What began as a two-man typewriter shop over four decades ago evolved into what Marco is today - one of the top five technology providers in the nation. Marco has over 1,000 employees in 42 locations across seven states, with its corporate headquarters located in St. Cloud, MN.
Marco is a technology company – plain and simple. Except what they do isn’t plain or simple when you get down to it. Marco is a leading technology services company that specializes in business IT services, cloud services, managed services, telecom carrier consulting services, copiers + printers, phone systems, document management, and audio + video systems.
Technology is a different animal, as it’s the fastest-growing and evolving industry. We knew we had our work cut out for us when it came to Marco. The gaps in their marketing strategy weren’t intentional on their part. There wasn’t any lead generation or customer focus. Their website didn’t have forms on any of their pages, it was more of a brochure site. Having plenty of content about who they were (a giant technology company), what they did (giant technology stuff), and what they were good at (giant technology things).
We assured Marco it was OK to ask for things from the people looking at the site, and interacting with their company. It was OK to have their leads earn the offers. It was more than OK, in fact. It was critical.
An Inbound Marketing Plan of Attack
Inbound marketing utilizes the cocktail party rule which essentially means 80 percent of the time you should focus on your audience. Keep the other 20 percent about yourself, and what you can offer them. We followed that rule, and got to work where Marco was concerned. We really did our research. We made sure we knew jargon from fluff. We developed personas and strengthened Marco’s voice. We conducted the biggest, most challenging SEO development we’d ever undertaken for a client, regardless of industry.
We shared the inbound marketing methodology with Marco, taking them through the Attract category, showing them how their leadership and technology blogs could generate leads, and the same went for social media platforms. The Convert phase is where Leighton Interactive added CTAs, landing pages, and forms to their existing site in order to usher their visitors to leads. The Close stage for Marco looked like this: an email marketing plan for converted customers complete with lead-nurturing workflows. Then naturally, we saved the best category for last with Delight, which turned Marco’s customers to promoters. The promoters already existed. We just gave them a voice.
The Method + Efforts
+ Buyer Personas
Buyer personas are the foundation of great inbound marketing, and that's no different with Marco. And because they provide insight that can help marketers gain a more thorough understanding of customers, buying behaviors, and where in the buyer’s journey their leads might be - we've created more than a dozen iterations of buyer personas for Marco. As we learn, these personas evolve and guide our actions.
Blogging has been a big part of our awareness, consideration, and decision stages of our inbound marketing efforts. The Marco blog has helped further establish Marco as an industry thought leader, drive a wealth of traffic back to the site, and has had a massive impact on increasing organic traffic. Marco now uses three different blogs to help ensure the right content gets to the right people at the right time.
Email as a whole has been an integral part of our inbound marketing with Marco. But more specifically, workflows have had the biggest impact. Because Marco has several facets of their business, workflows have helped to segment the information to the right leads at the right time for optimal conversion. Each workflow we create gives us more insight into what does and doesn't work and allows us to adjust.
Just one visit to Marco's Resources page and you'll see downloadable offers have been a key player in their inbound game - that's why we've created 19 different offers. Offers aren't just great for authority and thought leadership, they're great for collecting information from contacts. And better yet, the Marco team has been able to leverage these offers as sales tools to help close the sales loop.
+ Landing Pages
Landing pages have been an evolving piece of inbound marketing. They are continually giving us insight for forms, content, and natural buyer's journeys of Marco contacts. During the initial stages of our Growth Driven Design efforts, our continuous improvement was focused on the landing pages to improve conversion, using both smart content and our GDD dashboard. Making small, consistent changes has helped us create highly impactful, converting forms and landing pages.
CTAs, or as their VP of Marketing calls them - 'Big Ass Buttons', were a big game-changer for Marco. They initially didn't think we 'could just add buttons and ask visitors to do something' ... turns out, we could and they would. We've used A/B testing and Smart CTAs to see which visuals and copy for CTAs perform best, and are able to make small, analytic-driven changes to create impact.
+ Search engine optimization & Key Term Research
Keyterm research and improving SEO has been at the heart of our inbound marketing strategies. We've been able to use the Keywords tool in HubSpot - along with Google tools - to create an impactful plan for Marco. We've not only optimized site and blog content, but strategically used paid ads and AdWords as part of our inbound campaigns.
To say that inbound marketing has had impact on Marco's business may be a bit of an understatement. In fact, it has become a key sales driver - or as Jeff Gau, CEO of Marco puts it, "a direct revenue generating force."
And the real impact - the real proof - is in the numbers.
+ The Blog
Over the last three+ years, we’ve researched, written, and published more than 890 blogs for Marco. Those blogs have accumulated 314,702 views, brought in 4,170 contacts, and converted 171 leads to customers. Each blog averages about 353 views per blog.
The content within the blog has had an immeasurable impact on the growth of SEO and reach for Marco. Immeasurable. But, we’ll try to measure it anyway … there’s been 168,566 visits from organic sources to the blog alone. This content has had massive power for them, and the results show it.
2013: 369 visits to the blog from organic traffic
2014: 7,986 visits to the blog from organic traffic (a 2,064% increase year over year)
2015: 41,651 visits to the blog from organic traffic (a 432% increase year over year)
2016: 88,902 visits to the blog from organic traffic (a 113% increase year over year)
From the onset of inbound marketing, organic traffic to the blog has increased 23,993%.
+ The Contacts
Each year, our inbound marketing efforts have nearly doubled (sometimes more than tripled) the number of contacts collected on Marco’s site.
2013: 360 contacts
2014: 1,253 contacts
2015: 2,670 contacts
2016: 4,329 contacts
To date, there are more than 9,470 contacts thanks to inbound marketing methods integrated throughout the Marco website.
+ The Conversions
The contacts and leads inbound marketing is generating for Marco are converting at an average of 31%.
2013: 15 customers
2014: 69 customers
2015: 1,054 customers
2016: 1,423 customers
The black line on this net graph shows the contact-to-customer rate. Inbound marketing methods have helped convert over 2,930 Marco leads to customers.
+ The ROI
Marco’s lead count increased more than 1,000% since starting inbound marketing. It was long after starting to implement inbound methods that Marco coined the phrase “Leighton Leads” in response to the overwhelming number of leads generated directly from our inbound efforts.
Marco’s belief in our partnership with them and the inbound methodology has allowed us to continually generate impactful marketing results. To date we have generated more than $2,147,000 in revenue through inbound marketing.
There’s a Walt Whitman quote that sums up the Marco + Leighton Interactive team,
As Director of Inbound Marketing I get to explore all areas of marketing including writing, brainstorming, strategizing, analyzing, and thinking big. My enthusiasm for people and creativity fuels my commitment to creating inbound content that produces positive results for our clients. I love writing, talking, learning, laughing, doodling, and finding a great quote. Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, reading, all things musical, and being crafty.