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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7 Steps to Developing a Growth Strategy That Delivers Results

7 Steps to Developing a Growth Strategy That Delivers Results

7 Steps to Developing a Growth Strategy That Delivers Results

You want to grow your company. But, you’re not sure where to start. We get it. 

It’d be great if we could all just grow our businesses and companies by taking on more projects. Unfortunately, sustainable growth needs a little bit more direction and structure than that. 

If you’re looking to grow your company by pulling in more of the right leads, and converting them more efficiently, you need to start developing a growth strategy. 

What’s a Growth Strategy?

A growth strategy is a detailed plan of action designed to help your company grow — that is, increase sales and revenue over a specific period of time. Effective growth strategies are specific, measurable, and focused on continuous improvement. 

No two growth strategies are exactly alike — they’re unique depending on the company, the company’s specific goals, and the resources you have available to implement that strategy. 

What is universal to all companies, however, is that you need a growth strategy if you want to build your company in a specific way: to close bigger deals, to shorten your sales cycle, and grow your company strategically for the best results. 

If you’re working on developing a growth strategy that gets your company moving in the right direction, here are 7 steps you can take to start creating a growth strategy that delivers the tangible results you’ve been looking for. 

7 Steps to Developing a Growth Strategy That Delivers Results

Use this menu to jump to the steps you’re most interested, or read on through for the complete step-by-step guide to developing a growth strategy that delivers results. 

#1 Start with SMART Growth Goals, Big and Small

Real, effective growth strategies start with SMART goals. We’ve got an entire post about how to determine your SMART goals, but here’s a quick cliff-notes version: 

What are SMART Goals?

SMART Goals are:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Relevant
  • Timely

So, “I want to grow my business,” is not, in fact, a smart goal. It doesn’t give you any mile-markers. It doesn’t really tell you what you want, or where you want to be. 

A SMART goal is something like: I want to grow 20% in the next fiscal year. 

The Difference Between Big and Small SMART Goals

Now that’s still a pretty broad goal, which is fine. You can have big growth goals, but it’s also important to set small SMART goals too, so you know you’re keeping your company on track. How are you going to reach that 20% growth mark by the end of the year? 

Examples of smaller growth goals that can help contribute to your big growth goal might be to:

  • Convert 500 leads per month. 

  • Close on 15 sales per month.

  • Generate at least $375,000 in new revenue per month.

One or all of these goals are great mile markers that help keep your team on track while moving to your big, overarching SMART goal. Defining these little goals also makes it easier to start developing strategies that put you closer to your big goals. 

Saying, “oh, I want to grow by 20% in the next year” sounds great. But it doesn’t give you a lot of direction. Saying, “I want to convert 500 leads per month” does give you some direction — how are you generating leads now? How can you generate more leads? Are there lead generating tactics you haven’t tried yet that you could check out?

Now you have a launching-off point to really start moving your company towards your growth goals. 

#2 Develop Strategies to Support Those Growth Goals

Okay, so you’ve got your SMART goals, big and small. Start with the small goals first. Let’s go with generating 500 leads per month as our example.

If you’re generating leads primarily through word of mouth, you have a lot of room to improve:

  • You can start developing a digital growth strategy that focuses on generating leads. 

  • You can increase your web presence, start implementing content marketing strategies, and try out lead capture tactics like landing pages, forms, and calls-to-action. 

If you already have a web presence and are hoping to generate more leads, start by really drilling down on the efforts that work:

  • If you’ve been getting a ton of leads through your blog, up your posting schedule to once or twice a week instead twice a month. 

  • If you have an active list of newsletter subscribers, lean on them a little harder for conversions.  

    You can also start expanding your lead generation efforts. Try new tactics like social media advertising, guest blogging, or adding more lead touch points to your marketing and sales process. 

    The point is that if you have specific, attainable (etc.) goals, determining your plan of action is a lot easier. If you know exactly where you want to be, it’s a little easier to figure out how to get there. 

    #3 Consider Tools That Support Your Goals and Strategies

    Another great way to bolster your growth strategy is to consider investing in tools and software that can make it easier for you to implement your new strategies and reach those growth goals. 

    Using that same lead generation goal as an example, let’s say that one of your new strategies is to start promoting your content more often, and follow up with new leads more promptly.

    It’s important to remember that all of these changes aren’t always on your sales and marketing teams — there are plenty of tools out there that can help you reach these goals and implement these new efforts.

    What Growth Tools Are Right for Me?

    Consider investing in a social media publishing tool that allows you to schedule posts out when it’s convenient for your team. 

    Many marketing software platforms also offer automated email and workflow tools. The minute a lead downloads a content offer or signs up for your newsletter, you can have them automatically entered into a welcome workflow that sends them helpful, relevant communication that nurtures that lead for you. 

    At Evenbound, we’re big advocates for the, “work smarter, not harder” mindset. Implementing a growth strategy can be tough work. If there are tricks and tools that can help you reach those growth goals more easily and that offer your leads and prospects better service, use them

    Don’t be afraid of tools because they’re new or different. They can seriously help you reach those growth goals, usually faster than your team could do it on their own. 

    #4 Implement Your Growth Strategies

    Alright, now that you’ve got your goals nailed down and you’ve got a plan to reach them, it’s time to launch! Put your growth strategies into action. Let your new marketing software do its work. 

    And give your strategies a little bit of time, too. Especially if you’re implementing inbound strategies meant to bolster your organic traffic, you probably won’t see results overnight. That’s okay. 

    Keep with your growth strategies, and keep with your plan.

    In general, you should wait at least a month before you start making judgement calls on the effectiveness of your new initiatives. For some tactics, you might even have to wait a few months to get a really clear picture of how your efforts are impacting your bottom line.

    It’s good to remember that you put time and effort into developing your growth strategies. If you did your research, at least some of your new tactics and strategies are going to deliver results. 

    #5 Analyze Your Results

    When your new strategies and growth campaigns have been running for a while, analyze them. Maybe that’s at the one-month mark for tactics like paid advertising and new initiatives in your marketing and sales process.

    For organic and inbound tactics like content marketing, you might give it two or three months before you take a good hard look at the results. Either way, when it’s time to take a look at how far you’ve come, it’s important to look at the big picture. Make sure you’re analyzing both your wins and your challenges. 

    Looking at the Big Picture: Wins

    Let’s say your new strategy is doing awesome. You’ve reached that 500 leads per month goal already, and you’re only three months into your new strategy.

    Don’t just leave it at, “well, my strategy is working great”. Take a look at which efforts specifically are generating those leads for you.

    Are the majority of your leads coming to your site organically? If so, which pages are they coming to or landing on? 

    Are your paid ads converting leads like crazy? Great! Which ads were most effective? 

    Is your new marketing process shortening your sales cycle and converting qualified leads in just a week or two after their first touch? Amazing. What specific efforts are getting those leads so excited about your company?

    The deeper you dig into your new growth strategies’ results, the better you’ll understand how you’re generating those results. 

    Looking at the Big Picture: Challenges

    This works the other way, too. Maybe you implemented a new email marketing strategy that totally flopped. Look at why it flopped.

    Did you just not have the depth of email contacts you needed to make that strategy work? Were people not connecting with that specific message? How can you improve it for the next round of growth goals? 

    The more you analyze your results, the better your growth strategy will perform in the long-term. When you know exactly what your leads respond best to, and why, you can continue on that upward growth trajectory, and you can keep optimizing your growth strategy with actual data and results in hand. Which brings us to step #6.

    #6 Optimize Your Growth Strategy

    After you analyze your results to death, it’s important to use all of that information you’ve collected and actually put it to work. If a specific set of Facebook ads performed really well, start launching more campaigns with similar attributes. If your email marketing strategy didn’t work, don’t keep doing the same old thing — try something new! 

    The great gift of analytics is that they give you the data you need to make changes and improvements. Use analytics to your advantage and apply what you’ve learned to your future growth tactics and strategies. When you do that, you’re truly implementing a continuous growth strategy that will continue to support your company even as your goals change. 

    #7 Set New SMART Growth Goals

    The key to an effective growth strategy is a mindset of continuous improvement. Once you reach your growth goals, it’s time to set new goals, and repeat the process. 

    If you want your company to keep growing, your growth strategies have to change as your company does. Once you reach your first set of goals, re-evaluate where your company is, set new SMART goals, and keep developing your growth strategy to help you reach them. 

    The best growth strategies are the ones that are constantly changing and adapting to your business’ needs and goals. And it makes sense: a growth strategy that worked for a small business isn’t going to work the same for a mid-sized business. Your growth strategy should evolve and adapt as your company continues to grow. 

    The Most Effective Growth Strategy Is the One That’s Continuously Improving

    In the end, building a growth strategy that delivers results is all about setting up the structure and mindset your team needs to grow, and allowing plenty of space and flexibility to keep improving. The best growth strategies are the ones that grow and improve themselves. 

    So, start with your SMART goals for right now, and keep moving that needle forward as your company grows. 

    Developing a growth strategy and actually implementing it can seem like big, daunting work. If you’re just not sure where to start, drop us a line! We help companies like yours grow every day, and we’d be happy to answer any questions you’ve got about developing a growth strategy, sticking to it, or optimizing it as you reach your goals. 

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    Inbound Marketing vs. Content Marketing

    Inbound Marketing vs. Content Marketing

    Inbound Marketing vs. Content Marketing

    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 vs. Content Marketing

    Most marketers generally confer — content marketing is a subset of inbound marketing. I like to think of it this way:

    • 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. 

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    5 Common Website Design Misconceptions

    5 Common Website Design Misconceptions

    5 Common Website Design Misconceptions

    There are a lot of bad ideas out there about how websites are designed and the entirety of the web design process: about the difficulty, about the cost, and about what goes into the process.

    There are a lot of factors to blame here, like our ideas about the internet being “free” along with DIY website tools trying to get user and media representations of people setting up websites in seconds. (Which just doesn’t happen, sorry.) Website design is infinitely more nuanced than that.

    So to clear that up, here are 5 common website design misconceptions and the reality behind them.

    Misconception #1: Web Design is Easy

    No. Just no. 

    Web design is a complex process, requiring a lot of knowledge and experience. Web designers need to know various programming languages like JavaScript and C++; various CMS like WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla; understand marketing best practices, like where to place calls-to-action (CTAs); understand internet user behavior, what they’ll respond to, what they click on; and have a strong understanding of visual design. 

    Does that seem like a lot? It is. And it’s not something that just anyone can do well on the first try. Most web designers have all kinds of professional training, and the best ones have years of experience designing websites that not only look great but also work to pull in qualified leads. 

    In addition, there is a lot of research that does into the design of a website in order to accurately reflect your company’s brand and voice and to do so in a way that appeals to your ideal customers.

    Misconception #2: Web Design Shouldn’t Cost So Much

    Web design shouldn’t cost so much. We hear it a lot. 

    By that logic, nothing should cost as much as it does, and gas should still be a $0.36 per gallon like it was in 1970. Sounds nice, but it’s just not realistic. Good web design isn’t cheap, but the price isn’t unfair.

    With web design, which is a difficult and complex process requiring advanced knowledge of programming languages, various CMS, and visual design, you get what you pay for. If you want beautiful and functional design, you have to be willing to pay the going rate.

    If you skimp on design, you’re going to end up with a site that isn’t user-friendly, mobile-responsive, or attractive, and it’s not going to do much for you. Visitors won’t convert to leads on a poorly designed site, and what little money you put into the design won’t even be worth it.

    A well-designed site, on the other hand, will delight visitors, provide them with a comfortable and seamless experience, and lead them to convert. Your website isn’t just a billboard for your company, and it needs to be doing more to drive sales, through conversions. A cheaply designed site won’t do that.When you put money into a good design, you’ll see the ROI of your decision in website conversions. Click To Tweet

    It’s important to remember that web design is about more than making your website pages look pretty. It’s also about defining and embodying your brand in the online space. This means ensuring consistency with your existing brand standards, designing logos and images, and making other aesthetic decisions to represent your brand accurately and in a way that appeals to your existing and ideal customers.

    Misconception #3: Designing a Website Shouldn’t Take This Long

    This is one of the most  common website design misconceptions, and it goes hand-in-hand with “web design is easy” and “web design shouldn’t cost so much.” Web design isn’t easy, and a good design is going to take time, especially when you consider all that goes into it: designing the page structure, the images and design elements, the color scheme, the written content, and the functionality. 

     If a website really was just a digital version of a billboard, then yes, it would make sense that it could be designed in a day. But a website is infinitely more complex than that, which, of course, is a benefit. A website can do more, and it’s worth more as an asset. You need to be willing to invest the necessary time in the process to get the best result.

    Misconception #4: Anyone Can Build a Website

    We blame this one on the free-for-all days of the early internet and hosting platforms that promise they can help you build a professional-looking website yourself, with no expertise. 

    There are a million DIY website tools out there being used by all sorts of people for various reasons. And while as someone who isn’t a web designer, you can probably make do with a free site on WordPress.com or Wix for your personal blog, that just isn’t going to cut it for a mid-size to large business.

    Why do you need to hire a professional web design firm for your business site? First, the size and complexity of your site. A free website tool is great for a website with one or two pages, but your company’s site is going to have way more than that, in complex hierarchies. You’re going to want a professional’s help to ensure that pages are organized correctly and are easily, intuitively found by website visitors.

    Additionally, DIY website tools will lack the functionality you need for a professional site. Features like plugins for collecting email addresses or visitor retargeting, an ecommerce platform, landing pages, or a custom theme to fit your brand guidelines aren’t available with a standard web design tool.

    If you need anything more that standard blog posts or pages with text and images—which you undoubtedly will—you’re going to want a pro to build your site on a sophisticated CMS (content management system).

    In regards to using a sophisticated CMS, the software necessary to build a robust, functional, and attractive website is not itself easy to learn or user-friendly, and at times, it can be confusing or difficult. Web designers have years of experience with various CMS and can navigate and manipulate them with ease. 

    As a novice, it’s a website design misconception that you could build a high-quality, high-performing website by yourself. You’d need a lot of training, and trial and error, to get to the necessary level of competence. Certain programming languages may also be required to achieve your desired website appearance and function, with web developers will be well-versed in, but which is incomprehensible to those without web design experience.

    Misconception #5: Web Design Should be Done In-House

    We get it, you don’t want to pay someone else to do something you could do yourself. The thing is, website design isn’t something you should (or could) do yourself.

    Yes, you have an IT department and they’re all geniuses with computers. That doesn’t mean they should be designing your website. Why?

    IT and web design are vastly different specialties with less overlap than the non-techies think. Your IT team may not have experience designing websites at all, especially professional ones for businesses with many and varied needs.

    Additionally, foisting a website design project onto your IT team is going to get in the way of them doing their primary and necessary function—keeping your company running.

    Unless you’re at an extremely large, global enterprise, it just doesn’t make sense to hire a web designer or web design team for the one or two websites you need. If you have fifteen different branches with their own sites and are constantly growing, maybe you do need a team—but that’s not likely to be your situation. For medium to large organizations, the budget and the necessity of hiring a web design team isn’t there. 

    We hope this blog helped clear up a few common misconceptions about website design! With these in mind, are you ready to build your new website? Let’s chat.

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    Step-By-Step Guide to Defining Your Buyer Persona

    Step-By-Step Guide to Defining Your Buyer Persona

    Step-By-Step Guide to Defining Your Buyer Persona

    Buyer personas are a major component of any effective inbound marketing strategy. The truth is, you have to know who you’re marketing and selling to before you can make a sale. Today’s consumers only pay attention to marketing messages that are personalized, and highly relevant to their unique experiences. Buyer personas are a key way to address that consumer need, while streamlining your marketing and sales process so you’re only spending time on the leads most likely to convert. 

    We can say the word “buyer persona” as many times as we want, but they’re not going to do much for you if you don’t know how to create or define one. That’s why we’ve put together this Step-by-Step Guide to Defining your Buyer Persona. Here, you’ll learn what exactly a buyer persona is, and how to define your own buyer personas in a clear, manageable (we hope) step-by-step way. Let’s get started.

    Just looking for some hot tips? Use this menu to skip to the step you’re most interested in. 

    What is a Buyer Persona?

    Creating Your Buyer Personas in 5 Steps

    What Is A Buyer Persona?

    The first part of any great guide to defining your buyer persona should be a definition of what a buyer persona actually is. Buyer personas are an integral part of any quality marketing or sales plan. A buyer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal client or target audience. With a clear picture of who you’re marketing to, it’s much easier to develop effective, targeted content that speaks to your ideal buyer’s goals and challenges. 

    Think of your buyer personas as a personal narrative. You’re developing a story for and context around the people who are most interested in your product or service. You want to know as much about them as possible, so you can provide personalized service, relevant content, and helpful sales information. Your buyer personas are the best place to organize all of that information into a story that will resonate with you, and with the rest of your team.

    Creating Your Buyer Personas in 5 Steps

    Defining your buyer personas might seem like a big, unwieldy task. But, if we break the process down into manageable steps, you can move through them one-by-one to develop thorough, thoughtful buyer personas that will genuinely improve the way you market and sell. And don’t feel like you have to create all of your buyer personas at once — taking it step-by-step is a great way to make sure you’ve got all of your bases covered, without feeling too overwhelmed. This guide to defining your buyer persona is set up so you can leave and come back whenever is most convenient for you. With that in mind, let’s get into Step 1.

    Step 1: Research Your Buyer Personas

    All great personas start with a  little bit of research. Even if you feel like you already have a pretty good grasp on who most of your clients are, it’s worth it to take a hard look, not just at who you’re already working with, but who you’d like to work with in the future. 

    via GIPHY

    Who is Buying From You?

    It’s always easiest to start with what you know. Begin your research by taking a look at your existing clients. Here are a few questions to get you started:

    • Who at their company contacted you first?
    • Were they the final decision maker?
    • What does their job look like?
      • Are they your company’s primary point of contact?
      • What are their roles at work?
      • Do they manage people or processes?
      • Do they have to answer to a boss or supervisor, or do they make most decisions?
    • What does their home life look like?
      • Do they have any hobbies?
      • How old are they?
      • Are they married or single? Kids or no kids?

    These questions will get you started, but there are a few other tactics you might consider when doing buyer persona research:

    Talk to Customer-Facing Employees

    Your account managers are going to have the best insight into the lives of your clients, since they’re the ones in direct contact with them. Talk to the customer-facing employees at your own company to get a better sense of the people your company is already working with.

    Talk to Your Clients

    If it’s feasible, it’s also a great idea to talk to some of your existing clients. Consider sending out a short survey to your main points of contact, asking them a little about themselves. You might have to send along a small incentive to get them to fill it out, but their answers will be worth their weight in gold. After all, the people who have already invested in your product or service are your ideal audience. 

    Who Would You Like to Buy From You?

    Once you’ve pulled together as much information as possible on your existing clients, think about who you’d like to sell to in the future. 

    Is there an ideal prospect that your marketing and sales team just can’t get to convert? Maybe your competition has had a lot of success in a certain segment of the market that you’d like to break into, too. 

    To narrow down who you’d like to buy from you, we suggest starting by taking a look at your competition. 

    Where is Your Competition Seeing Success?

    Are your competitors seeing a lot of success in a certain segment of the market you’d like to break into? Check out their website! 

    They’re probably developing content and sales offers that speak directly to that market. You can learn a lot about those ideal buyer personas you’re not quite hitting yet by seeing how your competition is successful.

    Where Do You Want Your Company to Grow?

    Another great way to identify buyer personas for clients you haven’t quite snagged yet is to think hard about where you want your company to grow. 

    For example, we often work with home builders, many of whom are working to break into higher markets. Even if they don’t yet have clients in that higher market, we still work to do as much research on those buyers as possible. We look at our clients’ competition to see what they’re doing to draw that market in, and we look at those buyers specifically to see what they’re most interested in, and what their greatest pain points are. 

    You can do the same thing for your company. Look at the clients you’d like to get in the future, and do the same research to see what they’re interested in, what their lives are like, and what challenges they face that your company can solve. 

    Check Out Your Own Analytics

    Our third and final suggestion for the research phase of defining your buyer personas is to look at your analytics. You’ll find no better, more concrete data on your ideal buyers than through the analytics on your own website, social media ads, and pay-per-click advertising campaigns. 

    Take a look at the reports from each, and pay specific attention to the demographics of the people clicking your ads. When you’re looking at your website analytics, see what pages your visitors view the most, and the longest. 

    Are there content offers that are downloaded more often than others? Who is downloading those offers? Answers to all of these questions provide you with useful information and data you need to compile relevant, effective buyer personas. 

    Step 2: Segment Your Buyer Personas

    I’ll be honest, the research step is the most time-consuming. Once you have that out of the way, feel free to step back and take a break. Leave that research alone, and let it marinate for a while. When you come back, you’ll have everything you need to actually start writing your buyer personas.

    Organize Your Information

    Alright, now that you’re back refreshed and ready to continue work on those buyer personas, it’s time to organize all of the research you collected. You probably learned a lot about a variety of your clients. Start looking for similarities in the goals and challenges you’ve uncovered in your research. These similarities — in what clients and prospects are looking for from your company or your product — will help you group all of the many potential clients into distinct sets of buyer personas. 

    Decide How Many Buyer Personas You’ll Have

    Now that you’ve reviewed and organized your research, you can start to determine how many buyer personas you’ll actually define. It’s good to remember that you don’t have to cover everyone right now. 

    If you’re just starting the inbound marketing process and are new to buyer personas as a whole, it might make the most sense to create buyer personas just for the market segments you sell to the most. You can always add or change buyer personas as you learn more about your marketing strategy, and as you gather more data on your leads and prospects. 

    The way you segment your buyer personas is totally up to you and to your company. You know best who you’re in contact with most. But, if you’re not quite sure where to start, here are two very common ways to segment your buyer personas:

    Segment Buyer Personas By Industry

    Some companies work with clients in a variety of industries. In a situation where you sell a variety of products, each corresponding to a different industry, it might make sense to dedicate one buyer persona to each industry you serve. It’s good to remember that this is only worthwhile if clients in each industry have different goals or pain points. For example, let’s say you manufacture a product that’s useful for both the automotive and marine manufacturing industries. 

    If your clients in the marine industry have different goals than the clients in the automotive industry, it makes sense to have two buyer personas. 

    But, if your product helps both marine and automotive manufacturers in the same way — by helping them streamline processes, manufacture more efficiently, and develop a better product, then it probably won’t make as much sense to segment your buyer personas by industry. In that case, let’s look at the second way we often see clients segmenting their buyer personas.

    Buyer Personas By Job Title

    For many companies, their sales process remains the same regardless of the industry they’re working with. Here at Evenbound, we work primarily with manufacturers, home builders, and construction professionals. Even though clients in each of those industries are fundamentally different, they approach finding a marketing partner in the same way. So, we’ve segmented our buyer personas to align with the job titles our sales process touches

    This often works similarly for manufacturers. Let’s say you manufacture a product that is useful in a variety of industries, but that is most often used by a lead engineer at any company, regardless of industry. In this situation, it doesn’t make sense to have a buyer persona for each engineer in each industry, because they have the same goals and pain points. Instead, you can write one buyer persona, and then use that buyer persona as a guide when you write content that’s specific to each industry later on. 

    Step 3: Create a Name and a Story

    You’ve completed your research, and you’ve decided which buyer personas to start with. Pick one, and let’s get writing. Everyone writes differently, so do what works for you. I always find it’s easiest to paint a full picture of your buyer persona and then pull out the most important segments for the final persona you share with the rest of your team. Here’s what that process might look like:

    Who Is Your Buyer Persona?

    Start by giving your buyer persona a name. The point of defining buyer personas at all is to help you market and sell more personally. Giving your buyer personas names makes it personal. Once you’ve got a name in mind, start writing down everything you discovered in your research. 

    • How old is your persona?
    • What job titles might they hold? 
    • Where do they live?
    • What hobbies do they have, and what do they like to do outside of work?
    • What are their career goals? Are they looking to move up, or just hoping to cruise through to retirement?

    Answers to all of these questions, and any more that you can think of, help provide context for your buyer persona’s goals and motivations. The better you understand what they want, and why they want it, the better you’ll be able to interact with them in the future. 

    Give Yourself a Full Profile to Work With

    When it comes to buyer personas, more information is always better. Challenge yourself to a free-write. Set a timer for 15-20 minutes, and write down everything you know about this buyer persona. And don’t be afraid to get a little creative! 

    People connect with stories — the more real your buyer personas feel to your sales and marketing teams, the better they'll be able to tailor their efforts to support your clients in real-life. Click To Tweet

    So, get to writing, and see what you can do to make it fun. You can always take content out, but it’s good to let yourself get creative, and paint a full picture of this buyer persona. The more content you have at this step, the easier the next step will be. 

    Step 4: Focus on Roles, Goals, and Challenges

    Take a break for a second. You’ve just written a full, creative narrative about one of your company’s ideal buyers. Pat yourself on the back and grab a coffee — you’ve earned it. 

    via GIPHY

    Back from that coffee break? Awesome. We’re going to take a close look at the narrative you’ve just created, and pull out the most relevant parts for your sales and marketing teams going forwards. That info falls into three categories: roles, goals, and challenges. 

    Roles

    You have a full written picture of who your buyer persona is, what they do, and what they want. Take a look at that narrative, and pull out the information that’s related to their “roles”. This is going to be content that’s relevant to their job title and their role at work, certainly, but it can also speak to their role at home our outside of work. 

    Are they regular volunteers? A parent? Do they manage people at work? All of this information gives you context about what they’re really great at. 

    What’s more, it tells your marketing and sales teams what they do. When you know what a person does, and what roles they play in their life, you can create content that speaks to those specific roles. 

    Goals

    Understanding what your buyer personas want is the key to offering them the marketing content and sales service that will genuinely help them.

    Maybe your buyer persona is looking for ways to improve their business’s profitability. Maybe they have a goal to move up in the company and are looking to spearhead initiatives that exemplify their leadership qualities. Conversely, maybe your buyer persona is nearing retirement and wants to do their job well without making any waves until they can retire safely.

    Pull out all of the goals you identified in your buyer persona free-write, and organize them into a goals section. Understanding a buyer persona’s goals is key to offering them personalized, helpful service.

    When your team understands what a persona is trying to achieve, even if it’s not directly related to what your company offers, they’ll be able to better tailor their methods and strategies in a way that resonates with that persona. 

    Challenges

    The challenges section of a buyer persona is the most important. This is where you identify the pain points of each buyer persona. And when you understand your buyer’s pain points, you can work to solve them. 

    Take a look at that long narrative you wrote for your buyer persona. What is keeping them from reaching their goals? What parts of their job are difficult? Do they have trouble selling initiatives up to their boss? Are they worried about making big investments? Are they so busy that they don’t have a chance to even consider how their business could improve?

    Whatever their challenges, this is the place to call them out. 

    Take the time to get specific, too. The more challenges you can identify for each persona, the more opportunities you have to deliver solutions. And the more solutions you deliver, the more attractive and helpful your company is to those qualified leads. 

    Step 5: Use Your Buyer Personas to Craft Tailored Sales and Marketing Strategies

    When you know who your buyer personas are, and are familiar with their roles, goals, and challenges, you can develop sales and marketing strategies tailored to just those people who you know are excellent fits for your company. 

    You’ve gone to all the trouble to make these buyer personas, now is the time to use them!

    • Help familiarize your sales and marketing teams with each persona
    • Create ad campaigns that correspond to each persona’s favorite platform
    • Develop content that speaks to the specific pain points and challenges identified in your buyer personas. 
    • Take stock of your existing content — does it speak to one or more of your personas? If not, make some changes. 
    • Optimize your landing pages to speak to buyer personas, and in their language. 

    Buyer personas help give you inside knowledge into the ways your most qualified prospects function. From their favorite social media platforms to the way they talk to their career goals, you know a lot about these personas, and you can use that information to your benefit, and to theirs. 

    Work to create content that those personas want to read, and develop sales and marketing strategies that put your buyer personas’ goals and challenges at front and center. 

    When you’re writing, marketing, and selling with real people — your most qualified leads — in mind, you’re going to start to see some serious growth.

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