At Credo we have helped over 2,000 businesses, and spoken with many more, over the last few years to get them introduced to qualified digital marketing companies and then help them make the right decision about who to hire.
Along the way, we’ve discussed with them their approach to investing in a new channel or getting a marketing program started.
When I ask about budget, the usual response I get is something along the lines of “Well it depends on what I will get.” When I then outline the project (because that is the purpose of our discovery calls at Credo), I then normally get something like this:
Well, we’d like to start low and then of course once we see ROI the sky is the limit!
I get it, I do. No one wants to waste money and no one wants to spend more than they have to.
But here is the problem with this mindset especially when it comes to marketing.
Digital marketing is a vast topic with new trends, research, and tactics emerging all the time. If you’re not constantly on the pulse, it can be overwhelming trying to catch up.
But staying on the bleeding edge of marketing isn’t always the best move.
Sometimes, you need to stick to the basics, master them, and build from there.
That’s what inbound marketing is all about. It’s digital marketing 101.
In this article, I want to share the secrets of inbound marketing, look at some examples of it in action, and provide a path for you to get started for yourself.
So to kick things off, let’s start by discussing what inbound is and why you need it.
It’s nearly impossible to avoid online marketing in today’s economy. After all, over 54% of the world’s population is now online. In North America, it’s a whopping 95% of the population!
But what exactly is online marketing? While it’s a simple term, it’s often misused, misunderstood, or only partially explained.
A Google search of, “what is online marketing?” turns up over one billion answers. Some of which focus on only content marketing, or just search engine marketing.
While in reality, online marketing is a broad term that encapsulates all of that and more.
To make things even more confusing, online marketing is an ever-changing field, with new trends emerging each year.
In fact, companies are already predicting the new trends that will emerge in 2019 and even 2020.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through all the key aspects of online marketing and provide everything you need to know to successfully embrace online marketing for your business.
Driving more traffic to your website through SEO is an exercise in science, research, hard work, and doing the right things over time. I like to say that “Good SEO is good strategy combined with consistent budget applied over time.”
SEO can be very hard when this is not the case.
I regularly speak with businesses who want to send me “the 10-15 keywords that matter to the business.” There is an understanding in the online world that SEO is a zero-sum game, which means that if you do not rank #1 for a small number of keywords that can drive qualified traffic then you are not going to succeed online.
Let me be very clear. This is a late 2000s-era approach to SEO. Since I started in SEO around 2009, I have seen many things change in the search results, namely that:
- Strong brands (with brand recognition) tend to rank better than their unknown competitors;
- The search engines all eventually end up crowding their search results with their own content;
- Search has changed from “keywords” to “topics”
While the first two above definitely matter to search (because you need to build a brand and organic clickthrough rates are changing quickly), I want to talk about the third because it is the most directly correlated to how you think about SEO and “how many keywords should I try to rank for” questions.
Let’s first look at a few examples of how many keywords different types of sites rank for, and then we will talk about how to think about the keywords you rank for.
Do you work at or run a business that lives or dies by the number of qualified leads you bring in? If you’re a services business, especially a B2B business, of any kind then you know the struggle here.
I wish I had a dollar for every time I heard this from a consultant or business:
“I need more leads!”
“My biggest challenge in growing my business is in generating enough quality leads.”
For one of my many drip email campaigns (which I run through Drip.com), I have an email that asks recipients “What is the biggest challenge you face in growing your business?”
For B2B businesses, it is almost always getting more leads that they can then close into contracts. The second answer is usually “converting more leads to sales”, though this is usually after the business has figured out their top-of-funnel lead generation processes and then is beginning to work out their middle and bottom of funnel conversions to MQLs and SQLs.
If you’re in the first camp, then this post is for you.
Congratulations, you’re hiring an SEO for your business. While this is an exciting time, you’re probably also wondering how to make sure that the person you hire is the right person for the job. If you’re not an SEO yourself, it’s doubly hard to know!
Let me tell you a story.
I’ve been working in SEO since about 2009, and over the years I’ve hired quite a few full time SEOs across the agency where I worked as well as when I worked inhouse. Some worked out badly and some worked out amazingly.
When I was at Distilled, a digital marketing agency where I was in their New York City office, we were growing quickly. In the 2.5 years I worked at Distilled, the company grew from ~30 employees to ~65 employees when I left. Our office in New York went from 5-9 including a few people leaving in that time frame which meant that we replaced those positions and hired some new ones. It was an amazing ride, but along the way we of course had the typical speedbumps.
Distilled was very good at hiring. There were many of us consultants who stayed for 2+ years and many stayed for over 5. In this day and age, that is amazing. Besides the fact that the executive team was awesome, Distilled did something different from many other agencies.
They hired for soft skills instead of SEO skills.
If you’ve spent any time at all researching ways to get your brand in front of a larger audience, you’ve probably heard of content marketing.
It’s now considered a staple in the digital marketing world, and many companies attribute a significant amount of their success to this approach.
But if you’ve never used content as a marketing tool, you might be skeptical as to whether investing your time and budget in creating original resources, only to give them away for free, is worth it.
And that’s why we’ve created this guide.
Keep reading for an in-depth explanation of what content marketing entails, a few examples of brands using it effectively, and a four-step process you can use to get started.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the most widely searched for topics online (with 509,000,000 results). And for good reason:
We’ve all read the success stories and outlandish headlines about SEO taking a business from zero to thousands of visitors in just a few months.
Andrew Dennis shared that he grew a site from zero to 100,000 site visitors in just 12 months by implementing SEO strategies.
But coming across relevant, updated, and current information on it is increasingly difficult.
Search engines change their processes and algorithms nearly 600 times a year. That’s almost twice a day.
New changes to the algorithm mean that old tactics are phased out. Processes change and what worked a few years ago could be considered spam today.
While SEO (as we know it) will likely never go out of style, its methods are constantly on the move.
In this guide, we’ll simplify SEO and give you the meat and potatoes of what you really need to know to rank your business on Google.
Let’s get started.
If you run a service business and you need to generate more leads for that business, then listen up. Over the last few years I’ve seen over 1,600 businesses looking to hire a marketing provider to help them grow their business. Yes, I generate leads for others, professionally.
Over the last few years I have learned a TON about lead generation. I’ve done many things right, I’ve done many things wrong, and I’ve learned a process that works well for me and my business.
And, I believe it can work well for your services business as well.
So how do you do it?
You need three things
- Something of value that people want.
- Traffic to your website
- A way to convert them that doesn’t turn them off or scare them away
If you’re running a successful business but haven’t ever invested in SEO, you probably do not know where to start or how to determine what SEO could do for your business. Your friends have told you that it could do big things for your business, but you need harder numbers than that before you know what or even how to invest.
We’re now offering done-for-you SEO opportunity analyses on Credo to help people just like you. Learn more here.
Duplicate content. SEOs the world over talk about duplicate content and how it can hurt your website’s rankings in the search engines, but they always conveniently never define what duplicate content actually is.
Because of this, there is a wealth of misunderstanding around the topic. Similar to fresh content and “content marketing”, there are all sorts of people out there (maybe you are one of them!) doing crazy things because you think it will “help your SEO”.
Getting your website listed in the search engines is the very first step to building a business online. Maybe you’re a seasoned entrepreneur starting a new business but haven’t invested online before, or maybe you’re a seasoned business owner looking to take an existing business to the next level.
If you’re like the 54% of businesses who don’t have a budget for SEO, then you need to take it into your own hands and at least get started so you can justify the investment in the future. Because after all, 93% of online experiences begin with a search engine (source).
So how do you get your website listed?
When businesses hire agencies, they do so usually because their growth is not going in the right direction or it has slowed measurably.
Agencies and consultants are like dentists – brought in when something is wrong. Sure, you have the people (I’ve recently become one of these) who are very good at scheduling their regular cleanings and proactively floss and brush twice a day and switch out their toothbrush once a quarter, but those are the exception.
Most people go to see a dentist because they broke a tooth or they have a painful tooth. They also put it off because they know that the solution to feel better is a) going to physically hurt most likely because they need dental work done, b) they’ll have to take some time off work to get that work done, and c) it will likely be expensive.
Something I hear from marketers and agencies frequently is “we’re not ready to join Credo yet because we’re still working on our (sales process/lead generation)”.
This is a completely valid concern.
If you’re a marketing provider (agency or consultant) and your sales process isn’t working to close work, then being listed in the Credo network isn’t going to do you much good. When you get leads you will struggle to close them, and it will be much harder to see a return on your investment by joining the network.
Well my friends, today I have some great news for those of you in this situation.
The SEO world is ripe with advice and people giving you “weird tricks” to help you rank higher on Google. Unfortunately, for the non-SEO professional this can be incredibly overwhelming and oftentimes quite counter-productive to actually ranking higher!
So what’s a person to do?
Did you know that it is possible to make phone numbers clickable on mobile so that your site’s mobile visitors can click to call instead of filling out a form? It’s possible through a simple tel: link command!
As we live in an increasingly mobile world where mobile traffic is now dominant in many verticals, we as marketers need to adjust how we allow people to get in contact with our businesses.
Image via StatCounter
One way to do this is by making it easier for potential clients/customers to contact you directly via phone instead of filling out a form.
As a B2B business, your business lives and dies based on the leads you are getting. You need leads coming in so that you can put them through your sales cycle and turn them into clients.
You’re probably inundated, as a B2B marketer, by people offering you “leads” as well. They’re saying something like 1,000 leads for $200. In reality what you’ll get is a list of email addresses and first names that they scraped from LinkedIn.
So how do we level up our game and drive both more and better B2B leads?
First we need to define what a “lead” is in B2B, then we can talk about how to get more of them.
If you’re reading this, you’ve likely already read how to drive traffic to your website. Hopefully you’ve taken a few of those and implemented them with your business, and thus seen your traffic go up. Remember, you don’t get an outcome without output.
If you’ve implemented some of the ideas in that post and seen success, I’d love to hear from you – firstname.lastname@example.org.
Now that you have more potential customers coming to your website, you probably are trying to figure out how to turn more of them into business as well.
Because remember, the goal of more traffic is to get more business. More traffic alone doesn’t solve business problems, but if you can convert it into revenue then you can solve a lot of your business’s problems.
The best way to learn something is to study those who are the best in the world at their craft. Experts in other areas can teach us broader principles that we can take and apply to our own lives and work.
Warren Buffett is the best in the world at investing. Not only has he become amazingly wealthy through it, but his principles have helped many others succeed as well.
Buffett’s investment strategy is simple, and we can learn a lot from it for marketing our companies.
For a long time, people have asked me to help them hire full time people. Whether a full time SEO, PPC specialist, or director of marketing, hiring full time people is hard.
Also for a long time I’ve told people that Credo is not a full time recruiting service. We are still not a recruiting service, but today as of today Credo has a brand new Digital Marketing Jobs Board for full-time and part-time marketing jobs.
There is such a need out there to hire good marketers and Inbound has shut down (along with their job board), so there is a gap in the market that Credo can fill.