Pete Brand. Photo via amawestmichigan.org
Editor's note: Marjorie Steele is a member of the nonprofit AMA West Michigan.
A digital agency is opening up about its strategic re-focus on inbound marketing.
The AMA West Michigan is hosting an educational luncheon on Feb. 9, featuring a presentation on “Revamping Your Inbound Marketing Strategy” by Pete Brand, CEO and co-founder of the Grand Rapids-based web development and digital marketing agency MINDSCAPE.
Brand will be sharing specifics of his agency’s methodology, including successful case studies, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at New Vintage Place in Grand Rapids. Registration is $30 for non-members.
Considering the breakneck speed at which the digital landscape evolves, it’s no wonder that MINDSCAPE has made multiple strategic shifts over the last several years.
After breaking off from a seven-year partnership with Hanon McKendry in 2015, MINDSCAPE has relocated to Grand Rapids’ up-and-coming West Side, but that was only the beginning of the company’s strategic shift. A laser focus on creating value using targeted, strategic inbound marketing is the real driver of the company, according to Brand.
“Our journey has been an alignment of beliefs,” Brand said. “We had all the pieces of the machine, but we were missing a couple linchpins to hold it all together.”
Those key pieces, Brand said, were the inbound marketing methodologies outlined by marketing software provider HubSpot. MINDSCAPE is about to achieve status as a HubSpot Gold Partner.
“The inbound philosophy is really about service — and providing customers with value each step along the way,” Brand said. “People always say they want to give value, but often you see a more superficial value delivery. You can tell if someone is doing something because they want something in return or if it’s because they’re sharing selflessly.”
He said another key to successful inbound marketing is understanding individual personas and the unique buyer journeys they experience.
“You have to map out the entire buyer journey, so you can understand the problems they’re facing, and where you can help them — not necessarily with your products,” Brand said.
“There’s real opportunity for companies to provide value to that lower-priority need, which might actually mitigate that lead’s need to call you in the future, but you’ve helped them understand the causes of their symptoms before they have to go to the doctor. It’s preventative.”
Being that preventative resource builds trust, which leads to long-term customer loyalty. Brand said the most effective way to achieve this in the digital space is through blogging.
“Ninety-plus percent of customers begin their buying cycle with search engines, so you have to start asking how you’ll be included in those searches,” Brand said. “The most effective way to do that is to blog educational content answering those customers’ questions. And you have to do so in a way that makes people understand how to take the next step and convert.”
As a result of MINDSCAPE applying this blogging strategy to its own online presence earlier this year, its website visitors have increased 50-60 percent month over month, and the quality of its leads has substantially improved.
“We’re no longer getting inquiries from people with $500 budgets or looking for a la carte,” Brand said. “Our inbound strategy has helped paint a better picture of what we do, but it’s also helped to educate potential customers.”