We're still coming down from our #INBOUND17 high—as what happens to us every year that we've attended. As HubSpotters and inbound evangelists, there's a common understanding among us that HubSpot's annual Inbound conference is a must-attend. And we did! We attended all the sessions, accepted all the swag, went to all the parties, and drank all..
For the last two years, I've sat in session after session at marketing and sales conferences––listening to some of the brightest minds in the biz talk about the concepts and ideas that drive our industry forward. I always walk away from Inbound feeling inspired. That can't-wait-to-get-home-and-try-some-stuff kind of inspired.
Last week, I attended HubSpot's INBOUND conference in Boston. I got the chance to listen to some of the brightest and most accomplished people share their secrets for success. These were best-selling authors, wildly successful business owners, motivational speakers and thought leaders all with their own unique systems and techniques for..
I was speaking a potential client the other day and helping them understand what an agency can do and what an agency can't-do.
Just because you hire an agency, it doesn't mean you have a silver bullet.
HubSpot customers now have access to monthly unlimited HubSpot development support that’s simple, affordable and headache-free.
SparkReaction, a HubSpot Certified Platinum Partner who specializes in full-funnel sales and marketing consulting, is excited to announce the expansion of it's HubSpot COS Development services with the launch of..
The other day we were talking with a client about ways to speed up their marketing. We talked about how when inbound marketing is in place properly that a PPC campaign can speed things up.
So, how does that work? When should you use it? Is it right for you? Let's find out.
Did you know that a sales and marketing alignment makes companies 67% more effective at closing deals?
At the heart of a sales and marketing alignment is one main thing: Sharing a definition of a qualified lead.
As a marketer, you might have an idea of what makes a lead qualified. Maybe already you've felt excited about passing a great lead off..
This blog post was originally published in September 2013, but updated on September 7, 2017.
Last month we talked about what it took to build the framework to start increasing your website performance. At this point you are probably starting to get the increase in traffic you were looking for and getting those unknown visitors to convert into..
Although the term "inbound marketing" was coined by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, the creators of the HubSpot marketing automation platform, inbound marketing itself is not marketing automation software. It is a methodology and a modern mindset.
WARNING: This blog post contains references to big numbers. Like––really big percent increases that totally won't seem real. And it's all completely achievable for your marketing team.
Marketing software is essential in today's competitive online world. It allows a marketer to save time and scale marketing campaigns with relative ease. However, using the software alone will not generate new leads or guarantee existing customers coming back. Successful online marketing requires taking timely, relevant actions based on what a..
You have done your homework around the inbound methodology and are using HubSpot. You have created your buyer personas, outline your buyer's journey and have been running campaigns for awhile now.
We all have that friend or family member who drags on for 30 minutes telling a story when we really just want them to cut to the punch line. That's how I see blog post introductions most days––a little fluff, a funny anecdote, and a bit too long.
So, let's cut to the good stuff: You're here to see what it's really like to work with..
Most decent-sized organizations will have both a sales team and marketing team, and for a long time, there was something of a dividing line between the two of them. For "traditional" thinkers, many would argue that one team could survive without the other (and often-times, it's the marketing team that gets cut first).
This "us against them"..
When planning your inbound strategy, setting goals is crucial to measuring your success. How will you know if your inbound marketing is working without a benchmark to measure against? These goals also have to be SMART—you know, Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. That is, a goal to "increase brand awareness" will never..
The marketing world is steadily realizing the benefits of content curation. A quick Google search will reveal titles like, "Content curation: Everyone is doing it!"
But did you know that some kinds of content curation can severely hurt your sales funnel?
I'm not talking about curation for social media, like Facebook or Twitter. Those websites..
By now, you know how important blogging is for your business. But blogging about anything without any purpose or goals won’t help you. Each and every blog post you publish should be written with a specific part of the buyer’s journey in mind.
Of course, that’s easier said than done. It’s not easy to figure out what questions your potential..
So you’ve decided to hire a marketing agency. That's great! Now, let's find you the right agency for your business. You will want to consider culture, price and of course qualifications. You might think of your options are black and white, right? I mean, all marketing agencies do the same thing, right? Marketing. I hate to break it to you, but..
As any business knows (or should know by now), social media can be a critical part of your marketing strategy.
But competition is at an all-time high, and companies are struggling to keep fans and followers engaged. A recent trend that has started to generate much-needed buzz is social media contests.
Recently Jay Baer touched on this topic..
The sales process has been breaking in a big way.
You know how it goes:
Sales reps do the selling, and marketers get a little slice of the pie — attract people to the brand... then, let sales do the rest.
This worked in the past. But with digital research rising, consumers are catching on — and they're tuning out of traditional sales pitches.
Marketers love jargon. We're capable of having high-speed conversations with buzzwords flying so fast, it would make a layperson's head spin.
Sometimes, though, we can get tripped up on the very lingo we love so dearly.
One trip-up we've noticed is the difference between two separate marketing and sales concepts: the buyer's journey and the..
Des Moines' recent economic boom has the city sweeping up accolades: one of the Top 10 Places to Live in the U.S., One of the Top Underappreciated American Cities You Should Totally Move To, and the 10th Best City to Live and Work.
If your website is more than a few years old or isn't landing you new business, it's time for a new one. So, should you save some cash and go with a template or go all out with a custom site? What are the differences between a template website and custom website? We offer both options, so we wanted to give you our thoughts on which one to pick..
Measuring the return on investment (ROI) of your marketing efforts may seem cumbersome and almost impossible. Your marketing strategy has so many moving parts, it might actually sound easier to just keep deploying strategies and not measure it at all, but you can’t use that excuse to your executive team.
You've invested in the HubSpot marketing suite, or you're considering it. Now, you're wondering: Is the HubSpot Website Platform add-on right for me?
After years of working in HubSpot's website platform, and as HubSpot certified designers, we can vouch for its capabilities.
Here are seven major benefits you'll get when you host your website on..
Thinking about small business branding? There are many misconceptions about the differences between a brand, identity, and logo. It's often perceived that a logo is the identifier of your business branding. Really, each of these three elements intertwine, and each plays a specific role in the company development.
Taking on the task of redesigning your website doesn't have to be stressful. Review this 10 Step Website Redesign Checklist before you get started, and your entire process will be smoother.
Choosing a HubSpot website design agency is downright tough. It often takes weeks and months of research, meetings, and negotiating until you maybe find the best agency for you.
Like most businesses, not all agencies are the same, but there a few who stand out for being top-notch website design agencies. If you're looking for your next HubSpot..
Using a CRM tool is one of the most valuable assets to your business. Over time, there is no better way to keep track of your marketing and sales funnel. However, there is a problem and let's be honest about it. Most of us get busy and forget to enter in our marketing and sales data. It could be that you just collected business cards, sent out..
It's no question that social media is a valuable marketing resource for most businesses today. Over the last decade, we all have watched platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest change the way we communicate. It used to be like herding cats to get businesses on social media, but now everyone is on social and on every channel...
"It's too intimidating."
"I don't have the budget for this."
"It takes too long to show ROI."
These are three of the biggest pushbacks I hear from small business owners when I tell them they need to explore inbound marketing.
Whether they're just starting out or long-established, small businesses have a very specific kind of marketing needs...
Just the other day, we were talking with a client that wasn't getting the growth we initially expected from inbound marketing. Not hitting the numbers can occasionally happen, and so everyone at SparkReaction put our heads together to come up with a solution.
So you've started blogging consistently—not an easy feat, I know.
Posting blog posts marathon-style is something that can easily be thrown off, especially at the beginning. Maybe the approval process holds blog posts up, and suddenly it's the night before the publish date and you're still scrambling to get it out. Whether you just forget, the..
You're smart, savvy and have a good understanding of inbound marketing. You have been blogging, implementing SEO, sending out email campaigns, posting on social media and following the inbound marketing methodology. So, why aren't you getting the results you wanted using HubSpot? I am sure you're thinking HubSpot is not working. The reality..
"I've determined the Netflix recommendation algorithm is a total piece of crap." --my best friend Olivia, after watching a terrible movie the streaming website told her she would love.
You know that feeling. Someone suggests a great movie or show is, "incredible––you'll love it SO much! Go watch it right now!" You invest an afternoon in a..
Whether you think trade shows are dead or the hottest marketing and sales tactic for your business we all still go to some of them. In today’s fast-paced digital marketing environment, trade shows aren’t the latest innovation. Still, trade shows can be an extremely effective marketing and sales prospecting tool. It allows you to meet your..
When it comes to SEO, content is king. But when it comes to getting found organically, your content doesn't just have to be good, it has to be relevant.
Google is getting smarter and smarter every day to be as helpful to the searcher as possible. And I'll emphasize that again:
They want to be as helpful to the searcher as possible.
This post is a guest contribution by Lucy Benton of BestEssayTips.
A website’s SEO is the essential process not only for ranking but also for a successful marketing campaign. You need a killer seo plan. Every campaign begins with a quality website, so if you haven’t optimized it for search engines – the chance for reaching success is low.
Raise your hand if you've ever been a victim of a pummeled proposal. Or a shutdown suggestion. Or an ill-received idea.
Ending up with a cold email list can happen to the best of us. You spend time growing your email list and sending out consistent messaging, but then you get busy, and now your list is cold. People can forget you seemingly overnight so sending a message out of the blue is a bad idea. The good news is you can recover your list and get them to be..
Nothing tickles me more than having my work done for me. Like you, I got a lotta sh** to do, and as an inbound marketer sometimes I have to be a wearer of many hats, doer of many jobs.
So if there is anything I can do that helps me "set it and forget it," I'M IN.
One of the awesome things about inbound marketing with HubSpot is that every..
In the recent years, you probably have been hearing more and more about inbound marketing. Inbound is a style of marketing that puts the human back into the mix and educates potential buyers instead of selling them. Does that sound like a marketing style that you could get on board with moving forward? Of course!
If you think back to your first look inside a HubSpot portal, what tool did you find most intimidating? What functionality made you feel like a tiny fish in a great big ocean?
You do your due diligence and research everything you should be doing to market your business. You know that you need to be online and your train your team to deliver the best product or service possible. From time to time we see epic lead generation fails. Don't worry more than likely you just need to improve a few things to get moving back in..
Ah, millennials. We love 'em, and we love to hate on 'em. But that's one of the best parts of growing up, right? I'm talking about shamelessly ragging on the generations behind us.
Lifecycle Stages help you organize your database by the stage they are at in your sales cycle: subscriber, lead, marketing qualified lead, sales qualified lead, opportunity, or evangelist. Since your communication with your contacts varies depending on what lifecycle stage they are in, it is critical to have the ability to segment your contacts..
Each of the clients I've worked with has a different set of marketing chops.
Some are small teams jumpstarting their company's first year of growth. Others are established businesses with hundreds of employees; they're simply looking to diversify their over-arching marketing strategy with inbound.
When it comes to marketing (or most things in life), I'll admit to being a bit of a nerd. Like talk-about-marketing-in-just-about-every-situation-I'm-in kind of nerd. Lucky for me, my roommate also works at an agency, meaning that the normal nerding out can be done in tandem with another marketer (ever argued with your roommate over the various..
As of the fourth quarter of 2016, Facebook had 1.86 billion monthly active users (that's about 1/4 of the worlds population). It's no question that Facebook is one of the most influential platforms in existence today. People are spending an obscene amount of time on Facebook every day. On average, people are visiting the Facebook app or the..
If you're like me, you'll remember meeting with your Yellow Pages Representative and going over your ads for the year — it was almost a requirement for those of us in marketing. The Yellow Page meeting was one of the most important marketing meetings for your small business all year. You would look at all the..
It's 2pm on a Friday mid-September––and our client services team is booting up the the monitor in Cruise (our conference rooms are named after crazy celebrities). It's time for Whiteboard Friday and whatever knowledge Rand Fishkin plans to bless us with this week.
The topic for discussion this mid-September afternoon?How to Appear in Google's..
If you follow us on social media, you were bombarded last week with a plethora of posts last week about our reboot of the Des Moines HubSpot User Group (HUG). We are so excited to re-launch this network of inbound marketing and HubSpot enthusiasts!
You just started a new marketing job at a SaaS company and it's time to show off. You have the SEO skill and you're well-versed in the inbound methodology, so you immediately go to applying your knowledge and decide your SaaS company is going to rank #1 for the term "project management software."
It's an all-too-common scenario: a potential client comes to us with a lead goal of 500 leads per month. They are generating around 5,000 website visitors a month, and their website converts visitors to leads at a measly 0.5%.
They're stuck around 250 leads––just half their goal. And no matter how hard they try, they can't seem to get traffic..
When we took a deep look at our traffic sources this quarter, we found something that completely shifted our strategy.
Usually when we devise lead generation campaigns, we look at conversion rates for different kinds of traffic. Then we focus on the highest converters.
Makes sense, right?
By that metric, referral traffic (like guest blogging)..
Everybody wants a strong lead funnel.
A fully fledged funnel is a big project, but you can take smaller steps to help improve conversion rates and move people along the buyer's journey better, and faster.
Try these five simple ideas on for size!
We use HubSpot for our own customer lifecycle marketing and for our clients'.
While nothing in life is perfect, HubSpot gets pretty damn near close for this task.
We've been able to grow new leads by 300% or more, convert MQLs to SQLs at astounding rates, and pass off thousands of qualified leads to happy sales teams.
But we know we owe a lot..
This is a guest post by Niraj Ranjan Rout, the founder of Hiver.
Testing is one of the most reliable ways to draw marketing insights and optimize your campaigns.
A/B testing is a better alternative to blindly following best practices, especially for email marketing. It can help you figure out how even seemingly small aspects — such as the..
According to a 2016 Demand Gen Report, 47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep.
But only the most engaging content will get them to convert.
As an agency that runs lots of tests for conversion, we're generally moving away from eBooks for B2B lead generation.
You might have heard that 49% of marketers are using marketing software to generate more qualified leads.
As you set and refine your strategy for the year, you might be wondering: Is lead generation software right for my business?
The right program can take your marketing process to a new level. But it's also an investment of time, training,..
Identifying a great lead is one of the most important things you can do for your sales process.
But too many marketers ask the wrong question: Is my lead qualified?
The better question you should ask is, Which kind of qualified lead am I dealing with?
When you understand the difference between a marketing qualified lead and a sales qualified..
For marketers who want to reliably fill their sales funnels, content is key:
93% of B2B companies say content marketing generates more leads than traditional marketing strategies, according to Marketo.
But many marketers are finding that content alone isn't enough.
For one-third of B2B marketers, the biggest problem is figuring out how to serve..
OK, big question coming at you:
How will you make your marketing strategy a success this year?
A lot of plans and strategies probably come to mind. And you might wonder which marketing goals will pay off the most.
One surefire way to organize your objectives into one cohesive strategy is by asking this question:
How can I make my entire sales..
Your brand's voice is like picking an outfit: it doesn’t have to match perfectly, but it should all be cohesive.
How can you pull it off all the time?
You publish a lot of materials in your marketing mix.
You may even have different people writing your website, blog posts, emails, and more.
You might find yourself wondering: Is my brand voice..
This post is a guest contribution by Mary Walton of Resumention.
Content is the backbone to an inbound marketing strategy.
It's not enough that your online content is engaging and entertaining. It has to be technically perfectly written, too.
That means no mistakes, no spelling errors, and certainly no factual inaccuracies. Does that sound like..
Wondering how to follow up with leads after a conference? You're not alone.
According to EXHIBITOR, nearly a third of conference exhibitors have no plan or process in place for following up with conference leads.
That's a lot of business left on the table — yikes.
This post is a guest contribution by Antonio Tooley of edugeeksclub.com.
If you are a professional content marketer, or if you have a product or a service you would like to offer people, you are probably already familiar with the inbound methodology, and its four stages: Attract, Convert, Close, and Delight.
The thing is, a lot of marketers..
When you spend hours on your blog each week, you should expect to see return on your investment.
Sometimes, though, you write a popular blog post that gains traction... but the traffic just doesn't convert. Maybe you're scratching your head at a blog post like this.
A blog is a great tool for generating buzz and traffic. But without generating..
As a marketing professional, you're always chasing that new source of leads.
Sometimes, it feels like you've looked everywhere... exhausted all of your outreach channels.
But as we found with one client, sometimes a new lead generation opportunity is hiding in plain sight. You just have to know where to look.
Ah, Inbound 2016 in Boston — it was a week of live tweeting, quick eating, and marketing fanboy crushes (looking at you, Gary Vaynerchuk).
This conference is the place to be if you're interested in innovative marketing. It's where clever marketers come to give ideas and advice. We all gather in buzzing conference rooms and forge the future of..
Quiz time: Which conversation do you prefer?
A. Someone fifty yards away, yelling to you and 500 of your acquaintances through a megaphone.
B. Someone shaking your hand, making eye contact, and talking to you one-on-one.
Unless you're incredibly introverted, you, like most people, will prefer conversation B. (Can you even really call option A a..
Inbound marketing training doesn't have to be pricy.
The methodology is anyone's game. And you can grab the benefits of inbound marketing without breaking the bank... if you know where to look.
We're pulling back the curtain on our favorite resources to learn the inbound methodology, stay up-to-date with new tactics, and even get certified.
Analytics are a marketer's bread and butter.
They tell you who's reading, watching, clicking. Where to put your dollars, and which campaigns to copy or scrap.
But if you're one of many marketers using piecemeal tools to string together different data points, you're missing out on the big picture. Want to know why?
We hear a ton of buzz about how great sales and marketing alignment is.
But when you really dig into the nice-sounding ideas, you'll find that they're just.... nice-sounding ideas.
As we brought on a new sales director and started building out our marketing partnership, we thought, how do we actually create our own alignment? Buzzwords and..
If your email marketing isn't converting leads, it's not because email marketing died. Emails have changed throughout the years to fit today's needs, wants, and habits. Gone are the days of boring, whitewash backgrounds, and the Times New Roman font. *Shudder.*
Now, we demand that our inboxes be filled with great tyopgraphy, styling,..
As a marketer at a business-to-business company, you might feel like your emails dull in comparison to some, uh, flashier retail businesses.
You know the kind. "Whoops, you left this in your shopping cart!" with playful copy and a sad cartoon character. Or, big photographs of the product, with the phrase "Buy now!" Or a "Get 'em fast!" sale as..
Have you ever tried brushing your teeth and putting the toothpaste on afterwards? Or baking a cake and then pouring on the sugar?
What about measuring marketing ROI at the beginning of a campaign?
While the first two scenarios sound ridiculous, many marketers don't realize the latter is just as bad.
Like cake baking or tooth brushing, your..
Your company newsletter might be the one way you keep in touch with your audience. Is yours really reaching subscribers, encouraging them to visit your site time and time again?
It's a great idea to test your email newsletter: trying out different techniques to see what resonates. These simple split test ideas can subtly (or drastically!)..
By now, you've probably heard about the magic formula called search engine authority. In other words, the more "important" your site seems, the higher your Google ranking will be. And, let's be honest, who doesn't want to top the charts?
A better website "authority" will bump up your website rankings, and that's good for business. But how can..
We talk a lot about how a sales and marketing alignment is great for business growth. But have you ever thought about how your company's unity — or chaos — has an effect on your leads?
If there's a glaring divide in your marketing and sales tactics, your leads will feel it. Here are tactics to unite your sales and marketing strategy to make a..
We've all had it: That great month of growth that makes you think you're really nailing this inbound marketing thing. The next month, though, your traffic might take a nosedive — leaving you wondering whyyy.
Ever feel like you're hollering, "Look at me!" after publishing a new post, or waving your arms while trying to promote your website? Finding new audiences can be hard. Many marketers struggle with traffic and lead generation strategies — but thankfully, there are free tools you can use to grow your digital presence.
It's Friday night and you've got a dinner reservation at a five-star restaurant. You get great service, have a nice chat with your helpful waiter, and eat your dinner over several courses, savoring the night.
Now, it's a weekday and you're in a rush. You stop at a drive-through burger joint. Wouldn't it be weird if the attendant went back and..
Routines are a good thing. Most mornings, I walk to work, catch up with a podcast, and swing in my favorite cafe near the office for coffee — and it's a great way to start a jam-packed day.
But routines can feel more like ruts when it comes to a long-term strategy. Auto-publishing social posts, scheduling "blah" blog content just to fill the..
A well-kept blog is a big investment of your time.
You need to blog consistently, and to the right audience. It's important to track the success of your blog — but there's a big disparity in the marketing world about what this means.
People love digital experiences that feel tailored to them.
Think about the last time that you got an email that really piqued your interest and made you click. Chances are, it was relevant to you.
In fact, segmented campaigns perform 58.99% higher than non-segmented campaigns (Source: MailChimp.)
To get the most out of your HubSpot investment,..
Are you using a range of tools to "check the boxes" of marketing?
Your effort might be divided in a handful of places, like a blog platform, email software, and a social media publisher — and your attention might be diced up, too.
Maybe you're darting between several browser tabs, or logging in and out of a few apps every day.
Did you know that buyers complete more than half of the buyer's journey before talking to sales?
This means that your buyers are already researching and deciding on solutions long before a sales call. The most successful companies are present in the first half of this journey — their websites attract, convert, and help close leads throughout..
A Marketing Sherpa case study found that using buyer personas leads to a 171% increase in marketing-generated revenue.
It's probably not hard to believe: Today's consumer prefers a personalized experience.
In fact, buyers are 48% more likely to consider solution providers that personalize their marketing to address their specific business issues
Maybe this marketing + sales snafu is familiar: You've generated a few dozen leads online, and your sales team is chomping at the bit to get them.
You've done your job, so you pass the names on to sales reps. They get called, sales are closed, everyone's happy.
Easy enough, right? Not completely.
Do you ever have that "a-ha!" moment when something is just right, and happens at the perfect time?
It could be a song that plays on the radio and fits your mood perfectly. Or a bit of advice in a fortune cookie that you really needed.
As an inbound marketer, your goal is to give leads that satisfying a-ha moment with your content offers.
It's one thing to attract lots of leads into your sales funnel. It's another entirely to compel them to action — and then encourage them to stick with your brand long after the sale is closed.
Do you want a website that's both effective and cost-efficient?
Do you want your website to generate leads and centralize your sales strategy?
By baking in elements of an inbound marketing strategy, you can generate and nurture leads with your next website redesign.
What do email marketing and dating have in common? (No, this isn't a joke setup...) When you get down to it, dating isn't really about the dinner, the outfit, or the first kiss. Just like email, it's all about the messaging.
I went to a lecture on "future proofing" by Kipp Bodnar, the CMO of HubSpot, and I walked away with this: We can't rely on our current strategies forever — or we're doomed!
But, then again, adaptation has always been a compelling challenge for modern marketers.
Your digital marketing presence may be solid today, but will it withstand the test..
Webelieve that a powerhouse marketing platform like HubSpot is the glue that holds a marketing strategy together. That being said, it's helpful to explore new tools that bolster your software. We personally experiment with different apps and websites for internal communication, content creation, analytics, and more.
Here's an inside look into..
So you've generated qualified leads — aka, golden tickets! All you need to do is nurture them and further qualify them, and they may become ready to buy. As you're sending email and suggesting content to read, the last thing you want to do is scare these leads away.
One surefire way to drive away qualified leads is email re-marketing. What is..
It's easy to look at marketing statistics and think, "Wow! These are awesome," chew on the stat for a minute, and then move on. The numbers are compelling. But what do the stats really mean for your marketing strategy, and are you implementing their takeaways?
It's easy to fall into the dichotomy that was scolded recently by Adena DeMonte in her recent article, "Inbound vs. ABM: That's the Wrong Question."
You can see a swath of articles and statistics pushing the idea that "Inbound = good! Outbound = bad!" However, as I've moved between the extremes, I've learned that many of our best lead..