As a smaller agency, I decided early on I wasn’t going to act like one. When I made the investment in Hubspot, I took it seriously. I put all I had into learning the process, living the method, and putting inbound to work day in and day out. Through countless hours of training videos, tests and practicums, I managed to get every Hubspot certification available in just 6 months. I put my knowledge of the process to work vigorously and within that 6 months, we beat our previous year’s revenue.
Now 9 months into the process, I have seen more growth than I ever thought possible, but I felt like there was still something missing. Traffic was up and so were leads. My agency was growing, but I was not where I wanted to be. You have to understand, that when I committed to inbound, I went all in. I set some ambitious goals for myself and my agency and not meeting them was unacceptable to me. With the inbound marketing world becoming more and more crowded, I knew it was going to take a lot more than just doing what everyone else was doing to achieve my desired results.
Table of Contents
Hubspot and The Inbound Method
Content, Content, Content. Did I mention content? I knew I needed to be active in producing not just quality pieces of content, but more than my competition and make sure that each piece was very focused. I wanted to see results fast because I needed too. So I decided that I would blog 3 times a week. Instead of looking to the latest trends for content ideas (which is a good strategy, just not mine), I opted for a strategy that was strictly focused on my persona, their pain points, and how my agency could solve their problems.
I didn’t just write content. I created slide shares, and infographics, and even started a weekly video post focused on quick tips for busy business owners and marketers (the video series brought my weekly postings up to 4 times a week). I also focused a lot of energy on promoting my content via social media marketing and strategic SEO to grow my traffic.
In late August I even got into the “pay-to-play” game and started throwing my money at social ads, Google, Bing, and even messed around with AdRoll.
So after all that hard work, here are the results.
In August I also introduced growth-driven design into my strategy. Knowing that my site is the centerpiece of my online marketing efforts, I knew there were some changes I needed to make. But I wanted to be sure they were the right changes.
I needed a site that was more engaging for my users and that generated more leads. By merging growth-driven design into my process, I was able to make some major changes to my site, and my overall process, which was based on facts and data. This is also attributed to the faster growth in August and beyond. (See my last article about that here).
As you can see, each month traffic was going up and up. For most businesses, this growth would have been sufficient. But I’m a little hard-headed and when I get focused on something it’s hard for me to let go. I was growing traffic, but I wasn’t seeing the conversion rates I was looking for.
I knew my site was better than ever before, I knew that my landing pages were built to meet all of the best practices and I knew that the Inbound method was working. From August through October I was averaging about 13 contacts each month. Some were good, others, well…they sucked. My best leads were coming from Organic and Social, but the leads coming through paid were pretty much trash.
So what was my issue? Why weren’t more of my visitors converting? Why couldn’t I seem to get better, more qualified leads? There had to be a way to cut through the noise and drive better traffic to my site that would convert. But how? What was I missing?
My organic traffic was growing, but with a relatively new domain and steep competition, I knew earning those rankings would take time. I re-branded my agency this year and my old site had a lot of junk links so it was easier to just let it go. I focused my energy on creating a better site with great on-page SEO and a focused off-page strategy to earn and build high-quality links. Yes, link-building is still important.
While I was getting some leads through paid search, most of them were very low quality. I was sick of spending over $600 or more a month just in ads to see such a minimal return. This wasn’t my solution either.
Now, I did have some decent leads in the pipeline, but as you know, you need a steady stream of quality leads if you are going to grow your business and that’s what I am trying to do. I don’t want to be just another agency; I want to be a remarkable agency. One that turns heads and never settles for average. I needed a little something extra to get me over the top.
BrightInfo’s Content Personalization Opened the Floodgates
I love contextual marketing and believe that it is a must in today’s online marketing world. Delivering personalized content is key to creating an engaging user experience and generating better leads. As a contextual certified marketer, I understand this well and had been implementing it into my site using Hubspot’s awesome smart content. But as a smaller agency, I had to juggle delivering results for my clients while also focusing on building my own brand. There just didn’t seem like enough time to do all I wanted and needed to do. I needed help. I needed a smart solution for my smart content.
I saw how Hubspot used BrightInfo to promote this year’s Inbound Conference and that piqued my interest. As a Hubspot partner, I’ve seen the success of their brand and the power of their services with my own marketing and said, “If it’s good enough for them, it’s probably good enough for me.” I also saw the ads and content offers they had on Business2Community and how they were less invasive and very inviting. So I decided to sign up for a demo.
So for those of you who don’t know, Brightinfo is a tool that helps you deliver your content to your visitors in a more personal way. They continually and dynamically analyze your visitor’s intent and then they deliver the best content to your audience at the optimal time. Think contextual marketing on steroids. They also have a native ad solution that allows smaller agencies and businesses to get in front of the same high-quality leads as the big boys. Flat click fee, no bidding, so you can’t lose because of budget.
After looking at the program and getting a demo, I was persuaded to give it a shot. (Plus the partner rep was awesome to work with and totally helped me out). What did I have to lose? I was already wasting money on junk ads, so I just diverted that over to them and said, “If this works even half as good as you claim, I’ll be stoked.”
OK, enough of my chatter. Here are the results after just 7 days with BrightInfo.
First, let’s look at the non-ad side of things.
Native visitor engagement increased and so did my conversion rates. In October, I had a terrible 0.8% visits to conversion. It’s painful to even type that, but it’s true. This month’s visits to conversions rate are at 3.4%. That is a 324.9% increase.
The numbers above are a weak comparison of my content engagement. As you can see, my inbound strategy is continuing to work. I am driving traffic and they are engaging. But the big difference is, with the help of Brightinfo, my engagement increased by 10.8% and my conversions increased by 37.5%. That is what I like to see!
Above is a report of the most clicked content. Here’s the really cool part: since I create a ton of new content each week, some of my older posts, which still have value, get lost in the pile. Brightinfo helps to keep my evergreen content alive. By comparing what your user is engaging with, the platform helps guide them to other content that is more likely to nurture them into converting.
So if this was all I saw in one week, I’d be stoked. I am getting more engagement, my traffic is continuing to grow, and now they are starting to convert at a higher rate. But I haven’t even gotten to the good part yet.
An Inbound Approach to Advertising
As some of you know Hubspot got into the ad game this year after inbound. While I gave the platform a shot, it really wasn’t what I was looking for. My previous experience with online ads was less than enjoyable and left me less convinced to spend more money with the low returns I was seeing. But I also realize the value of advertising and how when you take an inbound approach you can win big.
Part of what drew me to Brightinfo was their ads platform. Through their platform, I am able to get my content and offers in front of my audience unlike anything else I’ve seen. Instead of competing for higher posting in search engines or overloading social feeds, they put your content and offers on high-traffic and persona-related sites. This way, your content is only being “advertised” to people who are already looking for your solution. While I was a little skeptical at first, I have been blown away not only by the amount of leads, but the quality of the leads coming my way.
Here is October’s ROI on paid search:
Terrible‚ just terrible…
Here are the results from my BrightInfo Campaign in just 7 days:
Are you kidding me?!?! Less traffic, lower cost, and conversion increase of 4675%. This seems too good to be true. I thought something was off, but I checked my Hubspot portal and there they were: 29 new leads.
So let’s put all this together. After just a week of data from Brightinfo, I can say this is one of the best investments I’ve made for my agency. Here is how November is looking so far.
The visits to contact ratio for the month is averaged at 3.4%, but after just 1 week with Brightinfo, I’m averaging above 7%. Not all of the news leads are grade-A quality, but some are A++ and even more are worth taking a look at. While I can’t show you their exact info, I can tell you that they are in my sweet spot. I have a bunch of new high-profile marketing and sale-qualified leads that look very promising. None of which I could have made initial contact with on my own at this point in my Inbound journey.
First off, you have to know that none of this just happens. You can have all the right tools in the world, but without the know-how, you just have a cool collection of tools.
Inbound Marketing takes work. You have to be willing to do the process and do it consistently. You have to understand SEO, Social Media, the impacts of web design, how to create quality landing pages, how to nurture leads with workflow and a whole lot more. Hubspot helps all of this make more sense and helps you market more effectively. Without their awesome tools, I wouldn’t be anywhere close to where I am right now. From the tools to the training, Hubspot is by far the best around.
- Solid SEO
- Blogging Strategy
- Social Media Plan
- Good Landing Pages
- Focused workflows and email nurturing.
- Great tools that help automate the process ‚Ä¶. Like Hubspot
I knew my inbound process was good, I just needed someone to help me get more of my content in front of my audience to generate better leads. That’s what Brightinfo does. Not only with ads but also by helping those coming to your site via organic or social or any other traffic means. They help make sure that your visitors get the most out of your site and that they see the offers that are most useful to them. It helps you add direct value to your users and in return build your credibility.
Content Personalization Musts:
- Know Your Persona – (Like, really well)
- Create great offers that your personas want!
- Create content that adds value.
- Repeat steps 2 and 3 (over and over)
I know that I’m still early in the process with Brightinfo, I mean come on, it has only been a week. But the stats speak for themselves. Just in case you didn’t get enough statistics already, here are a few more. In October, I generated 11 contacts through my own efforts.
At this point in November, I am already up to 40 with the help of Brightinfo.
That is a 300% increase and this month isn’t even over yet. By merging Brightinfo’s real-time content personalization with my inbound strategy I am not only going to hit my goals, but crush them. As I learn more about this new tool, I am excited to see what new ways I can use it to add value to my visitors and grow my business. We are also proud to now be a Brightinfo partner, which allows us to help our clients deliver the same awesome results when paring Brightinfo with their Inbound strategy as well. The future is definitely looking bright!