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Inbound Marketing Age

Antonia Molloy

Antonia Molloy
Antonia is Equinet's former managing editor, writing and coordinating content for the company and our clients, including website pages, eBooks, white papers, case studies, eNewsletters and more.

Recent Posts

Should you carry out an inbound content audit?

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  17, June, 2019  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Editors note: This blog post was originally published in January 2017 and has since been updated for optimal accuracy and relevance.

For many companies, developing a content strategy involves looking ahead to the next blog post, the next video, or the next eBook. This might  involve a brief look back at the performance of past content to see what topics they should cover. However, a more positive approach is to continue to build on what you've already achieved.

And that's exactly what your organisation can do by carrying out a content audit.

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How to use your marketing data to make better content decisions

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  7, June, 2019  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Editors note: This blog post was originally published in June 2016 but has since been updated for optimal accuracy and relevance.

What’s the most important ingredient in your content marketing mix? Your way with words, your eye for design, perhaps, or your turn of phrase? Or, is it your marketing data?

A data-driven content strategy is a powerful one; informed by what your ideal customers really want and need.

Data is an invaluable tool for inbound marketers - but you have to know both how to collect it and put it to good use.

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Inbound marketing for SaaS: putting in a lot to get a lot

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  5, April, 2017  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

In a previous post, we discussed how an inbound approach could help your software as a service (SaaS) company. We talked about the importance of SaaS organisations not only winning customers, but retaining them over the long term - a challenge inherent in the SaaS business model.

As a SaaS company, you will know that you have to wait a bit longer to enjoy the fruits of your labour than in other industries. When you win new business, the payoff doesn't come straight away. You need those customers to keep on buying your services and you also want to sell more services to them over time. 

In the same vein, when you first start out on an inbound marketing journey, you won't reach your destination immediately. Implementing inbound marketing is a commitment (with all the challenges that entails). 

However, in both instances, the potential rewards to be reaped are well worth the wait. So, let's explore why and consider how adopting inbound marketing for SaaS could help you to reach more of the right people and grow your business. 

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5 tips to help B2B content writers make an impact

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  28, March, 2017  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

According to Internet Live Stats, Google processes over 40,000 search queries every second on average - or over 3.5 billion searches per day. That's a lot of people looking for content and, while those searches will incorporate a huge range of questions, the sheer volume indicates that there is an audience hungry for content.

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How an inbound approach could help your SaaS company

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  23, March, 2017  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Across the spectrum, industries are facing change on an unprecedented scale – and the software as a service (SaaS) industry is no exception. In today's fast-moving and competitive environment, SaaS companies will live and die by their ability to acquire new customers and keep them on a long-term basis.

Therefore, it's important that you can reach the people that matter the most to your business. To do so, you need a targeted and effective marketing strategy that enables you to connect with and form relationships with the individuals and organisations that will benefit from purchasing your products and services.

Adopting an inbound approach can help you to achieve just that. In this post, we explore the current state of the SaaS industry and look at how implementing inbound marketing could help your company.

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The importance of storytelling in professional services marketing

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  13, March, 2017  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

At its core, marketing is storytelling. Telling stories allows you to connect with your target audience; to create and build meaningful relationships. Stories paint a vivid picture of your brand, products and services; they show why you are the best choice.

In professional services marketing, telling stories enables you to garner trust in a digital landscape, where online capital counts for so much. From B2B case studies to blog posts and eBooks, there are various ways you can incorporate stories into your marketing efforts.

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Are you putting your B2B buyer personas first?

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  7, March, 2017  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Inbound marketing is customer-centric: your target audience is at the heart of everything you do. Therefore, you need to understand that audience – and one of the best ways to do that is to create B2B buyer personas.

Buyer personas represent the people that matter to your business. HubSpot defines them as "fictional, generalised characters that encompass the various needs, goals, and observed behaviour patterns among your real and potential customers". 

Your buyer personas should inform your entire inbound marketing strategy. Without them, your campaigns and messaging could be completely missing the mark. So, how can you make certain that you're effectively prioritising your B2B buyer personas?

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What B2B content writers should know about 10x content

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  23, February, 2017  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

By now, many companies understand the vital role that content plays in attracting their target audience. According to HubSpot's 2016 State of Inbound report, 73 per cent of organisations have adopted inbound as their primary approach to marketing – and, of course, inbound is powered by content. The report surveyed more than 4,500 respondents from marketing backgrounds in B2B, B2C, small, and mid-sized businesses, which are based in over 132 countries – so the results are not to be sniffed at! 

However, it is no longer enough for businesses to simply create content. The competition is heating up and there is a lot (and I mean a lot) of content out there. In today's environment, mediocre content just won't cut it – and even good, unique content will struggle. So, we need to be creating extraordinary content.

In 2016, Rand Fishkin, the co-founder of Moz, coined the term "10x content". And, in doing so, he offered B2B content writers a solution to this very real problem.

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3 top benefits of content marketing for manufacturing

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  10, February, 2017  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Whether you are a manufacturer already on a content marketing journey, or one that is considering taking the plunge, it's always worth reiterating the benefits of content marketing for manufacturing.

According to research published by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) at the end of 2016, 85 per cent of manufacturing marketers use content marketing. However, well over three-quarters (79 per cent) of these describe their organisation's content marketing maturity level as "first steps", "young" or "adolescent", as opposed to "mature" or "sophisticated".  And only a third (33 per cent) say that their organisations have clarity on [what constitutes] content marketing success.

The early stages of a content marketing strategy can be hard. It takes time to lay down the foundations and results don't appear overnight – but, when they do, they're well worth the wait.

So, here are three top benefits of content marketing for manufacturing to keep in mind if you're in need of a boost or have just plain lost your mojo.

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4 myths about B2B content writing

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  2, February, 2017  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

"Myth: a widely held but false belief or idea."

Oxford Dictionaries

B2B content writing is a topic ripe for discussion. There's tons of information and advice out there, which you could spend hours reading and digesting. But, you might still find yourself scratching your head over what denotes best practice. 

So, in the age of the "post-truth" society, it's time to put to bed a few lingering myths about creating B2B content. 

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4 simple productivity techniques to help B2B content writers

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  26, January, 2017  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

"We'll publish a blog post every day this month"; "this quarter, we'll create a top-of-the-funnel eBook and a middle-of-the-funnel whitepaper": it's easy to be ambitious about your B2B content strategy, but achieving your goals can often be a different story.

When there's so much to do and distractions at every turn, it can be difficult for B2B content writers to be as productive as they would like. However, successful content marketing relies on consistently creating useful and valuable content for your target audience.

So, here are five simple productivity techniques, to help you power through your to-do list and create the great content you have planned.

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Why inbound marketing for manufacturing supports Industry 4.0

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  24, January, 2017  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

"Industry 4.0, or the Fourth Industrial Revolution, is set to revolutionise the manufacturing and production industry by integrating the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, data integration and other technological advances into the heart of production and manufacturing systems."

Salesforce

There's no doubt that Industry 4.0 is coming for the manufacturing industry – and with it, big changes. The ultimate goal of Industry 4.0 is the "smart" factory, in which "cyber-physical systems (CPS) will monitor the physical processes within modular structured factories, and a virtual copy of the physical world will be mined for data in real time, enabling decentralised decisions" (Source: The Manufacturer).

Simultaneously, there are changes afoot in the sales and marketing environment – the go-to methods simply don't work as well as they used to. Today, more and more business is conducted online and, to put it simply, no one wants to talk to your sales team – at least, not to start with. The power has passed into the hands of buyers, who want to ensure they are informed and educated about their needs before they speak to a sales person. In fact, according to a survey carried out by Forrester, 74 per cent of B2B buyers conduct more than half of their research online before making an offline purchase.

So, what to do?

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Why B2B content writers should embrace their writing voice

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  11, January, 2017  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

"Writing is the painting of the voice" - Voltaire

We all have unique voices: deep and rich, breathy, high-pitched, soft and honeyed. And when we write, we also have unique voices. However, sometimes we stymie our voices, shackling our personalities to produce flat, impersonal writing. We resort to tired templates and worn-out clichés, jargon and meaninglessness.

This is all too easily done in the context of B2B content writing, where much of what is created is dismissed as "boring". After all, if what you're writing about is dull, then why bother to inject some individuality?

The answer is, because it matters. When you're writing for a business, your audience is still made up of real people, with real problems – and you might just be able to solve them. But first, you need to embrace your writing voice.

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5 motivational tips for struggling B2B content writers

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  20, December, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

"This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until it's done. It's that easy, and that hard."

Neil Gaiman

Motivation isn't always easy to come by as we slide into Christmas. And, while the festive season provides a bit of an excuse, a lack of motivation is problematic for B2B content writers - whatever time of year it strikes. Successful content marketing is dependent on both quality and consistency, both of which require a degree of good, old-fashioned, nose-to-the-grindstone work.

There are various reasons behind a lack of motivation. Some are serious, but others are easier to address – for instance, feeling unmotivated because you are overwhelmed by a task and simply don't know where to start.

So, what can B2B content writers do when the muse proves elusive and doing almost anything else but writing seems appealing?

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Your 2017 B2B content marketing plan: let go of the fear

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  16, December, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

“You know what keeps most of our content from attaining epic status, don't you?

Fear.

Our fear of looking foolish. Of negative responses on social media. Or, worse, of getting hardly any visits, social shares, leads, or sales from our best efforts.”

Hunter Boyle, Content Marketing Institute (CMI)

It's that time of year when that dreaded word starts to do the rounds: "resolution". What do you plan to do (or not do) once the clock strikes midnight on 31 December?  It's all rather exhausting. But, when it comes to your content marketing plan for next year, there's one resolution that's well worth making: to let go of your fear.

Ask yourself: how many times have you shied away from creating a piece of content because you didn't think you could pull it off, or because it was a bit too "out there"? How many times have you delayed publishing your work because it's not quite polished enough? And how many times have you doubted your expertise – or even held back that expertise for worry of giving away too much?

In 2017, it's time to believe in your content marketing skills.

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How to adopt an agile approach to content marketing for manufacturing

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  7, December, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

For many B2B manufacturers, marketing is continuing to prove a bit of a sore spot – more specifically, content marketing. Whether because they struggle to know how to create meaningful content, or because they've had bad experiences in the past, manufacturers are often letting marketing fall by the wayside.

However, in today's climate, this is not advisable. Manufacturers exist in an increasingly competitive landscape: the Fourth Industrial Revolution is rearing its head, there is growing demand for mass customisation, and customers demand shorter and shorter lead times. To survive and thrive, organisations must reach out effectively to the people that matter most to their business.

Content marketing allows manufacturers to engage meaningfully with their potential customers - but that's of little use if they struggle to implement it. That's where an agile approach can help.

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Why you should be optimising your content around B2B topics

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  30, November, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

"It's a shift from terms to topics; a shift from longtail keywords, massive spreadsheets, down to just half a dozen topic areas that you as a business can own authoritatively."

Inbound 2016: Christopher O'Donnell, HubSpot Product Spotlight

Keywords: love them or hate them, they need to be factored into your content marketing strategy. But if you've ever pored over a keyword tool, trying to find the perfect combination of high search volume, low difficulty and, of course, relevance, you will know how frustrating this endeavour can be. If you work in a particularly content-saturated market, it can feel as though the chances of your organisation ranking in a Google search are slim to none.

But, with search engines becoming increasingly sophisticated in delivering results to their users' enquiries, should you be considering another approach to SEO? What if the secret to people finding your content online lay less in optimising around a specific word or phrase and more in focusing on writing around a topic or concept?

Anum Hussain, former senior growth marketer at HubSpot, describes "topics over keywords" as the magic formula. So, what does this all mean?

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Securing a second date: how to craft copy for B2B landing pages

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  17, November, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

"Copy is so pivotal to the success or failure of your landing page that it's easy to take it for granted. No matter how valuable your offer or beautiful your design, it's the actual words on the page that will ultimately persuade prospects to click, or drive them to bounce."

Dan Levy, Unbounce

As B2B marketers, we're probably all guilty of treating landing pages as a bit of an afterthought – an add-on to the main content creation process.

For example, we write an eBook and then want to share it with our target audience and acquire new leads. So, having set up our landing page, we swiftly write a couple of paragraphs of copy and send our content out into the world.

However, this is clearly not best practice. And that's because a landing page acts as the gateway to your content.

If a prospect doesn't enter through the gate, they won't ever reap the benefits of your carefully-crafted work. But to unlock the gate, prospects don't need a key – it's their contact details the gatekeeper is after. Therefore, it's vital to spend time honing copy for your B2B landing pages.

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Why your manufacturing company needs a content marketing plan

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  10, November, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Change is the order of the day. Macro forces are combining to place intense pressure on organisations and entire industries. The manufacturing sector is no exception – most notably, the Fourth Industrial Revolution (and all that it entails) is looming large. Additionally, there is a growing demand for customised products, and an increased pressure to get products to market faster – while simultaneously staying one step ahead of the competition.

Against this backdrop, the way that customers interact with manufacturing companies (and, indeed, all companies) is also changing. To remain relevant in today's uncertain environment, it's vital to ensure that you can effectively reach the people that matter most to your business. Content marketing plays a key role in achieving this.

It's not uncommon for manufacturing companies to view marketing as little more than the "colouring-in department". And this view may not be entirely unfounded if they have had negative experiences in the past.

However, conventional sales and marketing simply don't work like they used to. So, let's explore why your manufacturing company needs a content marketing plan.

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Are you getting value from your inbound marketing agency?

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  2, November, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

We're all acquainted with the phrase: "You get what you pay for." In many ways, it's a bit of a meaningless one. After all, you can pay over the odds for a sub-par product or service or, on the other hand, land a complete bargain.

So, when you're working with your inbound and content marketing agency, how do you know whether you're getting value? To draw on another idiom, what makes an agency worth their weight in gold

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How to work with your inbound marketing agency

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  20, October, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Hiring an inbound marketing agency to power up your marketing efforts is exciting. You've carried out your research, created a shortlist and, finally, found your perfect match. But your work doesn't stop there.

While you rightly expect your chosen agency to deliver great results, you also have a vital role to play in achieving this. The emphasis is on working in partnership, to ensure that you get the most out of your new relationship. Having entered into a contract with you, your agency has a vested interest in your business and they want it to succeed as much as you do. 

By knowing how to conduct this professional relationship from the start, you maximise your chances of success. So how should you work with your inbound marketing agency? 

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5 quick facts from HubSpot's State of Inbound 2016

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  14, September, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

"Inbound means transforming how we do business to be more helpful, more human, more empathetic. It focuses on the whole process of turning a stranger into a delighted customer. Inbound is about matching the way you market and sell with the way people actually want to shop and buy."

HubSpot, State of Inbound 2016

It's that time of year again – HubSpot has just released its eighth annual State of Inbound report. And it's a meaty one – encompassing more than 4,500 respondents from marketing backgrounds in B2B, B2C, small, and mid-sized businesses, which are based in over 132 countries.

To really get to grips with the report, you'll probably want to make a cup of tea, get comfortable in your chair and set aside a couple of hours. In the meantime, we've pulled out five quick facts to give you a taste of what HubSpot found.

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4 useful (and mostly free) online tools for the best content writers

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  10, August, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Content writers are the builders of your B2B content marketing strategy. The content that they create enables you to connect with - and build lasting relationships with - the people for whom your business was made.

But even the best content writers need a little help sometimes. Whether freelance, in-house or part of an agency, they usually have lots to do and not quite enough time to do it

So we've identified four useful online tools that will enable the content creation process to run that little bit smoother - and add even more brilliance to the work of the best content writers.

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3 easy email newsletter ideas that will boost your inbound marketing

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  25, May, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Newsletters often get a bad rap - we’ve all received boring ones that fail to offer any useful information and provide "updates" on topics about which we neither know nor care. But, believe it or not, newsletters don't have to be tedious.

In fact, email is still a powerful weapon in your inbound marketing arsenal. They can help you to nurture leads and delight customers, by providing useful information that answers their questions, solves their problems, and generally piques their interest. Regularly sending out informative and usefulcontent can strengthen the relationships you have with the people that need or are already using your product or service.

But where do you start? How do you come up with engaging newsletter content that doesn't bore the socks off your readers? If you're stuck for email newsletter ideas, here are three easy ones to get you started:

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How to make sure visitors don't hate your B2B website design

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  11, May, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Your website is often the first point of contact between you and your future customers. Therefore, it’s vital that it makes a good impression. Otherwise, you’re fighting a losing battle from the start.

A study by Microsoft found that humans now have an average attention span of just eight seconds, down from 12 seconds in 2000. By comparison, a goldfish has an average attention span of nine seconds.

With multiple screens and multiple distractions at their fingertips, people have less time for information and websites that don’t immediately spark their interest. It’s likely that you made the decision to read this post in a matter of seconds.

As a business, you need to ensure that your website captures the attention of the people you most want to reach, amid the huge interruption that is the Internet. That means ensuring that it offers up an enjoyable - or at least useful - user experience from the outset. And the key to that lies in your website design.

Writing for HubSpot, Lindsay Kolowich says: "Poor user experience can cause high page abandonment rates, low visitor-to-lead conversion rates, poor organic search listing positions, and a plain ol' bad reputation."

So if your B2B website design is failing, it’s time to take action.

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Is your law firm full of valuable content writers?

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  25, April, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

More and more professions are coming round to the idea of inbound marketing. And law firms are among those businesses really embracing the power of content.

At the end of last year, Contently published an article in which they addressed this growing trend. Julia Schur wrote about how John Corey, president and co-founder of communications firm Greentarget, had been speaking to law firms across the US about content. His findings? He predicted that "between 30 and 50 percent of law firms will have a dedicated of content strategy by the end of the year [2015]."

Whether those figures are an accurate reflection of the situation currently, there’s no denying the value of an inbound approach in the legal arena. Inbound marketing is a strategy that fits with the way in which buyers today make decisions on purchasing goods or services from businesses; it reflects how prospective clients move from awareness to consideration to decision – and it is all centred on content.

So, in terms of marketing for law firms, let's consider how you can adopt an inbound approach more in keeping with the clients of today. And, do you already have a head start on others with valuable content writers in your ranks?

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This is how your marketing can start generating inbound leads

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  14, April, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

In a previous post, we discussed why inbound marketing results in more effective B2B lead generation than traditional outbound tactics. We explored how, while the inbound process takes more time to come to fruition, it deliver leads that are more valuable to your business. 

Here’s a definition of inbound marketing from HubSpot: "Sharing is caring and inbound is about creating and sharing content with the world. By creating content specifically designed to appeal to your dream customers, inbound attracts qualified prospects to your business and keeps them coming back for more."

In other words, inbound uses content to attract people, who are already interested in the kind of solutions that you provide, to your website, where you can kick-start the process of turning them into leads (and then customers).

So how can you put the wheels into motion and start generating these inbound leads? Furthermore, how can you utilise content right the way through the buyer’s journey, to nurture those leads and turn them into customers?

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How to come up with new blog ideas to fill your sales funnel

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  5, April, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Coming up with new blog ideas is something that we have to do on a constant basis as content and inbound marketers. But that doesn’t mean it’s always an easy task. From feeling that creativity has eluded you to simply not having enough hours in the day, it can be difficult to keep on top of your editorial planning.

On the other hand, we know that blogging regularly is crucial to our marketing efforts. It’s one of the best – and most cost-effective  ways to attract new visitors to your website and turn them into leads. In fact, according to HubSpot, B2B marketers that blog receive 67 per cent more leads than those that do not.

So how can you keep the creative juices flowing and generate new blog ideas that will fill your sales funnel?

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How to come up with a winning content marketing plan

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  11, March, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

In a previous post, we discussed the fundamental importance of buyer personas to your B2B content marketing. And once you’ve defined your personas, it’s time to start creating content that will capture their attention, create valuable connections, and move them towards doing business with you.

So you need a content marketing plan.

Crafting a strategy that will fulfil the needs of your audience and meet your business goals requires careful consideration. Online, content forms the link between you and your future customers. Through it, you need to inform, to educate, to build trust and, ultimately, prove why you are better than your competitors; why you are the best choice.

Let's consider how you can come up with a winning content marketing plan to ensure you can do just that.

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Why it's time to rethink professional services marketing

Written by Antonia Molloy  |  25, February, 2016  |  0 Comments  Subscribe

Referral: the act of directing someone to a different place or person for information, help, or action, often to a person or group with more knowledge or power (Cambridge Dictionaries Online).

Referrals have traditionally been used to garner business for professional services firms. Trust and good relationships are created and built upon through hours of networking and recommendations from current clients. And this approach remains a highly valuable way of acquiring work.

However, while word-of-mouth is still an effective tool, it is no longer enough on its own and, in the current climate, fewer clients are being won using this technique. In short, traditional marketing methods are no longer as impactful as they once were, as the Internet has fundamentally changed the way people research and buy from professional services companies - and, indeed, businesses across all industries.

So perhaps you’re finding that you are reaching fewer people and are beginning to wonder how you can make more connections again.

Now, prospective buyers seek out information about a company online before committing to doing business with them. Like the referral system, trust and genuine relationships lie at the heart of this new model – but it is powered by content and marketing automation rather than conversations and handshakes.  

Let’s take a look at what this means for your organisation and how you can adapt, to successfully thrive in this changing environment.

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