If you build it, they will come? Not without strategy first.
Marketing platforms like HubSpot made it easy for marketers to create and manage content across multiple platforms. They went to great lengths to educate their users on the wonders of inbound marketing. But somewhere along the way people started believing that as long as they were following the formula of blogging, social media, and email marketing they would get amazing results.
HubSpot is one of over 5000 amazing tools developed in recent years to make life easier for marketers. We are glad to have partnered with them so many years ago — but HubSpot is only a tool, and a tool is only as effective as the person using it.
In our years using HubSpot, we have helped dozens of companies achieve amazing growth goals. We’ve seen numbers that look like they came out of a marketing fairy tale, but while HubSpot has been a great help to us in that time, we don’t give the tool credit for the results. The numbers that we’ve achieved for our clients are a direct result of our strategies.
Without strategy, inbound marketing will leave you content rich and results poor, and the longer you wait to do anything about it, the harder it becomes to recover. We want to help you get back on the right path, and our strategy and coaching services are designed to do that. We’re not interested in taking over and kicking out the old guard. We want to come alongside and coach your team to be more proactive and more effective.
It’s been several years since we first started telling our clients and prospects about inbound marketing – showing them how valuable and informative content can be used to captivate and educate leads for months before they become customers. We’ve helped dozens of our own clients find success with inbound marketing, but we’ve also talked to many prospective clients who tell us that inbound marketing doesn’t work for them. Their previous efforts came up short.
In our experience, almost all of these failures can be blamed on the exact same problem. Somebody treated inbound marketing like a generic formula for success and didn’t realize you need a strategy first to make it work.
Without a strategy, you have no way to measure your results and determine which activities are over-performing or under-performing. A strategy ensures that you are always operating as efficiently as possible and keeps you from getting distracted from your stated goals.
Our strategy-first approach to your marketing and sales goals focuses on short, attainable sprints that prioritize your most important goals from quarter to quarter. We don’t sell long-term, unchanging formulas, and we don’t try to sell you services that aren’t helping you to meet your goals. If inbound marketing is letting you down, let us give you a plan for success.
Discovery-Driven Strategy Development
You can’t successfully market a product that you don’t understand. Business owners are often slow to hand over their marketing or sales strategy to an agency for that very reason. This is why our strategy development always begins with an intense process of discovery. Before we begin our first quarterly plan, we deliver a discovery document that defines and outlines the details of your existing marketing and sales processes. We also do a full study on your target markets, buyers, and buying scenarios.
With this research we can show you how to leverage or supplement the content and resources you already have. Our goal is to improve your positioning and increase your ability to meet growth goals. We can also help you bring your marketing and sales teams into alignment for the strategies we deliver.
Discovery is a process that never really ends. Before each quarterly plan we write — whether it’s the first plan or the thirty-first plan – we revisit that research and apply what we’ve learned to form an even deeper understanding of your business. It’s our goal to make each strategy better than the last one.
A great strategy is goal oriented, focused, and specific.
Any strategy you implement should start with goals and objectives. This is why many inbound marketing strategies from the past several years are starting to fail. “More traffic” is not a quality goal (though it is a good thing!) and “blogging” is not a clear objective. We want to focus on goals that have been customized to your business’s positioning, competition, and growth ambitions — goals that we can quantify and use to define success or failure.
As for objectives, we want to form specific objectives that are the best candidates to help you meet your goals. While your goals may be more general, and may even be similar from quarter to quarter, your objectives will vary widely. Each quarter we define specific content and demand generation strategies to attack your goals from new angles.
All of this is meant to evolve your brand as a whole. Each success builds a more complete picture of your market and your ideal customer.
The strategies we deliver are designed to be implemented over 90-day sprints, and they can be executed by our team or by yours. If at any time along the way you find you need extra help, we offer coaching or full implementation to keep you on track. We also offer real-time tracking of each goal we’ve set, so you can keep an eye on your progress as you work through each sprint.
We deliver 90 days of clear, goal-driven objectives.
Our position is that you can’t operate on a single formula for long periods of time and expect continuous growth. Your core processes for marketing and sales need to adapt and evolve through constant innovation. We also believe in the importance of regularly defining and measuring success. How else do you determine whether your marketing investments are working for you?
We have adapted our strategy services over time to best serve businesses who want to grow and who expect accountability from their agency partners. Our strategies take the form of quarterly sprints, or 90-day plans. This is enough time to accomplish ambitious goals, but not so long that you might lose focus.
In addition, we won’t ask you to sign a contract that extends beyond a 90-day strategy. Accountability is a two-way street. We want to ensure that the businesses we work with are as interested in achieving their goals as we are. We have found that long contracts are a distraction from a successful goal-driven relationship.
Coaching and HubSpot Training for Your Team
One size fits all? Not with marketing. Your business is unique to you, and your existing sales and marketing team is unique as well. Our focus on any partnership is delivering effective strategies with specific growth goals set in the crosshairs. However, once that strategy is on your desk, we’re happy to help in any way we can.
If your business is equipped to take our 90-day sprint and execute it in-house, we say go for it! We’ll be waiting for you at the finish line with the results and the next 90-day plan. If you don’t have adequate resources available, we’re ready to take any or all of the work and hand it over to our own full-service team. We don’t want our partnership with any client to feel like a hostile takeover. You tell us how much help you need.
Many businesses we work with already have people in place to handle at least a part of our strategies. Some need training to get up to speed. Again, we’re happy to help in any way we can. Our marketing and sales strategists are available to coach your team on any aspect of our strategies. We want to enable in-house teams to be successful, because we think that’s best for your business.
What technology best fits your specific needs?
There are over 5000 marketing products and platforms in existence today, and that number grows nearly 15% every year. An optimized “technology stack” is absolutely essential to any successful marketing and sales strategy. With the help of the proper tools, you become more efficient and more effective as you reach new leads and close sales.
But out of those 5000, how do you know which tools are best for your business? Putting together the most appropriate tool belt requires a deep understanding of your needs as well as the available options. You want to align yourself with technology providers who are innovators. They should be well-established and customer focused. You also need to consider how these different tools will work together.
Over the past 5 years, we have been forming strong strategic partnerships with the marketing industry’s most successful and innovative organizations. Specifically, our relationships with Google and HubSpot as a recognized partner agency have allowed us to work directly with high-level representatives as we implement effective technology solutions for our clients. Through the HubSpot Connect program, over 180 platforms and tools have been certified to work with the HubSpot marketing and sales platform, and more are being added every week.
We build effective, efficient technology stacks for our clients through strong partnerships with industry-leading software providers. Let us put those relationships to work for you.
One of the most crucial strategies to have in place before you start producing any new content – whether it’s a web article, a facebook post, or an email – is what we call a content mapping strategy. A content mapping strategy is a document that breaks down all of your existing content to determine how well your content marketing, as a whole, is performing, and what types of content are most effective. There are many benefits to having a strategy to inform your content calendar, but here are the three biggest:
[1. You’ll write more profitable content.]
With a content mapping strategy, you receive a clear picture of exactly what types of content you’re producing and how effective each type is at converting users. With this data in hand, you can spend more time writing the content that resonates more for your audience.
[2. You’ll balance and optimize your existing content.]
There’s already too much content on the web, and the competition is getting harder every day, but did you know that your content’s fiercest competition might be your other content? If you have five articles on the same topic, how does the search engine decide which one to rank highest? Multiple articles that are more or less the same may be watering down your rankings, even if the content is good. A content mapping strategy will show you how to prune and organize your content to make it easier for search engines to rank.
[3. You’ll write less content.]
Thomas Jefferson famously said, “The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.”
The same can be said for content marketing. Why should you write two or three pieces of content if one good article is all you need? A proper content mapping strategy is designed to give you the confidence to only produce the content you need in order to meet your goals.
So, if your goal is to be writing profitable, well-balanced content, and to be spending less time doing so, we can’t recommend enough that you start with a content mapping strategy as your guide.
Structure your content for the future — not the past.
If you adopted a content marketing or inbound marketing strategy when they came to prominence 5 years ago, you might have a website today that’s starting to feel bloated or disorganized. Even if things still look fine to you, search engines might be interpreting your content in a way you didn’t intend. In fact, the consensus among SEOs is that there’s simply too much content on the web right now to gain traction with a traditional content creation strategy. In some scenarios, businesses are feeling pressured to hyper-specialize because it’s become impossible to compete in Google’s search results.
Regardless of your current situation, the future of search is steering us in two distinct directions:
- Structured Data & Content Organization: There’s an increasing popularity of voice search and a significant uptick in Google’s use of structured data (Schema markup). Extremely well-organized content that prioritizes technical factors is getting a big boost in search results. We see this trend continuing to the point that any content that lacks proper technical markup may never have a chance of making an impact in your search rankings. If you’re planning a redesign, or if you’re starting to lose control of your content organization, you need to have a strategy for content restructuring.
- Platform-based Content: Apart from your company website, platform-based content publishing is still a great strategy for effectively reaching your audience. However, platform-based content publishing is very difficult when compared with traditional publishing on your own website. Most platforms give priority to video content, and social platforms require regular publishing in order to keep your place in line.
It sounds weird to say, but at this point in time, a big question that your web strategy needs to answer is, “How important is my website content compared to my other platforms?” We aren’t suggesting that you ditch your website (or stop publishing new content). However, it’s clear that the way web content is indexed and served is quickly shifting. Most people aren’t ready for that change.
Cutting total pages by 80% results in 446% increase in form submissions, 15% decrease in bounce rate, 14% increase in pages per session.
Case Study: TPM. Inc.
As content volumes increase . . . brands will have to get to grips with the fact that embracing content creation will not be a [cure-all solution].
By the year 2020, everyone in your organization — not just marketing or sales — will be making video at work every single week. . . I think we’re at the beginning of something huge.
Start using video today. No excuses.
Without exception, every client we work with has no trouble seeing the value of video content. Also without exception, every client agrees that video production is incredibly frustrating. It’s expensive and it’s disruptive. We want to help by showing you and your staff how to integrate video marketing and video sales processes into your office, workflows, and budget without disrupting your day or hiring a full production agency.
Our video marketing and video sales strategies are customized to your existing workflows and staff. You need to maximize the likelihood of mass internal adoption and minimize the impact on your bottom line. We’ve talked with dozens of companies that know they should be using video, but can’t work up the courage to take the plunge, and we have the knowledge and experience to help you with those intimidating first steps.
Video marketing is too expensive and too disruptive.
In our first year of trying to sell video services, these were the objections I heard. And you know what, they’re right, so we got to work on a plan to specifically address these two problems.
It goes like this: Your business is unique. You have unique employees with unique processes and habits and talents. So instead of coming in and forcing you to do video my way, on my budget, I want to coach you on how to do video your way, on your budget. The important thing isn’t that you become a cinematic success, the important thing is that you start using video.
Our video coaching and strategy focuses on helping you to create a seamless culture of video in your business – a process that fits perfectly within your budget and your workflows. Every piece of the puzzle, from the equipment we recommend to the channels you use to publish your videos is hand picked to match your team’s budget, ability, and desire for success.
So whether it’s social video you’re shooting on your phone or full-scale professional video production, we can offer solutions that are, first and foremost, attainable, and you can finally reap the incredible benefits of using video in your marketing and sales processes.