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inbound marketing

inbound marketing


How Long Does It Take for Inbound Marketing
 To Work?

By Inbound Marketing

Are you considering inbound marketing to generate traffic, convert leads to customers and build your business? As you may already know, inbound marketing requires you to change your mindset in how you approach marketing. Instead of the old outbound marketing “flash in the pan” methods of direct mail, print advertising or cold calling – typical inbound marketing programs require a 12-month commitment.

In order to get a jumpstart on inbound—I’ve listed 6 factors that will help you get up and running with inbound marketing sooner rather than later.

1. Is your brand distinct?
Today, the ability to stand out in a crowded marketplace is absolute necessary if you are planning to grow your business. If your positioning is weak or your brand undefined, it will make it harder for your customers to understand what makes you different and memorable. Having a well-defined and authentic brand is the first place to start when beginning any kind of marketing – inbound or outbound.

2. Do you know your buyer persona? 

All successful inbound marketing campaigns begin with the buyer persona. A buyer persona is a fictitious representation of your ideal customer – notice I did not say “target market”. Your buyer persona must be laser focused on the questions, needs and pain points of your customer to be effective. By identifying your buyer persona now, you’ll be able to create content faster.

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3. Is your website ugly?
With 60% of all purchases starting with a web search—all inbound marketing programs begin and end with your website. A well designed website is necessary to attract, engage and communicate your product and services. If your website is ugly –fix it! In additions it will also need an adequate content management system like WordPress in order to adjust quickly to any course changes during the 12-month program.

4. Are your search engine rankings strong?

If you just launched a new website it may take longer to get your website ranked on the first page of Google. Google assigns more authority to websites that have been around longer. It will also depend if you’ve done any SEO in the past. If you have strong rankings at the beginning of an inbound marketing program, you will see quicker results.

5. Have you been blogging?

According to HubSpot, companies that blog have far better marketing results. Specifically, the average company that blogs has; 55% more visitors; 97% more inbound links; 434% more indexed pages
if done consistently. Blogging is the primary method for driving traffic and serves as the platform for your social media activity. Blogging must be done 1-2x minimum per week to activate inbound marketing’s traffic generating and SEO power.

6. Do you have the time?
If you can’t seem to get the time to blog, distribute and promote your content—then inbound marketing will take longer if not fail all together. The secret to inbound marketing is to create consistent valuable content based on solving your customer problems. Consider hiring an inbound marketing agency to help you generate content.

The bottom line

It will take anywhere from 4-9 months depending on your ability to address the above points quickly to start seeing results with inbound marketing. Most companies will start out highly motivated—but after 3 months give up. Inbound marketing is a marathon not a sprint—but like any good endeavor, the results are well worth it. Here’s what you can expect:

  • Proved ROI

  • Month over month organic traffic increases (net-net gains)

  • A steady flow of leads
  • Qualified customers based on your ideal buyer persona
  • Higher search engine rankings

  • Establish thought leadership in your industry
  • Gain more followers on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn

  • Crush your competition

If you’re interested in exploring how your business could benefit from inbound marketing, please contact our Indianapolis or Denver inbound marketing agency for a complimentary, no-haggle inbound marketing assessment.

Inbound Marketing Toolkit

Free Download:
Inbound Marketing Tool Kit

Running a successful marketing campaign for your business is all about having the right tools.
This guide will dive into 
which marketing tools you should keep at the ready.

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Brand Development Inbound Marketing Consultant

By Josh Claflin, Brand Development, Inbound Marketing & Creative Strategy
Josh helps brands who are struggling to develop their brand; grow, stabilize or increase profits through their websites; increase revenue through online channels and enter the digital era of marketing.

Professional web design

Can Your Website Do These 5 Things?

By Web Design

Perhaps one of the biggest mistakes most marketers and business owners make is that they overlook their website’s true potential. We know that a website is a necessity to do business. We know how our site should function and what kind of information it needs to contain. But a lot of times we don’t quite grasp the importance of how—that with a few changes—our company’s website could be modified to work harder for our businesses.

Below are 5 things you didn’t know your website could do. More than a pretty face —your website has much more potential than you think.

1. Make you look bigger than you are
If you’re a smaller business looking to attract big clients, your website is the first step. In today’s digital world, impression and trust is everything. A website can communicate your brand’s unique message and connect with your prospect. Microsoft Research reports that people spend only 10 seconds on your homepage before leaving if they don’t immediately connect with your marketing messages. With the aid of professional website design and targeted and clear messaging, you can present your company as a reliable, professional partner that keeps your visitors on your website longer.   

2. Generate revenue

Through methods like blogging, social media, CTA’s (call-to-actions), premium offers and landing pages you can essentially create a completely new revenue channel to grow your business. This process, termed “inbound marketing” is a method that attracts, converts, closes and delights customers to grow your business online. This methodology is proven in the digital age and can significantly affect your bottom line. Consider these following statistics:

  • According to Social Media B2B, B2B companies that blog generate 67% more leads per month than those that don’t.
  • The Content Marketing Institute reports that 8 out of 10 people identify themselves as blog readers, and 23% of all time spent online is spent on social media sites.
  • ContentPlus published that blogs give websites 434% more indexed pages and 97% more indexed links.
  •  Search Engine Land shares that up to 80% of people ignore Google-sponsored ads.
  • HubSpot’s research shows that 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results.

These trends show that one way to grow or market your business more effectively is by utilizing an inbound methodology as a way to increase traffic, leads and convert visitors to customers. When these mechanisms are in place, and given time to work— your website turns into a 24/7 lead generator.

3. Build your brand
With the right content marketing tactics, you also can build your brand locally and nationally quicker than traditional advertising and marketing methods. Unless you have 20 million for a national ad campaign to spend, inbound marketing costs 62% less per lead than traditional marketing. 54% more leads are generated by inbound than outbound or traditional advertising and marketing methods. If you are able to generate relevant content that solves your customer problems—and do that consistently, your brand will begin to take root in the minds of your customers.

4. Attract talent
90% of all online applicants will visit a company’s careers page. Data suggests that just because you have a strong corporate brand, doesn’t necessarily mean it translates into a strong employer brand. Websites that have a video that showcases their company’s values and culture will receive more applicants than a company who doesn’t. (SOURCE: LinkedIn Employer Handbook. December 1, 2012) With a strong careers page, your chances of attracting top-tier talent increases.

5. Connect your brand to your customer
Having a professional website design created with your customer or buyer persona in mind can allow you to connect your brand to your customer more effectively than traditional push marketing can. By utilizing your website as the cornerstone in your social media activities you can drive traffic from social networking sites like Facebook, Google+, Twitter and Pinterest that connects your brand to your customers that creates real affinity and preference.  

In conclusion, your website may not be able to cure world hunger or create peace in the middle east, but it can make you look bigger than you are, generate revenue, build your brand, attract talent and connect your brand to your customer. By adopting an inbound marketing methodology, you can turn your website into revenue generating machine and a valuable and effective marketing tool.

If you need help or have questions on how to make your website work harder for you, please contact us.

Blog and Content Marketing

7 Steps To Better Content Marketing And Blogging

By Inbound Marketing

If you’re going to spend the time writing a blog you might as well learn how to do it correctly because it takes a little practice. There is a lot of meaningless content floating around out there on the internet from people who don’t know how to blog correctly.

In this article, I’ll give you 7 steps on how to write a blog post that engages your readers, optimizes your web site, solves your customers problems and establishes your brand’s credibility and trust.

1. Pick a topic that solves your buyer personas’ problem
Every blog post worth its mustard must be written for someone specifically in mind. To write a blog post that whimsically moves from thought to thought will confuse your reader and in most cases cause them to ‘bounce’ off your website. By identifying who your buyer persona is first, it will help you to keep your thoughts focused and targeted. You can’t help anyone when you try to help everyone.

2. Create content that is relevant and remarkable
According to Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, “every two days now we create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until  2003. That’s something like five exabytes of data, he says.” (Source: TechCrunch) That’s a lot of content. Content can take the form of anything that is written, tweeted, recorded, snapped or placed on the internet for someone to read or view. When you set out to create content in the form of a blog, try to do your best to create something that is remarkable, relevant and that solves your customers problems. This will make sure your efforts and time isn’t thrown on the pile of content fodder.

3. Outline with keywords in mind
Once you have figured out who you are writing for, organize your thoughts into an outline. Start with a catchy headline and introduction. The headline should include the keywords you are targeting and pertain to what the article is about. Sprinkle your keywords throughout your article—but only if it makes sense. Do not write for search engines, write for your customers.

4. Organize with bullet points and sub-heads
As you move through your outline, create short, succinct sub-headlines that provide information that tells your persona what the information is about. People tend to scan articles quickly, stopping at sections that interest them. Make sure your sub-heads are specific to the information or problem you are solving. Another tip is to use bullet points to divide your information into chunks that can be consumed quickly. Give them what they need to make a decision quickly.

5. Use images
We live in a highly visual society. And like they say, a picture is worth a thousand words rings true in the wild world of blogging. Use visuals in the form of images, infographics or diagrams that tell the story quickly. A strong visual helps to make the article ‘sticky’ by keeping them on your site longer. It is suggested that Google now counts visitor length or ‘dwell time’ as a metric in determining the authority and rank of your website. (Source: Backlinko). Articles with images get 94% more views. (Source)

6. Cite your facts and stats
If you’re giving advice or recommendations, source your information from credible sources to back up your claim. This will add an extra layer of trust and establish authority in your writing. Human beings love little stats and bits of factual data. Always try to include a simple amount of these little factoids to engage your readers further.

7. End strong
Just as its important to write a good introduction, its equally important to end with a good conclusion. Re-itereate the points you made, why the information given will help solve their problem and a call-to-action (CTA) on what you’d like them to do next. This can be contact for more information, download a whitepaper, visit this page etc.

In conclusion, a good blog post starts with sharing remarkable content that solves a problem and is geared towards your buyer persona. Format your blog starting with a catchy headline with a targeted keyword, a good introduction that tells the reader what they will learn, organized and succinct sub-heads, good visuals, cited sources and a strong ending. By following these tips you’ll be on your way to becoming a strong writer and a blogging pro.



How to Implement Inbound Marketing [INFOGRAPHIC]

By Inbound Marketing


Now that you understand the differences of what inbound marketing versus outbound marketing is and have seen how inbound marketing works, now it’s time to learn how to implement this methodology into your own marketing program.

Below, I’ve included an infographic on How to Implement Inbound Marketing and divided it into 9 steps. To read more about each step, click here to skip to the bottom that describes each step in more detail.

Click here to enlarge graphic

 How to implement inbound marketing

If you would like to discuss and learn how you implement inbound marketing, please contact us today for a free 30-minute marketing assessment and consultation.


How to Implement Inbound MarketingStep 1: Analysis of your current brand and marketing

To begin, you need to evaluate your brand. Is it aligned? Brand alignment is described as this: Does the brand mean the same to your employees, your customers and to yourself? Do you have a unique story and message that allows you to stand out amongst your competitors?  To maximize your inbound marketing efforts it will be critical to have a well-defined and differentiated brand position. A comprehensive brand development process will give you what you need to apply your brands voice, message and unique value proposition.

 Brand AlignmentYou will also need to look at your current marketing efforts. What is working what is not? Can you augment any current outbound methods that are working well with the new inbound program?

Lastly, you’ll need to install Hubspot™. HubSpot software includes all the tools you need to do inbound marketing, plus award winning services and support to help companies conduct successful inbound marketing campaigns.

Step 2: Competitor analysis

After your brand and marketing has been evaluated and tweaked accordingly you should then take a look at your competitors. The competitor analysis tool in Hubspot will allow you take a peek under the hood on their efforts. You can also utilize a tool like MOZ to garner strategic insight into what’s happening online. This will also give you insight into figuring out their current online strategies. Use this information to find the “whitespace” and create targeted brand messaging.

Step 3: Goal setting and key performance indicators

Next up is to take an honest look at organization and set some goals. Look to set goals using the SMART method: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timebound that meets the C-Suites demands and then go for the “BHAG” (Big Hairy Audacious Goal).  Inbound has the potential to blow your doors off if you’re not ready to deliver on your customer demands. Be prepared for the ‘what-ifs’ like; what if your close rate of qualified leads increased by 20%? How does this affect your company’s ability to scale? Are you ready? Be ready… As Mike Tyson said, “everybody has a plan till they get punched in the face.” Here are a few example goals:

  1. Increase web traffic by 5% in 3 months
  2. Increase qualified leads by 5% every month after month 4
  3. Convert 6% of leads to customers

Wrap it up with listing your biggest obstacles to obtaining these goals and some specific ways to overcome them.

Your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) should incorporate what you’ve learned in the competitive analysis step. Hubspot will track leads, traffic, conversion rates, lead history and other key metrics for your reporting needs. Cross reference these benchmarks with your sales metrics and other brand reporting tools you may be using to give you a clear baseline. 

buyer personasStep 4: Create buyer personas

Buyer personas are fictional representations of your ideal prospect that assist in the strategy and execution of a more targeted marketing campaign. Although fictional, they are based on real data, behaviors, and demographics learned through customer interviews and polls. (Source: Hubspot)

Who exactly are your customers? Do you know them as well as you should? I once read an article that said the “CMO is dead” and that it should be renamed as “CCO” – Chief Customer Officer. As marketers, it’s our responsibility to know our customers better than anyone else in the company. Begin by thinking how you will add value to the people you are targeting. Start by finding out everything you can about them. Here are a few examples:

  1. How is their job measured?
  2. What skills are required to do their job?
  3. Who do they report to? Who reports to them?
  4. What publications or blogs do they read?
  5. What are their biggest challenges?
  6. How do they receive their information? LinkedIn, Blogs, News?
  7. How do they prefer to communicate?

After you’ve interviewed them, create a dossier of them and keep it up on your wall. Begin to create all your content around solving their problems with remarkable, educational content.

Step 5: Setup website

You will need to get your website setup to conform to inbound standards by making the necessary adjustments. You will need the following:

  1. Blog
  2. Social signals
  3. Hubspot tracking script
  4. Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Pinterest
  5. Forms
  6. Landing page and email templates
  7. CTAs

Hubspot has all the resources necessary to help you integrate these elements, but a good design agency can also customize and set these up as well.

Step 6: Create the content calendar and compile a strategy

Now that your brand is aligned, you’ve set some goals, you got some benchmarks in place— now it’s time to put together a strategy based on the inbound methodology (ATTRACT > CONVERT > CLOSE > DELIGHT) to market and grow your business through inbound marketing. This will be the game plan that you will use to guide you over the next 12 months. Summarize all the main points into a strategy outlining the key points of your plan. They should include how you plan to attract, convert, what happens when they convert, how you plan to delight them and then how you close them.  Each phase should include specific content that moves them to the next step.  

Get out a calendar and determine the time you have to devote to content creation every week and stick to it. Begin by listing a wide range of topics specifically tailored to your buyer personas. Put together dates as to when you want these topics to be posted. Try to create a back log of content as time permits.

Inbound Marketing StatisticStep 7: Content creation, landing pages and social media

Coming up with something to blog about can sometimes be difficult. Hubspot offers a great tool to help you generate some ideas. Content you publish should be in the form of blogs, infographics, whitepaper and eBooks, webinars, videos and social media posts and links from other sources besides your own. Create value for your prospects and become a resource to them. Blog posts should have social signals so users can easily tweet, like or share your posts as well as a way to sign up to receive updates to your blog.

Once you have created a few whitepapers, ebooks it’s time to start creating some landing pages. The landing pages will feed prospect data into Hubpsot so you can easily track their click patterns on your site. This allows you to give a better customer experience by understanding what they are interested in.

Use Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and LinkedIn to push your content far and wide.

Step 8: Lead nurturing

I can tell you from first hand experience that once you start blogging regularly you will start to see an increase in traffic. At about the 6 month mark traffic suddenly begin to shoot up as your content approaches a “critical mass.” At this point you should be moving customers along the marketing lifecycle and nurturing your prospects through the sales funnel by offering them specific content that solves their problems. Content should be highly personalized and manicured at this phase to be relevant. At this point, they will be asking for case studies and product pricing. Be prepared to offer this information to close the deal.

Step 9: Monitor and adjust

At this point you should have a significant, steady flow of traffic to test in real-time and be looking to make any adjustments or tweaks to make your landing pages, CTAs and content perform better. You can make big differences by A/B testing, trying out different subject lines, titles, colors and even buttons.

In conclusion, this is a brief snapshot of what is involved in implementing an inbound marketing campaign. There are several other components we did not get into like email, analytics, workflows and forms and ways to use social media.

If you would like to discuss and learn how you implement inbound marketing, please contact us today for a free 30-minute marketing assessment and consultation.

How Inbound Marketing Works [INFOGRAPHIC]

By Inbound Marketing

How-inbound-marketing-works2In a previous post I explained and included an infographic on what inbound marketing is, in this post I’ll show you how it works through an example of how you came to this blog post and how a typical customer may come to your website if you were to use the same methodology of inbound marketing through blogging, SEO, lead nurturing and social media.

Allow me to speak to the business owners first. If you’re like most small business owners without a marketing department, you’ve probably felt a bit of a decline last year in online sales or in offline sales depending on what industry you are in. This year you’re wondering if it will be the same? Depending on what kind resources you have, you know that 8% to 10% of your budget should be allocated to marketing.  At this point you’ve probably thought through what your goals are and how you’re going to go about moving the needle forward this year. Before you sign up for another 12-month contract with that trade mag or siphon off more money for pay per click, please consider what it would look like if you had a method of marketing to truly measure your efforts and that it was able to show you what was working and what was not—in real time—for less money.

Now to the Marketers. We all know that content is king in this digital age. You are an expert in something and have plenty of things to talk about concerning your industry and how you could use your knowledge and the collective intelligence of your company to change the marketplace for the better if you had a mechanism in place to do so. Why not use those ideas to create content and begin pushing those ideas out to potential prospects and customers? This content would begin boosting your SERPs, build thought leadership, acquire more leads and build your brand.

If you’re still evaluating whether inbound marketing is right for your company, consider these facts taken from State of Inbound in 2013 by Hubspot:

Inbound is real, and it shows remarkable traction for such a new industry: While inbound marketing is a relatively new industry, it shows sizeable market share and impressive budget growth rates.

  • Sixty percent of companies will execute inbound marketing strategies in 2013
  • Marketers allocate 34% of their overall budgets to inbound tactics – 11% more than they
    dedicate to outbound strategies, like banners, direct mail, and more.
  • This year, 48% of marketers plan to increase their inbound marketing spending – the
    third year in a row that inbound budgets are increasing at a near 50% pace.

I believe inbound marketing is here to stay and if you’re not doing it yet, you’re competitors most likely will be. Below we’ve included an infographic to explain to you how inbound marketing works and how its working for us. The process is broken down into 8 steps of what a typical inbound marketing program works from Stranger > Lead > Close > Customer/Client  > Delight.

Click here to enlarge graphic

How inbound marketing works

Interested in learning more about inbound marketing and how it can grow your marketing and sales? Take a look at this next article on How To Implement Inbound Marketing.


  1. You’re a business owner or a marketer that has a few problems. It sounds looks
    something like this:

    • Traffic on my website is going down!
    • How do I acquire more quality leads?
    • Can I align my sales and marketing teams ?
    • I need to redesign the website.
    • How do I get my employees more engaged?
    • How do I build my brand?
    • How do I grow my business!
  2. So you head out to Google to search for some ideas on how to accomplish these tasks because that direct mail campaign last month — well lets just say it didn’t work out very well this time around.
  3. You quickly scan through the first page of results and find something from a blog that is titled “How to turn your website into a lead generating machine.”
  4. The blog post has some great advice on how to increase traffic and get more leads to your website. The site also offers a whitepaper on “How to build a better brand”. So, you click on the call to action, fill out a form and type in your name, email address and phone number and download the whitepaper.
  5. In a few more days, you return to the blog because you thought the whitepaper you downloaded was really great. So you read some more helpful articles like “How to acquire more website leads” and downloaded another whitepaper “How to hire right” and decide to go ahead and give them a ‘like’ on Fecebook. You then notice that the firm offers branding and marketing services. You think, hmm… they look like a group I could work with and you begin to warm up to the idea of contacting them to see if they might be able to help you.
  6. You then receive an email from the agency suggesting two free ebooks for you to read. The agency’s website is intutive so it adjusts to your interests and asks you if you would like for someone to contact you. You select, Sure! ‘This agency is pretty cool and I think they can help me.’
  7. The next day, a representative calls you, explains a bit more about the agency’s  services and sets up a Prezi to help you learn more. Next you ask for a proposal and before you know it, you’ve hired an agency to start helping you grow your business.
  8. Its been about 3-4 months, after a short web redesign, some additional brand development consulting and implementation of an inbound marketing program. Your beginning to see traffic on your website pick up and leads are beginning to come in. You have to hire some more people to handle it all and things are looking pretty dang good! Welcome to Inbound Marketing.



What is Inbound Marketing? [INFOGRAPHIC]

By Inbound Marketing

Understanding-Inbound-MarketingAs a marketer or business owner you’ve most likely at one point purchased an ad in the yellow pages, local magazine, radio, tried direct mail or maybe even shot a 30 second spot. These forms of advertising commonly known as “push” marketing or “outbound” marketing has been the gold standard for advertising since the 1950s.

For a long time marketers have been pushed into utilizing these types of advertising mechanisms to acquire sales leads and customers. Often times we feel like we’re throwing our time, energy and money out the window because typically there is no way to know if our efforts are really paying off—and if they are, we don’t know why—as it’s very hard to track and measure. This has been the common experience of outbound marketing for almost 70 years. Although it is effective to a degree and in certain channels and industries, its always left me wondering; why can’t we as marketers figure out a better way to get a higher rate of return on our advertising dollars?

Enter 2014, and things as you now well know have changed drastically— if you didn’t feel it last year, you will this year. We’ve experienced a fundamental shift in consumer behavior. People no longer want to have one way conversations with companies, they want a two way conversation.  For a long time it was always the company doing all the talking, but now consumers want to talk back. This has caused the smartest companies to engage in what is called inbound marketing.

Since 2006, inbound marketing has been the most effective marketing method for doing business online. Instead of the old outbound marketing methods of buying ads, buying email lists, and praying for leads, inbound marketing focuses on creating quality content that pulls people toward your company and product, where they naturally want to be. By aligning the content you publish with your customer’s interests, you naturally attract inbound traffic that you can then convert, close, and delight over time. (Source: Hubspot)

Below we have put together an infographic on inbound marketing to help you understand how it compares to outbound marketing. We hope that this will shed some light and give you some ideas on how to grow your business this year.

Click here to enlarge graphic


Interested in learning more about inbound marketing and how it can grow your marketing and sales? Take a look at the this next post on How Inbound Marketing Works.