For those of you who are not familiar with Tragic, we will start with a little background to help illuminate why taking the leap to invest in our own inbound marketing was such a big one for our small organization.
A Tragic Beginning
Tragic Media was created in 2009 by our founder, Rich Rudzinski, after leaving a large digital agency to start his own web development consulting business. Initially, we worked mainly with large digital agencies as a white-label development resource for when they had overflow work, needed advanced custom development, or had an emergency project that needed an expert fix before presenting it to the client. We also worked as a development partner for smaller creative agencies that had little to no technology in-house, bringing our expertise in custom CMS and e-commerce development to help with everything from the sales pitch through the execution of the project development. The rest of our work was composed of referrals from Rich's agency network.
For 5 years we not only existed, but we grew with nothing more than a simple splash page as the quality of our development led to a steady increase in both our agency work and colleague referrals.
In 2014, we finally reached a breaking point working with our large agency clients. After years of battling scope issues, unrealistic timelines, and backstabbing politics we closed out all of our large agency projects and began looking for ways to bring our valuable expertise directly to the end client.
Time to increase our sales and marketing...but how?!
When first breaking away from our white-label development vertical to start to grow our direct client services, we were nothing more than a small development team of 4. No design, no marketing, no sales, not even a project manager. We were an elite bare bones team built to execute at the highest level for the lowest cost. We were structured this way to keep our margins low to stay competitive with the growing trend to send development overseas. So not only were we lacking in marketing know how, but we also lacked the bankroll necessary to hire an outside marketing firm to help us find our way. How could we find and attract businesses that were looking for our specialized web services?
Despite being experts in the web we, like many B2B businesses, undervalued the potential of our own website. As we mentioned, we didn't even have a real website until 2014. And the site that we started with, was not quite on-par with the work that we did for clients like Pixar or Qualcomm. But our first website was still a big improvement from our tiny splash page. We added some of our best portfolio examples (that we were legally allowed to promote), and waited for the magic to happen...
Traffic did improve, but after a few months we were still not seeing the results that we had hoped for. So we added a blog and started to write some content. We knew that we had to create content to attract new visitors to our site, but we were lacking in our initial strategy. We began posting lots of content about development tricks and best practices for our favorite CMS and e-commerce platforms. And while that did start to drive us more traffic, none of that traffic wanted to buy a website from us. As nice as it is to help others in the industry solve their development problems, we needed to make some sales!
In 2015 after a year of growing and learning, we gave our new website an overhaul. The design was upgraded and the focus and tone of the site shifted to showcase the growth of our services and expertise. We reworked our blog content and shifted our focus to the subject matter that our customers would be more interested in reading. Because at the end of the day, a business owner does not care how to display a product attribute on the listing page of his Magento store, he only cares that he is on a scalable platform and has the right team in place to grow his online sales.
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By god I think we got it!
After a few months of pounding out some quality content, we finally started to see some solid results. We noticed a strong correlation between the amount of content that we put out in a month and the increase in leads contacting us over the next few months. We started to analyze in more depth what distribution channels were working the best for our campaigns, and optimized our efforts. Tracking campaign success across multiple channels can be a difficult and expensive process. But we kept at it, and continued to reap the rewards of our hard work.
In 2016 we started to evolve our marketing strategy even further. We did our homework on different marketing platforms that might help to give us an edge by providing us with more robust tools for analytical campaign tracking, specifically ones that handled cross-channel lead tracking and that came with marketing automation and social media publishing tools. We honed in on the Hubspot marketing platform and in early 2016 became Hubspot Agency Partners. The next few months we spent learning the software and evolving our marketing skills to new heights.
I thought you said this article was about inbound marketing?
Inbound Marketing is just a fancy name for strategic content marketing. The core methodology of inbound marketing is to identify your main customers, and then produce and distribute quality content that they are looking for. That is, aligning the content that your organization is producing with the search terms that your ideal customers are searching for online.
This article has been a brief overview of our personal growth from a specialized development company to a growth-driven agency experienced in helping our clients grow their online presence. Through this process we learned how we could drive more qualified leads to our website through recurring targeted content. We also found some new tools, like Hubspot, which have allowed us to be more effective with our marketing efforts. Most importantly, we found that developing a successful online marketing plan does not have to be an impossible, expensive battle fought in the dark.
Tragic Media is now able to deliver the entire digital lifecycle, from strategy and design to development and testing through post-launch marketing and lead nurturing. The design and marketing services that we added are empowered by our development background, allowing us to leverage the latest web techniques, platforms, and tools to create custom web solutions to solve even the most difficult business problem.
If you are not familiar with Inbound Marketing and would like to learn more about how your business can drive more qualified leads to your sales team: