Choosing the right inbound marketing agency, or even knowing if working with an inbound agency is the right thing for you is not always straightforward. Could you train up internal staff, or could you hire talent in? Whichever route you choose, there is a lot to know. And we hope to give you a deeper insight on this page.
But you will still need to ask, do the people I choose to work with understand my business and my sector? Do I understand and agree with their processes, and do they have a demonstrable record of delivering measurable value?
Here are 21 steps we implement if you work with Equinet. And through these steps, you will be better informed and equipped to make the right decision for your business. Or arrange an inbound consultation now if you would prefer to talk about your options.
We have been developing and refining our proven process for delivering meaningful inbound outcomes to clients for over 7 years. Read more
To implement inbound you need to know it's a good fit, develop the strategy, establish the foundation and get the right team. Read more
We cluster around you to deliver inbound marketing implementation and every aspect of the strategic plan. Read more
Irrespective of the time invested in completing each piece of work, the points remain the same, so you never pay for inefficiencies. Read more
Agile improves speed, predictability, and responsiveness and Scrum is the framework that enables this iterative and incremental approach. Read more
Develop core propositions, reasons to believe those propositions, brand values and personality and then develop your messaging. Read more
To create compelling and relevant content that resonates with your target audience, you need to develop your buyer personas. Read more
Information and solutions prospects search for depends on where they are in the buying cycle. Your content must respond to that context. Read more
Many businesses fail to understand a website needs to be about customers first, not their products and services, features and benefits. Read more
Inbound marketing generates inbound leads. Having a strategy for responding to those leads is an important consideration. Read more
Inbound marketing has a lot of moving parts that fit together to create a marketing ‘machine’ for your business. Read more
Calls-to-action and landing pages sit at the heart of inbound marketing and conversion rate
Building the foundation requires the setup of essential tools in HubSpot and design of your blog and email templates. Read more
Provide your clients and prospects with interesting, educative experiences, via multiple formats and channels. Read more
Cornerstone content with the buyer's journey in mind. Educative and informative offers at the 'Awareness' and 'Consideration' stage. Read more
Given a choice, many people will choose to view something before reading about it. Make video part of your marketing mix. Read more
Have a plan for newsletters, case studies, checklists and webinars to build out your content matrix and cover the bases. Read more
Whether it is for your eBooks, CTA banners or email templates, or website, good design will set your content apart. Read more
The tools that help attract targeted traffic to your website include the ability to manage earned, owned and paid media. Read more
The business of converting traffic to leads and lead generation is best underpinned by the right technology solutions. Read more
A process for deselection as well as qualification delivers a better prospect experience and superior sales interactions. Read more
Download your guide to developing an inbound marketing strategy and learn how to create a game plan for generating more leads and sales.
Discover how to develop buyer personas that will help shape and form content that resonates with your customers and prospects.
In this eBook we address:
Our proven process puts strategy before the tactics, creative and technologies needed to achieve your specific growth goals and timelines. This is not a cookie-cutter exercise and every partnership we take on is different. But the process we use to define your requirements is consistent. And it works.
Could inbound be a good fit for your business and help you to achieve your goals for growth?
To successfully implement inbound you need to know if it's a good fit, develop the right strategy and tactics, establish solid foundations and establish the right team.
Our process starts with a review to ascertain if inbound would be a good fit for you. During an initial conversation, we will ascertain if an inbound assessment is a good idea. And following the assessment, we will decide if a deeper diagnostic review of your internal processes, resource, goals and timelines, is a valid next step. Through this process, you will come to understand if an inbound strategy would be a valuable and important move towards growing your business and achieving your goals.
An inbound strategy comprises a series of workshops and research projects where we dig into what makes you first choice for your customers, who your customers are and why your prospects would choose you over other solutions. We ascertain what content and channels would work best and evaluate your website and sales process from an inbound perspective. Throughout, we are developing a working plan to achieve your goals within your timelines. An inbound strategy takes six weeks from the first workshop to a presentation of your GamePlan which will include options and recommendations for moving forward.
At this point, you will know if you want to implement the plan yourself, hire in talent, or work with an agency. Or maybe a hybrid approach is the right solution for you. Whichever way you choose, you will have a plan for building out the foundation and launching your first inbound campaign.
If you chose to work with Equinet the next step is building the foundation which may include (if required) developing a new website. During this phase, we are creating the content, setting up the technology, designing the assets and developing the site. A process that takes another six weeks.
Then we start the process of burning down weekly points, planning monthly programmes and hitting quarterly targets - objectives that were defined by your annual goals and the work we did during the strategy stage. This quarterly pulsing ensures that we always stay on track and focused on outcomes that we monitor and analyse with you.
When you partner with Equinet we cluster around you to deliver inbound marketing implementation and every aspect of the strategic plan. The deep knowledge, experience and skills of each member of the team is harnessed in pursuit of your targets. And our agile approach ensures we are always responding to issues and opportunities as they arise.
The quarterly, monthly and weekly pulses are continuously reviewed and analysed by your inbound strategist who leads monthly meetings and quarterly reviews with you.
Your weekly planning and review calls are managed by your inbound marketing consultant who is also the scrum master for your team. They run the daily stand-ups and ensure we are always burning down the points to deliver your programme.
We are constantly alert to the make-up of your programme which can include growth-driven design, sales enablement, content creation and design as well as inbound marketing tactics and management. Our focus is on responding to what actually happens rather than blindly following a plan. And in this way, we accelerate the process of driving more traffic, leads and sales for your business.
Every aspect of the work we do is assigned a point value. For example, a blog post is three points based on value creation, not hourly estimates. Irrespective of the time invested in completing each piece of work, the points remain the same, ensuring you never pay for any inefficiencies and get the full value of your investment.
During a presentation of the ‘GamePlan’ which is part of your ‘Inbound Strategy Blueprint’ in the DESIGN stage, we will propose a programme, including the associated monthly point value required, specifically in response to your:
The minimum level of Points (based on our experience of a minimum viable programme) is 120 Points a Quarter/40 Points a month (billed monthly). Point allocations are defined every three months at the Quarterly Reviews in line with the agreed activity and goals for that Quarter. You can increase or decrease the number of Points each Quarter and our contract with you has a quarterly break clause.
By working in quarterly, monthly and weekly cycles in this way, we offer more efficient and accurate forecasting and planning. And by creating a ninety-day world that supports the goals and vision and keeps the strategy on track, we enhance the longer-term success of the overall project.
For example: An overall goal to increase new sales from online sources by 40% in the next twelve months would be difficult to deliver against if traffic to your site were low. So, having a significant push on generating traffic in the first Quarter and then re-setting the clock to agree on the strategy and goals in the second quarter to focus on conversion rate optimisation is more likely to help us achieve the overall goal.
Everything we do is agile in this way, responding to what happens rather than blindly following a plan of what we ‘guessed’ might occur.
Our full ‘Point Pricing Values Chart’ is available to prospects and clients on request.
Equinet operates an 'Agile Scrum' approach as an inbound agency. Agile is designed to improve the speed, predictability, and responsiveness of the marketing function. It works by breaking big projects into smaller parts we call 'cards'; prioritising and continuously delivering against goals in weekly cycles called 'sprints'. Scrum is the framework that enables this iterative and incremental approach to maximise the value of the output.
This process works by creating a monthly ‘backlog’ of work (informed by quarterly goals) that we draw from to run ‘sprints’ and daily ‘stand-ups’ with the (Scrum) team. One advantage of this approach is an eradication of ‘siloes’ and a more integrated and collaborative team which clusters more efficiently around you to deliver outcomes.
Clients join a monthly backlog meeting online where they gain knowledge of the work being rolled out over the next sprints and discuss efficiencies that will inform the deliverables. As well as these backlog meetings we facilitate 30-minute calls each week, produce monthly reports and attend in-person quarterly reviews.
Our inbound marketing strategy GamePlan is a blueprint for implementing inbound in your business. The process involves workshops, research, content and brand development. And the focus is your customers. So persona definition is a vital component. Not only how your buyer persona operates in their professional role. We'll also consider what they do and where they play as a private individual too.
The result is a strategy to deliver more website traffic. More qualified leads. And more customers and referrals. It will include an illustration of a 90-day inbound marketing plan. The recommendations will respond to your longer-term goals and timelines; the outcomes you need to grow your business.
Every quarter we will review priorities, set new targets and agree on expectations. We will set goals that relate to your sales funnel and financial goals. So we will create a pulse on your marketing and design a process for continual improvement.
Many B2B businesses think of "brand" as their logo and the colours on their site. But a B2B brand means more than that. The best business brands represent everything the company stands for. They reflect what their customers are looking for. What they understand about the enterprise.
A good brand will help you stand out from the eternal sameness of traditional B2B marketing. A place where laundry lists of product or service features and benefits are the usual fare.
A strong brand is
A B2B brand is a central rather than marginal element of your value proposition. But, for businesses that have not considered their brand from this perspective before, this can seem a little daunting.
And an external agency cannot develop a company's brand alone. They can’t ask a few questions, disappear, and then return ("ta-da") with a brand expression that is meaningful.
So we created a brand development workshop. This forms part of our initial inbound marketing strategy work with every new client. It involves key employees getting to the heart of your company's DNA to reach consensus around your brand expression
The three-hour brand development workshop is an essential component of an inbound strategy blueprint. The aim is to discover and analyse emerging themes, to develop expressions that communicate your company‘s DNA, and to reach consensus around your core messaging.
From the data compiled during this session, Equinet will develop and circulates an initial draft output then, further to feedback, refine a final version that everyone approves. This final output is a cohesive expression that encapsulates who the company is, what it does, and why it does it.
All workshops are managed in-person or remotely (or a combination of both) at our facilities constructed specifically for this type of event.
Our process for developing your primary personas involves persona questionnaires, a three-hour persona workshop (underpinned by the collated answers to the questionnaires), and interviews with your salespeople and, where possible, existing customers.
As with the brand messaging workshop, the process involves your key employees and part of the Equinet team (Strategy, Creative, Content). The aim is to discover, plot and analyse the primary personas involved in purchasing your products or services.
This work is critical, as all of the content on your website, in your blogs and your eBooks needs to be created with the interests, fears and aspirations of these personas in mind. They are the foundation on which your content is built, so they need to be solid.
To create compelling and relevant content that resonates with your target audience, we need to consider you persona definition. Buyer personas are representations of your target customers based on real-world information and educated guesses. Their likes, dislikes, habits,
Our process involves persona questionnaires, a workshop (underpinned by the collated answers to the questionnaires), interviews with your salespeople and, where possible, existing customers.
During this process, we incorporate the Buyer Persona Institute's 'Five Rings of Buyer Insight™.
First, we scope out a top-level sketch, beyond the usual demographics, and once we’ve identified the general profiles, we ask questions that help identify their pain points, needs, and challenges.
The information and solutions your prospects are searching for will vary according to where they are in the buying cycle. So content intended to generate awareness is different from content designed to convert leads to customers.
Awareness (What do I need?): Your prospect becomes aware they have a need and has expressed symptoms of a potential problem or opportunity.
Consideration (What are my options?): Your prospect has defined and given a name to their problem or opportunity and starts reviewing their options, assessing which may best meet their needs, eliminating those that don't.
Decision (Why should I buy now - from you?): Having narrowed the field in the decision stage a person has defined their solution, strategy, method, or approach and is ready to make a decision.
Using what we learnt about your brand and what we now know about your buyer personas we will identify the types of content and best channels to deliver them for each stage of the buying cycle.
By considering your content in these terms - cognisant of buyer persona and lifecycle stage – we will create synopses for cornerstone content that will resonate with your audience and move prospects through the buying process.
Prior to the content workshop, we will carry out a content audit of existing assets looking for opportunities to repurpose them within the new framework. And we will create a blog calendar mapping out ideas for blog posts over the next quarter.
The Awareness and Consideration stage cornerstone content synopses include overall theme and purpose, structure and chapters, working title and associated keywords and associated blog post titles
The workshop also covers existing content assets and how they could be used in an inbound programme. Primary keyword research results. A content calendar and requirement for blog and social media training.
The website redesign workshop is informed by the approach you choose. Whether you are keeping your existing site, redesigning your site on the HubSpot CMS or taking a growth driven design approach, the purpose of the website workshop is to find the best solution for generating more traffic, leads and sales.
The first step is always benchmarking your current metrics. Next, we need to determine your goals. No matter your approach, we need to consider your conversion paths, your blog and incorporate the HubSpot tools to maximum benefit.
Whether the choice is a website redesign or growth driven design, we will present initial design concepts and focus on layout, functional flow, site structure and ascertain the requirement for content, images and infographics.
When it comes to website redesign, many businesses fail to focus on the most important consideration: your site needs to be about your customer first, not your services, features and benefits.
There are pre-requisites for a website today without which you would struggle to remain competitive: being responsive and optimised for mobile, sound security, fast page load time, to name just a few.
But ideally, your site will also be set up for ‘smart content’ - where different experiences get served up to each persona at the right stage in their buying cycle.
You have three options regarding your website, assuming you are committed to a move to HubSpot.
Keep your existing website: Choosing this option requires that you have a site that is accessible, up to date and fit for purpose. We would have a candid conversation with you in this regard before agreeing on an inbound strategy engagement.
A website redesign on the HubSpot CMS: The HubSpot CMS has been developed from the ground up to work harmoniously with HubSpot‘s full-funnel sales and marketing solutions. With it, your content is optimised for search, responsive to any device, and you can deliver customised experiences for different visitors depending on who they are and what they have previously done.
Take a growth driven design approach: In many ways, the traditional web design playbook is broken. It can leave you vulnerable to multiple risks and often does not produce optimal results. Growth-Driven Design is the new gold standard for delivering results and bringing measurable business value through web design. It is a smarter, agile and data-driven approach that minimises the pitfalls of traditional web design.
Inbound marketing generates inbound leads. Having a strategy for responding to those leads is an important consideration. But this is not without challenges. Unless you are already generating leads in this way, you will need to review how your Sales team are going to respond to them.
Without a well-planned process for handling them, those leads can be at risk. A more traditional sales process is not ideal for closing inbound marketing generated leads. And only focusing on bottom-of-the-funnel leads risks leaving money on the table.
You need a more refined process that ensures you are working the right leads at the right time, and in the right way. With a good inbound process, you will connect with leads earlier - for example, when they have downloaded content from your website. These leads are more engaged and more educated than most outbound leads.
How you do that is the differentiator. Inbound matches the way modern buyers buy, accounting for the shift of power, from the seller to the buyer.
It is important to align your sales process with the buyer’s journey, and not the other way around. Communicating in a way that’s appropriate for the context is important, and with Inbound, Sales has access to insight that will help them empathise and better qualify opportunities.
During a Sales Workshop, we will demonstrate the methodology.
Identify: This is part of the awareness stage in the buyer’s journey where you identify potential customers and convert them from strangers to leads.
Connect: During this phase, you take actions to qualify leads and move through the awareness stage to the consideration stage.
Explore: As your qualified leads start to engage with your content in the consideration stage, you can start to explore their needs deeper and identify sales opportunities.
Advise: Sale opportunities allow you to advise leads on the best solution while they are in the decision phase of the buyer’s journey, which in turn, hopefully, results in converting them to a customer.
Equinet have developed a sales workshop to help explore and identify opportunities to establish an inbound sales strategy for your business. During the process we will be looking for opportunities to help you:
Inbound marketing has a lot of moving parts that fit together to create a marketing ‘machine’ for your business. These include the technology, the content, the design and the campaigns that deliver the ultimate marketing mix that will drive your traffic, leads and sales.
In the first instance, we set up your HubSpot portal (saving you the HubSpot onboarding fee in the process: £490 for Basic, £2,450 for Professional and £4,100 for Enterprise). This includes configuration of the footer, header, personalisation, compliance and tracking elements across your website and email settings. It requires form creation with progressive profiling, messaging and preference settings for reporting and exclusions as well as the technical aspects of setting up blog and landing page templates.
We work from the content calendar developed during the Strategy phase to research and gather information on the early pre-launch blog posts (four posts as Standard with the Foundation package). This can include interviews with your internal experts as well as external sources you provide. We then set about writing and optimising those posts and acquiring images before setting up and scheduling for publication.
Inbound marketing is powered by content and context. The experience of connecting with you can define success. And conversion rate optimisation (CRO) is a vital consideration once you have attracted traffic to your site. The core components of a winning CRO formula are your calls-to-action (CTAs), landing pages, and thank you pages.
Equinet will research, interview, write and design your Awareness stage eBook (approx. 3,500 words) and Consideration stage offer (typically 2,500 words). We will interpret, or develop your editorial guidelines, and incorporate, and if required, develop your brand guidelines.
We will copy write and design CTA banners for your site and blog, build landing page templates, and implement design and optimised copywriting for each offer. We will develop a thank-you-page template incorporating a secondary CTA and form. And we will create A/B test versions (Professional license and above) and include ‘Smart’ fields as appropriate across your CTAs and Landing Pages.
Designing a full Foundation requires the setup of essential tools in HubSpot as well the design and set up of your Blog and email templates. Even if we are not developing your website on the HubSpot CMS, we must still set up your blog and landing pages on the platform. For that reason, both are included in the Foundation work.
We will design your blog in-line with your website creating both the index page and the individual post template. As well as setting up your social channels we will migrate existing posts (assuming from a Wordpress or existing HubSpot site) and set up your topics and any other aspects you would like to include.
We will design email templates for your newsletter, blog subscribers, offer templates and re-engagement mails. These will be tested across all the main email clients and incorporate personalisation as appropriate. We will setup your Workflows in HubSpot including, timing, branching logic and backburner lists. We will also build your foundational Lists in the platform including Persona Lists, Lifecycle List, Suppression Lists and any data-trigger lists required at the outset. We will also set up standard lead-scoring for you.
A good content marketing agency will provide your partners, stakeholders, clients, and prospects with interesting, educative and compelling experiences, via multiple formats and channels, to position your company as the "go to guys" in your field.
Good content writers will set you apart, and a sustained flow of remarkable content marketing ideas will cultivate relationships, build trust, and keep your company top of mind with people who matter until they ready to speak with you about your solution.
And a content marketing strategy defines why you are creating content. Who is it that you are helping, and how you will uniquely help. When done well you will use a content marketing strategy to set the blueprint first to build an audience and then generate leads and increase revenue.
As well as providing content creation, content strategy, and a content marketing platform, Equinet will provide you with:
Adding context to your contacts' experience of connecting with you, adds a dimension previously only enjoyed by companies with resources like Amazon or Netflix. But now, technology enables us to deliver the right content to the right person at the right time.
Content fuels inbound marketing and remarkable content requires inbound to reach its full potential. Working with an agency that excels at both inbound and content marketing increases the returns you can expect from your investment.
Given a choice, many people will choose to view something before reading about it. Historic problems with bandwidth and technology which made video a non-starter for many businesses are behind us now. Today, with universal broadband and smart tech, video is a viable option for any company.
Interviewing customers, partners, or experts in your field, can create great top of the funnel content. But it is important to get to the point. To keep a good pace - using short, powerful sentences, and keeping it brief.
If you have a product that isn't self-explanatory, then a product demonstration video could save you time and money and improve customer understanding.
Talking head video shot in the studio (at Equinet). Up to three minutes. Script consultation and editing. Professional lighting, audio and autocue. Brand positioning and graphic incorporation in the edit.
Storyboard development. Shot on location. Multiple participants. On-site footage. BBC cameraman, Producer and Assistant. Cutting edge kit. Optional specialist equipment (tracks, cranes etc.) 4k resolution filming. Up to five minutes. Full edit.
An eNewsletter will reach subscribers with regular content, keeping you top of mind. You have an opportunity to repurpose content like your blogs, new hires and curated content; third party posts you believe to be worth sharing. In this way, you will save recipients precious time. Time saved by pointing them towards great content they otherwise might have missed.
Now you have a mix of your content and the cream of what's good in your market. So you have earned the opportunity of promoting a content offer. And if you are using a tool like HubSpot, you will be able to serve up 'smart content offers' - content offers that relate to the recipient persona and their stage in the buying cycle.
Webinars are interactive and intrinsically engaging and create a sense of event around your ideas and information. They can be repurposed for on-demand access creating an evergreen asset that will keep on generating leads into the top of your funnel.
Good webinar software supports activity before and after the event so, when people register, you can ask them to submit questions, and the software will send automated reminders in the weeks and days leading up to the event.
With the best solutions, you can ask participants to fill in a survey after watching and send automatic follow-up emails to those who attended as well as those who did not.
Equinet can work with you to identify the best software solution and prepare the content, the promotion, and delivery of your webinar.
Checklists or cheat sheets are short-form content offers which look easy and quick to consume while still promising value. They could be a comprehensive guide to terms or summary steps to a solution, formatted for quick reference. These offers can be important as they often constitute a first step on the path to gaining a prospect's permission for future communications.
Case studies are a simple yet very effective way to illustrate the benefits of your business or product. They allow your story to be understood by way of a third party. A third party with similar needs to your prospect. So it is not like an advertisement, more of an endorsement.
So, case studies are a good way of aligning the benefits of your product or service with the interests of your visitor through real-life examples of how you delivered value to a third party and helped them accomplish their goals.
Your case studies, as with all of your content, should start with your target personas in mind. As they read, they should get a sense that you are comfortable in and understand their industry.
Your case studies should identify the customer’s goals and their subsequent needs and show how you met those needs and goals. You need to provide specific details and tangible results the visitor can relate to. And wherever possible, you should visualise the results with pictures and charts.
Whether it is for your eBooks, CTA banners or email templates, good design will set your content apart.
Design is more important than ever as we contest ever-rising tides of content saturation and endeavour to stand out from the crowd. Good design is an instant indication of quality and value as it implies levels of care and attention that merit our attention.
At Equinet we treat digital design as a vital and central component of everything we do:
Equinet works across all design from concept to delivery including, at times, brand elements like logo redesign and promotional materials for events and print.
Inbound marketing is made possible by technology solutions that enable data segmentation and evaluation, content positioning and delivery, measurement and analysis on an epic scale. Equinet specialises in the HubSpot platform, but we incorporate several other tools into the technology stack.
The tools that help attract targeted traffic to your website include the ability to manage earned, owned and paid media. A capacity to promote content is as important as drawing the right people to your content. Doing both will set you apart.
Lead generation and the business of converting traffic to leads is best underpinned by the right technology solutions which include the ability to measure and analyse each step in the process.
Tools that help you nurture leads and filter the buyer's journey ensure that you focus attention on good fit prospects. A process for deselection as well as qualification delivers a better prospect experience as well as superior sales interactions.