpot’s inbound marketing funnel calls them “Promoters.”

Here are just a few ways loyal customers can seriously boost your local search result ranking:

Social Media Boosts

As people expand the way they’re using social media, there are more and more opportunities for local brands to boost local visibility. If you’re on Facebook at all, you’ve probably seen people asking for recommendations for photographers, wedding venues, restaurants, etc. in their area. If you have local customers who were really impressed with the work you did, you might just make it on one of those “recommended for your area” lists.

And can we just say that those recommended lists will seriously boost your visibility?

People are more likely to trust recommendations from people they know — it’s essentially a virtual version of word-of-mouth. Combine that with the fact that most of those recommendations see massive engagement from Facebook’s interconnected network of friends and groups, and your customers who use Facebook can do you a lot of good in the local search result department.

The Google 3-Pack

Recently, Google cut their local search results display down from 7 top results to just 3. While that caused quite the hubbub, the ultimate goal for most companies with a local presence is the same — to make it into the 3-Pack.

Let’s go back to our donuts example. Say you’re looking for donuts in Grand Haven. Type that into the Google search bar, and this is what you get:

local-search-donuts-in-grand-haven

You’ll notice that the top three results have an overwhelming number of reviews. While just 31 for one, there are 245 and 446 for the other two. Considering that donuts aren’t all that hard to find in West Michigan, these companies can certainly attribute their placement in the Google 3-Pack, at least in part, to their loyal customers who’ve taken the time to write a really kind review and post it to Google.

The Moral of the Story?

It’s increasingly more important for companies in every industry to follow the inbound marketing cycle through all the way to the end. While it’s great to put out wonderful content for new visitors to your site, and encourage potential leads to convert, you also need to focus adequate attention on your existing customers, because they are one of your greatest assets, and an integral part of your company’s local search performance.

It’s also good to remember that today’s consumers look beyond just Google for local recommendations. If you have loyal customers you know are impressed with your work, remind them that a little shoutout on social media can go a long way.

Finally, don’t forget about those loyal customers. There’s a reason so many successful companies have a newsletter, offer special discounts, and send out promotions to clients who have been loyal — it’s a great way to show your appreciation, and keep those loyal customers around.

In the end, inbound marketing is all about being helpful to anyone who interacts with your company, and always leaving a good impression. If you’re interested in learning more about inbound marketing, and how it can grow your business in 2019, let’s chat!

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Why Lead Response Time is a Critical Factor in Converting B2B Leads

Why Lead Response Time is a Critical Factor in Converting B2B Leads

The B2B world can be incredibly competitive, especially when traditional advertising methods used in the B2C world aren’t effective. But one thing you can do to get a leg up on your competition is to improve your lead response time. Here’s why lead response time is a critical factor in the realm of B2B lead conversion.

What is lead response time?

Lead response time is the amount it takes to respond to a lead after they reach out to your company. In the context of digital marketing, this refers to the time it takes to respond to a lead after they complete an online form. The average lead response time for B2B companies, per Hubspot, was 42 hours, and many companies never responded at all.

Why does lead response time matter?

Lead quality degrades over time. If you don’t respond to your leads, they grow cold and lose interest, either because they’ve moved on to other companies, or they simply move on to their other responsibilities. In fact, the sooner you can respond to your leads, the better.

Why is this? Well, the internet has changed buyer behavior. Customers are doing significant online research about the products and services they’re interested in, all without ever talking to another person. So when potential buyers do reach out, it’s usually when they’re very close to the purchase stage of their buyer’s journey. And that’s the best time to reach them—when they’re interested in and ready to talk to a salesperson.

In addition to when you respond to your leads, how matters too, and how often. Are your reaching out via email or phone? You should probably be doing both. And you shouldn’t give up after one attempt. Doing this helps you to establish a relationship with your lead, nurturing them into a prospect and then a customer.

How do you improve your company’s lead response time?

The first thing you should do is test that response time, and determine how far away your company is from a quick response. Once you’ve done that, you can set in place email automation to send email to leads immediately after they convert by completing a form on your website or landing page. Email automation can also help you follow up with leads at regular intervals to keep your company top of mind.

If you’re ready to improve your lead response time and convert more leads, it’s time to get in touch with Evenbound. We have expertise on the content strategies that will increase visitors, conversions, and leads from your digital content, as well as email marketing and lead segmentation strategies to reduce lead response time and give you the greatest ROI for your digital marketing efforts.

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5 Mistakes You’re Making with Your B2B Blog Content

5 Mistakes You’re Making with Your B2B Blog Content

Digital content writing can be tough. Not only do you have to write well and be engaging and compelling, you have to know what your intended audience (a.k.a. potential customers and leads) is searching for, what they want to know, and how to get them motivated to act on what they’ve learned and get in touch with your people. We see B2Bs missing the mark with their content all the time. Here are the five mistakes you’re probably making with your B2B blog content right now:

1. Too much jargon

You are probably an expert on the products or services that your company provides; you probably know all the industry terminology and abbreviations, too, and use them in your daily conversation. But your customers, especially the kind you’re trying to reach—new customers—probably don’t know the industry jargon. Using too much jargon without properly defining it will confuse your readers and potentially cause them to navigate away from your blog to more understandable and accessible content available elsewhere.

2. Missing content for stages of the buyer’s journey

Customers go through a buyer’s journey when making purchase decisions: the awareness stage, where they become aware of their need for a product or service; the consideration stage, where they consider various suppliers/service providers, price points, product/service offerings, etc.; and the decision stage, where they make a purchase. If you don’t have content geared toward leads in each stage of the buyer’s journey, you’ll miss opportunities to reach leads in certain stages, resulting in lost customers.

3. Missing content for some buyer personas

You might have content that is geared toward buyers of your product, but do you have content geared toward all the potential leads who may have interest in your product? Even if the majority of your business comes from one specific market segment, chances are that you have secondary and tertiary audiences for whom your product or service has value as well. If you’re not reaching out to those audiences as well, you’re missing out on conversion opportunities, as well as the opportunity to diversify your customer base to mitigate dependence on volatile industries.

4. No calls to action

You’re writing blog content because you want your reader to do something. In general, that something is to purchase from your company, but each blog post has its own specific and content-related goal. If you have a blog post on “How to find the right supplier of X component,” it should at some point direct readers to learn more about how your company is the right supplier of that component. For content geared toward prospects in the decision stage of the buyer’s journey, calls to action should direct them to request a quote or to set up an appointment with a sales contact. This is how you turn your blog readers into actual paying customers.

5. Not making content locally-relevant

For a lot of businesses, even B2Bs, location matters. If your operations are housed in a certain location, and that location is beneficial to your customer base or desired customer base, you should incorporate that into your content. For example, if you’re a Tier I or Tier II automotive supplier and you’re located in Michigan, that’s something you should absolutely be using to your advantage, as the Big Three are headquartered in Michigan and many of their warehousing and manufacturing facilities are in Michigan and surrounding Midwestern, Rust Belt states.

If you’re ready to enhance your digital presence and step up your contact game, it’s time to get in touch. Evenbound has expertise on the content strategies that will increase visitors, conversions, and leads from your digital content and boost your digital marketing ROI. Don’t believe us? Check out the case study below:

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