Inbound Marketing

Attract, convert and close more customers.

We Want Research

Think about the last time you made a significant purchase.

Was it a new computer, a fitness tracker, a kitchen appliance, or even a car?

It doesn’t matter what it was, but it does matter how you bought it.

It’s pretty unlikely that you went directly to the first retailer you found and made your purchase immediately, no questions asked.

That’s because the digital age has transformed consumer buying patterns.

It’s wild for us to even consider walking into a store and dropping cold hard cash on a product we’ve never read reviews on, researched, or compared against other popular brands.

Today’s consumers are intelligent researchers, skeptical of advertisement and gimmicks…

That means we marketers have to shift the way we look at, talk about, and visualize our products.

This is where inbound marketing comes in.

Those articles, reviews, and product specs you read before you make a final purchase are all examples of someone’s inbound marketing strategy working.

The better the content, and the better your experience with a particular review or website, the more likely you are to choose that product.

So how do you offer that exceptional experience to consumers looking for your products and services?

You guessed it: inbound marketing.

We’re about to give you the full inbound marketing rundown — everything you need to know to offer exceptional experience and content, and be the final choice for consumers looking for your products and services.

From implementing inbound marketing yourself to hiring an inbound marketing agency, this page has got it all. If there’s a specific section of inbound marketing you’re interested in, or if you’re already into inbound marketing and would like to jump ahead, feel free to click into the section you’re looking for:

With this recent radical shift in how we market and reach new consumers, there’s a lot of conversation out there about what inbound marketing is, and what it’s not.

Let’s start this inbound marketing guide off with a definition:

What is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing is a method of marketing that relies on pulling new clients in, rather than pushing your products and services at them. Check out this blog about inbound marketing for a more in-depth definition.

The inbound marketing methodology states that you can grow your business better, and faster, by informing, educating, and delighting prospects with informational content and helpful service.

Quality content attracts people to your website, and personalized service keeps them coming back to learn more, until they’re ready to purchase from you.

Inbound marketing is a huge concept, with many facets and tactics that make it useful and relevant to companies in the digital era. As such a large conceptual culture shift, it’s difficult for many companies to implement on their own.

That’s where inbound marketing agencies come in.

What is an Inbound Marketing Agency?

An inbound marketing agency is a firm whose particular expertise lies in implementing inbound marketing tactics for themselves and for their clients.

Inbound marketing agencies place a priority on smart, measurable growth for their clients. They partner with clients to develop a comprehensive inbound marketing strategy that both teams can use to draw in leads, and convert better customers.

To understand what an inbound marketing agency does, it’s important to learn the different aspects of inbound marketing, and how they fit together to draw in leads.

Let’s start by defining inbound marketing’s place in the digital marketing sphere:

A Short Overview of Inbound Marketing’s Place In a Digital Marketing Strategy

There’s so much confusion out there about the differences between digital marketing and inbound marketing, and every other type of marketing you can do from your computer.

Let’s get that straight right now too.

If you’re totally new to the industry, you might want to check out this inbound marketing vocab list to bring you up to speed.

Think of digital marketing as the biggest umbrella.

It encompasses every marketing strategy you can implement on a digital platform. If you can do it, or see it on a smartphone, tablet, computer, or Elon Musk’s spaceship, it’s digital marketing. (More about digital marketing here.)

Inbound marketing is a methodology, a specific way of marketing, that draws people into your company.

The goal is to draw people to your website or platform with great content and positive, helpful interactions. In an age where consumers value agency, inbound marketing allows the consumer to navigate to the information, decide what information they’ll read or download, and then make a decision based on what best suits their needs.

If you offer the best content, the most information, and have quality, positive interactions, you’re the company most likely to come out on top.  

Inbound marketing is primarily used in a digital capacity, where your website functions as the central hub to which all traffic is drawn.

Most inbound marketing tactics are relatively inexpensive, and rely on organic results, rather than paid ones. Inbound marketing and digital marketing serve different goals, but can work together beautifully to deliver the results you’re looking for.

Content Marketing is a marketing tactic that supports an inbound marketing strategy. Used most often on digital platforms in the form of blogs and content offers, content marketing works to draw in qualified potential clients by offering up high-quality content that answers people’s most pressing questions about your product or service

Email Marketing has been used since email came out. For many, it’s those spammy emails you get from Target and Art Van about their latest sales. Email marketing that’s done with inbound marketing methodology at heart helps nurture leads by providing the relevant content leads are looking for, when they need it.

Social Media Marketing is a marketing method that uses your social media platform to provide quality content to your followers. Social media advertising is the paid version of social media marketing.

Outbound Marketing is any type of marketing that shouts or advertises your product. (Don Draper, we’re looking at you.)

In the digital marketing world, outbound marketing means paid ads, social media advertising, and pay-per-click.

While these methods are all still under the digital marketing umbrella (and very useful in specific situations), they don’t fall under inbound marketing because they push your product to people, rather than pulling them into your website naturally.

Stages of Inbound Marketing and the HubSpot Inbound Marketing Flywheel

The inbound marketing flywheel is the newest way of conceptualizing how inbound marketing works as a methodology. It highlights three specific stages:

Attract:

This is the process of attracting new visitors to your website.

In the attract stage, content like blogs, interesting social media posts, and information that solves a visitor’s problem or pain point is helpful.

Your goal in the attract stage is to draw more visitors to your site, introduce them to the product or service you offer, and then answer any questions they may have about it.

Engage:

From the attract stage, you continue to circle visitors through the inbound flywheel by engaging them in a specific, personalized way that delivers the best experience possible.

You may provide content offers and more in-depth resources that help them through the consideration stage of buying, or you may engage directly with potential leads and existing clients over social media platforms and through email marketing strategies.

Delight:

Once a lead has chosen to purchase your product or service, you continue to delight them with the highest caliber service, and additional content that helps them better use your product and engage positively with your company.

 

This turns your customers into promoters: they love your company and the products you supply, and are happy to share their great experience with other consumers.

Each stage of the flywheel highlights a specific stage of the buying process, and there are specific inbound marketing tactics you can use at each one. We wrote a guide about which inbound marketing tactics to use at each stage of the flywheel, if you want more info there.

Why The Inbound Marketing Flywheel Works

The inbound marketing flywheel is a relatively new concept, but it’s overtaking the more traditional marketing funnel by leaps and bounds. Why?

It puts the customer front and center.

It also maintains your momentum, and helps you continue to grow, rather than thinking of each customer as having a specific start and end point with your company. Check out HubSpot’s transformation video for a visual:

You’ll see in the funnel, the customer makes up a very small percentage of the total funnel. What’s more, they’re almost portrayed as an afterthought.

The inbound marketing flywheel puts customers at the heart of everything you do.

And really, that makes sense. In today’s world of viral review videos and long chains of comments, your customers are your most powerful asset.

Your customers keep your business running, just as they keep the flywheel spinning.

Another aspect of the flywheel we love is that you retain your momentum. The inbound marketing funnel gave the illusion of attracting a lead, and pulling them through the funnel, until they purchased something.

After that, you had to start all over again.

The momentum you’d gained and the goodwill you’d built up with that previous customer just dropped off, leaving you essentially in the same place you’d started.

The flywheel encourages us to keep that momentum going.

You can use the positive relationships you’ve built with existing customers to attract and engage new leads, convert new clients, and delight customers that help you continue attracting new ones.

When done properly, the flywheel spins in perpetual motion.

The flywheel lends itself much more to a holistic inbound marketing approach, where every customer, lead, and visitor matters. And it’s applicable to any industry. 

No seriously. Inbound marketing can even work for industrial manufacturers

 

How An Inbound Marketing Agency Fits into the Inbound Marketing Methodology

Now that we’ve got the inbound marketing methodology down — how does an inbound marketing agency fit into all of this?

An inbound marketing agency uses and offers inbound services to drive qualified traffic, convert qualified leads, and ultimately help you acquire more of the right customers. The customers that keep your flywheel spinning. 

An inbound marketing agency will use tools like web design, marketing automation, landing pages, SEO, and content marketing to help them achieve these goals.

When you work with an inbound marketing agency, there are a number of services you can expect to receive, all of which will work to drive more qualified traffic and leads to your company, boosting ROI as well as customer acquisition and retention rates.

Learn How to Choose the Best Inbound Marketing Agency for Your Company.

Here’s a breakdown of the services an inbound marketing agency will offer, what those services are, and how an inbound agency can optimize them for your company’s overall growth:

Website Strategy

When it comes to inbound marketing, think of your website as your central hub. It’s your company’s public face, or your digital office.

Your website will house all the resources, content, and information a lead needs to understand what you do, why you do it best, and why they should purchase your product or service.

As a central hub, your website should attract new visitors, teach and inspire returning visitors, and encourage leads and existing contacts to convert into sales.

Your website is the support system for all key actions in an inbound marketing strategy, which is why it’s so important to have a good one. Any quality inbound marketing agency will start by redesigning or optimizing your existing website for quality inbound support.

What is An Inbound Website?

A functional, inbound marketing optimized website is:

  • Designed for you
  • Mobile responsive
  • Optimized for search
  • Attractive
  • User friendly, and easily navigable
  • A lead generation machine

Let’s take a look at a website that’s been well-designed for inbound marketing:

https://hadigitalmarketing.com/fredricks-design-website-project/

Fredricks Design is an HA Digital Marketing client with a very modern website. Check out our full breakdown of the Fredricks Design website redesign project here.

Their site design was particularly important because they’re an engineering and design firm.  As such, their clients will judge their services based on the appearance of their website, more so than other companies who offer non-design related products and services.

While the new Fredricks site is visually impressive, it also features all of the key elements that make for a successful inbound website.

Notice that their navigation menu clearly outlines two important things: 1) the industries they serve and 2) the services they provide. This helps disqualify visitors who aren’t a fit for their company.

It’s also easy to understand what Fredricks is about, and how to get in touch with them. Their story is right at the top of the page, as is the navigation to their contact page.

As a final example, you’ll notice that the Fredricks Design site features at least one content offer on every page. The content offered varies based on different page content to best suit the type of information a visitor to that page might be interested in.

We’ll talk more about the specifics of content offers later, but remember content offers are a key way to grow your email list, and convert site visitors to leads. Again, check out this blog if you want to see everything we did to optimize the Fredricks Design website for inbound marketing.

If you’ve recently done a website redesign, think about what you discussed with your web design team.

Did you talk about your target buyer? Your ideal keywords or search phrases? Logical information architecture?

If you answered no to any of these questions, you don’t have an inbound optimized website. Check out this blog for information on revamping your website for inbound marketing results.

Designing a Website Strategy With an Inbound Marketing Agency

An inbound marketing agency understands your website is more than just a list of your product and service offerings and your contact information.

Your website is a tool that’s central to your inbound marketing strategy, and while it should look good, it needs to perform.

An inbound marketing agency will design a website that works for you 24/7, when you’re in the office, and especially when you’re not. Your inbound website will engage new, qualified leads, and will support information and content that serves those ideal customers.

Beyond just designing a new website, though, an inbound marketing agency will help you develop a comprehensive website strategy — so your website can adaptively support your inbound marketing efforts as you continue to optimize and improve.

Think of your website strategy like a roadmap, developed by your inbound marketing agency for you to follow as your company shifts and grows.

Among things like site organization and content development, your website strategy should include considerations for SEO and search engine positioning:

SEO & Search Engine Positioning

Search engine positioning refers to where your company shows up when someone searches one of your industry keywords online.

For example, when I search “West Michigan Roofing,” our client, Werner Roofing shows up on the first page of Google search results like this:

Their ability to rank on the first page means they have great search engine positioning for the keyword “west michigan roofing” that’s relevant to their company.

SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is how you optimize your website, blog, and other aspects of your inbound marketing strategy to follow SEO best practices and help your content rank for your target keywords. For a quick SEO refresher, check out this blog we wrote about SEO basics.

How An Inbound Marketing Agency Boosts Your Search Engine Positioning With SEO

Search engine optimization is the process of boosting your search engine positioning. The general process functions in three steps:

  1. An inbound marketing agency will run keyword reports to identify which keywords your website is already ranking for, and what additional keywords you could rank well for easily.
  2. Then, your inbound marketing agency will help you implement a strategy to continue targeting those relevant keywords. The more quality content you put out surrounding those target keywords, the more qualified potential leads your website will start to draw in.
  3. When you have more useful content surrounding key ideas, thoughts, and conversations that are highly relevant to your industry, your search engine positioning will begin to rise.

This will only help your site draw in more qualified leads, as more and more people are exposed to the information you’re offering. The higher you rank for keywords relevant to your industry, the higher your search engine positioning. Not sure how you’re doing? This SEO Site Checkup can help you figure out where your site might still need a little work. 

How SEO Helps Your Inbound Marketing Strategy Generate Leads

Your SEO and search engine positioning help draw people to your website. The better your website ranks for keywords that are relevant to your business, the higher your search engine positioning.

When your site ranks well for keywords you know your target buyers are searching, then you’re one of their first options as they begin their buyer’s journey.

High rankings, for the right keywords, draw in qualified traffic. That is, people who care about, and are genuinely interested in the content you have to offer.

As these qualified visitors make it to your site, you’re able to offer them helpful content that’s relevant to their buyer’s journey.

As they progress through the buyer’s journey, you can nurture those visitors into leads, and then help them convert to sales with lead nurturing emails, in-depth content offers, and eventually, your product or service.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is the bread and butter of most inbound marketing strategies. Though the tactics behind content marketing change as search algorithms improve, the general concept is always much the same: write thorough, helpful content that makes your target buyer’s life easier.

Not a writer? That’s okay!

This is another area where an inbound marketing agency can help. Writing content is difficult, especially when it has to be optimized for search engines and human readers alike.

Inbound marketing agencies understand the ins and outs of effective, clear content writing and can help you create and execute a content marketing strategy that helps you generate leads.

Interested?

Here are some content marketing basics you should know:

Content Marketing Do’s and Don’ts

In the past, keywords have held a high position in the world of content marketing. While they’re still very important to identify, the way you optimize for and leverage those keywords has changed.

Don’t keyword stuff

Keyword stuffing has been out for a while, but it’s never been more important to avoid than today. Search engine algorithms are smart enough to understand synonyms. There’s no longer any reason to repeat one keyword over and over in your inbound marketing content strategy.

What’s more, you’ll probably be penalized if you do stuff your content over and over with just one keyword.

The average consumer prefers quality, well-written content, and search engines are smart enough to recognize that content that has been keyword stuffed isn’t what they’re looking for.

Do Implement Topic Clusters

Instead of writing around one or two keywords, the new content marketing best practice is topic clusters.

The concept was created by the folks over at HubSpot, and we have to say, it’s pretty ingenious. Check out their intro video of topic clusters below:

Read more about topic clusters here, but know that the basic idea is to generate in-depth, helpful content about one topic or idea by linking together multiple information sources that combine to give your readers a clear, full picture of whatever they’re searching for.

How Topic Clusters Improve Your Inbound Marketing Strategy

This new way of organizing and structuring content helps boost your website’s ranking, certainly, but it offers additional benefits to both you and your site visitors as well.

Your visitors and leads get the information they need and want, and the longer they stay on your site clicking through each content cluster, the better your chance is of converting them to a lead and then a sale.

Let’s take a look at a topic cluster in action. Here’s our cluster on “Lead Generation” nicely organized for us in the HubSpot CRM.

We’re an inbound marketing and growth agency. That means qualified lead generation is a big deal to all of our clients.

We implement tactics that help our clients generate leads, so it makes sense to have a topic cluster on lead generation.

We want to be there for people who search “How Can I Boost My Lead Generation?” or “How to Generate More Leads for My Manufacturing Company”. So, we started this topic cluster.

Our pillar page is our “How We Help” page. The page talks a lot about what we do to help our clients grow, starting with inbound marketing and ending with lead generation. It provides a clear overview of each service we offer to grow our clients’ companies.

Each little bubble you see linking to our pillar page is one page of cluster content. That is, content that expands on, and supports our pillar page topic.

Every page of cluster content is linked to the pillar page, and the pillar page also links to each page of cluster content.

This style of organizing and developing your content gives your site visitors a clearer picture of each topic you’re addressing, and it helps search engines recognize related keywords, topics, and phrases.

Because each page is linked together intuitively, when one page receives a great deal of traffic, or is back-linked to, all of the pages in the cluster receive an authority boost.

When done properly, a quality topic cluster should help you get your pillar page on the first page of Google search results for that specific topic. Check out this blog for a few more tips on content creation. 

 

How Inbound Marketing Agencies Develop Your Content Marketing Strategy

Content marketing is one of the most well-known aspects of inbound marketing. That doesn’t mean it’s always easy, though. Any content marketing strategy takes precision and laser focus to develop properly.

Like any other aspect of inbound marketing, you have to start with data before you can jump into your topic clusters.

Quality inbound marketing agencies will approach your content marketing strategy with the following steps:

  • Define Your Buyer Personas: It’s important to know who you’re writing to. An inbound marketing agency will help you determine who your ideal buyer is, and develop content that’s targeted specifically to their unique pain points.
  • Create a Content Calendar – A content calendar tells you and your inbound marketing agency when to write what. Whether it’s your monthly blog, a weekly newsletter, or even social media posts, a content calendar should give each deliverable a date, and should identify a persona that the content is written for.
  • Blog – One of the most inexpensive ways to get your name out there is to get blogging. With your inbound marketing agency’s keyword research in place, and buyer personas identified, a blog can help your site rank well for relevant keywords, and bring more of those qualified leads your way. Your blog will likely make up the majority of content in your topic clusters.
  • Develop Content Offers – We’ll talk about content offers more in-depth below, but know that they’re an integral part of any content marketing strategy, and one that your inbound marketing agency can help you develop to convert site visitors to genuine leads.
  • Write Email Workflows – Email workflows are one of the most effective tools for nurturing contacts. Your inbound marketing agency can help you write emails that are clear, concise, and helpful. Each email should speak directly and personally to each recipient to close sales effectively.  

A content marketing strategy is one of the biggest components of an effective inbound marketing campaign. It’s a major undertaking, which is why it helps to have an experienced inbound marketing agency at your side.

Check out these resources to boost your content strategy:

Create Compelling Content [Without Giving Away Company Secrets]

Simplify your Content Marketing Strategy For Success

Social Media Marketing

The largest number of internet users come together on social media platforms. From professional platforms like LinkedIn to classics like Facebook and Instagram, people live and engage on social media.

With an estimated 77 percent of Americans on social media platforms, there’s no denying there are customers and clients to be discovered on the networking sites.

Social media marketing is how your business works to engage with social media users. From sharing your blogs and other relevant industry information to posting news about your team, everything you post and share to your company’s social media accounts is considered social media marketing.

 

Developing a Social Media Marketing Plan

An effective social media marketing plan must be genuine and authentic. If there’s one thing that inbound marketing teaches, it’s that today’s consumers despise being sold to.

Rather than constantly posting about the sales you’re having, or how great your company is doing, share information that your target buyer genuinely cares about, and wants to engage with.  

 

Understanding Social Media Platforms

To develop a social media marketing plan, it’s important to start with a goal. Social media can drive leads, but it is most useful as an engagement and awareness tool.

Social media can help get the word out about your company when you use the right channels, the right way. Here’s a little breakdown of each channel, how we use (or don’t use) them, and how they can help grow your inbound marketing strategy.

Facebook

Probably the most popular social media platform for marketers, Facebook is used by 68% of American adults. It’s the second most popular platform in the U.S., according to a study done by Pew Research in October, 2018, topped only by YouTube, which captures 73% of American adults.

Facebook ads prove effective for a wide range of consumers, and our clients in homebuilding, construction, and development tend to do especially well here.  

Some of the benefits of Facebook include their demographics and targeting, as well as their native ad function.

We know consumers prefer personalized, gentle ad experiences, and Facebook allows you to do that by selecting by the job title, age, gender, and even income level of the people you’d like to target with your boosted post or native ad.

If you’re hoping to grow a following, Facebook is a great platform to start, especially if you don’t mind boosting posts, or implementing Like Campaigns.

Business owners have complained about Facebook shutting them off from many of their followers, but if you put in the effort to post regularly, and to post a variety of content, you can build a steady following.

Instagram

Instagram, owned by Facebook, offers many of the same benefits — highly specific demographics and native ads that provide a gentle advertising experience. This platform caters more to a younger crowd, with its largest demographic of users being in the 18-29 age range.

Instagram is highly visual, which makes it an excellent platform for companies who have a product or development process to show off. Construction companies, we’re lookin’ at you. 

It is a little tougher to cut through the noise of Instagram, however. Users have been calling for a chronological feed for years now, but Instagram continues to show account holders the images and ads it thinks are most relevant to them.

This can make it a little harder to grow a following than other platforms, which is why many marketers stick to Instagram primarily for advertising.

Twitter

Twitter is the big mystery platform, especially for marketers. Ads can be a little trickier to configure and track than Facebook and Instagram campaigns, though there certainly are digital marketers who have found success with Twitter advertising.

Twitter’s greatest strength lies in its ability to network you with other key influencers in your industry.

Twitter communities are tight-knit and fast moving. This is a great place to build a presence if you want your company to be known as an authority in a specific industry, but you have to be dedicated.

Twitter moves at the speed of light, so it’s important to always keep an eye on conversations, and contribute as often as possible, so your company doesn’t get lost in the noise.

Linkedin

Linkedin offers a wealth of information for professional industries, and we’ve seen success on Linkedin for our clients in manufacturing and B2B industries. If you’re a B2B, you might want to check out our Definitive Linkedin Guide for B2Bs.

The key to Linkedin is professionalism.

This is not the platform for memes or gifs. Instead, it’s a great place to share blogs with helpful content about your industry, and to get involved in professional conversations that matter to your company.

Linkedin is also a great platform for advertising, as you’re able to target ads and posts to specific job titles, and even key companies.

As an inbound marketing agency with a specialty in manufacturing clients, we find that many users on Linkedin respond to and engage with our posts, making it a great platform to raise awareness and meet other professionals.

YouTube

Video is the future of marketing content. Why tell me something when you can show me?

Video stats are up. 96 percent of online US teens use YouTube regularly, and 18-34 year olds identify YouTube as a close runner-up to their favorite social media platform, Facebook. More consumers are watching and engaging with video. It’s shareable, it’s easily digestible, and you can listen and watch on the go.

YouTube is the best place to start hosting videos, because it’s easy to share from the platform, and YouTube already has the users you need.

While YouTube advertising is a bit of an unknown, the platform is an untapped market for many companies in “harder” industries like construction and manufacturing.

Not sure where to start?

Try a how-to video.

You already know how to do something, like install a window or troubleshoot a machine. Show your followers how to do it with a short video.

It’s important to remember that you don’t need a super high-production-quality video to help someone out. Just make sure the audio is clear, and your viewers can see what you’re doing. Then, post it!

As long as you’re putting out a video that will help someone, you’re going to draw in viewers, raising awareness for your company, and drawing in new leads from that helpful content.  

 

Develop a Robust Social Media Marketing Strategy with your Inbound Marketing Agency

A comprehensive social media marketing strategy developed by your inbound marketing agency will drive engagement on the platforms most relevant to your company.

An inbound marketing agency will start by identifying two or three social media platforms that will best support your industry and buyer personas.

From there, they can develop in-depth plans for each platform geared to reach your specific goals. Whether you’re hoping to boost social engagement or increase awareness for your product or brand, an inbound marketing agency can develop a plan that best fits those goals.

Strong, positive relationships — like the ones your company can develop on social media — drive new leads and generate more site visitors.

Those consumers you engage with out on social media platforms will slowly start drawing into your website, feeding your inbound marketing strategy and helping grow your business.

Landing Pages

A landing page is any page (other than your homepage) where site visitors land when they click to your site from another website, a search engine, or a link.

Whether you’ve been running paid ads, or you recently posted about a content offer on social media, the landing page is the first page visitors will “land” on when they click over to your website.

Landing pages most often include a form where a site visitor can leave their contact information before they download that wonderful content you’ve produced.

Landing pages increase conversions, and they’re one of the most important tools for mid to bottom-of-funnel inbound marketing.

They take site visitors who are already interested in your site and the content you have to offer, and they turn them into leads you can contact.

Let’s take a look at an example:

This is one of our landing pages, which visitors land on when they navigate to our real estate development case study.

Now, the case study we’re offering is a pretty attractive content offer (we’ll talk more about content offers in the next section).

A visitor who has a real estate development and wants to fill lots quickly will want to read this content. They’ll happily trade their name and email address for the full case study download.

That’s fundamentally how landing pages work — it’s an equitable trade between you and your site visitors.

That said, not all landing pages are guaranteed to convert. Just like any other aspect of your inbound marketing strategy, your landing pages have to be optimized for your viewers.

 

How Inbound Marketing Agencies Optimize Your Landing Pages

An inbound marketing agency’s primary goal is to ensure anyone coming to your website is directed to an optimized landing page that will capture their contact information while providing them with the content they were looking for all along.

Here are a few key best practices an inbound marketing agency will use to optimize landing pages:

  • Clean Design – Your landing page should always be as clean as possible. Unnecessary content, images, and too many navigation options or buttons can distract your visitor from filling out your form and converting. An inbound marketing agency will opt for a minimalist design with short content and clear directives.
  • Clear Call-to-Action – Whether you’re having someone subscribe to your newsletter or download a content offer, it should be easy for them to figure out what they need to do to complete the process. A call-to-action button should be clear, and concise. “Download Now” “Subscribe Here” or “Click Here for Your Case Study Download” are all good examples of clear calls-to-action.
  • Short Contact Form – Never ask for more information than you need. A quality inbound marketing agency knows that the more contact fields you require people to complete, the fewer number of submissions you’ll get. If you only need someone’s email address, that’s all you should ask for.
  • Smart Copy Every landing page needs a little copy, but not much. An inbound marketing agency will include only one relevant keyword, and will minimize copy to just one or two sentences that tell your visitor exactly what they’ll get when they fill out your form, and why that’s great for them.

How Landing Pages fit into an Inbound Marketing Strategy

When it comes to inbound marketing, think of landing pages as the bridge between a visitor and a lead. Before you acquire someone’s contact information, they’re just a visitor.

When that visitor arrives at your landing page, fills out your contact form, and hits submit, they become a lead.

When landing pages are executed properly, they fit seamlessly into your inbound marketing strategy by optimizing visitor experiences with your company:

Visitors get personalized information that answers their questions. At the same time, you get the contact information you need to nurture them through the rest of their buyer’s journey.

With a clear picture of what a landing page is, and what it does, let’s move on to content offers — the content behind the curtain of your landing page.

Content Offers

Finally!

Yeah, content offers are kind of a big deal. We’ve been hyping them up for a while now, so let’s get right to it:

A content offer is any piece of content that you offer a site visitor or potential lead.

This content could be a white paper, a downloadable ebook, or even just a simple checklist. No matter what form it takes, any content offer should be helpful, and specific to one of your buyer persona’s pain points.

Like we mentioned above, many content offers are gated — usually by a landing page. This page will ask for a bit of contact information in exchange for access to the content.

As long as you’re creating quality content that answers your visitors’ questions, they won’t mind trading you for their contact information. Work to write and publish content offers that help your prospects learn more about whatever product or service you provide.

Let’s take a look at an example content offer from our site:

The Smartass Guide to Inbound Marketing.

It strikes the right tone for our laid-back inbound team, plus it grabs your attention.

Just the title alone tells people:

  1. What they’re going to get — A guide to inbound marketing
  2. How they’re going to get it — In a smartass tone that’s likely to be at least a little entertaining

Who we are — Perhaps the most important aspect of this content offer is the human element. This title tells visitors a little bit about us. That starts the relationship-building aspect of inbound marketing that’s so key to acquiring and retaining the right clients.

Why did we write it?

If you’re familiar with inbound marketing, you know that buyer personas are key to nearly every action you take in your inbound marketing strategy.

A few of our buyer personas are great fits for inbound marketing, but don’t know exactly what it is, or how it works. So, we wrote this content offer for them — it’s a fun, tongue-in-cheek explanation of what inbound marketing is, and what it’s not.

The guide offers the basics that you need to know, but it’s not an in-depth opus that will bore people new to the inbound methodology.

 

How can you apply content offers to your inbound marketing strategy?

Start with your buyer personas.

What does your ideal buyer want to know about your product or service? What questions are you asked most often, and can you offer a satisfying answer to one of those questions?

If you can, there’s your content offer right there.

You just need to write it!

And while you do, keep that buyer persona in mind. Speak to them directly, answer questions you know they have, and solve a pain point with your content.

When you offer up real solutions, people are likely to keep coming back to your site for more great content that solves their problems.

Promote Your Content

Once you’ve written up that content offer, you have to get it out to people. Let’s head back to our content offer example: http://info.hadigitalmarketing.com/smartass-guide-inbound-marketing

We’ve written the Smartass Guide to Inbound Marketing —  now what do we do with it?

This content offer is perfect for our top-of-the funnel leads and new site visitors. We place a call-to-action about the offer on top-of-funnel blogs, as well as on pages on our site that people who are new to inbound might visit, like our Inbound Marketing service page.

Our CTA tells people exactly what they’re getting, and how they’ll get it. When they click the “download now” button, they’re taken to a landing page where we ask for a little basic information.

A key feature we love on this landing page is the self-qualifying drop-down.

Here, visitors can choose from Marketing Professional, Sales & Marketing Leadership, Business Owner/President, or Something Else. This helps us get a better idea of who we’re marketing to, and how we can provide better content that speaks to them.

This is also helpful if you have an email workflow, or an automated email strategy. Since we know who each lead is, we can make sure they’re entered into a workflow that properly reflects the pain points they have, and the solutions we provide.

And after all that, our visitors click the “Get the Guide!” button, and become leads. Just like that, we’ve got a new qualified lead, and our leads get this:

By offering helpful, engaging content, we’re able to exchange our information for our site visitors’ contact information. We can use that to offer them more relevant information, until they feel they’re ready to take another action.

Content offers are an excellent way to build positive relationships with your site visitors, and teach them more about what your company does. As you continue to offer relevant, helpful content, you can convert those visitors into leads, and eventually into customers.

Inbound Marketing Agencies Develop Content Offers That Convert

If there’s one thing an inbound marketing agency should be able to do better than anyone else, it’s develop a content offer that converts.

Like we mentioned before, content offers are an essential nurturing tool for mid and bottom-of-the-funnel leads. They convert casual browsers of your site to legitimate leads.

An exceptional content offer can make the difference between you and your competition, and can be one of the reasons a lead chooses your product over someone else’s.

That’s why it’s so important to have quality content offers that are informational, helpful, and that build those positive experiences with site visitors and potential leads.

Every inbound marketing agency works a little bit differently, but here at HA Digital Marketing, we develop and design content offers that your potential clients care about.

We work closely with our clients to see what information is most useful to each buyer persona.

From there, we develop an offer that’s attractive, well-designed, and that will work to convert qualified leads for your company.

Every interaction a lead has with your company needs to be positive and helpful. Content offers are a key interaction that can make or break your company’s relationship with a new lead.

Inbound marketing agencies can develop content offers that take the very best that your company has to offer, and package it in a way that’s digestible, engaging, and helpful to your potential leads.

When your content offers work, you have a better chance to nurture a lead through to a sale.

You have their content information, and that means:

Email Marketing

With contact information in hand, it’s time to start email marketing!

Email marketing is another integral part of an inbound marketing strategy. Email is one of the few opportunities you have to speak to clients who already know you. That makes it incredibly valuable. Here’s why:

In most cases, if you have someone’s email address, they gave it to you willingly.

That means they like your company enough to want to hear from you occasionally, whether through a newsletter or occasional promotional updates.

But how do you reach out to those contacts properly? You want to earn their business, but email marketing is a tricky business.

Too many emails, emails that seem too pushy, and emails that aren’t relevant can get you a quick unsubscribe. In fact, here are 8 bad habits that could be killing your email list.

On the other hand, not emailing your list at all is a waste of some excellent contacts.

 

How an Inbound Marketing Agency Leverages Your Email List for Leads

As a powerful tool in your inbound marketing toolkit, there are a number of ways to use your email list to your advantage. An effective email marketing strategy requires a delicate balance of providing helpful information, and gently reminding people that you do have goods and services for sale.

The first rule of effective email marketing is to always deliver relevant content.

Since your contacts aren’t all the same, and have different goals, interests, and pain points, you can’t send them all the same email. What’s relevant for one subscriber isn’t going to be relevant to all of your subscribers. That’s why segmentation is so important, and why we talk about it so often. A great inbound marketing agency will start here:

Segment email lists according to company goals.

If you have a number of buyer personas, it might make sense to segment according to persona.

If you’re sending out an email to previous customers, you’ll want to segment your list to include only those who have purchased from you in the past.

Depending on what your goals are for your email list — to raise awareness, to engage prospects that dropped out of the sales cycle, or to nurture new leads — your inbound marketing agency will segment the list accordingly.

Here’s a great example of email segmentation from one of our clients, Zeeland Lumber & Supply.

Zeeland works regularly with both homebuilders and construction professionals, and they also supply homeowners who are hoping to complete a project or renovation on their own.

Zeeland wanted to send out a regular newsletter to all of their contacts, to provide them with helpful information, and keep them in the loop about the industry.

But, the information that homebuilders care about is very different from the information homeowners care about.

So, we segmented their email list into two lists — one for homeowners, and one for homebuilders.

Now, we can develop email newsletters that are totally relevant to both of those groups, ensuring that each of their subscribers always receives content they’re interested in, and care about. Check out their two December newsletters:

Keep in mind, this is just the very top section of both emails, but they do a great job of illustrating the importance of segmenting your lists.

As you can see, the homeowner newsletter is letting subscribers know about an event that’s hosted for homeowners interested in a new home or remodel.

Since this is an event specifically for homeowners, sending this email to all of Zeeland’s email subscribers would have alienated recipients who are construction professionals, and who wouldn’t be interested in an event like this.

On the right side, you can see that the Pro Newsletter advertised an event specifically geared towards Zeeland’s professional clients. Zeeland is hosting an industry summit, full of panels and seminars that address issues and innovations within the industry.

This email wouldn’t be relevant to the average homeowner, and in fact, Zeeland wouldn’t want the average homeowner to show up at this event.

By segmenting their email list, they ensure the right information makes it to the right leads, at the right time. And that’s how email marketing effectively supports an inbound marketing strategy.

HubSpot: A Comprehensive Inbound Marketing Tool

HubSpot is a company that markets and develops two software programs (by the same name, HubSpot), one for marketing teams, and one for sales teams.

HubSpot, the company, is a pioneer in inbound methodology, and was one of the first to bring inbound marketing into popularity.

Their CRMs (Customer Relationship Management software platforms) are optimized and structured specifically to help companies attract and close leads using the inbound marketing methodology. Check out our Plain English Guide to HubSpot’s Software for more information on the specific tools and benefits HubSpot provides. 

 

How HubSpot Can Help Improve Your Inbound Marketing Strategy

At HA Digital Marketing, we use HubSpot to manage, track, and analyze our own inbound marketing tactics and procedures. It’s one of the most user-friendly CRMs out there, and it provides real time tracking of the data we care about the most.

More importantly, the HubSpot platform offers us the tools inbound marketers need to create things like landing pages, gated content offers, email workflows, and post to our social media accounts with minimal hassle.

If you’ve stuck with us through this entire page, it’s probably pretty obvious why many companies opt for a CRM like HubSpot to manage some of their inbound marketing efforts.

There’s a lot to keep track of in a complete inbound marketing strategy. From web design to SEO to content, social media, and email marketing, and everything in between, a little help can go a long way.

HubSpot makes the creation of things like emails, blog posts, and even your website design easy. It’s accessible 24/7, from anywhere, an by anyone you’d like to have access.

We recommend HubSpot to our clients who are dedicated to the inbound methodology, and who are looking for a tool that can help them align sales and marketing teams for a truly optimized inbound marketing strategy. This blog covers the ways HubSpot can help you align your sales and marketing teams for increased revenue.

HubSpot isn’t a magic wand, and it’s not perfect for everyone, but if you’re willing to do the work, HubSpot can help you produce some exceptional results.

 

HA Digital Marketing As Your HubSpot Partner

If you were considering subscribing to HubSpot, but are worried about a lengthy adjustment period, that’s what we’re here for. As a HubSpot Gold Agency Certified Partner, we know just about everything there is to know about both the sales and marketing aspects of HubSpot’s CRM.

We work daily to onboard clients onto the platform, and teach them how to use HubSpot to encourage sales and marketing alignment, optimize conversions, and reap the benefits a comprehensive inbound marketing strategy offers.

That’s one of the biggest advantages of hiring an inbound marketing agency — we’re here to help you do the hard stuff.

Our staff is here to help you learn and understand the tools that HubSpot has to offer, so you can use them in a way that best benefits your company.

If you have questions about HubSpot, or about any aspect of the inbound marketing methodology, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’re pretty good at the whole inbound thing, and we’d be happy to help you in any way.

Not ready to chat? No worries! Check out our FAQs below —  someone else might have already asked that question you’ve been wondering about.

Why Do You Need an Inbound Marketing Agency?

If it seems like this page has done a lot of explaining about inbound marketing agencies, you’d be right.

If you’re still not sure who uses an inbound marketing agency, and why, here’s an answer for you:

Inbound marketing agencies help companies learn how to align sales and marketing teams for overall company growth.

They implement a lot of new ideas, that’s true.

But perhaps one of the greatest benefits of an inbound marketing agency is their function as a true partner.

They don’t just tell you how to do something, or implement new ideas without your team’s full approval.

Instead, an inbound marketing agency works to teach your sales and marketing teams how to work together efficiently and effectively.

Like any major company change, inbound marketing implementation can take time. It helps to have a partner in the process.

You’re working to redefine how your sales and marketing departments work with each other while simultaneously working to optimize the leads you’re attracting, increase conversions for those leads, and grow your business as a whole.

That’s kind of a lot.

An inbound marketing agency can help smooth that transition, and keep your company growing while you’re adapting to a new culture and methodology.

For more guidance on how to choose a Michigan Inbound Marketing Agency, read this helpful blog.

 

Inbound Marketing Agency Geared for Growth

HA Digital Marketing is an inbound marketing and growth agency. Our biggest goal is to help grow your business.

We take a holistic approach to inbound marketing, and take great care to implement every aspect of the inbound marketing process for each and every one of our clients.

 

Check Out the HA Digital Marketing Process In Action:

Real Estate Development Case Study: How HADM helped a developer sell $9.5 MM in 24 months.

Manufacturing Case Study: How HADM helped a manufacturing company get on page 1 of Google search results.

Custom Home Builder Case Study: HADM generates more than 30 qualified leads per month.

FAQs

 

How do I know inbound marketing is working for me?

Numbers. As a highly qualified inbound marketing agency, we use numbers to measure and optimize every single thing we do. Before we develop and implement new strategies, we first take a look at how your site is currently performing, where you’re seeing positive results, and where you may have opportunities. We run keyword reports to see the best possible key phrases to rank for, for the lowest price. Then we implement our strategy based on those numbers.

After implementation, we send you monthly reports that tell us, and you, how your site and overall inbound marketing strategy is performing. We take those monthly numbers, and we use them to continuously improve your strategy for continuous growth.

 

Will an inbound marketing agency show me immediate results?

That’s a tough one, and the answer is — it depends. We have clients who have seen astronomical results in less than 30 days, but it all depends on the client. Inbound marketing does rely on a number of tactics that can take a while to see the benefits from. Since Google indexes sites randomly, you may not see the SEO boost you want for a few months. That said, there are plenty of tactics  — like paid search and social media advertising — that will produce immediate results, especially when paired with an optimized digital platform.

 

I’m not sure I want to spend money upfront, if I don’t know what the results will be.

That’s totally your prerogative. We understand that inbound marketing is new, and it can be a little nebulous. How about this: would you spend $1 to make $100? That’s the kind of ROI we deliver.

 

I’m a manufacturer. I’m not sure that social media marketing will work for my clients.

Let’s talk! It’s true that you don’t see a lot of B2B manufacturer advertising on sites like Facebook, but that doesn’t mean that it won’t work for you. If you think about it, the majority of up-and-coming engineers these days are in their 30s to 40s. That demographic has the highest reported usage of Facebook and LinkedIn, both highly reputable social media channels that make ad targeting exceptionally easy. While a broad net social media ad campaign wouldn’t work for your B2B, we can target ads for you by job title, interests, and even by employer. You’ll only spend money on ads that are going to those plant managers or senior engineer most likely to engage with you in the first place.

 

Are all of your clients on HubSpot?

Nope! We really only recommend HubSpot to the clients who seem like the best fits. If your company isn’t big enough yet to require a full-suite CRM, we certainly won’t make you sign up. If you are a larger company with separate sales and marketing teams, you may find HubSpot helpful.

 

What if we already have a website?

That’s awesome! If you already love the website you’ve got, we won’t change it. We may make a few behind-the-scenes changes to make sure you’re ranking for key phrases and ideas that are important in your industry, but if you love your site you certainly don’t have to change it. We’re happy to implement an inbound marketing strategy that uses your existing website.

 

What if I want to do paid advertising?

Let’s get started! As a growth agency offering a holistic approach to inbound marketing tactics, we understand that not just one tactic will deliver all of the results you’re looking for. If you want to do PPC and social media ads, we can help you optimize them to reach the greatest number of qualified leads. Check out our Outbound Marketing page for more info on our pad advertising services.

 

What about website support?

We provide customized reports every month so you can see for yourself how the site is performing and how users are interacting with it. We will host and run regular updates to keep your information safe at all times.

Can inbound marketing help you grow your business?