CarverTC Inbound Marketing Blog

Bob Carver

Bob is the founder and principal consultant at CarverTC. He specializes in content strategy, training, and consulting on digital marketing and cloud technologies.
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Recent Posts

50 Conversion Optimization Tips to Ignite Lead Generation

Posted by Bob Carver on Aug 10, 2018 10:05:38 AM

Most of our clients want more traffic and more leads. One of the main reasons we get hired is to either put in place an inbound marketing structure and process or to optimize marketing processes that are already in place. Clients ask what they can do, what small tweaks they can make in content, in landing pages, in forms, to get more clients, and more conversions. In response, we've created a new strategy guide: 50 Conversion Tips to Ignite Lead Generation. In it, we provide insights that will help your content, website, and other online channels start generating high-quality leads right away. At every step, we give you tips and examples from our own experience and from industry experts to optimize content, calls-to-action, landing pages, opt-in forms, and thank you pages. This strategy guide can help you increase both the number and quality of leads you capture!

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Topics: lead generation, conversion tips

How to Create the Right Content for each Stage of your Inbound Sales Funnel

Posted by Bob Carver on Aug 3, 2018 11:45:29 AM

Inbound marketing is difficult. You've got to get visitors to come to your website, look at your content, and keep coming back for future content. Hopefully, some of those people sign up for offers you promote, move down your funnel and become customers.

Personas are an essential component of inbound marketing. Personas define the prospects you're trying to reach, their challenges, goals, even the keywords they use to find products and services. The information gathered about personas is used to guide content creation. 

We found the many personas, either because of how they're created, or how they're used, come up short. They're often good at informing and guiding top-of-funnel (TOFU) content. However, they do a poorer job informing middle-of-funnel (MOFU), and bottom-of-funnel (BOFU) content. MOFU and BOFU content, and content offers are critical to turning leads in to opportunities and opportunities into customers. In this article, we'll explain how funnel stage personas can help you create the right content, for each stage of your inbound sales funnel.   

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, Marketing and sales

11 Post GDPR Tips to Help Compliance, Conversion Optimization, and Sanity

Posted by Bob Carver on Jun 7, 2018 6:31:36 PM

Well, we're past May 25th and we're still here. Solo wasn't quite what we'd hoped but we survived the GDPR go live date!

Wait. What? GDPR?

While many have been focused on GDPR, it's ramifications, and how to continue time-tested marketing and sales techniques as GDPR compliance requirements go into effect, for many others, especially those outside the European Union, the second sentence of this post sums up their feelings on the subject.

It's not that people were surprised about it. You had to be living in a cave not to hear about GDPR. But, while some guidance, like the use of cookie banners has been straightforward, other guidance has been a little squishy. Like that bit about make sure you collect the right opt-in information from EU residents, no matter where they're accessing your site from.

Barry Levine wrote an interesting article about some of the unintended consequences of GDPR that are already popping up. Some large brands bending over backward to comply to the point of removing key features from their software to avoid potential stiff penalties for violations. Other companies forging a path through the murky recesses of GDPR articles for their own survival. Many are taking a wait and see attitude hoping clear guidance will present itself. After bringing our company and some of our clients into compliance (or mostly compliance), we're sharing 11 post GDPR tips to help compliance, lead generation, and sanity.

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Topics: content marketing, GDPR

4 Signs Inbound Marketing Can Help Your Organization Grow

Posted by Bob Carver on Jun 5, 2018 6:43:43 AM

Our digital agency does a lot of different types of marketing, but inbound marketing is our bread and butter. We like inbound so much because we feel it provides some of the best and most predictable results in digital marketing.

If you're not familiar with inbound marketing, here's a brief explanation. You create content that is published on your blog and in other places and promoted on social media. That content improves SEO and drives traffic back to your website where visitors see other content offers and contact offers. Some visitors will give you an email and phone number to access those offers. They become leads, and you can then drive the sales process and turn them into customers. We even created an infographic that explains how it works.

But we don't recommend inbound marketing for all of our clients. Why not? It's not a good fit for every business or every brand. How can you tell if inbound marketing is something your brand should consider? In this article, I'll walk you through our qualification questions designed to show 4 signs that inbound marketing can help your brand generate leads.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, hubspot, inbound sales

5 Tips for Revising Content to Work with a Pillar Page [Infographic]

Posted by Bob Carver on May 1, 2018 10:41:36 PM

Creating a pillar page is one of the best ways to boost SEO for core services you offer. One of the fastest ways to build a pillar page is to create it from content you already have.

There is one catch, you should revise any content you use so that it aligns with the pillar page. While you're at it, you should refresh the content so that it's current. In this infographic, I share 5 tips for revising content to work with a pillar page

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Topics: content marketing, seo, Pillar Pages

How to Measure, Track, and Optimize Pillar Page Performance [Infographic]

Posted by Bob Carver on May 1, 2018 9:56:25 PM

We've been talking a lot recently about how pillar pages can boost SEO for core services you offer. Brands that have published pillar pages are glad once the content is complete, and they've started promoting the page and the cluster content. That's when you'll see the SEO and lead generation benefit. But to maximize that benefit, you need to track performance.

Like other marketing campaigns, you should measure and track the performance of your pillar page campaigns. Because, like other marketing campaigns, pillar page campaigns are fluid. By tracking and measuring performance, you can adjust your content and promotion maximize SEO and lead generation. 

In this infographic, we show you how to measure, track, and optimize pillar page performance.

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Topics: content marketing, seo, Pillar Pages

How to Publish, Promote, and Monitor Pillar Page Content to Maximize SEO and Reach

Posted by Bob Carver on May 1, 2018 9:27:52 PM

Pillar pages are a great way to boost SEO for the services you offer. There are three general phases in a pillar page campaign; planning, content creation, and promotion. You need to do the planning, and your content needs to be great, but promotion is perhaps the most important part of a pillar page campaign.

While just having a pillar page with links pointing to it from your separate content pieces will boost your SEO, you can get much more traffic, and generate more leads, if promote the pillar page and the pillar content correctly.

To get the most traction and best results from your pillar page you need to use a promotion strategy that keeps your topic top of mind with your audience. You should also monitor performance so that you can optimize your pillar content and promotion schedule. In this article, I'll break it all down for you and tell you how to publish, promote, and monitor pillar page content to maximize SEO and reach.

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Topics: content marketing, seo, Pillar Pages

How to Map Pillar Page Topics to Keywords for the Best SEO Boost

Posted by Bob Carver on May 1, 2018 9:12:19 PM

Search engines have evolved. Keyword usage alone no longer guarantees you'll rank for the core services you offer. Search engines are now much better at determining user intent from search queries. This change is so disruptive that HubSpot changed its approach to boosting SEO rank to pillar pages. 

Creating clusters of content that link to a comprehensive pillar page on a related core topic signals search engines that you are an authority on that topic. That boosts your SEO rank for that topic. We're so enthusiastic about this we even built a guide on how to do it.

Keywords, however, still have a role to play. When you're choosing the core topic for your pillar page, and when you're selecting subtopics, it's best to select longtail keywords that your domain can rank for. In this article, I'll show you how to map pillar page topics to keywords for the best SEO boost.

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Topics: content marketing, seo, Pillar Pages

How to Create a Pillar Page from Content You Already Have

Posted by Bob Carver on May 1, 2018 8:25:58 PM

Pillar pages are a great way to boost SEO rank for the core services you offer. A pillar page provides in-depth coverage of a core topic and is supported by clusters of content.

Each piece of content in the cluster links back to the pillar page helping build your authority for the topic with search engines. In fact, it's recommended that you publish 8-22 pieces of content on your core topic.

The initial reaction from many marketing teams is, "that's a lot of content!" It is. Especially if you're building it from scratch. An easier way is to create a pillar page from content already have. There are a couple of ways to do that. In this article, I'll walk you through both.

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Topics: content marketing, seo, Pillar Pages

Creating Killer Pillar Pages: 8 Hacks to Optimize Pillar Page Engagement

Posted by Bob Carver on May 1, 2018 3:53:41 PM

Pillar pages are a great way to boost SEO rank for core services you offer. It's an approach based on how search engines have evolved from simple keyword matching to determining user intent.

There are a lot of steps that go into making a great pillar page. You have to decide on a topic, create the content or reuse content you have, build the pillar page, and promote it.

Pillar pages, by definition, cover a single topic in-depth through subtopics that make up topic clusters. That means a pillar page is perhaps the ultimate in long-form content. The pillar page should be easy to find on your site. It should be easy for visitors to find subtopics they're most interested in, skim and consume the content overall. You should also put controls in place to make sure people don't get lost on such a long page. In this article, I'm going to give you 8 tips for creating killer pillar pages that are structured to optimize engagement.

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Topics: content marketing, seo, Pillar Pages

Beyond Boosting SEO: 5 Tips for Generating Leads with Pillar Pages

Posted by Bob Carver on May 1, 2018 3:28:04 PM

Pillar pages are a great way to boost SEO, but they should also mean more than that to your business. Like all marketing activities, pillar page campaigns should help you achieve business goals. Two very common goals for pillar page campaigns are to generate leads and acquire customers.

Since pillar pages are essentially and ungated content offer, you might ask, how do you generate leads if it's ungated? In this article, I'll show you how to go beyond boosting SEO and give you 5 tips for generating leads with pillar pages.

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Topics: content marketing, seo, Pillar Pages

4 Tips to Make Long-Form Content Better [Infographic]

Posted by Bob Carver on May 1, 2018 2:53:24 PM

We've been talking a lot about how pillar pages can boost SEO. The whole idea behind a pillar page is that it covers a core topic comprehensively. That turns some people off. They say, "I don't want to put a book on my website because no-one will read it."

We can tell you from experience; our pillar pages get a lot of views (and generate a lot of leads). But the point is valid. A pillar page is the ultimate in long-form content. If your content is too "thick and chewy" people won't read it they'll leave. 

Your content has to be great, and you need to format it so that it's easy to skim and easy to consume. To help you out, we've created an infographic with 4 tips to make you pillar page, or any long-form content better!

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Topics: content marketing, seo, Pillar Pages

9 Tools to Help You Make Awesome Pillar Pages [Infographic]

Posted by Bob Carver on Apr 26, 2018 10:30:53 AM

Pillar pages are a great way to boost SEO for the core services your organization provides. To create a great pillar page, you have to identify your existing content that can be leveraged, look at topics that are popular with your target audience, and find the best keywords that map to those topics. Once you've done that, you have to publish, link, and track it all.

All of that is easier if you have the right tools!

In this infographic, we show you 9 tools that help you make awesome pillar pages no matter what marketing software you use. We tell you what they are and how we use them. Check it out!

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Topics: content marketing, seo, Pillar Pages

How to Plan and Track Pillar Pages with HubSpot's Content Strategy Tool

Posted by Bob Carver on Apr 26, 2018 6:44:00 AM

We've been talking a lot lately about how pillar pages boost SEO for your brand's core services. HubSpot has been leading the charge on this. A pillar page strategy isn’t just for brands using HubSpot; everyone should use this strategy. We're such firm believers in this we made a pillar page on how to make pillar pages!

You don't need to use HubSpot to create pillar pages; you can use with other tools too. HubSpot did, however, create a new tool called Content Strategy designed to help plan, validate, and track the performance of your pillar pages.

If you use HubSpot now or are curious about how HubSpot can help you create pillar pages to boost SEO, I'll show you how it works in this article. 

Get Started by Adding a Topic Cluster

In the HubSpot interface, Strategy in found in the Content Menu.

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Topics: content marketing, seo, Pillar Pages

4 Tips for Selecting Pillar Page Topics (and How to Brainstorm Them)

Posted by Bob Carver on Apr 22, 2018 7:02:24 AM

Pillar pages are a great way to boost SEO for the core services you provide. A pillar page is a comprehensive web page that covers a core topic in depth. See our pillar page on pillar pages here. So, if you want to create a pillar page, the natural question is, "What core topic should my pillar page cover?"

As you start thinking about topics for your pillar page, we've found it's helpful to make sure your topic search aligns with your business and marketing goals. After that, there are several strategies to get started finding the topics that might work best for your brand, and for brainstorming core topics, and subtopics. In this article, I'll give you 4 tips for selecting your pillar page topics and how to brainstorm more!

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Topics: content marketing, seo, Pillar Pages

6 Benefits of Implementing Pillar Pages (Besides Boosting SEO)

Posted by Bob Carver on Apr 21, 2018 7:29:41 AM

We've been helping clients move to pillar pages to boost SEO rank for the core services they offer and problems they solve. Better SEO is one of the biggest reasons people are interested in pillar pages, in fact, it's such a big shift, we've  created a pillar page on how to do it. But as we've helped more clients do this, we've seen many other benefits of planning and executing this strategy.

In this article, I'll explain the benefits of implementing a pillar page content strategy regarding SEO and other benefits to your content marketing efforts.

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Topics: content marketing, seo, Pillar Pages

2 Common Types of Pillar Pages and How they Boost SEO

Posted by Bob Carver on Apr 18, 2018 1:17:21 PM

There's more an more talk about pillar pages these days, especially sign HubSpot is sun-setting it's keyword tool in a fundamental change in their approach to optimizing SEO.

A lot of people are asking, "What exactly are pillar pages?" In this article, I'll answer that question by examining two common types of pillar pages and how each works to improve SEO rank. I'll also tell you what topics clusters are and how they work with pillar pages. I'll also tell you what topics clusters are and how they work with pillar pages. 

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Topics: content marketing, keywords and seo, Pillar Pages

HubSpot has Changed its Approach to SEO, So Should You

Posted by Bob Carver on Apr 18, 2018 1:17:06 PM
The idea of pillar content has been around for a while, but it started gaining more conversation in May of 2017 when HubSpot started releasing content about Topic Clusters and pillar pages. HubSpot was rocking the SEO world based on their research of how to improve SEO rank for specific topics.
The assertion they made was a seismic shift away from keywords to a new model of grouping related topics (topic clusters) and linking to all of the topics from a single page (pillar pages) to help brands improve SEO rank for the products and services they offer.
Now the evidence is in; Jay Baer recently published an article confirming that,
“For the first time in 3 years, search is responsible for more website traffic than social.”
SEO is now more important than ever, and pillar pages are the way to rank!

The benefits of this strategy aren’t limited to HubSpot users. All brands should be using pillar pages to boost SEO. We believe it's so critical SEO success that we built a pillar page on how to create pillar pages!

In this article I'll describe what pillar pages are, and tell you why your organization should be using them to rank in organic search for the core services you offer.
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Topics: content marketing, seo, Pillar Pages

Keeping Up with Marketing Technology - 3 Ways to Stay Ahead of the Curve

Posted by Bob Carver on Mar 27, 2018 3:02:20 PM

Late last year at HubSpot's INBOUND17 conference, one CEO of a large digital agency said, "Marketing has gotten so complex, I don't know if I'd start a marketing company today." I think that anyone seriously engaged in marketing feels the same way about once a month.

Advances in marketing technology, MarTech for short, contribute to the issue. Marketers are constantly optimizing their approach to gain as much advantage as possible. Better differentiation. More reach. Better prospect targeting. Then the technology articles pop into the feed. Changes to SEO. Local SEO. Messenger marketing. Chatbots. Artificial Intelligence. AR, VR, MR (now collectively referred to as XR). Many haven't even implemented old advances in marketing technology like contextual marketing or simple marketing automation!

We're seeing more requests from our clients for education. They want to know if they're missing something that can help them get better results, or save them money. We also see the need to do more education. Clients have features or tools that aren't configured correctly or even enabled. This issue is so pervasive we've started delivering free seminars on it. In this article, we're going to dig into these issues and tell you one way to help yourself stay abreast of marketing technology.

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Topics: Marketing Technology

12 Lessons Learned from a Digital Marketing Disaster Recovery

Posted by Bob Carver on Mar 26, 2018 12:24:19 PM

This article was supposed to be about the challenges of community management. I opened my laptop to work on that article, and found that the hard drive it was on had disappeared.  From that moment, and for three weeks in one form or another, I was in recovery mode. This article is not disaster recovery 101. I’m not going to talk about backup solutions, recovery strategies or any of that. Suffice it to say, you should have a good, cloud based backup in place. It should be tested periodically, and you should have plans in place to facilitate recovery if data is lost. We had all of those things. What we discovered, however, were gaps in our understanding, and problems with our processes. These issues caused a simple hard drive failure to be costlier and more time consuming than we ever imagined. It forced us to move project deadlines and put some project components at risk. In this article I’m going to walk you through the unexpected problems, the challenges of recovery, and the impact. Finally, I’ll let you know what we’ve done to change our processes, and better prepare for the next recovery.

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Topics: disaster recovery, marketing, content marketing

4 Ways Content Reviewers Can Improve Content Quality [Infographic]

Posted by Bob Carver on Feb 27, 2018 3:51:34 PM

I've been thinking about an article that Pam Moore recently published where she talked about how the amount of content being published is creating a sort of content white noise. To cut through it, content marketers need create high-quality, and extremely relevant content. I agree. In fact, I agree so much that I wrote an article  where I showed how we use a simple checklist to ensure that content quality is high, focused on the right audience, and the right stage of the buyer's journey.

Both the article on the checklist have been well received, but as I've discussed it with my team, I feel it's important to emphasize one area of our content process that some brands either don't do or don't do well; the content review process.

For many, content review just a spelling and grammar check, along with some rewording for clarity. To be clear, that's copy editing, and it comes after content reviews. Content review is where experts who know the subject matter, potentially peers of the content author, review the content to ensure it's high quality and to add value to it.

What do content reviewers do and how do they add value? In this article I'll explain 4 ways content reviewers can help your content stand out and rise above the white noise.

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Topics: content marketing process, content marketing, Inbound Marketing

3 Insanely Easy Hacks to Improve Email Marketing Success

Posted by Bob Carver on Feb 20, 2018 5:09:46 PM
Like most marketing agencies, we do a lot of email marketing for our clients. When you do something a lot and spend time perfecting your approach, you sometimes forget how important some of the little steps are. I was reminded of this at a marketing meetup I attended recently.
During the meetup, a discussion started around lead capture using website pop-ups, and follow up through email. I was amazed to find that three things we do all the time related to this topic, were "Wow" moments for many of the marketers at the meetup. In this article, I'm going to share those 3 insanely easy hacks to improve email marketing success.
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Topics: email marketing

One Checklist and Can Improve Content Quality and Reach

Posted by Bob Carver on Feb 14, 2018 11:58:40 AM

Pam Moore recently published a great article on content marketing. In it, Pam talked about the sheer amount of mediocre content that has been published causing a sort of content white noise. She talked about the need to rise above the white noise by creating high-quality, more relevant content in order to get better traction with content marketing these days. That article got me thinking about two issues that impact both content quality and reach.

First, Pam's right. These days content needs to be ultra targeted and ultra relevant. Having great personas is a start so that your content team knows what the audience is looking for. From that point, we advocate a data-driven content approach. Answer questions your customers or personas have with data you've collected. That data can be metrics and statistics that identify trends, or case studies and customer success stories that illuminate problems, and the impact of solutions.

But even if you have great ideas, and data to create content with, we frequently see two process-related problems that can kill content quality, and content reach. If content doesn't stay focused on the target audience and issue, it drifts off topic and gets lost in the white noise. If you don't have a multi-stage content review and copy edit, it won't be your best work. The content will be mediocre. Even if your content is the best, if you don't promote it properly, no-one will find it. In this article, I'm going to share how one document can solve these two big content marketing problems.

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Topics: content marketing process

7 Lead Generation Lessons Learned from Going Viral

Posted by Bob Carver on Jan 23, 2018 5:11:12 PM

Back at the start of October when I got back from the Inbound 17 conference, I wrote a blog post on the digital marketing trends I saw coming for 2018 from listening to conference speakers, and from talking to my peers at the conference. The topic was timely and well received. It went viral.

This isn't the first time a post of mine has gone viral. The first time I got reach like that was in 2012. It was a pivotal moment in our evolution as a company because, while we got a lot of likes, shares, fans, and followers, we didn't get much of anything else. No leads. No customers. It's quite a heady experience to watch something you wrote get shared over and over and to read the nice comments from your peers. It's equally grounding to get off of that ride and realize you've got almost nothing to show for it.

That time, while we had a good website, and good content, but we didn't have the pieces in place to capture leads. We didn't have an inbound marketing infrastructure in place, and we ended up with little to show for going viral. This time, it was mid-October, three weeks after my post went viral before I was able to come up for air after following up on all the leads generated. It struck me that this would make a good case study in how inbound marketing works. In this article, I'm going to show you the numbers, and explain 7 lead generation lessons learned from going viral.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, lead generation, hubspot, inbound sales

4 Tools for Creating Buyer Personas and How To Use Them [Infographic]

Posted by Bob Carver on Jan 10, 2018 9:29:55 AM

Well defined, accurate buyer personas are key to the effective content strategy, online engagement, and inbound selling. You have to know who you're talking to, and what they're looking for in order to create content that appeals to them, and to best communicate with them online, and during the sales process. 

I've written ebooks on buyer personas and even shared our process for building what we call funnel stage personas that provide engagement guidance at each stage of the buyer's journey. One thing we've been asked is what tools we use when we're creating and refining buyer personas for our clients. 

To answer that question, we've created the following infographic. In it, we show 4 tools for creating buyer personas, and we tell you how we use each tool to build better personals that make digital outreach more successful.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, Buyer Personas

7 Tips to Help B2B Businesses Manage Digital Marketing over the Holidays

Posted by Bob Carver on Dec 18, 2017 5:11:23 PM
This time of year, retailers are busy, in-store and online. But for other businesses, the end of the year and the holiday season are different. For example, we work mostly with technology companies. Businesses that offer hi-tech products, technical services, and professional services in support of technology companies. For many of our clients, as employees take time off, and customers shift to holiday activities and retail shopping, there is often a turn down in web traffic, and other digital activity and engagement.

This time of year, our clients ask how they should use their digital channels over the end of year holidays. So, with less traffic, and fewer people to engage, what should you do? In this article, I’m going to talk about some options for changing your engagement strategies around the holidays to help B2B businesses manage digital marketing over the holidays and get better results with less stress.
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Topics: holiday content

9 Steps to Jumpstart Your Lead Generation in 2018

Posted by Bob Carver on Dec 1, 2017 7:53:58 AM

I'm a believer in inbound marketing because when executed properly it will generate leads, acquire customers, and turn up customer engagement. Beyond that, it's a methodology you can tailor, to some extent, to fit your size. You don't need to spin up a new marketing arm of your company to get started.

But, it's that whole getting started part that so many companies have a problem with. They don't know where to start, how to start, and get stuck in any number of spots. They worry if they're targeting the right audience, promoting on the right social networks, or doing SEO correctly. All valid concerns that can lead to inaction.

If you're looking to start doing inbound marketing or to jumpstart your lead generation, there are nine key steps you should follow. It's the same process we following when we start working with new clients, or when we launch a new campaign. We call it an Inbound Growth Plan. In this article I'll lay out all of the steps, tell you what you can learn, and how to use those insights to jumpstart your lead generation.

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Topics: keyword audit, content marketing, seo, Inbound Marketing, lead generation

7 Tips and 1 Tool To Supercharge Your Inbound Sales

Posted by Bob Carver on Nov 6, 2017 2:07:39 PM

Like many business owners I have things I do well, and things I do less well. Sales in the traditional sense has never been one of my strong suites. I have never taken easily to traditional sales methods especially making the first connection, and I've never liked cold calling. But, I've made plenty of sales. I've been the primary, and for much of my company's existence, the only salesperson. How did I do it? Like some many other business owners by referrals. We do good work. Customers like our work, tell people they know, and we get a referral. Referrals bypass that first awkward stage and let you get down to talking about customer's challenges, goals, and needs, and I love doing that.

But, living by referrals is dangerous. By definition, referrals come from those who run in the same circles. That makes it hard to expand beyond a certain by by referrals alone. At some point, you reach the boundary of the circle of people who know your work. It's also dangerous because you're leaving the outreach to your customers. Sure, you send them emails, but the same people only have so much work. Sometimes work is plentiful, sometimes it dries up. Referral based sales may work for a while, but once you get to a certain size it makes cashflow hard to manage, and growth sporadic and difficult. Does this sound like someone you know? Read on.

We became a HubSpot partner a little over a year ago. As part of the HubSpot partner program, I was invited to join HubSpot's Pipeline Generation Bootcamp lead by HubSpot's Dan Tyre. We have never done cold calling. We have never bought lists. We have done inbound marketing to gather leads, and sales by following up with those leads. We essentially followed an inbound sales methodology. Even so, the skills learned in this bootcamp transformed our approach to selling. It's made it more process driven, easier to execute, and more customer focused. In this article, I'll share the eight key things we learned in this sales bootcamp the transformed our selling, tips that can supercharge your inbound sales. 

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Topics: inbound sales

Accelerate Your Growth with Lessons from One Company's Evolution

Posted by Bob Carver on Oct 25, 2017 10:11:53 AM

Great content requires great storytelling. One thing many brands forget is that their own journey is likely one of the best stories that they can tell. More than being a great story, it's often an essential story to tell.

Most brands have to work very hard to build credibility and trust with their audience. Your audience, your prospects, your customers don't care about you, or what you're selling. They care about their problems. The only care about what you're selling if it solves their problems. They're not going to give your solutions a second look if they don't think you understand their problems.

If you're selling to the right audience, then telling them how you got to where you are today will show them why you understand their space. It will give you credibility. It won't sell anything to your prospects and customers, but, if it's done right, will make them listen when you tell them how your products and services can help solve their problems. 

To demonstrate this, we're going to talk about ourselves. In this article, we'll tell you how we evolved, and the lessons we learned along the way that we apply to our clients every day. You'll see how you can apply those same lessons to your brand to accelerate your growth.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, Our Story

9 Digital Marketing Trends Coming In 2018

Posted by Bob Carver on Oct 4, 2017 9:12:54 AM

I spent last week at Hubspot’s INBOUND17 conference. It was an amazing conference, with good sessions, compelling speakers, and great people to connect with. We’re a Hubspot partner so naturally, we’re jazzed about the new features announced for HubSpot's suite of tools

The best part of this, and every conference are the personal connections you make. It’s great getting to meet and talk to other partners, and other marketers about their challenges, concerns, and wins. Those discussions covered a wide range of topics, but one the most common general topic were the trends fueling product changes. In this article, I’ll relate the biggest trends spotted at INBOUND17.

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Topics: community management content marketing policy soci, hubspot, inbound17, trends

First Look: New Features and Changes Coming to HubSpot

Posted by Bob Carver on Sep 27, 2017 4:53:29 PM

CarverTC is a HubSpot partner agency. We chose HubSpot as our social media and online engagement platform for a number of reasons. One of them was their commitment to innovation and continuing improvements. As we close our first year of being a HubSpot partner, we're attending the INBOUND17 conference with over 10,000 other marketing professionals in Boston.

The conference has provided wonderful insights, engaging speakers, and great connections. It also provided a look at how HubSpot as a platform for digital growth will evolve through 2018. In this article, I'll give you a first look at the new features and changes coming to HubSpot. These features and changes are both innovative responses to digital marketing trends and continued refinements to the features of the HubSpot product.

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Topics: hubspot, inbound17

The Impact of LinkedIn Group Sharing API Changes - A Lot Less Traffic

Posted by Bob Carver on Sep 19, 2017 8:43:52 AM

If you use social media marketing software like Buffer, HootSuite, Sprout Social, Hubspot or many others, you likely started seeing notifications in mid-June that you would no longer be able to use those tools to post content to LinkedIn's Groups after June 30th. On that day, LinkedIn sunsetted it's Group API, and, along with it the ability to post or retrieve content from its groups through external tools. The result of the change is simple, if you want to share to or read content from a LinkedIn Group, you have to log into LinkedIn and share the content through the LinkedIn interface. 

There was a lot of debate about the reasons behind the move, and lots of reactions by marketers. With LinkedIn considered to be the largest B2B social network, this change was especially concerning to B2B marketers. We specialize in doing inbound marketing for hi-tech companies, so our team was squarely in that group of concerned marketers.

The impact of this change is many-faceted. We've been tracking and collecting data about as many of those facets as we can. In this article we'll look at three of those facets; the change in our process and the time it takes to share content on LinkedIn, the impact we've seen in groups, and the impact on the traffic we get from the social network.

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Topics: LinkedIn

7 Easy and Free Ways to Get More Traffic That You Should Be Using (But Aren't)

Posted by Bob Carver on Sep 13, 2017 6:52:43 AM

We all want our content to reach more people. We all want our content to live on, and keep bringing visitors to our site long after we've published it. Most brands do the basics, they publish a blog, and cross-promote articles on social media. Some brands take it further, by publishing on social platforms like LinkedIn Pulse or connecting their blog to Facebook Instant Articles. Companies who are serious about driving leads and winning customers online have adopted an inbound marketing strategy that drives traffic, captures leads, and moves those leads down their funnel using lead magnets and calls-to-action on their website, and blog.

We've found, however, that most companies aren't using some of the best content promotion techniques available to them, even though they're free! We think they're so valuable, that we add these sites, tools, and strategies to the content strategy we create for all of our clients. In this article, we'll share these seven easy and free ways to get more traffic.

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Topics: lead magnets, conversion tips

How to Use Social Media to Stay in Touch Before, During, and After a Disaster

Posted by Bob Carver on Sep 6, 2017 8:16:53 AM

I'm writing this article from Beaverton Oregon, one of the tech suburbs of Portland. As I do so, my wife and our family are still trying to get updates on family members in Houston area nursing homes to make sure they're all right in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. We're also thinking about friends of ours in Palm Beach Florida, in the path of Hurricane Irma. But, frankly, we're more focused on our local disaster. The Eagle Creek Fire which has, over the course of four days lit over 20,000 acres of the Columbia Gorge on fire, and crossed the Columbia River. The wildfire is hard to ignore with evacuation notifications for the small towns East of Portland coming in and escalating hourly, and ash falling like a dusting of snow on Beaverton, 26 miles Southwest of the flames. Being a marketer, the importance, power, and reach of social media is not lost on me, especially in times of crisis.

In Houston with Harvey, as in New Jersey with Superstorm Sandy, when phone lines failed, and 911 was unreachable, people took to social media to get help. Savvy agencies were listening during Sandy. It was the same during Harvey with agencies actively listening, and communicating with people during and after the storm. But social reach has grown since Sandy, and social media showed itself to be a true means of connection beyond government agencies as both people, and agencies, sent out calls for help that were answered by average citizens going to extraordinary lengths to help their fellow community members. 

People like me spend a lot of time explaining how and why social media is an essential component of marketing and business. Today I'm telling you it's an essential form of communication in times of crisis. With that in mind, I'm going to give you the essential tips about how to use social media to stay in touch before, during, and after a disaster. 

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Topics: Social Media in a Disaster

Inside Look: Conversion Optimization Tips for Inbound Marketing [SlideShare]

Posted by Bob Carver on Aug 24, 2017 5:54:26 PM

We recently published a new strategy guide:  50 Conversion Tips to Ignite Lead Generation. In it, we provide insights that will help your content, website, and other online channels start generating high-quality leads right away. We published it because most of the time we're hired to help our clients get more traffic and more leads, and there are lots of little tweaks and tips that can be used to optimize content, calls-to-action, landing pages, opt-in forms, and thank you pages. To give you a deeper look into what we cover in this strategy guide, and provide you an inside look into conversion optimization tips for inbound marketing.

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Topics: conversion tips

4 Strategies to Improve Lead Quality at the Time of Conversion

Posted by Bob Carver on Aug 22, 2017 11:53:44 AM

I've been writing a lot lately about conversion optimization tips, and how to improve the experience that compels prospects to share their contact information. But optimizing your conversions shouldn't only be about getting more leads, it should also be about getting better leads, and better information about the leads that are signing up. 

You have to be careful, however, as you don't want your desire for more information to get in the way of conversions. So how do you get better information about your leads? There's both art and science to it. In this article. I'll share 4 strategies to improve lead quality at the time of conversion.

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Topics: lead generation, conversion tips

11 Thank You Page Tips That Move Leads Down Your Funnel [Infographic]

Posted by Bob Carver on Aug 16, 2017 4:25:00 PM

You spend time and effort creating content offers like ebooks, presentations, whitepapers, and more. If you create great personas, do your marketing correctly, and create a great offer, your prospects will share their contact information with you to get it. In the process, they become leads in your funnel. Then what?

There has been some debate about what to do once your leads have signed up. Should you send a Thank You message, or should you use a Thank You page? Inbound marketing organizations from Aweber to Hubspot agree, Thank You pages are the way to go. Why? From the Aweber article:

"At no other point will your subscribers be more engaged than in the seconds after they sign up."

Simply put, the best time to engage your prospects is right after they've signed up. Thank you pages give you the real estate to engage your leads in a variety of creative ways and begin moving them further down your sales funnel. We've documented many thank you page tips in our conversion tips strategy guide, and we've built this infographic to share 11 thank you page tips that move leads down your funnel. 

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, conversion tips, Thank You Pages

6 Tips to Make Landing Page Forms Get More Clicks [Infographic]

Posted by Bob Carver on Aug 14, 2017 6:20:31 PM

Landing pages are essential to inbound marketing and online sales. They're how you get prospects to opt-in or buy. Everything on a landing page, the images, the messaging, the colors, are designed to be compelling. To entice the prospect to give you their email or money. The only component on a landing page that causes friction is the form. For prospects, the form is work. Ask for too much, and they might leave without downloading or buying. Ask for too little, and your sales team can't follow up effectively.

As I said before, the information captured on landing page forms is essential. The Lead's decision to opt-in starts them on their buyer's journey. It's the beginning of a relationship, and you need the information captured on that form to build that relationship. 

Fortunately, there's a lot of great data out there on landing page forms, and how prospects use them. We've compiled some best practices in our conversion tips strategy guide. In the infographic below we show you some compelling stats on landing page forms, and give you 6 tips to make landing page forms get more clicks. 

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Topics: conversion tips, landing page forms

How Website Design can Assist Content Marketing [Video]

Posted by Bob Carver on Aug 2, 2017 7:14:20 PM

Your website is a critical component in your inbound marketing strategy. It's where visitors come to consumer blog and web content, and where they will find your landing pages, calls-to-action, and content offers. You want them to click on those calls to action and download those content offers so that you can capture their email, and build a relationship that turns prospects into leads, and leads into customers. When you create or update your website, there are lots of decisions to be made. Should the site have more pages or fewer? Should it be an interactive experience for anyone who visits? How much menu navigation should there be versus on page navigation? Beyond the look and feel, there are four key design choices you can make to aid your inbound marketing - by helping people find you, explaining how you can help them, and helping turn those visitors into leads and customers. We've made a video to show how website design can assist content marketing. For more information, read our article where we lay out the design steps in detail. 

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Topics: content marketing, website design

Buyer Personas are Essential to Getting Clicks and Conversions [Video]

Posted by Bob Carver on Jul 13, 2017 9:17:21 AM

We spend a lot of time with our clients helping them define their target audience, and building detailed buyer personas so that their marketing content and messaging will resonate. Because, when content and messages resonate, they fill the inbound sales funnel with more high-quality leads, that turn into more customers. To increase the success of your  inbound marketing, you've got to spend the time to build great buyer personas. We've created the video that tells you what personas do, what you need to create great ones, and how they can help your business. We've also put our knowledge and experience into a comprehensive ebook that contains resources, templates, and our process -- everything you need to easily organize your research to create your detailed buyer personas that enable your inbound marketing campaigns to achieve real results. 

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Why Your Content Marketing Needs and Inbound Marketing Process [Video]

Posted by Bob Carver on Jun 28, 2017 7:32:23 AM

CarverTC is an inbound marketing company. People often ask, "what's the difference between inbound and content marketing? Don't you do content marketing?" Yes, in fact, we do content marketing, but the terms inbound marketing and content marketing are not interchangeable. Content marketing is a component of inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is so much more than content marketing. Inbound marketing is a set of tools, technologies, and processes that work together to generate traffic to your website, and from that traffic leads, that you will eventually convert into customers. Stated another way, inbound marketing is the way you make your website earn money for you. But, in my opinion, inbound marketing is the best and most accessible process-driven methodology that can consistently help you sell your products and services online. We wrote an article and made an infographic to explain the difference. It's been very popular so we thought we'd summarize the key points in this video. Enjoy!

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Topics: Inbound Marketing

5 Tips to Make Lead Magnets Perform Better [Infographic]

Posted by Bob Carver on Jun 22, 2017 8:31:49 AM

Lead Magnets are content offers that entice your visitors to share their contact info to download them. We recently wrote an article how to create lead magnets that win clicks and influence customers. In that article, we covered how to make lead magnets that valuable to your target audience. But we got many good questions about the supporting structure that lead magnets require, and they require a lot of supporting structure. They need calls to action that compel visitors to click your offer. They need landing pages that have nice images, but are clean, crisp, and get to the point. They need forms that capture the right information without being pushy, and they need thank you pages that entice downloaders to continue to engage. With these things in mind, we thought we'd share five tips to make lead magnets perform better. Enjoy!

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Topics: lead magnets

7 Tips that Make Maintaining Evergreen Content Easier

Posted by Bob Carver on Jun 13, 2017 3:00:00 PM

Evergreen content is defined differently by many different content experts. Wordstream even wrote a blog post about what evergreen content is where they covered many different definitions. The one we like the best is this one, "continues to be relevant long past its publication."

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Topics: content marketing, Inbound Marketing

How to Create Lead Magnets that Win Clicks and Influence Customers

Posted by Bob Carver on Apr 10, 2017 4:58:08 PM

Lead magnets, often called content offers, are something we've all seen. From free ebooks, to templates, to other gated content that's offered alongside blog articles, and other content. They've become a standard part of social media marketing. Barry Feldmanrecently wrote an article that explains how important they are. If a website visitor clicks and gives you their email address, they become a lead, and you have the opportunity to move to more personal email conversations. 

The issue is, with the sea of content that's out there, there is also a sea of content offers, so how do you make yours stand out? If that problem weren't hard enough, you need to do more than just get the click. You want that content offer to resonate. You want that lead to see your expertise, and the value you offer so that they will want to come back for more. Either more content, or for a conversation in email, or for a meeting.

Good lead magnets have to draw visitors in and get that click, entice them to download, then sell them on your value while helping them solve their problems. It's not easy. In this article, we'll break down how we design lead magnets that win clicks and influence customers.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, Marketing and Sales Integration

5 Website Design Choices that Help Inbound Marketing

Posted by Bob Carver on Feb 21, 2017 1:51:30 PM

We just finished updating our website. It was a minor update not a major redesign. In this six month tune up, we tweaked messaging, optimized for SEO, took down stale pages, and added several new ones to better explain our services. We recommend our clients do these types of tune ups regularly as well. In many cases, we facilitate this work for them. When we do, and even when did our own website update, we have many discussions around website design. Should the site have more pages or fewer? Should it be an interactive experience for anyone who visits? How much menu navigation should there be versus on page navigation? While these may sound like difficult design decisions, we don't think they are. Not if you recognize that your website is really just a tool to help you achieve your marketing and sales goals. Your website should help people find you, explain how you can help them, and help turn those visitors into leads or even customers. In this article we'll look at 5 website design choices that help inbound marketing.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, website design

4 Keyword Selection Tips to Improve SEO [SlideShare]

Posted by Bob Carver on Jan 24, 2017 6:52:54 AM

We recently published an article where we explained why we devote so much time in our campaigns to finding the right keywords. The article lays out the importance of selecting the right keywords, how keywords are used by search engines, and how selecting the right keywords can help drive search traffic to your site. Simply put, the difficulty, and opportunity, with keywords is to find some that are relevant in your industry and describe the products and services you offer, while differentiating your content to search engines. If you do this right, you improve SEO for your content, and your website, and get much more traffic. That article has been so well received we decided to make a companion SlideShare to explain the key points. Enjoy.

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Topics: content marketing, keywords and seo

4 Keyword Selection Tips to Improve SEO

Posted by Bob Carver on Nov 21, 2016 1:28:38 PM

One of the first things we do when we’re launching a campaign is to search for keywords. Many content and digital marketers don’t give this activity the time and energy it truly deserves. How hard can it be? You pick keywords that are popular in your industry, and that describe the products and services you offer. But that’s only half of the equation. The easy half. The problem is, all your competitors are doing the same thing. Which means the keywords you select may be the same ones your competitors are using. The result? Your content gets thrown into SEO indexing algorithms with nothing to make it stand out.  When competing against larger, more established brands with a larger online presence, your ranking for those keywords might put you several pages deep in search results. The difficulty, and opportunity, with keywords is to find some that are relevant in your industry and describe the products and services you offer, while differentiating your content to search engines. With some effort, your brand can rank for those keywords and get found at the top of search engine results pages. In this article, I’ll lay out four keyword selection tips to improve SEO in your digital marketing. By doing so you’ll improve your overall SEO, help your content and brand be found online more easily, and drive more traffic to your pages.   

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Topics: content marketing, keywords and seo

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