Inbound Marketing: experiences at Twynstra Gudde and Visser & Visser accountants and advisors
Because the buying process is increasingly taking place online, many organizations are focusing on Inbound Marketing. Inbound Marketing is still in its infancy at accountancy, consultancy and law firms. Inbound Marketing also works in these sectors that traditionally float on people and personal relationships
Rob Meijers Patricia and Jeroen interviewed about their approach and lessons. Read about practical experiences with Inbound Marketing in business services.
Creating, sharing and making content that is attractive to specific target groups easy to find, so that they become interested and keep coming back (pull), without disturbing potential customers (push). The essence is that you are where your target audience wants to be, at the moment and the way your target audience wants to be.
Essence of Inbound Marketing
"Inbound Marketing is closely intertwined with content marketing, but it goes a step further," said Jeroen Rietvelt.
“Where content marketing is mainly about producing and displaying knowledge and insights, Inbound uses 'push' and 'pull' methods to bring that content to the attention of target groups and also to generate structural leads.
Inbound Marketing is therefore closer to sales. ”
For Patricia de Broekert, trying to trigger leads to come to your website is just part of Inbound. For her, the essence is that you identify customer needs and offer the right content.
Introduction to the organization
Twynstra Gudde wanted to strengthen his reputation based on the knowledge and skills of advisers. “I got into a conversation with a company at a seminar HubSpot used ”(HubSpot is a well-known software solution for Inbound Marketing). “I became so enthusiastic about this that we started working on it within our own organization,” says Patricia. “We proposed to the management to start small with a pilot. They thought that was fine as long as my department achieves its objectives. ”
When Jeroen started at Visser & Visser, blogging was already taking place. “That was the biggest step already. But there was little focus: someone wrote a blog article that was posted on the blog and shared on LinkedIn, and that was it. Nothing else was done with it, ”says Jeroen.
“The first step was to make blog articles more relevant by making them not supply-driven but demand-driven. Before that, we conducted research into which topics were relevant and which keywords were associated with them. But colleagues were also free to write about a subject themselves. About something they experienced or about which they have an opinion. ”
At Visser & Visser, the approach started with optimizing blogging. Step 2 was setting up email marketing. Jeroen investigated whether email marketing could be set up in combination with marketing automation (automation of marketing tasks). “This concerned questions such as: do we have sufficient content for each phase? And do we have the infrastructure? There was enough content, both for creating 'awareness' and 'premium' content ”(valuable content for which people want to give something back, such as entering their email address).
Patricia started a pilot with two advisory groups at Twynstra. One of the first steps was a workshop on customer profiles: who is actually the (ideal) customer? “Then we looked at the content that fits this. And we hired an editor: an advisor knows a lot, but writing a blog is often quite difficult for them. ”
What was the biggest challenge?
Jeroen does not have to think long about this question: “The biggest challenge at Visser & Visser was generating leads. Increasing external awareness went well and the profiling of the people themselves was also successful. But the transition from 'awareness' to 'consideration' turned out to be very difficult. There was a lot of content for promoting awareness, but we saw that the customer journey is not a linear process. We had a lot of organic traffic on specific topics, but it was difficult to follow up with content.
Our best-read blog, for example, was about tax-friendly anniversaries. When visitors have read that article, it is difficult to offer them more content. Customization is crucial, but you still do not know enough about the reader and his situation. And visitors no longer reveal their identity so quickly for generic content, "Jeroen explains.
The biggest challenge at Twynstra was to get all advisers to follow up on potential leads, that is, people who had to be approached on the basis of their online activities. “This certainly does not apply to everyone, but the aim was to reach everyone in the organization. To get advisers across the threshold, we showed success by letting others share how this approach works for them. ”
That worked well: after the pilot, Twynstra Guude continued the introduction of Inbound Marketing. They have been working with it for over 2 years now. That Patricia's approach was successful is evident from the fact that in 2016 Twynstra GuddeContent and inbound marketing awardwon!
There were also no results at Visser & Visser: the visibility and recognisability of both the brand and the individual professionals improved significantly. The knowledge of the employees was not only easier to find, but also more viewed and shared online.
In the first three quarters of 2016, traffic from LinkedIn to the Visser & Visser website increased by 62%, while the number of blogs viewed increased by no less than 294%!
Patricia concludes that it was a good choice to start small with the implementation of Inbound Marketing. “Starting small with enthusiastic people who want to take this up and show how well things are is the most important success factor. And especially let others tell you that. ”
Next time she would invest even more in the commercial insight of the consultants. "That goes beyond Inbound Marketing, which is about attitude and behavior," says Patricia. "It is important to have a customer-oriented attitude and behavior, then it will work because you can really follow up on the inbound process!"
As far as Jeroen is concerned, an important conclusion is that most business in this sector still comes in through relationships and recommendations. “With Inbound Marketing you can achieve a lot in terms of awareness, but generating leads is very difficult. In retrospect, the question is whether you should want to deploy a marketing automation system in an industry that revolves around high-quality custom advice. It is probably smarter to focus on the 'awareness' phase, for example with e-mail marketing in combination with an IP tracker. Inbound Marketing is very suitable for profiling your company and your employees. You give specialists a face by letting them share their knowledge and skills. ”
An IP tracker registers the IP address of visitors to web pages, with which you can, for example, show website visitors relevant content based on previous click behavior or approach or invite people based on their interests.
Patricia's tip for others who want to work with Inbound Marketing at a business service provider? “Ensure a good process for the cooperation between marketers, advisors and market groups. Commitment and a good relationship with the professionals are crucial.
Jeroen: "Working from a customer focus, that is very important in knowledge-intensive organizations. Focus on creating and deploying valuable content in combination with e-mail and social media. And give feedback to the writers, both in terms of content and statistics. That is very motivating! This will open doors for both professionals and the organization. ”
We can conclude that Inbound Marketing can strongly contribute to the online visibility and findability of both an accountancy firm or consultancy and individual professionals. Provided that enough - and good - content is developed: content that seamlessly connects with what concerns (potential) customers.
The knife cuts both ways: the organization offers individual professionals a stage on which they can show their knowledge, with which these professionals in turn - facilitated by marketers - actively contribute to the marketing of the organization.
Creating and sharing good content requires transparency, as does the will and willingness to 'give away' knowledge. Fear of sharing valuable knowledge leads to generic 'vanilla' content that is not distinctive and therefore not effective.
It also becomes clear from these cases that the conversion of exposure to generating leads and sales is a difficult one: it only works if the accountants, consultants or lawyers actively and personally follow up potential online leads. That is why involvement of fee earners and intensive cooperation between marketing and practice is essential.
Because consultants, accountants and lawyers have high-quality, valuable knowledge, Inbound Marketing is attractive to business service providers. It's not easy, but organizations that succeed can take the lead over competitors who get stuck in the traditional divide between marketing and practice.