It wouldn’t make sense for B2B office technology providers to continue using outdated marketing methods themselves, right? Well, unfortunately, like many industries, managed IT service providers and copier leasing companies are still behind the times when it comes to current marketing trends.
AIS-NOW, a technology provider in Las Vegas and southern California offers end-to-end solutions for businesses in their regions, ranging from IT and leasing, to selling copiers and printers.
And they were tired of doing business the old fashioned way.
AIS President Gary Houff saw the value of inbound marketing but wasn’t sure how to implement it himself.
So, Gary did what many businesses new to inbound do -- he hired an agency to do the work for them. However, while they had hired a gold tier HubSpot partner agency to assist in their content marketing, the results were lackluster with leads generation remaining relatively flat for 16 months.
“We knew we had to completely change the way we do business because the old way just didn’t work anymore,” Gary said. “I reached out to Marcus Sheridan (IMPACT partner) and said, ‘I read your book, They Ask You Answer; it makes sense to me, but the agency we work with isn’t doing this for us. What can I do?’”
Gary had assumed Marcus would suggest a simple switch from working with their current agency to working with IMPACT and having IMPACT’s team do the work for AIS. He was surprised when Marcus had a different suggestion.
“Marcus said, ‘We can teach you how to do inbound marketing yourself. Rather than have an agency do it for you, we can groom you to do it yourself.’”
AIS decided to take a leap of faith and give in-house inbound marketing a shot. They brought on Keven Ellison as their new VP of marketing to head the new marketing team.
Keven’s team consists of Chris Kabat (an inbound marketing strategist), Marissa Olson (a content producer), and David Tortosa (a videographer).
With the guidance of IMPACT’s consultant team on content, video, and HubSpot, AIS began producing two blog articles and one video each week in September 2017 answering business’ most pressing questions about office technology.
Their website traffic, which had been stagnant up to that point, increase month-over-month almost immediately. And in just 18 months, AIS’s organic website traffic grew 11X from 494 visits per month to 5,560, and new leads increased by 350%.
“One of the most surprising things I’ve seen is that just after a few weeks of working with the consultants, we could see our presence online growing,” Marissa reflected.
But while they were ecstatic about the gains in traffic and leads, it was the revenue growth that showed them they were on the right track.
We can attribute about $100,000 in just initial sales from implementing They Ask, You Answer in the last 12 months. And that’s really converted into significant revenue for the company. When you consider the lifetime value of a customer, that’s over half a million dollars so far."
Keven Ellison VP of Marketing, AIS
The team at AIS credits using tools like HubSpot as absolutely essential to them in achieving their inbound marketing goals.
For starters, rather than use HubSpot tracking codes simply for analytics and reporting, they went all-in by having their entire website hosted on HubSpot's CMS platform.
Content producer Marissa Olson appreciates having all of their inbound marketing and selling assets in one place. “Without HubSpot, we’d never be able to do more than one project at once, we’d never be able to multitask,” she said.
“I love that I have the ability to set up a draft for a blog and then quickly jump to a separate project, such as editing a landing page.”
Marissa especially enjoys reviewing analytics in HubSpot because it allows her to monitor the effectiveness of her content, make insightful changes to existing content, and gather ideas for future content. This is especially true as they’ve launched recent campaigns around a sensitive subject.
“Now more than ever, I am focused on which pages are getting the most traffic on our website as we've recently launched a few COVID-19 campaigns,” Marissa said.
“It's helpful to see if our viewers are accessing our new landing and web pages, and how they’re interacting with them.”
While Marissa focuses her HubSpot use on creating and analyzing web pages, blog articles, emails, and landing pages, Keven values HubSpot at a more holistic level.
More specifically, Keven loves how he is able to level-up his team’s inbound marketing knowledge using HubSpot.
“Since HubSpot is so embedded in our business, we have everyone one of our marketing and salespeople go through basic inbound and some specialized courses through HubSpot Academy, based on their responsibilities at our business,” Keven said.
But more than anything, Keven believes HubSpot has been instrumental in aligning his sales and marketing teams’ objectives.
“Probably one of the most important results of being a ‘HubSpot company’ is that the platform has played an integral role in getting our sales and marketing aligned,” Keven shared.
“Before signing up for HubSpot, our company was very successful as a ‘sales only’ organization and didn’t understand the value of marketing let alone inbound marketing. HubSpot has helped us bridge that gap. And every day, our two departments are working more closely together as one.”
But the real win here is that they’ve done all the work themselves. Rather than hiring a marketing agency to do the work for them, they used IMPACT’s consultants to teach them to do inbound marketing themselves.
Describing the consulting approach, Chris Kabat said, “Being able to leverage the knowledge that IMPACT’s consultants bring to the table, I got the most value out of taking what I already knew and compounding it with what they know.”
Keven, however, had a different take on the consulting relationship:
“I don’t have the budget or resources for us to go out and test different things in marketing,” he shared. “I look at IMPACT as being that research and development department. They give us the best practices so that we can implement them right away.”
Of course, many of their peers and competitors still cling to outdated ways of marketing themselves.“Most people have not adopted this philosophy, which I have no idea why,” says Gary, “If you’re willing to take the time and put in the extra work, you’ll quickly see the results. We’ve seen some dramatic results in the work we’ve done so far.”