Many companies are still paying for contact lists and cold calling prospects out of the blue. While this type of interruption marketing has worked for professional services firms in the past, its effectiveness has diminished drastically.
To combat this issue, more and more businesses are looking to improve their online presence and lead generation efforts. CSI Accounting & Payroll is an example of such a business.
We've helped CSI drive more traffic to their website, convert more visitors into contacts, and increase consultations with their target audience by developing and implementing an inbound marketing strategy using HubSpot.
Our efforts over the past 19 months have produced exponential growth in monthly organic traffic, up more than 300% since January 2016. We have also increased their contacts per month by 625% in the same timeframe.
The Client: CSI Accounting & Payroll
CSI Accounting & Payroll has a long history in the Twin Cities. Founded in 1966, the firm started as an E.K. Williams franchise specializing in accounting, bookkeeping, and tax services for automotive service stations.
Over the next 50 years, CSI grew its services to include a variety of small businesses in various industries across the region.
While their experienced team of accountants and payroll specialists have a deep understanding of the business climate in the Twin Cities, they lacked in-house resources to attract, convert, and close new online leads.
Previously, CSI’s lead generation efforts consisted of traditional marketing (local print advertising) and cold calling from purchased lists. However, these efforts were not producing the same amount (or quality) of leads as they did in previous decades.
Late in 2015, Denamico was brought in to develop and implement an inbound growth strategy to increase traffic to CSI’s website, develop high-performing conversion opportunities, and create lead nurturing workflows that resulted in more consultation requests.
CSI’s Challenges: Getting more contacts online
CSI has always maintained strong close rates when a sales representative is able to sit down and meet with a small business owner.
Getting that face-to-face meeting, however, became increasingly difficult with traditional methods of marketing and outreach, which meant the firm needed to rely on its website to attract and convert more contacts.
This exposed three challenges:
- Website traffic was too low to generate a sufficient number of contacts.
- If visitors did find the site, there was a lack of content and conversion opportunities.
- Goals for key performance indicators were not set, tracked, or analyzed.
To get more consultations, CSI needed a high-performing website built on a platform meant to facilitate lead generation as well as a comprehensive inbound marketing strategy.
The Solution: 3 Phases of Inbound Growth to Generate New Business
Our services for CSI Accounting & Payroll included developing a strategic inbound marketing blueprint, building the inbound marketing engine on HubSpot’s COS and CRM, and campaign implementation. Each phase was coordinated to address challenges CSI was facing in a strategic order of events, which we’ll illustrate here.
Phase 1: Develop an Inbound Marketing Strategy
CSI lacked clarity and direction when it came to online lead generation. They knew they needed to rely on their website more, but didn’t know how to develop a comprehensive inbound marketing strategy.
That’s when our inbound marketing blueprint made sense. The blueprint is a strategy for inbound marketing and a specific plan for execution.
- First, we gathered information about CSI’s marketing and sales goals, key buyer personas, current marketing tactics, website functionality, domain authority, and existing content assets.
- Next, we identified ways to target and attract their key buyer personas, which turned out to be restaurant owners and auto repair shop owners.
- Then, we followed up with strategies for website improvements, content creation, conversion optimization, marketing automation, email marketing, social media engagement, and search engine ranking opportunities.
CSI was now armed with an inbound strategy, but they still needed assistance getting started on HubSpot, revamping their site, creating new content, and setting up marketing automation.
Phase 2: Build the Inbound Marketing Engine
Having an inbound strategy is a great start, but when it came to implementing successful inbound marketing campaigns, CSI relied on us to provide additional support.
Our team of content creators set out to create premium content offers, blog posts, monthly newsletters, and social media posts based on the two primary personas.
Each content offer was mapped to the buyer’s journey and was supported with lead nurturing email workflows.
Here’s a breakdown of the restaurant campaign:
- 90-day editorial calendar addressing identified pain points from restaurant owners and operators.
- Awareness Offer [excel template]: Monthly Accounting Template for Restaurants, including industry specific calculations (i.e. food and labor costs). This offer provides instant value for owners who aren’t necessarily ready for monthly accounting services quite yet.
- Consideration Offer [ebook]: Accounting Comparison Chart for Restaurants, covering different levels of services and market differentiators between national and local accounting service providers.
- Decision Offer [consultation]: Schedule a Free Consultation. As a goal for CSI, we wanted to nurture leads to sign up for a consultation.
We also built the marketing automation components for the campaign, including:
- Landing pages for the offers
- Conversion forms
- Thank-you pages
- Email workflows
- Calls to action (CTAs)
With the initial campaign in place, CSI was well-positioned to start collecting new online contacts. But this wasn’t a set-it-and-forget-it scenario.
Phase 3: Ongoing Campaign Management & Growth-Driven Design
CSI is focused on providing outstanding monthly accounting and payroll services to clients. They wanted to remain focused on their daily activities and responsibilities. As such, we stayed on as strategic partners and content creators.
“The decision to stick with HubSpot and Denamico on a retainer basis was an easy one. Our expertise is accounting and payroll. They’ve got us covered in terms of inbound marketing strategy and campaign management.” – Brian Paulson, Owner
In addition to writing blog posts (2x a week) and conducting promotion on social media, we also created monthly newsletters to drive more traffic back to the site and to re-engage contacts with educational content.
At the same time, we monitored the content based on traffic and conversion rates, and optimized marketing automation tactics to achieve better results on a continuous basis.
We also launched new campaigns to target other industries and supported those initiatives with industry-specific website pages as part of our growth-driven design methodology.
The Results: What Worked Over Time
CSI had little to no online presence prior to implementing HubSpot and inbound marketing. Sure, they had a website, but it wasn’t working to their goal of generating new contacts.
We knew inbound marketing would work for the accounting firm, but that it wasn’t going to a short-term fix. Although it did take time to develop an overall strategy, build a lead-generating website through content and marketing automation, and optimize campaigns based on data-driven decisions, we have seen substantial success for CSI in terms of growing organic traffic and new contacts.
In 2016, we focused our efforts to increase overall traffic. An aggressive editorial calendar based on industry-related keywords helped boost monthly organic traffic by 300% over the past 19 months.
Noticing the gains in website traffic within the first quarter of 2017, we shifted our focus to optimize conversion rates. Using growth-driven design methodology, we updated website pages, navigation, and landing pages throughout Q1. Compared to the previous two quarters, new contacts were up 535%, conversions jumped 368%, and submission rates hit 419% by the end of Q2 2017. Over the same period of time, landing page views only increased by 10%.
Over the 19 month window of analysis, new contacts by month jumped 625%. The cumulative view of the contacts report shows the impact of the website changes combined with increases in organic traffic.
In addition to the increased number of new contacts, CSI has also noticed a difference in quality when it comes to inbound leads.
“Compared to the people on the lists we use for cold calling, the contacts that find us through our website are much more qualified to begin conversations with our sales team.” – Lee Goudzwaard-Vaught, Business Development Manager
While our three phases of work have achieved great results, we aren’t finished initiating more best practices and closed-loop reporting with the CSI team.
Phase 4 involves working to align CSI’s sales and marketing efforts to better reflect customer data in HubSpot’s CRM.
As the reporting becomes more efficient, we’ll be able to help CSI quantify their inbound marketing ROI based on dollar amounts in addition to marketing metrics. That’s certain to get any accountant excited.