Top 6 Benefits of Using a Marketing Firm for Lead Generation

Lead generation is one of those things that you can do alone, but probably shouldn’t. Like cutting your own hair, it’s not that deciding to do it yourself is inherently bad, but you might end up with a bowl cut straight out of 1995.

Here are the benefits of using a marketing firm for lead generation and why partnering with experts might be the best choice for your organization. 

Benefits of Using a Marketing Firm for Lead Generation

1) Alignment

Perhaps the greatest benefit of using a marketing firm for lead generation is alignment. A great firm will know that while the ultimate goal is getting more leads, you won’t be able to achieve or sustain that without alignment throughout your entire program. So what do I mean when I say ‘alignment?’ 

Related Read: Lead Generation Guide: Basics of Lead Gen

First, I’m talking about sales and marketing alignment. What a marketing firm does to increase lead gen will support sales initiatives. A firm will be focused on bringing in the high-quality types of leads that sales needs. They’ll also enable sales with tools– such as email templates, ebooks, white sheets, etc.- to help them close deals. Furthermore, a marketing firm will also encourage input from sales to create a symbiosis of feedback and continual improvement.

I’m also talking about alignment with your business objectives and goals. One benefit of working with a marketing firm on lead generation is that they can help you ramp up your current targeting or pivot to a new market segment when necessary. They’ll be able to right-size your existing program with the tools and strategies to take your company where you want to go.

2) Multi-Faceted Strategy

Additionally, a marketing firm will be able to implement multiple strategies and tactics to increase your lead generation. Firms typically have experts in varying areas of specialty- an SEO expert, a social media expert, a content expert, for example- that make up their larger team. They’ll put their heads together to create a lead gen strategy that encompasses all different angles of marketing in a cohesive way to get the best results. 

benefits of Using a Marketing Firm for Lead Generation

As your program grows, the needs of a lead generation program will change. Sometimes a paid media strategy to bring in leads isn’t always a good fit and maybe you actually need to back off on the social posting a bit. A firm will have the wherewithal and experience to implement these strategies (or not) and make changes as the program develops. Working with a marketing firm for lead generation means they will have the experience to know how – and when – to pull the right strings. 

3) Automation Experts 

A key element to lead generation is marketing automation. The right partner for your lead generation program will be an expert in this area. You can read more about the basics of marketing automation here, but in short, automation is a way to make your marketing work smarter and harder for you. Working with a marketing firm means you’ll have experts doing the setup and management on your behalf. They’ll work in your CRM to make sure incoming leads are nurtured and addressed appropriately. 

A marketing firm will also be able to set up the parameters to sort your leads for you. They’ll be able to set up the automation to make sure the job candidate leads go to HR and any complaints go to Brenda in accounting. (Just kidding. Unless you want them to…). They’ll also be able to qualify leads appropriately, which is essential as higher volumes of leads start coming in. This means that leads can be screened for fit before they ever hit the desk of your salesperson. For instance, let’s say a lead comes in that meets most of your criteria to be a good lead, but isn’t ready to buy yet. They can be automatically enrolled in a drip campaign that nurtures them along to keep you top of mind, but they won’t be handed to sales just yet. A marketing firm will be able to help you identify your criteria and set up the backend work to make it all happen.

4) KPI Reporting

Because a lead generation program has many elements, tactics, and levers, it’s easy to get lost in the reporting weeds. A marketing firm will be able to narrow your scope and focus on the KPIs. Furthermore, they’ll be able to tell you what those KPIs actually mean. So your lead volume is way up but your traffic is down- what does that mean? Is it a problem? Do we like it? There’s always a story behind the numbers. A firm will be able to read it to you. 

Benefits of Using a Marketing Firm for Lead Generation

5) Unbias Insights

Another benefit of using a marketing firm for lead generation is that you’ll have a neutral, third party present to help with decision making. They’ll use those reporting insights we just talked about along with their combined experience to offer unbias solutions on how to move forward. It can be hard to see the forest through the trees and a firm will bring a new perspective.

Partnering with a marketing firm means you’re bringing a team of people whose sole objective is to help achieve your goals. This is important because starting up a lead gen program often means changes for internal sales and marketing team. It might be a new process to handle leads or an ask to do something new. A marketing firm will be able to discuss the big picture objectives and the reasons for change to encourage your team and make them feel comfortable with it. 

6) More Leads 

This benefit was so obvious I almost forgot it, yet it needs to be said. The biggest benefit of using a marketing firm for lead generation is more leads. Nothing is ever guaranteed, but when you bring on a firm with everything stated above – expertise, alignment, automation skills, etc. – it translates into a stellar lead generation program.

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Key Takeaways

Lead generation is important. Actually, it’s critical. Without leads coming in the door, you’ll become stagnant. Working with a marketing firm for lead generation means more leads and company growth. A firm will be able to align your program with your business objectives and get your sales and marketing teams working toward a common goal. They’ll bring the experience and unbias insights needed to take your lead gen to the next level.

Using Marketing Automation to Outsource Lead Generation

Entrepreneurs and small business leaders are the ultimate hat-wearers. Unlike bigger, resource-opportune corporations, startups are scrappy. Anybody in a sales role likely isn’t doing just sales, the marketing person might double as HR, and the CEO likely wouldn’t be able to fit all his or her descriptive titles on a business card. Resources are scarce in order to put revenue back into the company for growth. If this sounds familiar, marketing automation can likely help you free up your employees’ time and aid in your business growth while you focus on all the other things your business needs. 

Marketing Automation to Outsource Lead Generation

What is Marketing Automation

Marketing automation is the use of technology to automate elements of your sales and marketing processes. While you are always looking to get more leads, implementing marketing automation allows for lead nurturing and followup at scale. There are many aspects and angles of marketing automation, but let’s talk about email marketing. 

Marketing Automation through Workflows

One of our favorite ways to use marketing automation to outsource lead generation is through workflows. Also called drip campaigns or nurturing sequences (and likely a few other names I’m forgetting), workflows are a series of emails intended to automatically move a buyer along in the journey. 

Learn more about the basics of lead gen in our guide. Get it here.

Enrollment

So how do you kick off a workflow and start automating your lead gen? Well, there are a few ways, but they all involve the user taking a specific action- visiting a specific website page, adding items to their online shopping cart but then abandoning it, making a purchase, etc.. We typically enroll users into workflows using content or “lead magnets.” We offer up a piece of content (eBook, infographic, comparison guide, etc.) that a user fills out a form to access. We get their contact info – including email- and they get their content. (Read more about this exchange here.)

From there, we know 1) who the user is, 2) what they downloaded, and 3) have the ability to infer what they are interested in. You might even get more info from your user like when they want to purchase and the persona they identify with depending on your form. (Again, here’s more information on forms and conversion funnels if you want to know more on that subject.)

Nurturing

Once a user is enrolled, your goal is to move them along. Nurture them with useful content and keep your business top of mind. We usually do 10-15 emails in each workflow campaign starting with a friendly, “Thought you might like this thing my company has” and ending the last email with a direct, “Contact us.” Three things to keep in mind here as you build out the contents of your emails:

1) Interest 

What are you emailing your leads about? Go back up a paragraph and find the word useful before the word content. Super important distinction. The most successful workflows are ones that continue to pique the interest of the user. If they downloaded an offer on subject A, don’t email them about subject Q. Your workflows should walk your lead through a natural progression of subject matter that ultimately leads back to a bottom of funnel call to action (contact us, schedule an appointment, buy this, etc.). 

2) Timing 

The timing of your workflows can be critical, and sometimes it can be hard to get exact. Too frequent and you’ll make an enemy. Too infrequent and they could move on to other options or lose interest entirely. As a general rule, we recommend about 7-10 days between these types of email communications, gradually increasing in frequency as you start to close in on your sale.

If you captured any timeline from the user on your form, use that, too. If they indicated they are looking to buy in the next 2 months, a more aggressive workflow might be in store. 

3) Other communications

What other marketing do you have going on? Make sure your leads aren’t enrolled in more than one workflow at a time. Additionally, use this opportunity to uphold other marketing efforts and communicate consistently.

Marketing Automation through Sequences

Another way to use marketing automation to outsource lead generation is by sales sequences. Take this scenario: Somebody submits a Contact Us form on your site. You email them back. No reply. You email them again. No reply. One more time for prosperity’s sake? No reply. So much wasted time. With sales sequences, you can automate that follow up. Draft templated followup emails to leads and have them automatically sent on a predetermined schedule. 

The same is true for cold-calling/emailing. Trigger your sequences by sending the first email out to your target(s) and let automation handle the followup. You can set followup and reminder emails to go out at specified intervals automatically rather than having to remember to do it yourself. For instance, you can send a cold email out on a Monday, and have marketing automation email that Thursday, at the end of the following week, and perhaps once more a week after that. Without automation, you would need to set reminders to do this and would likely be writing every new email rather than falling back into the loving arms of a template. Check out these leads followup tips to help you get started.

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Lake One’s Paid Media Glossary

Paid advertising is often a great way to increase traffic and sales as you’re growing and sustaining your online presence. But the lingo can be a little confusing if you aren’t used to hearing it every day. To help, here’s Lake One’s paid media glossary of terms, including a breakdown of the basic types of paid media to help identify which ones might be a fit for you.

Paid Media Glossary

Types of Paid Media

1) Retargeting Ads

Retargeting is a form of paid media that serves ads to users who have already engaged with your site or social media page. The goal of retargeting is to re-engage users with your brand.

Because retargeting works via cookie tracking, it allows you to target your ads to a specific behavior. For instance, you can retarget an ad to people who abandoned their online shopping carts or viewed a specific webpage.

Pros to retargeting: Great for keeping your brand top-of-mind and moving users further along the funnel. 

Cons to retargeting: Not a strategy for acquiring new visitors.

2) Display Ads 

Display ads, or sometimes called Banner Ads, are static image ads. These are the ads that you see when browsing the web, outside of social media or Google. Display ads can be run as a form of retargeting, so this is why you might see an ad for the eCommerce site you just visited pop up on your fav news site. Display ads can also be interest-based: i.e. getting an ad for Recipes.com after browsing a few different sites for Thanksgiving dinner planning.

Display ads on Google all run through what’s called the Google Display Network. This is a vast network of over 2 million websites that are connected to Google and able to display your ad. Google estimates that this network is able to reach up to 90% of the internet.

Here’s are some examples of display ads not based on retargeting.

Paid Media Glossary

Pros to Display Ads: Retargeting through display ads can be especially effective when retargeting.

Cons to Display Ads: Display ads usually have low click rates and are typically used for awareness campaigns.

3) Pay Per Click Ads

Pay per click, or PPC, is what the industry calls advertising within search engine results. These are the “paid results” you see on Google (or Yahoo or Bing, etc.) before the organic search results display. You will only pay for an ad if it gets clicked, and the amount you pay will vary greatly depending on your targeting.

Paid Media Glossary

Pros to PPC: Effective way to get to the top of the search engine results and generate traffic. 

Cons to PPC: Can be expensive depending on your targeted keywords and often requires a higher level of expertise to be effective.

4) Social Ads

Paid Media Glossary

Socials ads are advertising served on any social media platform. Facebook and Instagram ads can be managed together while Twitter and LinkedIn need to be done directly through their ad serving platforms. (Here are some tips on LinkedIn advertising.) Depending on your audience’s social media savviness, advertising on these platforms can be hugely successful. 

Here’s an example of a retargeting social ad. These shoes and the cellphone case are specific products I’ve reviewed recently.

Pros to Social Ads: Platforms range in expense but are generally cheaper than other options plus offer the ability to target very niche groups, especially when using LinkedIn for B2B purposes.

Cons to Social Ads: Focus is typically on visuals of ads and some platforms, like Instagram, have high aesthetics expectation. It can involve trial and error when getting started.

Targeting Options

1) Mobile

Ads served just to mobile users and not to desktop.

2) Native

Ads that blend into the environment and do not look like ads; typically on social media.

3) Geofencing

Targeting an ad to a specific geographical area- can be down to specific zip codes.

4) Dayparting

Only serving an ad during specific times of the day (such as business hours) to increase targeting based on persona search habits.

5) Exact Match

In PPC ads, exact match ads are only served when your exact keywords are searched (e.g. exact match for “Best St. Paul Moving Company” won’t serve an ad for “Best Rated St. Paul Moving Company”).

6) Phrase Match 

In PPC ads, phrase match ads are served when there is a contextual match for your keywords. (e.g. phrase match for “Best St. Paul Moving Company” will serve an ad for “Best Rated St. Paul Moving Company”).

7) Bid

The budget you’re willing to pay for your ad to display. Bids can be set by click, impression, and/or on a daily/monthly basis.

How to Pick the Best Digital Marketing Agency for Your Company

Paid Media KPIs

1) Impressions

How many people have seen your ad. Unique Impressions are the individual people who viewed your ad vs Total Impressions which counts each and every view independently, even if one person viewed your ad more than once.

2) Click or Clickthrough

The total clicks on your ad.

3) Clickthrough Rate

The percentage of impressions that received a click.

4) Cost per Click

How much you’re paying on average to receive a click on your ad.

5) Cost per Acquisition

The average cost you’re paying for a goal to be completed (a goal can be a purchase, a form submitted, etc.)

Practical Ways to Implement A/B Testing on Conversion Funnels

A conversion funnel is what we call the path a user follows to convert on a landing page. You can read more about the basics here, but the parts that make up a conversion funnel are the CTA, Landing Page, Thank You Page, and the Thank You Email. As marketers and business people, we want people to convert, but sometimes our marketing underperforms or our guts say that good performance could be better. So then we test. Here are practical ways to implement A/B testing on conversion funnels and improve their performance. 

Implement A/B Testing

A/B Testing CTAs

CTA testing in HubSpot could not be any easier. By creating two versions of your CTAs- A and B- HubSpot will naturally serve the CTAs equally. When running multivariate CTA testing, we’re focusing the majority of our attention on the Click Rates because clicks are the main goal of a CTA. Submission rates are a secondary factor because they are mostly an indication of your landing page performance. The caveat here is relevance, though. High clicks and low submission rates can be an indication that the promise of your CTA is incongruent with that of your landing page. The messaging of one or the other may need to be adjusted. 

Not all leads are created equal! Download our Lead Scoring Guide to learn how to automate your lead qualification.

In this example, version A and B were created at the same time. After a few months of testing, both have nearly identical views, but the clicks on version B are a full percentage point higher. At this point, since we have a decent amount of data, it might be time to create a new version “A” to see if we can beat or at least match version B.

Implement A/B Testing

A/B Testing Landing Pages

HubSpot also makes implementing A/B testing on landing pages super easy. What you’re looking at when testing landing pages are submissions. WordStream tells us we want 10% or higher to be considered among the best. Some of the things you could vary are your headlines and copy. You can even try testing the medium of your offer- guide vs eBook vs infographic etc.- to see what your audience is more compelled to utilize.

One of the biggest advantages to A/B testing a landing page is to see how the length of a form affects your submissions. As marketers, we of course want as much data as we can get, but we also know that there’s a breaking point in what we request. High-value offers have a higher threshold for longer forms. To test, create two variants of your landing page- one with a shorter form and one with a more complex form- to find out where your persona’s threshold is. If you can get away with having a longer form and requesting more information without your submissions rates suffering, go for it.

If you’re not sure where to start with your landing page testing, you can try setting up heat mapping to see exactly how your users are interacting with your page. You might find people are leaving right away (a better headline or more appealing design, perhaps?) or abandoning the form (shorten that sucker up!). Bounce rates can also indicate where to start.

Bonus: are your landing pages optimized for SEO? Learn more about it here.

A/B Testing Thank You Pages

You create Thank You Pages (TYPs) variants the same way you do Landing Pages in HubSpot. So what are you looking for here? Engagement. You want people to access their offer (via a link or a button) and then go on to engage with the site. This is where you have the opportunity to move them through the funnel or charm them with delight. You can create full variants of your TYP or try testing a CTA within your TYP as we discussed above. 

A/B Testing Thank You Emails (Kind of)

Thank You Emails are the automated emails that send after a user submits a form. They can be set up directly on the landing page form or via a workflow. Unfortunately, you cannot implement A/B testing of automated emails in HubSpot. But, there are a few ways to get around it. What you want to measure by testing thank you emails are your open rates and click rates.

Lead Scoring Guide

Open rates are correlated to the strength of your subject line. To test, benchmark your current views and opens then manually make and publish your updates to the same email. Allow your updates to gather data and then measure performance against your benchmarked data. Rinse and repeat.

You can test the click rates in your thank you emails by creating multivariate CTAs as discussed in the CTA section above. You can also manually update the copy and hyperlinks to your “next step” offer (whatever action you’ve included in your TYE that you want your user to take next such as downloading a different offer or contacting you for a consult). Benchmark your stats and revisit often to check the efficacy of your updates. 

Content Optimization: How to Optimize Existing Content

Wouldn’t it be nice if your content was set it and forget it? Technically, I guess it could be, but you’d be remiss not to optimize old content. Why? Because everything changes- SEO rankings and trends, competitors coming in and out and all up in your space, your own products and strategies… 

So, here is a step-by-step process on how to optimize existing content. Don’t go about this all willy-nilly. I promise that if you put a little thought and strategy into a plan, your optimization process will go much smoother with better results.

Optimize existing content

Start with Strategy

Before you begin, think about how (or if) your marketing strategy has changed. Have your personas changed or do you know more about them since you first published? Have you honed in on a specific niche or decided that your niche was actually too small? If you know your objectives well, this step will be easy. You may need to do a little research into your strategy docs, but you won’t otherwise need to do anything concrete here.

Now you need to plan out what content you will be optimizing and how you will be optimizing it. What’s the goal of the content? Conversions? Traffic? Let’s look at CTAs, landing pages, and blogs specifically.

Turn your website into a lead machine. Get our free guide. 

Optimizing Existing CTAs

The goal of a CTA is a click. Therefore, look at your all-time click rates for all of your CTAs. According to Niel Patel, a good click-through rate of a CTA is about 3%. You can either optimize all of your CTAs below 3% or you can start with a chunk of the lower performing ones. How to proceed with your optimization plan will depend on the answers to the following questions:

Questions to Ask on CTA Performance:

  • Location:
    Where is the CTA located? Do I need to add it to more places? Is it getting exposure on those pages or is it buried in the noise of other content? Is it still relevant to those pages?
  • Design:
    How’s the creative? Is it similar to other CTAs? Are those CTAs performing?
  • Root Cause:
    Continuing off the previous bullet, do I think it’s the CTA design or is it what I’m offering that’s ineffective? Do I need to rephrase? Ie- Schedule Your Free Consult vs Contact Us & Start for free.
  • A/B Testing:
    Do I already have A/B testing setup? If so, consider replacing the lower performing of the two and leaving the other as is. If you don’t have A/B testing set up, decide whether you want to replace the CTA entirely or add an option B. (Hint: we think A/B testing is the bee’s knees!) Know that A/B testing will take longer to get meaningful results for smaller audiences.

Optimizing Existing Landing Page Content 

Traffic to your landing pages (LPs) will mostly be addressed in your CTA optimization with the exception of any LPs you have linked in your site’s navigation- like contact us. So, let’s focus on optimizing landing pages for conversion, as that is their main goal. Pull analytics on your landing page views, conversions, and conversion rates. According to WordSteam, the average landing page converts at around 2.35%, but your conversion targets should be 10% or higher. 

Optimizing your landing pages is going to focus on your content and the form + CTA. 

Questions to Ask When Optimizing Landing Page Content:

  • Copy:
    Are you clearly describing your offer? Try rephrasing and/or rewriting your headlines and bullet points. Don’t forget about keywords.
  • Relevance:
    Is your offer still relevant? Optimizing won’t fix the problem, but you might be able to get away with reframing the offer until you’re able to replace it.
  • Image:
    Do you have an image? Is it generic or does it depict what you’re offering? Check your alt tags while you’re at it.

Questions to Ask When Optimizing a Landing Page Form:

  • Form Length:
    Are you asking too much? The amount of requested information should be an equal ask to the value of your offer. A super valuable piece of content will have a higher tolerance for a longer form. Conversely, an overly long form will turn people away if your offer isn’t uber valuable.
  • Form Button:
    Does your button match the offer? Consider making buttons like ‘submit’ into something more specific.

Additionally, heat mapping can be a valuable tool for landing page optimization.  There are several free tools available on the market. With heat mapping, you can see how actual users are engaging with your landing pages. These can give you direct insights into what’s preventing conversion from occurring. Here are some more tips on building a landing page that converts.

Optimizing Existing Blog Content

For blog optimization, we’re going to look at a few different things in combination: internal links, keywords, traffic, and conversions. 

Blog Internal Link Optimization:

Pull out your handy-dandy content audit workbook for this section. The content audit is a document that lists the title, description, type, and URL for each piece of inbound content you have. Having this document will be an easy way to reference all of your blogs and offers in one place. If you don’t have one, pull up your blog listing page and CTA dashboard within your CRM. 

Read through your old blogs and add hyperlinks to your new content where relevant. Same with your CTAs.

Questions to Ask on Optimizing Blog Content:

  • Offers/CTAs:
    Do I have a new, more relevant offer to add to this blog? Before you replace an existing CTA, check if it’s working first. Is a smart CTA a good option where CTAs are working?
  • Blog Links:
    Do I have new, relevant blogs to hyperlink?
  • Bonus:
    Are my external links all working?

Blog Traffic and Conversion Optimization:

One of the main goals of blogging is to draw in organic traffic and the other is for your blogs to lead to engagement and conversion. Break out your analytics again to look at those stats. 

  1. Pull a list of the top converting blogs and plan to optimize for better traffic. 
  2. Take the top trafficked blogs and plan to optimize for conversion.

Questions to Ask When Optimizing Blog Traffic:

  • Quantity:
    How much traffic are my blogs getting? Where is it coming from? Has traffic increased over time? This is a sign that it’s starting to pick up steam with SEO. Give it a little push. Has traffic decreased over time? This might be a sign your content is outdated or that your persona’s keywords have shifted to other topics.
  • Keywords:
    How was this blog optimized for SEO initially? Could the keywords use a heavier hand? Sprinkle them in. But also consider if your keywords or phrases changed since this was published. If so, make the appropriate updates to match your new strategy. Here are some tips on finding keywords.

Questions to Ask When Optimizing Blog Conversions: 

  • Opportunities for Conversion:
    Where are your conversion opportunities placed within your blogs? Make sure you have one within the top ⅓ of the blog and then about every 300 words after.
  • Relevance:
    Are the CTAs in your blogs performing on other pages? Use this as an indication of relevance and placement. Switch CTAs out if indicated (reference your content audit workbook again!).

Monitor Your Content Optimization Strategy

After you’ve optimized your existing content, keep an eye on it. With any luck, your updates will pay off. However, it is possible they could have a reserve effect. If you set up A/B testing or smart CTAs anywhere, you’ll want to monitor those and potentially make additional optimizations based on your results.

inbound campaign checklist

Key Takeaways on Optimizing Existing Content

  • Make a plan before you start. Consider your keywords, persona, and goals for each content type.
  • Add new content into the old: find places in blogs to hyperlink to new content and replace old CTAs with more relevant offers if they exist.
  • Consider your keyword strategy and search rankings- add key terms into your content to generate more traffic. 

Components of a Lake One FieldGuide: What Your Digital Marketing Strategy Includes

When we create a digital marketing strategy for our clients, what we adoringly refer to as a FieldGuide, we pour hours into research and strategy. We heavily consider every piece we present in order to create a cohesive, targeted plan.

So what’s in a Lake One FieldGuide? We clearly lay out the action steps needed to elevate your marketing to target the modern buyer and hone in on your lead gen potential. Here are the elements your Lake One FieldGuide will include. 

digital marketing strategy

Step 1. Competitive Analysis

Competitive analysis can be viewed from two angles: qualitative & quantitative. One without the other, like most things in marketing, would paint an incomplete picture. Your Lake One FieldGuide will include analysis on both ends of the spectrum for up to three of your top competitors. 

Qualitative Competitive Analysis: 

What are your top three competitors up to? How well designed are their websites and are their sites created to move the user into conversions at every stage in the funnel? Additionally, what do their websites convey at first sight? We call this the Blink Test. Do you know what they do and what their differentiator is immediately or do you need to read heavy content and scrounge around the site to find out? 

Quantitative Competitive Analysis: 

What do the numbers say? Here we look at things like the competition’s traffic + sources, domain ratings, and backlinks. Without spending an inordinate amount of time, these numbers give insight into their marketing activity and authority. It’s also a good way to see, in a numerical fashion, how you stack up.

Want to know more about Lake One? Check out our FAQ.

Step 2. Develop and Document 2-3 Personas

Before we get to the guts of your campaign, we need to understand who we will be targeting: your buyer persona. A persona is “a profile that represents your ideal customer.” We conduct research- online and offline- to understand who you’re talking to. We zero in on what their challenges are, what makes them change their purchasing behavior, and what barriers they experience. The point of this is to be able to develop a marketing strategy that addresses these elements.

We’ll create two or three personas to being. Later on, we’ll decide where to narrow the focus further once we’ve jointly considered ease of implementation, ability to get quick wins, and budget. 

3. Keyword Research

Now that we know who your personas are, we want to know what they’re searching for and what the search volume landscape looks like for your product/service. We’ll use a few different tools to find niche keyword clusters that we’ll target via content. Our goal in this research is to find keywords and phrases with high search volume and low competition. IE- while it’d be fantastic to rank your retail shoe store for “women’s shoes”, you won’t have much luck beating Amazon and Zappos. 

A Lake One FieldGuide includes keyword clusters that we can realistically target to get you ranking on relevant SERPs (search engine results pages).

4. Persona-centric Content Calendar

When we created your personas, we thought of their challenges, barriers, and drivers to change. Now, it’s time to pair those elements and questions with a content strategy. 

digital marketing strategy

Blog Campaign Topics

Personally, brainstorming blog topics is my favorite part of campaign planning. The number of blog ideas we generate will depend on the scale of your campaign and frequency of posting- whether we’ll be posting on your behalf twice a month or a few times a week. 

Additionally, the number of personas will impact how many blogs topics we need. Each persona will have their own content strategy. The topics we select as part of your campaign will seek to answer the questions, pain points, and interests you unearthed in your persona research. In some cases, we’ll actually take their concerns and turn them directly into topics. Here’s an example. If your persona poses the question, “How do I lower healthcare costs for my company?” a great blog topic might be “5 Examples How to Lower your Company Healthcare Costs.” Additionally, blogs will be matched to your persona’s needs at every stage of the buyer’s journey: awareness, consideration, and decision. 

The other things we consider when generating your blog campaign are the keywords and topic clusters we uncovered earlier in our keyword research. We’ll pair your persona’s needs with search data to create a 1-2-punch of stellar topics. 

All of this sounding good to you? Here are a few more reasons why you should work with us.

Offer Content Topics 

Next up is pairing those blog topics with conversion opportunities in the form of content offers. We’ll propose 1-2 offers at each stage of the buyer’s journey. These offers are intended to boost your lead gen and provide value to your users. We might propose an offer in the format of a… 

  • Checklist/self-assessment 
  • Guide or eBook
  • White paper, brochure, or sell sheet
  • Infographic
  • Content “Packet” that includes a mixture of the above in one offer

5. Persona Centered Lead Nurturing Sequences

Your FieldGuide at this point includes persona insights, keywords, and a killer content strategy. We’ll now present a plan to put all of that to work in nurturing sequences. What are those? You might know them as drip campaigns, workflows, or just as email marketing. When a user downloads one of your offers, we ideally want to enroll them into an email campaign that nurtures them along the funnel. A user who starts out by downloading an awareness offer would get a sequence of emails that nudge them into the consideration offer… and then into a decision offer… and then *fingers crossed* into being a customer. 

So, included with your FieldGuide are examples of the type of sequencing we’d like to do for your key offers.

6. Persona Watering Holes and Digital PR Hitlist

The last part of your campaign will be some research on where your personas hang out- their watering holes if you will. What websites do they like to engage with and who might be their influencers. These insights will lead to the creation of our digital PR hitlist. For example, if your personas spend time on authoritative HR sites, we’ll add a few to our hitlist. When it’s time to execute the FieldGuide, we’ll reach out to these companies to do things like guest blogs in order to get in front of you personas where they already are. Furthermore, this strategy generates backlinks and bolsters SEO.

Let’s start a conversation on creating a FieldGuide for you. Request a consult.

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5 Signs Inbound Marketing is Right for Your Business

You probably already get the gist of inbound marketing if you’re reading this (here’s a refresher if you don’t). But how do you know if it’s right for your business? Here are five telltale signs that inbound marketing is right for you.

Inbound Marketing is Right

1) Your (Potential) Customers are Online

Let’s be honest, your customers are online. Even the majority of B2B purchase decisions are made online now. The expectation of all users is that you have a website that is not only easy on the eyes and simple to navigate but also answers their questions and provides value. Inbound marketing is a way to meet your consumers where they already are (online) rather than trying to find them via hit and miss traditional methods like radio or print.

What do you need to get started with inbound? Grab our checklist.

2) You’re Not Getting Enough Leads

The biggest complaint from salespeople is usually that they aren’t getting enough leads. Understandable. No leads, no sales. Inbound can be a great solution to that problem.

The inbound method aims to move buyers through the funnel at three different stages: awareness (top), consideration (middle), and decision (bottom). You can read more about those stages in this post. While there are many different ways you can help buyers along this journey, they usually involve collecting information from a user in exchange for whatever you’re offering. This is called lead generation. Once you have the contact info of a user, you can market to them personally via things like workflows to help nudge them along into becoming a customer.

is inbound marketing right

3) You’re Not Getting Enough Website Traffic

Perhaps you’re getting leads through things like cold-calling, word of mouth, or repeat business, and the problem is that your website is a wasteland. This is a big sign inbound might be right for your organization. I’ll try to stay at a high-level here, but the way that inbound moves people along the funnel as mentioned above is by offering useful, informative content that your potential buyers want. This information should be targeted to answer your buyer’s questions, make them feel empowered, and show how your product can solve their problems. So how does this help traffic?

Well, people are actively looking for their answers online. In theory, the content created through an inbound strategy (blogs, webinars, ebooks, etc.) will be filled with the keywords and phrases your users are putting into Google to find your type of solution. By creating content that matches these search queries, your content/website will start ranking higher and higher in the search results.

A bonus to inbound is that search engines favor sites that post fresh content regularly. Therefore, posting new blog content frequently in and of itself can help your search rankings.

4) Your Competitors are Beating You

is inbound marketing right

How can they beat you? Let me count the ways. It could be that your competitor’s website is a work of user-experience art, smartly crafted to guide users into a purchase while yours is… not. Or maybe it’s that they rank higher on every search term than you do, getting all the clicks you wish you had. OR maybe it’s that your competition is encroaching on revenue that used to be yours after they started buying up ad space you didn’t know was even available.

Inbound? Yeah… it can help with all of those things.

5) You Want to Generate Thought Leadership and Authority

Another sign that inbound marketing might be right for your company is that you want to generate thought leadership or be known as an authority in your field. Thought leaders are, “the informed opinion leaders and the go-to people in their field of expertise.” Inbound inherently generates thought leadership (assuming you do in fact know your industry and are able to produce high-quality content) by the sheer volume of content you produce. Your content naturally gives you a platform to show off your industry knowledge and expertise.

How to Pick the Best Digital Marketing Agency for Your Company

Key Takeaways that Inbound Marketing Might be Right for You

  1. Your would-be customers are online (but you’re missing them).
  2. You’re not generating enough leads to make sales happy.
  3. Your website traffic isn’t good enough.
  4. The competition is smoking you.
  5. You want to be a thought leader and authority in your industry.

B2B Marketing: What it Takes to Be Successful

In many ways, B2B marketing is harder than B2C. Personas can be harder to pin down and more difficult to reach, the final decision maker is usually somebody different than the person doing research, and the sales process is slower. So, how do you succeed at B2B marketing? Here are a few of the traits companies who execute B2B marketing well exhibit; things we’ve come to know through our own experience and through watching our B2B clients succeed. 

Successful B2B Marketing

1) B2B Marketing Takes Patience and Grit

Getting results from digital marketing takes time. You can read more about why B2B SEO specifically is a long-game here, but patience is required for more than search rankings. It can take 6-12 months to start gaining digital marketing momentum. When things do start rolling, we like to say that one month of results is an anomaly, two months is a spike, three months starts a trend.

Successful B2B marketers understand this and keep on keepin’ on. They have the grit to trudge forward when the needle is barely moving because they trust the program. The alternative is, of course, giving up, and obviously, that will not contribute to any sort of positive outcome.

successful b2b marketing

2) B2B Marketing Takes a Big Picture Mindset with a Detailed Strategy

The most successful B2B marketing programs are created with the big inbound marketing picture in mind. These companies know that successful B2B marketing starts with knowing the personas: who is researching them, who the decision makers are, and how to support both. They use that information to build out a strategy focused on content tying back to research-based keywords and phrases. They focus on the details within keyword variations and how to target them as well the intricacies that make their persona uniquely fit. Successful B2B marketing connects these dots to create a cohesive plan.

A digital agency can help accelerate your marketing success. Here’s how to pick a good one.

3) B2B Marketing Requires SMART Goals

At Lake One, we usually start our inbound client relationships with SMART goal setting and creation of an SLA- Service Level Agreement. (Read more about our SLA here.) These two items direct the focus and attention of our work. The Fieldguide, or marketing plan, we create is the map to reaching those goals.

So how does that translate into your B2B marketing? Well, even when companies have grit and a solid strategy, it’s easy to lose focus. New products launch, opportunities in the market arise, pressures from the board tighten on other elements, etc. Set SMART goals allow you to stay focused on them. After all, how will you know if your marketing is successful if you don’t have specific indicators of success?

4) B2B Marketing Takes a Focus on Strengths

Keeping your marketing in-house can be a great choice if you have the bandwidth available and/or budget to hire for specific skills. When making that choice, consider the strengths of your team and where you’d like their focus to remain. If you have a killer marketing manager who is excellent at running internal events and social media but knows nothing about SEO, it’s probably unwise to expect that person to create a keyword strategy. In that case, it might be in your best interest to hire a new member of your team or outsource the work to a digital marketing agency. 

In order to be successful with B2B marketing, know your team and company’s strengths. Focus on them and outsource or hire where you’re weak. Here are a few tips to help you identify those marketing shortcomings.

How to Pick the Best Digital Marketing Agency for Your Company

Key Takeaways

  • Successful B2B Marketing takes time. Be patient. Have grit.
  • A successful marketing plan is detailed and specific yet encompasses the wider inbound vision.
  • SMART goals are needed to measure B2B marketing success.
  • Use your team and the company’s strengths. Find and fill the marketing weaknesses.

B2B SEO Do’s and Don’ts

B2B SEO is important if you want your site to be found through organic search. We can all agree on that. The “how” of it can be kind of fuzzy, though. Thousands of experts all say different things. While we let the big dogs in the marketing space duke it out over whose theory is the best, our experience and success have led to these B2B SEO do’s and don’ts.

B2B SEO Do’s and Don’ts

On the Topic of Your Audience…

DO: Write for your Persona

Your persona is the fictional representation of your target audience. In B2B, it’s important to write for and support the persona who you know is likely to do the research. While the CEO might execute a buying decision, the human resources manager might be the one researching your company. If that’s true, gear your content and SEO strategy to their needs. Find the keywords the HR person is likely to use to find you.

Once your SEO starts bringing in leads, are you ready to handle them? Make sure your sales and marketing teams are aligned. Download the guide.

DO NOT: Write Only for Google

If you’re just writing for Google, you’re not writing for your persona. Google is a means to end; it is how your customer will find you- not your persona and not your buyer. So, how is your persona trying to find you? Leverage Google in that way. Use it to understand your personas and what problems they are actively seeking solutions to solve. By structuring your SEO around answering those questions, you’re naturally appeasing both your audience and the search powers that be.

On the Topic of Strategy…

DO: Have a Strategy

As with most things, having a strategy will typically lead to better outcomes than not. A B2B SEO strategy will help you formulate the structure of your content, allow you to be precise and measured, and direct you toward a specific end goal. How do you create a strategy? We’re glad you asked.

DO: Your Research

There are so many (free) SEO research tools out there that you’d be pretty remiss not to do research to create a strategy. By digging into the search volume for certain terms/phrases, you can find niche areas for quick wins. These wins are usually lower volume but have less competition. For example, while something like “Marketing tips” has thousands of searches every month, unless your HubSpot or Forbes, you’re probably not going to start ranking for that search volume. By researching, you can probably find a niche to fit into your strategy. Something like, “Marketing tips for the construction industry” might turn up as low volume, low competition and is, therefore, a much more attainable goal to try and rank for on page one.

Let research guide your strategy and build your SEO content plan around it. Here are some tips on how to find your B2B SEO keywords.

DO NOT: Toss Around Keywords For the Sake of Having Them

If you have a strategy, fully vetted by research, use it wisely. Those keywords are precious. Sprinkling them over every piece of content like a three-year-old with a shaker bottle of glitter can actually hurt your case. Google is onto that game these days. And they don’t like it. Google will actually lower your rating for the unethical treatment of keywords. Let your keywords build the content that your personas want, and write for humans. Nobody wants to read a blog when obvious keywords are literally in every sentence.

B2B SEO Do's and Don'ts

On the Topic of Relevancy…

DO: Build Links

Link-building is one of the best ways to build relevancy to your site. Having links in and out of your website (known as backlinks) tells Google that you’re legitimate. In general, the larger and more credible your backlink source is, the more beneficial it is to you. For instance, a backlink from Neil Patel is going to help your site’s ranking a great deal more than BillyBobsMarketingBarginShop.com who gets 10 site visits a month (mostly from his mom). This is simply because Neil’s site has more authority- Google ‘knows’ the site. Google does not know Billy Bob yet.

So how do you generate backlinks? Reach out to sites to do guest blogs, list your site in related indexes and registries, ask your partners/vendors to include a link to your site somewhere on theirs, etc. Feel free to get creative and put your brand out there. Here are some additional ideas for building a backlink strategy.

DO: Make Sure Your Content is a Match

Another thing that gives your website authority is how relevant users (and Google) find it. Google wants to know that your content is what it says it is. They favor sites that answer the question the user was looking for initially. They look at bounce rates, entrances, time on page, etc. to determine this. This holds true for landing pages, ads, and backlinks, so make sure that if you’re trying to rank for “B2B SEO Do’s and Don’ts” that your content is actually going to answer the question of things to do and not to do when it comes to B2B SEO. If your content doesn’t match or answer the question the user was searching for, they are likely going to bounce off your site immediately. That behavior will ultimately hurt your ranking.  

DO NOT: Generalize Everything

Continuing off those last two points, don’t keep your SEO at a generalized, high level if you can help it. It takes time and effort to write the content that carries out your SEO strategy, so high-level, most important keywords/phrases are the best place to start. But once that has legs, get into the nitty-gritty and what your persona wants. Enter: the pillar page. Pillar pages are long-form pieces of content that dive into the details of specific content verticals. These pages answer several frequently searched questions on related topics in one keyword-packed, helpful place. These pages are an opportunity to not only be an authority on a subject to your persona but to also culminate your strategy.

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Key Takeaways for B2B SEO Do’s and Don’ts:

  • Write for your persona: the person likely doing research to find you
  • Have a strategy and let research dictate it
  • Your strategy should include answering the questions your persona is searching 
  • Build relevancy and authority on your site through backlinks and related content

Why B2B SEO is Important

According to Google, “71% of B2B decision makers start the decision-making process with a general web search.” That stat in and of itself should be enough for you to want to amp up your B2B SEO strategy. In case it’s not though, here are a few reasons why B2B SEO is important for your organization.

B2B SEO is Important

Your Customers are Human

It can be easy to dehumanize your B2B customers and think of them as a business entity. However, the truth is, the connection you need to make is a human one. Connect with the people that are influencing and making decisions within your target companies. Whether it be SEO, content marketing, or closing a sale, the aim should always be to reach and make an impact on individuals, not companies.

B2B SEO isn’t set it and forget it, nor is it a quick fix. Read why.

And we humans really like to search for things online. 81% of B2B purchase cycles start with a web search. As more and more tech-raised millennials and Gen Z-ers move into those roles, that number will continue to climb.

Your Industry Is Ready for B2B SEO

If you’re lucky, you may be in an industry that’s still pretty sleepy with their digital presence. Examples of this are industries related to blue-collar work or manufacturing. In general, they are just now beginning to embark on their digital journeys, dusting off websites from the early 2000s and revamping social pages. Because of this though, there’s a tremendous opportunity to start ranking now. Quickly.

If you’re one of only a handful of companies in your space pursuing an SEO strategy, you’re basically being given the gift of a home-field advantage when the competition didn’t show up.

On the flipside of that, your industry might be on top of their B2B SEO game already. In that case, a B2B SEO strategy and strong digital presence are critical to either staying relevant to be found or be left in the dust. This is one time when saying “everybody else is doing it!” really means you should be, too.

Mobile B2B Searches are Increasing

The vast majority of us are running around with miniature computers in our pockets, and we turn to them when we need information. Google has reported that 50% of B2B search queries today are made on smartphones. That figure is expected to grow to 70% by 2020. [HubSpot agrees. Download the 2018 State of Inbound report to learn more.]

B2B SEO Importance

Because of this, Google serves mobile search results differently than they do desktop results. To start, they put a larger emphasis on location and Google Places results than anything else. Furthermore, people tend to use mobile search differently than on a desktop, so Google adapts their algorithm to match. A mobile search is typically abbreviated phrases and/or uses fewer words than a desktop search. For example, a desktop search may be, “How to reduce employee absenteeism in the corporate setting”. A similar mobile search could be pared down to just, “reducing corp absenteeism”.

There are many tools that will show you what people are actually using to find your site on each device. Knowing this information can help you tailor your strategy appropriately and optimize for each vertical successfully. The bottom line is that if you aren’t showing up when people turn to their phones to find you, your competition will be winning those sales.

SEO-Aligned Content Will Convert Leads

Within the inbound scope, content marketing serves two main purposes: 1) To inform, educate, and move users through the buyer’s journey ultimately converting them to a qualified lead, and 2) to drive traffic through keywords and phrases.

You might have the best, most informative, converting content ever created. But it won’t convert a single lead unless your audience is able to find it. B2B SEO allows users to discover your content. Furthermore, “SEO-aligned content marketers drive 54% more revenue growth year-over-year.” This is because a B2B SEO aligned content strategy will inherently create relevant content. You’ll naturally be speaking to and answering the keywords and phrases your users are searching if you’re aligned. Let the content work in each phase of the conversion funnel, and be ready for your leads when they’re ready to convert. 

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