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Helping knowledge-based businesses grow with inbound marketing

The Inbound Growth Blog

Twice weekly articles to help SMB business owners and managers use an integrated marketing strategy to drive revenue growth

4 Smart Content Marketing Strategies for Professional Services Firms

Posted by John Beveridge

Aug 28, 2014, 9:30 AM

Content marketing is a double-edged sword. It's easy to create content and unlike old-school traditional marketing methods there are virtually no barriers to producing content.  Unfortunately, many companies rush to get on the content marketing bandwagon with little thought concerning strategy or long-term goals. This typically results in very low quality content that does not serve any particular purpose. This type of activity is less of a strategy and more of a wasted effort. Before you get carried away with content creation, determine what you hope to accomplish and ensure you are utilizing smart strategies. Here are four smart content marketing strategies that will help you gain influence, earn trust, and increase sales.

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3 Hacks to Integrate Inbound Marketing Into Your Sales Process

Posted by John Beveridge

Aug 25, 2014, 6:00 PM

Inbound marketing has taken its place as an increasingly important part of the sales process - but you can't take advantage of these techniques unless you understand when, where, and why they should be used. Here are three of the best hacks for integrating inbound marketing into your current sales process.

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The Social Media Marketing ABCs That Will Grow Your Technology Company

Posted by John Beveridge

Aug 19, 2014, 8:08 AM

Social networks are excellent places to develop a rapport with customers and increase your qualified leads. This is especially important for a technology company marketing plan, since a key element to building your brand is showing you are in tune with the latest technology.

But the social media blogosphere is a big, loud, confusing place (sort of like New York City at rush hour during the Puerto Rican Day Parade), so how does one even begin to use social networking to grow their business? Here are the ABCs of social media marketing that will grow your technology company.

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How to Create Email Marketing Campaigns That Get Results

Posted by John Beveridge

Aug 14, 2014, 10:01 AM

Take a look at the twenty most recent messages your email inbox. Not the spam folder, but the main inbox – the one that's theoretically meant to house messages you actually want to read. How many of those first twenty have you opened, and how many will go forever un-clicked? How many fall into the “I'll read it later” category, and what usually happens when “later” arrives?

More importantly, why do you choose to read one piece of email marketing, but not another? If you want your email marketing to stand out for the right reasons, these are important questions to answer.

Junk mail has been around for a long time, and people are predisposed to distrust it. Back when snail mail was the only mail, junk mail arrived on paper, and it arrived often. Now it's called spam, and it's even easier to send digitally. No matter how careful you are about sharing your email address, spammers will find you. It's a fact of digital life, and it's a burden to honest marketers everywhere.

Between the spammers and the legitimate marketers, you've got a lot of competition for a limited amount of inbox space. If numbers are your thing, a study by tech giant Intel, released in 2013, determined that 204 million emails are sent every minute. That's 12.24 billion emails an hour. So standing out takes work and creativity, but email marketing, done right, is still a very powerful tool. Let's take a closer look at how you can create email marketing campaigns that get results, no matter the size of your business.

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4 Foolproof Inbound Marketing Tactics For Technology Companies

Posted by John Beveridge

Aug 12, 2014, 5:04 PM

For many technology companies, growth is becoming increasingly difficult. As technologies mature, more competitors enter the market, sales become more difficult and price becomes the differentiating factor. Technology companies that are successful over the long run (think Apple) constantly innovate, developing new products and pivoting to new markets. Stand still and you die. Is your technology company facing more competition and a difficult growth environment? If so, you're not alone.

As many technologies are maturing, the marketing environment is becoming increasingly crowded. Banner ads used to be an effective way to sell; now the term "banner blindness" refers to the fact that most consumers have become so accustomed to banner ads that they simply ignore them. I'm a huge proponent of content marketing - it's a great way to help potential buyers and demonstrate to  them the value of doing business with you. But there is so much crappy content being published today that it's increasingly difficult to stand out from the crowd. Difficult, but not impossible. Here are 4 foolproof inbound marketing tactics for your technology company.

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How To Use Inbound Marketing In Your Insurance Agency

Posted by John Beveridge

Aug 6, 2014, 6:00 PM

It may come as a surprise hearing this from someone who runs an inbound marketing agency, but it's unlikely that insurance agencies can hit their growth targets with inbound marketing alone. On the other hand, it's increasingly difficult for insurance agencies to hit their numbers without inbound marketing. When done properly, inbound marketing should supplement your other sales activities to create synergies that help you hit your sales goals.

Inbound marketing is a series of tactics that combine to draw potential buyers to your website, convert strangers to sales leads and create opportunities for producers to close deals. The data-driven nature of inbound marketing lets you measure your activity to optimize results. Blogging, search engine optimization and social media create website traffic. Premium content like eBooks and webinars convert website visitors to sales leads. Email marketing and marketing automation move leads through the sales funnel to create opportunities for your producers to close deals. Marketing analytics tells you what's working and what isn't so you can focus your resources on tactics that produce results.

Insurance agencies, like other professional services businesses, are naturals for an inbound approach. Business insurance and employee benefits are complicated services that every business needs. Buyers look for answers to their questions on the web and social media - savvy agencies get found when potential buyers search for information. That's why I say that it's increasingly difficult to hit your numbers without inbound marketing - if buyers don't find you when they look for information, it's unlikely that you'll make their short list when they narrow down purchase options.

Here are some tips on how to use inbound marketing in your insurance agency.

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How To Tell If You're Doing Inbound Marketing Right

Posted by John Beveridge

Aug 4, 2014, 6:00 PM

Nearly three out of every four marketers say that obtaining quality leads is their top challenge, according to Revi Media. That’s certainly no surprise, given today’s highly competitive economy and lengthening sales cycle. Traditional marketing strategies like television advertisements and cold calling require substantial effort and only yield limited results. Worse, these strategies often have limited scalability and lack an efficient, customer-oriented experience.

Inbound marketing is different. With inbound marketing, customers come to you rather than you going to them. Inbound marketing combines the best of multiple strategies, including SEO, content marketing, social media marketing, and email marketing to bring highly qualified prospects right to your business. Inbound marketing does this by delivering the right piece of content to the right lead at the right time: it’s that simple. Or is it? Nearly every business today claims to do some form of inbound marketing. However, many businesses could still learn a thing or two about how inbound marketing actually works.

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5 Questions You Should Ask Before You Hire an Inbound Marketing Agency

Posted by John Beveridge

Jul 28, 2014, 9:01 PM

The old marketing playbook is broken: 86% of consumers skip television ads, 91% unsubscribe from unwanted emails, and 200 million are on the do-not-call list, according to HubSpot. In order to attract customers, companies have to provide them with something they love. That’s what inbound marketing does. Inbound marketing is a holistic, data-driven approach to marketing in the digital age. It attracts consumers to your brand, builds a relationship with these consumers, and converts them into loyal customers.

When you use inbound marketing, customers come to you: it’s all about providing the right content in the right place at the right time. Inbound marketing is relevant and helpful to your customers; in fact, when done correctly, inbound marketing should never even look like ‘marketing’.

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What No One Tells You About Inbound Marketing

Posted by John Beveridge

Jul 22, 2014, 6:40 PM

I'm a big supporter of inbound marketing. So much so that I built a business around it. It just makes sense to sell the way people want to buy, right? 

Think of the last purchase you made. Did you go online and do research? Check out various options for your purchase? Read online reviews to see what the public thinks of the various options? If you did, your buying behavior matches that of the average buyer, according to the Corporate Executive Board. They found that the average buyer completes 57% of their sales process before ever contacting a sales person.

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Three Pillars For Professional Services Marketing

Posted by John Beveridge

Jul 16, 2014, 2:51 PM

Professional services marketing requires atargeted, three-prong approach: Authority, Connection and Education. Covering these three areas builds trust and establishes your business and you as an authority in the industry. A well planned marketing strategy will help you grow your business and increase your client base, but it takes commitment to make it work. Use these online selling tactics to accelerate your professional services sales process.

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High_Res_Portrait_for_NVTCJohn Beveridge is the President and Founder of Rapidan Strategies, an Inbound Marketing Agency and Certified HubSpot Partner located in Fairfax, VA. Prior to founding Rapidan Strategies, John spent 25 years as a management consultant and specializes in helping professional services and technology firms grow rapidly with inbound marketing strategies. John is a Social Media Today contributor and currently serves as the Vice Chair for the Northern Virginia Technology Council's Business Development, Marketing and Sales Committee

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