We’ve written many blogs over the years sharing tips and methods for growing and sustaining a successful marketing program, but to better exemplify how these strategies affect small businesses, we’ve compiled a case study outlining how we helped one of our clients develop their marketing strategy.
Our client is a consulting firm, providing outsourced B2B lead generation services for elite clientele with complex sales needs.
We began working with this client in late 2014, and the goals were clear: improve its digital presence, increase brand awareness, convert website visitors, and generate qualified opportunities.
1. Identify Target Audience
When defining and engaging a target audience, we have consistently had the most success creating buyer personas and considering the buyer’s journey.
A buyer persona is a fictional representation of the ideal customer for your business. We considered who would be interested and helped by our client’s services, taking into consideration demographics such as age, industry, education level, preferred information sources, social media usage, and other digital habits.
The buyer’s journey is a method of understanding the sales process and is made up of three stages- awareness, consideration, and decision. Like personas, the place in a buyer’s journey can greatly affect what type of content is most valuable to that demographic. The most effective content speaks to the viewer based on where they are in their journey.
When creating content based on specific steps in the buyer’s journey, we better tailored the message to achieve the goals of the company - generate leads and increase conversions.
2. Content Marketing
Once the target audience was defined and refined, we turned to creating valuable content that would attract and speak to the client’s target market. There was already an existing blog and we created an editorial calendar that included more consistent blogging, and topics and titles that focused on relevant keywords that would be attractive to their target audience.
More frequent blogging, backed by keyword and audience research, aimed to not only attract visitors to the website but to establish the company as an expert in the field and a reliable source of information.
Knowing that 75% of B2B content marketers use blogs as their main source for content creation, we focused energy in creating a consistent blogging schedule and created an editorial calendar with topics and titles that would speak to their target audiences.
Posting a variety of blogs related to the many industries served by our client created a comprehensive resource for their readers. We varied the blog format with lists and guides, answering common questions, and seeking to always provide valuable information. We included several essential elements into every blog to optimize it for search engines and increase opportunities for conversions.
To get fresh content in front of target readers, we shared blogs and landing pages on multiple platforms. As a professional services provider, we decided to focus primarily on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter as platforms that would be best suited for their content .
As part of their social media strategy we utilized paid promotions on these platforms to further their reach. Posting frequently keeps an audience engaged and increases exposure, but paid promotions guarantee a larger, more specifically-targeted audience. To increase the engagement of these posts, we paid to promote to specific demographics based on our data.
In addition to posting and paying to promote, we created branded custom graphics and utilized them across all platforms. Consistent graphics for posts, backgrounds, and profiles is critical to establish a presence and identity on the web.
We included the same branding in the owners’ personal LinkedIn profiles as well; branded content on their personal profiles reinforced their reputation as thought-leaders in the industry. Additionally, the personal profiles were used to comment and share content in order to increase engagement and visibility across platforms.
To organically improve website traffic, several changes were made to the company’s website. We implemented a new theme and design to give the site a more up-to-date feel and then concentrated on SEO.
All of the site pages were optimized for search engines and we ensured that top keywords were incorporated throughout the entire site. Additionally, we installed Google Analytics so we could begin analyzing website traffic, top search phrases, bounce rates, and conversions.
No website is static and throughout our tenure with this client we make frequent periodic updates based on analytics and trends. Most recently we implemented pillar pages as part of their SEO strategy.
Our clients had a solid contact list and we implemented an email marketing program to connect with current and potential clients.
We designed and created a monthly newsletter to stay top-of-mind with contacts. The newsletters have been modified throughout the years, and we have experimented with different formats, graphics, messaging, and CTAs based on open rates and behavior.
Currently our client does not use a CMS so we have used MailChimp to manage their newsletters and it has worked well. MailChimp is a great option for small to mid-sized companies to connect with their audience.
Gated content is a strong component of any marketing program. Having been in the business of B2B lead generation for many years, our clients had a lot of valuable information to offer to their target market. We created a comprehensive guide to B2B lead generation and cold calling as a downloadable PDF and offer it on the site as gated content.
These various channels expanded our client's digital presence, increased lead generation, and created opportunities to collect actionable data. From these sources, we collected information that was used to gauge the success of the current strategy and make informed changes.
3. Collect and Analyze Data
Data analysis was essential to understanding which sources were producing the most website traffic. By analyzing the data we collected we were able to identify where the client’s target audience was most engaged, which then allowed us to focus energy on the most relevant and successful efforts.
The data collected from Google analytics was an essential component to our overall strategy for our client. Consistent reviews of where website traffic was coming from, top performing pages, and bounce rates served as the guide for our inbound marketing efforts.
With the goals of improving brand recognition, driving leads, and increasing conversion rates, we looked closely at three key metrics - form completion/leads generated, number of conversions, and paid search conversions. Understanding and tracking these KPIs was vital to understanding the impact the changes we were making to the site as well as to the content that we created and shared.
In 2018, our client saw a 63% increase in lead generation, a 60% increase in the number of conversions, and a 154% increase in paid search conversions.
Reviewing data, especially regarding SEO, revealed areas of improvement for organic traffic and reduced bounce rates. Changes to the website included updates in the layout and navigation as well as branding and messaging.
Pillar pages proved to be a useful tool to increase ranking for keywords. This method of organizing website content not only made it easier for viewers to find the information they sought but also made it easier for search engines to crawl the site, which would lead to higher ranking and visibility. Continuously updating the site to improve organization and navigation is a great competitive advantage and ensures that the site is performing optimally.
The more data we collect, the more opportunities there are to review and improve the our strategy. As technology evolves and search engines change their algorithms, we must stay on top of the changes in order for the Company’s SEO and marketing methods to have the desired effect.
4. Keep Building
The key to the strategy for our client is that it never stops changing. Collecting and analyzing data is an important part of digital marketing, but taking action on this data is where we have the greatest impact on our clients’ success. After analyzing data, it is imperative to implement change in order to maximize growth.
As mentioned earlier, a website is not static and we are constantly monitoring traffic and activity and making changes and improvements in order for the website to be an active marketing tool.
By reviewing how visitors respond to the website, we can see what aspects of the site need to be updated. Working with the same client for an extended period of time gives us the advantage of seeing the impact of changes and improvements to the website.
Businesses change over time. Supporting the evolution of our client’s brand ensures their online presence accurately portrays the business in the present.
This change may also mean a change in goals. As our client's business changes, we will continue to optimize their content to meet the needs and expectations of their customers. Additionally, we will follow trends and updates that may impact how they choose to market; making needed changes to the website, content, and brand identity in order to achieve the best possible results.
This cycle- sharing content and attracting traffic, collecting and analyzing data from multiple sources, and then acting on the data to improve and adapt - is essential for a solid and successful digital marketing strategy.
Following these best practices will lead to a greater understanding of what works to further your goals and what is hindering your progress.
Thanks for reading,