Creative content marketing is the boost small businesses need to crush their competition. Using the level playing field of the internet, these companies are employing inbound marketing strategies and creative presentation to drive traffic, sales and positive press. The results speak for themselves.
Jay Baer, author of Youtility and the Convince and Convert blog, answers the “it isn’t done in my industry” objection in his post on McDonald’s new “ask us anything” campaign:
“Your industry doesn’t matter. What matters is that big companies are embracing big content, and in so doing they are changing the expectations of YOUR customers, whether you like it or not. It doesn’t matter whether anyone in your industry is doing real-time Twitter response. Major companies are doing it, and thus are training consumers to think of Twitter like a telephone. It doesn’t matter whether anyone in your industry is answering every customer question publicly. Major companies are doing it, and thus are training consumers that the era of self-serve information is truly upon us.”
Small Businesses Using Inbound Marketing Strategies
River Pools and Spas
One of the most well-known examples of a company that leveraged content marketing to lift themselves out of slumping economy is River Pools and Spas. Marcus Sheridan, one of the founders of the small, struggling pool company, decided to try a new advertising strategy. Previously they had spent nearly $250,000 on paid advertising strategies. Once the company decided to turn to creative content marketing they slashed their budget to $25K and poured time and resources into creating an inbound marketing campaign. Sheridan began blogging the answers to every question his sales team had ever answered. He blogged so much that his company owned the Google rankings for pool construction companies. No matter where his clients went to conduct their research, they found River Pools and Spas being helpful and educational. The strategy worked and now they are the industry leader in fiberglass pool construction.
Today Marcus Sheridan, while retaining an ownership in River Pools and Spas, runs an inbound marketing company dedicated to helping other businesses use the creative techniques that catapulted River Pools and Spas to the top of their industry.
Watch an interview with Marcus Sheridan
New York Times article featuring Marcus Sheridan’s story
Featured in The New Rules of Sales and Service by David Meerman Scott, Kendall Press is a 28 year old company growing like hotcakes in a 600 year old industry. The print industry has seen its share of ups and downs in recent years, and many say it is a dying industry altogether. Kendall PRess might disagree. Keith Spiro was hired as the director of sales and marketing for Kendall PRess, located in Boston, but serves more as an “entrepreneur in residence” for the company. The company pursues a content-based marketing strategy, loading their website with helpful information for their clientele. Printing clients browsing the website can find plenty of intriguing content including marketing and tech tips.
“The core to how we function as a company is to try to answer these questions: “How can we help you? What do you need? When do you need it?” says Spiro.
Kendall PRess spends nothing on advertising – all their business comes from word of mouth and web searches.
The Hope Line
A faith-based nonprofit, The Hope Line was founded by Dawson McAllister to help struggling teens. Since their mission focused on reaching as many teens and young adults as possible with their suicide prevention message, the nonprofit knew they needed to maximize their impact with as little budget as possible. Already creating content, they turned to HubSpot to help increase their reach and get experienced marketing help.
And their results? They increased their organic traffic 71% in 6 months and grew their social media traffic by 119%. When operating a life-and-death nonprofit like The Hope Line, every new visitor and contact literally represents a life saved.
A family-owned photography store since 1954, Magnolia grew into a full electronics store, but their sales lacked growth over many decades. When a business partner recommended they launch a buyer’s guide to help educate their clientele Magnolia’s sales took off. The company expanded throughout the northwest, and they were eventually purchased by BestBuy for 87 million dollars. (source: spokal.com)
Weed Pro of Cleveland and Columbus
Back in 2011, very few companies in the lawn care industry had marketing plans. Shaun Kanary, director of marketing at Weed Pro, knew that he needed to differentiate his business from his competitors by using a whole new approach.
“Many lawn care industry professionals looked at [the company hiring me] as an unnecessary expense…After one year of using HubSpot and implementing Inbound Marketing, I have achieved “Rock Star” status at both my company and in our industry.”
The Weed Pro team has had so much success, they graced the cover of Landscape Management Magazine with a 5-page spread for their game changing inbound marketing strategy.
“Where I was a lone sheep in the industry, seven other companies that had thought of me as an ‘unnecessary’ expense in 2011 have added a marketing professional over the past few months.” Kanary said. The company saw a 230% increase in their revenue, sold 300% more packages, and achieved 100% increase in their sales qualified lead volume following their inbound marketing implementation.
Sweetgreen, a restaurant chain dedicated to organic cuisine and sustainability, is groundbreaking with more than just their food concept. They have an active presence on social media (19K+ Facebook fans, 12K+ Twitter followers and more than 11K Instagram followers as well as an active blog and YouTube channel), and are busy building a community around their philosophy of healthy, sustainable food. Sweetgreens knows how to educate their clients and provide useful information around their clientele’s core belief in a healthy lifestyle. On their website they recently launched a section devoted to sourcing free or low cost exercise classes, for instance. This is a perfect example of content that is not related to their core food industry, but is perfectly suited to build a community from their active followers.
Are you ready to discuss an Inbound Marketing Strategy of your own? Give us a call and let’s chat! Invest a few moments with us brainstorming ways you can lead your industry and increase your traffic and leads. And of course, it’s free. No obligation. Just call us and let’s talk.