June 2017 saw the start of Inbound Norway. We set out with the goal to help other companies grow through inbound marketing as a HubSpot Partner. Within the first seven months, our dedicated team worked hard and we grew from being just a small startup to a HubSpot Platinum Partner. Today we tell the story of how it all happened.
The HubSpot partner program was created to recognise partners that deliver high-quality inbound services. Looking at the agency’s so-called MRR (monthly recurring revenue) of what they have achieved (both sold and managed), HubSpot measures the success of the partners based on clients buying HubSpot and using it over time.
Within just seven short months we went from nothing to silver and then gold HubSpot Partner, before achieving Platinum status just before Christmas.
How did we do it so quickly? Let’s take a closer look.
There are several things that led to our rapid growth. In this blog post we have focused on the marketing aspect:
As an inbound agency, we follow the same method as we recommend to our clients. This means we blog on a regular basis.
From day one, it was important for us to build a strong content bank that can answer the questions our prospects and clients might have, covering topics such as inbound marketing, inbound sales/sales enablement, SEO and content marketing.
This is why we have published around five blog posts a week the past six months, as well as having two blogs: one with Norwegian content and one with English content. Through this content, we have been able to guide prospects through the buyer’s journey as well as establishing ourselves as a thought leader in the industry.
We know that the only way to win customers is to be helpful. In addition to keeping the blog up to date, we have also invited prospects to regular breakfast seminars where we talk about inbound marketing and sales.
The breakfast seminar is a great way to get in touch with potential customers and partners and helps you build your company reputation – as long as your content is good and the coffee is excellent.
To get more air under the wings, we also took the step outside our safe, small inbound bubble and participated in the panel debate on HubSpot Partner Day during INBOUND 2017 as well as lectures for Microsoft's Norwegian partners.
Our Sales Manager and Queen of speaking engagements, Barbro Fagerbakk is an expert in helping companies increase sales and help in the transition from traditional to inbound sales methods. She helps our customers set clear goals for increased profitability and growth and talks about how the company can adapt its marketing strategies to the modern buyer, guide the prospect through the purchase and close more deals.
Did you know that the phrase "What is inbound marketing?" gets googled about 4,400 times every single month? Working with the inbound methodology there is always a lot to learn. To keep up to date with the latest knowledge, methods and tools available, we focus on certifications.
Not only are certifications part of our training program when we welcome new employees, they are also part of all employees' career development so we can provide our customers with the highest level of expertise at all times.
Quality content, and much of it, is the key to ranking high in search engines. However, you will not get far if the content is not optimised for both readers and search engines so they both understand what you have on your page.
To get our content up and running we have worked thoroughly and methodically with the keywords and phrases we considered to be the most important for our company, and that is used by our prospects. As an inbound agency, it will always be essential that we rank highly when people search for "inbound marketing" and "inbound sales". This is why ranking well for searches around these keywords was a key part of our strategy the first six months.
Search engine optimization is not something you do once and then you’re done. It's something you have to work with and maintain continuously to keep the good rankings.
To rank well we focused on five steps:
What questions are potential and existing clients trying to find the answers to, and what information could help them advance on the buyer’s journey?
On-page optimisation is about the elements on your website that could affect your ranking in the search result. All these elements can increase or decrease your ranking based on how well they are optimised. These are things like how you structure the content, and whether it is easy for the search engines to understand how the site is set up, as well as what keywords the page is relevant for.
If you have a lot of content, you can actually use your own content to rank better. As important as external links from other sources are, linking between content on your own blog and website can help you climb the search results listings.
Keywords are still important as they tell the search engines what the content is about. Think carefully about what keywords you choose, what terms and phrases you want to rank for, and then craft your content in a way so that they are mentioned naturally.
Even though keywords still play a part, search ranking is more about topics today. By structuring your content in what is called “pillar content” you increase the likelihood that your content is what is listed at the top of the search results.
And that is it. Some of the initiatives we used to grow as we did: blogging, breakfast seminar, finding opportunities for our amazing Barbro to speak, educating the team and focusing on SEO. Watch this space – we are not done yet.