I write blogs for businesses every day. It’s like, my job, man.
But I can’t even begin to count the number of times people have asked me what the purpose of business blogging is.
Inbound marketing has been around for years now, but it’s still a question for many people: why do we do it? What is the purpose of business blogging?
Someone asked me about it the other day, and I thought, “Oh sure, let me just point them to the NUMBER of blogs I’ve written about business blogging.”
Only to find that well, I haven’t written any blogs about this. I’ve talked about blogging in the context of lead generation, website design, inbound marketing, lead nurturing, and so much more. But I’ve never actually written about why business blogging is so important in its own right, and why it’s a service we provide to nearly every single one of our clients.
My bad, guys. Big hole in the content there. But I’m here to make it right.
Let’s talk about what business blogging is, why we do it, and why for heaven’s sake I just need you to believe me when I say it’s worth it.
What is Business Blogging?
Business blogging is the process of blogging for your business. It’s an inbound marketing tactic that works to get your website more visibility. Just like social media, email marketing, and even digital ads, business blogging is another tactic used to get your company in front of the eyes of qualified leads.
What is the Purpose of Business Blogging?
The purpose of business blogging is to get you and your company in front of the right leads. In the words of our fearless leader here at Evenbound:
“Content publishing is the lifeblood of SEO. Regular content updates (written around your target keywords) build topical relevance and authority. If you’re not writing blogs and your competition is, you’re gonna get smoked in SERPs.”
John Heritage — President, Evenbound
So you want to get found on the internet?
You want to show up first when someone googles something you do or a product you provide?
Okay, so business blogging helps you get in front of the competition. But how?
Don’t worry, I wasn’t just going to tell you something and not back it up.
Like I said earlier, business blogging is a key marketing tactic. It does more than just help you rank well. When you do business blogging right, it can help you convert more leads through every stage of the buyer’s journey.
If you’re familiar with the inbound marketing flywheel, business blogging is one of those tactics you can use to optimize every point on that flywheel, helping you draw in more traffic, nurture those new leads, close on new prospects, and continue to delight your promoters and existing customers.
Here’s a look at three of the key benefits of business blogging.
Drives Qualified Organic Traffic
First and foremost, business blogging helps you get eyeballs on your website. How else are people going to find you? Let’s think here:
No one is going to type in your website URL and go directly to your site. It doesn’t happen. When have you actually typed in “www.evenbound.com/blog” to see what’s new on our blog? Imma say never. I don’t even do that, and I live on our blog.
Paid ads are expensive. Sure, you can get in front of the right people using paid advertising. We encourage it. But, it shouldn’t be your only tactic to drive traffic. Mostly because it’s expensive. You should be using marketing strategies tactically. That means only spend where you’re going to see big returns. For everything else, business blogging is your golden ticket to more, better traffic.
Buying email lists is illegal. Just don’t do it. Aside from being illegal, cold-emailing random people doesn’t return great results. Again, we’re talking about tactical solutions. You can spend a whole lot on an email list that might return a few leads.
Essentially, it should be your goal to write blogs that:
Are relevant to your business
Solve a common problem or pain point your target buyer faces
Are centered around a keyword or phrase with high search volume and low competition
That’s the sweet spot for a blog that will rank well, and that will pull in the leads you actually want. Once you do your keyword research, the real challenge is putting out quality content that’s in-depth, and that answers those questions your target buyers are asking.
But, if you can do all of this, and regularly, you’ll start drawing in serious qualified traffic. The more you blog, and the more consistently, the better results you’ll see.
That said, I know how hard it is to stick to a regular schedule. If you can work to put out a quality blog even once every two weeks, you should start to see your organic traffic start to rise.
Business Blogging Builds Authority and Topical Relevance
Okay, stick with me. Authority and topical relevance are both big industry terms, and if your eyes are starting to glaze over, I get it.
One of the key ways Google ranks websites is according to their authority.
Content publishing, aka business blogging, is the other key factor that search engines use to determine your authority. And the more authority you have on a given topic, the higher you’re likely to rank.
Let’s think of it this way:
You’re cooking a steak, and you want tips on the best way to do it. Which YouTube video do you choose?
Google will always rank the website with the most topical relevance highest on its results pages. That’s why business blogging is so important.
Though you can’t build authority or topical relevance overnight, steady, consistent posting of strategic content centered around one topic is one of the best ways to get there.
When you have more authority and topical relevance than your competition, you’re going to be the one clients look to first for answers to their questions.
And that spells serious business growth for you.
Your Business Blog is a Lead Generation Machine That’s Always On
Okay. So far we’ve learned that business blogging can help you pull in qualified traffic and beat your competition in rankings (drawing in even more traffic). Business blogging still has one exceptional benefit left.
If you develop it right and optimize it with lead capturing tools like calls-to-action and content offers, your business blog can capture leads every single day of the week, at any hour.
Once you publish a blog, it goes out into the world. You might (read: absolutely definitely should) promote that blog on your social media and through your email marketing campaigns. But after the newness wears off, that blog is still working for you (given that you’ve written a quality blog).
The key to this benefit is making sure that you have content on your blog that addresses every stage of the buyer’s journey.
When someone starts their journey, and queries your topic on Google, they’re met with your blog. They come on over for answers to whatever question they typed into Google. But, if you’ve got content for every stage of the buyer’s journey, and you make it easy for that new visitor to find, you’re not just generating leads, you’re also nurturing them.
You’ve not only built authority on search engines, but you’ve built trust with the leads who read your business blog. By delivering them quality content that answers their questions, consistently, you’ve earned their trust and now you’re their first point of contact when they get ready to make a decision.
And I think the best part of all of this is that you didn’t have to lift a finger.
Since you’ve developed a solid business blog where all of this content already exists, your blog is the one doing the work 24/7, anytime a day.
Business Blogging Gets You the Online Visibility You Need
If I had to sum up the purpose of business blogging in one sentence, I’d say it gets you the online visibility you need.
Let’s be real. If you’re not on the internet these days, it’s going to be tough to get any kind of lead that’s not a referral. And even the ones that are referrals. If you’re not on the internet, you don’t exist.
Blogging is one of those tactics that’s easier said than done. Trust me, I get it. If you’re having trouble coming up with topics, sticking to a consistent schedule, or converting leads from your blog, the Evenbound team is here to help. We’d be happy to set up a quick consultation to help you figure out what you’re doing right, and where you might be able to improve.
If you’re still skeptical about the benefits of business blogging, may I direct your attention to the case study below? This is a great example of how consistent blogging with helped one of our clients make first page of Google and continue growing their business, even four years into our partnership.
5 Key Qualities to Look for In An Incredible Inbound Marketing Agency
Inbound marketing is a proven, effective way to set yourself apart from the competition in the 2020s. But, it’s not always easy to implement on your own. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, unless you have a massive, dedicated marketing department, making the switch to inbound marketing can take a little help. That’s where inbound marketing agencies come in.
They help you define your goals, and then they create and implement strategies to help you reach those goals. And if they’re a good inbound marketing agency, they’ll refine those strategies based on their results to ensure you’re always optimizing and moving closer to your goals.
But how do you find a great inbound marketing agency? We’re here to help you out. Check out these key qualities to look for in an incredible inbound marketing agency to help you sort through the crowd and find the best partner for you:
Key Quality #1: They Walk the Walk
The first sign of a great inbound marketing agency? They do great marketing for themselves.
If you can’t find an inbound marketing agency online, if their website sucks, or if they’re really just failing on the email marketing game, it’s not a good sign.
Sign up for a content offer or for their monthly newsletter.
If they’re not popping up when you search “inbound marketing agency near me”, or if their website is impossible to navigate, you might want to keep on looking.
If, on the other hand, you find their marketing efforts to be engaging and worthwhile, that agency might just be a great fit for you.
It’s important to remember that working with an inbound marketing agency really is a partnership. Everyone has different styles and approaches to inbound marketing. If you’re looking at an agency and you just don’t like their style, it might be worth it to keep on looking.
Key Quality #2: Their Team Has Experience in Your Industry
There are some who will say that inbound marketing is really the same for everyone.
It’s okay if they give you a little pushback on things like timeframe or implementation, but the bottom line is that they should get your goals.
If they don’t understand why you want more of a certain type of client or haven’t come prepared with a few strategies that could help you reach greater traffic, lead, or revenue goals, they’re probably not a great fit.
An incredible inbound marketing agency should at least have an idea of what you’re looking for before you even sit down for a meeting.
Effective inbound marketing plans start with solid growth goals.If your team and theirs can’t get aligned on what those goals are at the beginning, your partnership is going to struggle.
You can help this part of the process run smoothly by being clear about what you want from this inbound marketing agency partnership. If they get your goals and have plans to help you reach them, then they’re a great fit and probably an incredible inbound marketing agency.
Key Quality #4 You Get a Responsive, Dedicated Point of Contact
Incredible inbound marketing agencies know that communication is the key to a successful partnership.
They might be doing everything they need to do on your behalf, but if you don’t get to see the numbers, or aren’t hearing from them very often, you’re not going to feel supported.
On the other hand, if you’re always talking to a different member of their team, it’s easy to get lost in the process and lose sight of your goals.
Choose an inbound marketing agency that sets you up with a responsive, dedicated point of contact. That person should be your go-to for any question you have about your inbound services, and they should be fairly quick to respond.
If you get the feeling that the agency you’re looking at isn’t super responsive, ask them specifically how often you can expect to get updates. If you’re not comfortable with the answer, say so, and feel free to keep on looking.
Key Quality #5: They Believe in Continuous Improvement
Digital marketing best practices and tactics are constantly changing, almost as fast as the internet, itself changes. That means you need an inbound marketing agency that works hard to stay ahead of those changes, ensuring your company is always seeing the results you need to meet your goals.
You’re not going to reach growth goals with one, static inbound marketing plan. Effective inbound marketing makes use of constant revision and optimization.
In an inbound marketing agency, continuous improvement is actualized in monthly reporting meetings. Your point of contact should be able to bring you a monthly report and show you exactly what’s working, and what’s not.
They should explain how all of those reports come together, and tell you what changes or adjustments they’ll be making to keep pushing you closer to your growth goals.
With an agency that’s working to continuously optimize your inbound marketing strategy, you’ll see continuous improvements in your results.
Choosing an inbound marketing agency is a big deal. They’re your partner in lead generation, which means they’re also your growth partner. If you’re not sure where to start, or how to decide if an agency is right for you, we’d be happy to help.
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.
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:
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.
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 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.
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 inthe 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:
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.
How do you prove the ROI of inbound marketing to your boss?
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.)
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:
They’re afraid the cost isn’t worth the rewards.
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.
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.
If you’re in the marketing world at all, you know that these two terms are the heavyweight champs of modern marketing. But how do they fit together? There’s a lot of confusion out there about inbound marketing vs. content marketing. Are they the same thing? And if they’re different, how?
We’re going to break it all down for you in this marketing terminology matchup of inbound marketing vs. content marketing.
Inbound marketing is a big umbrella. A whole bunch of marketing tactics make up the umbrella’s individual components. SEO, social media marketing, pay-per-click advertising, and so many more tactics make up everything from the waterproof fabric to each little rib that forms the shape of the umbrella.
If inbound marketing is an umbrella, content marketing is the pole and handle that holds the umbrella up. Content marketing forms the base and the foundation for a quality inbound marketing strategy.
So to answer the questions posed in the intro: yes, content marketing and inbound marketing are different things.
Inbound marketing refers to the overarching marketing strategy that draws in qualified leads. Content marketing is a form of inbound marketing, but one of the most important inbound marketing tactics that lays the framework for the larger inbound marketing strategy as a whole.
Got it? Not quite?
No worries. We’re going to keep on rolling with some more information to make that distinction a little clearer for you. Let’s take a closer look at what inbound marketing is, what content marketing is, and how they work together to deliver you the leads you want when you want them.
What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is a marketing method that focuses on drawing in qualified leads and potential customers, rather than blasting information about your company to the general public.
Inbound marketing is specific and tactical.
The methodology requires that you know who you’re selling to, who you want to sell to, and that you market to those specific buyers in a way that is helpful to them.
Inbound marketing was born out of the modern consumer’s desire to discover solutions to their own problems. Today’s consumer despises telemarketers, spam emails, and other poorly targeted advertising techniques that don’t feel personal, relevant, or helpful.
Inbound marketing recognizes this consumer pain point, and works to find a solution.
Inbound marketing is successful when a consumer seeks a solution to a problem, navigates to a resource that answers their questions, and self-selects the product or service that ultimately resolves their pain point.
For the consumer, this is a seamless transition.
They search their problem, find the ideal solution, and make a purchasing decision. The trick of inbound marketing is offering up relevant content and improving your company’s visibility so that consumer gets their seamless transition from you. And this is where content marketing comes in.
What is Content Marketing?
Inbound marketing is built on content marketing. Though inbound marketing is made up of a variety of marketing tactics, like search engine optimization, email marketing, workflows, and so much more, content marketing is certainly the heavy lifter.
Think about it:
What would you promote in your email marketing campaigns if you didn’t have content written?
Where would you direct conversions from pay-per-click ads if not to a page of content?
How would you optimize your website for search engines without content?
Content marketing forms the backbone and the foundation of any inbound marketing strategy. It’s everything from the optimized content on your website to your weekly blog posts to your monthly email newsletters to that new vlog you’ve been trying out.
Content marketing is what creates value for your potential leads, and its what draws those qualified leads into your sales funnel.
If you want a more specific outline of the different types of content marketing and how to implement them, I suggest you check out our content marketing page. If you’re already familiar with content marketing, let’s move on to how inbound marketing and content marketing work together:
How These Strategies Work Together to Bring You Qualified Leads
As we mentioned earlier, inbound marketing functions on the premise that today’s consumer ignores disruptive, non-personal messages. Inbound marketing instead encourages consumers to self-qualify, and search for and find the information and the solutions that best fit their own problems and pain points. Content marketing is a major component of that inbound marketing methodology, especially in a consumer’s early stages of the buyer’s journey.
While your sales team might already have a great, inbound-focused method of converting leads into sales, content marketing is one of those key tools that brings those leads to your marketing and sales teams in the first place.
I like to think of content marketing as the fuel that feeds your inbound marketing funnel or flywheel.
Without content going out regularly, answering your ideal customer’s questions, solving their pain points, and nurturing them further down the buyer’s journey, your sales team might not get the chance to exercise their awesome, inbound-focused sales process in the first place.
While content marketing is also used extensively in the later stages of the buyer’s journey, it’s most commonly thought of as a way to draw in the right, qualified leads, so your marketing and sales team can apply the rest of your inbound marketing strategy to nurture and close those leads.
Inbound Marketing + Content Marketing = A Successful Growth Strategy
In the end, it’s best to think about inbound marketing and content marketing together, rather than inbound marketing vs. content marketing. Both tactics are useful methods to draw in and close qualified leads, and they work best when used in conjunction.
Content marketing forms the foundation of your inbound marketing strategy, drawing in the right leads with helpful, personalized content. Then, your inbound marketing strategy can do the rest of the work — taking the leads your content marketing strategy generated and converting them into customers and future promoters for your brand.
Still have questions? We’ve got answers. Check out our inbound marketing and content marketing pages for more specifics on both strategies, and always feel free to give us a call or drop a line — we’d love to chat. And if you’re just not sure what an inbound marketing strategy can do for you in real life, check out the case study below.
Our Getting Started with HubSpot Series is written to help you understand what to expect when you sign on with a HubSpot Partner Agency. Over the next few months, we’ll work to cover everything from HubSpot onboarding to sales enablement and marketing and sales alignment. If you like these posts, and there’s a certain topic you’d like us to talk about, just let us know!
In the sales and marketing world, the term “sales enablement” is one that’s getting thrown around a lot lately. Sales Enablement is the process of empowering your sales team to sell better. When you enter into a sales enablement service with a HubSpot partner, they give your sales team the tools, technology, training, and content they need to nurture and close deals with the best prospects, faster.
Typically, the sales enablement process happens after your HubSpot Onboarding session. If your company is already using HubSpot, you can jump right into a sales enablement training service.
Either way, most sales enablement training services happen in an ongoing way. Many HubSpot Partner Agencies offer intensive training sessions, too, to jumpstart your company to sales success, but we’ll get to that in another blog in this series.
Today, we’re talking about what you can expect from an ongoing sales enablement training service.
What Does Sales Enablement Training Look Like?
Like we mentioned in our last installment of the Getting Started With HubSpot Series, every agency works a little differently. The process we’re about to describe is specific to us, and while most agencies will have some similar offerings, you’ll want to speak with any prospective agency directly before you sign on for a sales enablement training service, to make sure they’re a good fit for you. With that said, here’s a deep dive into our sales enablement training process:
Meet Brooke, our HubSpot Project Manager! She’s our Sales Enablement expert, and we’re relying on her expertise to inform this post.
All of our services start with a kickoff call. It’s important to understand exactly where you are before we start any training. We want to make sure that every aspect of our training sessions are geared specifically to your company and your unique sales team. So, our HubSpot Project Manager, Brooke, will start by giving you a call.
On the kickoff call, Brooke is looking to see where your sales process is at. Maybe your sales team is all on the same page, or maybe they each have a unique process that works for them. Wherever you’re at is great. This call just gives us an idea of where you are, so we can better tailor our training session to you.
After the kickoff call, we get to work.
What does that look like?
When you’re first getting started with the Sales Enablement process, Brooke will meet with your team for weekly training sessions. She’ll explain HubSpot tools you might not be familiar with yet, help your team learn how to use them, and answer any questions you might have. Here, she’ll also teach you how to organize contacts, how to make sure that you’re tracking every contact’s actions within the HubSpot platform, and more.
Essentially, what Brooke is helping you do during these weekly meetings is to mimic your existing sales process in the HubSpot platform.
When you’re done with the weekly meetings, and Brooke has helped you recreate your sales process in the platform, your team will be able to pick up right where they left off. The difference is that now they’ll have better contact organization and better tracking of all of their efforts. HubSpot will keep data that tells them which of their sales efforts are most successful, and which don’t seem to be moving the needle.
This service is part of what makes partnering with a HubSpot Partner Agency so useful. We’re really working to make your transition to the new software as seamless as possible.
Individual Team Member Meetings
One great part of our sales enablement training service is that your team members can meet with Brooke individually if they’re looking for a little more guidance. Working with a new tool is really exciting, but it can also present challenges. Whether your sales team members are looking to extend their HubSpot capabilities, or want a little bit more help learning how to use HubSpot’s tools every day, these individual team member meetings go a long way to ensure your entire team is working for overall company growth.
As you start to get more comfortable with HubSpot and all of the tools they offer, Brooke will continue to meet with your sales team bi-weekly, to see how everything is going, and to answer any questions that might come up as your team progresses further with the platform.
Regular Monthly Meetings
Once your sales team feels confident using the platform in their daily operations, we’ll scale back our meetings to once a month. Though you can always call with any questions, these meetings are typically used to review your progress over the past month, and see what’s working, and what’s not.
At these meetings, Brooke might suggest new tools to try out that can help your sales team provide even better service to your prospects, and ultimately help boost business growth. She’ll also help you set new growth and sales goals once you achieve old ones.
Ongoing Sales Enablement Support
We like to think that ongoing support is one of the best features of our sales enablement training. For as long as your team wants, we’ll keep helping you optimize your sales process to shorten the sales cycle, and to close more leads, faster. Every month, you get personalized reports on how your team is doing, along with training on the new tools and technology that can help your team do better business. If you’re looking to foster continuous growth in your company, ongoing sales enablement is one great tool for your toolbox.
How Much Work Will This Be For My Team?
Sales enablement provides an awesome opportunity to improve the way you sell, with the tools, technology, and training your team needs to see what’s working, and where they can improve. But, they do have to do a little work to reap the rewards. Here’s what’s expected of the sales team through sales enablement training:
They show up to sales enablement meetings. We schedule these whenever is convenient for you, and we also work with team members individually, so there are plenty of opportunities, even for the busiest schedules.
They start using the platform. Brooke recommends starting with just five minutes a day. If your sales team can commit to just entering their contacts into HubSpot, they’ll start to feel more comfortable using the platform consistently.
They ask questions. HubSpot can be a big change for a sales team. If they’re open to the process and willing to ask questions so they can improve, we’re here to offer them all the support they need.
We know it’s not easy for an entire sales team to make the switch to a new CRM and a new method of selling. That’s why we’re here to work as your partner in this process. After the initial weekly meetings are complete, the majority of the work will be out of the way, and your sales team will be able to start selling even better, and more efficiently than before.
The Benefits of Partnering With A HubSpot Partner Agency
The biggest benefit of partnering with a HubSpot Partner Agency for sales enablement training?
We’ve done it before.
This is a service we offer to a number of our clients, and it’s something we’re really good at. We know this is a big shift for your team, and we know that one of the biggest challenges is encouraging everyone to use the HubSpot platform consistently to get the most accurate reporting.
We’ve said this before, but we approach our HubSpot training services with a walk/run mentality.
First, we’ll teach your team what they need to know to start using the HubSpot platform, and your newly optimized sales process, casually. We’ll work hard to bring everyone on board, and make sure each member of your sales team feels empowered to use the tools and technology HubSpot offers to best compliment their sales style.
When everyone is familiar with the platform and using it regularly, we’ll get into the “run” phase. We’ll introduce new tools, and show your team how to use them for better, faster sales.
As HubSpot Agency Partners, we know and use HubSpot’s full suite of tools every day.
Our HubSpot Project Managers, like Brooke, are training masters. They have what it takes to get your entire team using, and loving the HubSpot platform.
And when your entire sales team is on the same page, your company is going to start serious results. And serious results are what we’re here for.
Interested in taking the HubSpot plunge? Evenbound is a HubSpot Gold Agency Partner, and we’re also a HubSpot Certified Trainer. That means we’ve helped tons of clients just like you learn everything there is to know about sales enablement, and the HubSpot tools that support it. We can help your team learn how to use those tools to legitimately grow your company.
If you’d like to know more, just get in touch. Brooke, or our president, John, would be happy to talk to you more about your specific goals for HubSpot. And if you’d like to learn more about how HubSpot training can work for companies like you, check out the case study below.