Our Four Corner Inbound Marketing Engine
In this post, I will describe how we created a highly effective Inbound Marketing Engine.
When I launched healthlaunchpad, I felt that I had unfinished business. In my software startup, Uniphy Health, I had been very frustrated by our inability to build a sustainable marketing engine.
I was inspired by the awesome Marcus Sheridan’s seminal book on inbound marketing, They Ask You Answer. We tried out the principles of inbound marketing with Uniphy Health, but we sold the company before we could get it working. With healthlaunchpad, I wanted to create an inbound marketing engine from day 1.
I spent more time on the inbound marketing engine in the first year than anything else. While it may have taken up time that I could have spent selling more aggressively, it has paid dividends.
And as the first year of healthlaunchpad was 2020, during COVID, I had plenty of time to write.
The Four Corner Inbound Marketing Engine
Here’s the TLDR story.
As the diagram above depicts, there are four components to our inbound marketing strategy, aka the Four Corner Inbound Marketing Engine.
1. Content: This is the keystone to everything we do. It is the foundation to everything we do. Below we’ll go over why and how we do create content.
2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO): In B2B marketing, everyone knows that SEO is important, but very few companies do it well. In my experience, this is not a lack of knowledge or resources but a lack of tenacity. SEO is all about being intentional and sticking at it.
3. Social Media: I have been a social media junkie since the very early days. While I have used all the channels, my social media channel of choice is LinkedIn for apparent reasons. I don’t think I will ever fully master it as it’s constantly changing, but we have had great success with LinkedIn in amplifying our message.
4. Partnerships: The fourth corner has been our marketing partnerships. We have created educational programs with several leading organizations that have helped extend our reach and benefited our partners through the content we created. See 1.
Content is the Keystone
Content is not just King, but it’s the Keystone of our marketing strategy.
From day 1, we have set out to build authority in health tech marketing with a Major in Account-based marketing (ABM).
We have created hundreds of blog posts, listicles, interviews, white papers, infographics, webinars, videos, and podcasts covering health tech marketing, complex selling, ABM, social selling, and other B2B marketing topics. And oh yeah, I nearly forgot, I wrote a book.
Creating content is about more than just marketing. It’s also about figuring stuff out. I find that one of the best ways to deeply understand a topic is to write about it or create a video. Doing this encourages you to dive deeper into the subject, and the act of publishing forces you to be sure about your point of view.
Frequency is key.
Just publishing once a month is inadequate. I write a blog post every week. One of the reasons it took me nine months to commit to writing a book and get started was that I was concerned about being able to write the book and maintain my blog schedule. l then came up with the idea of publishing each chapter as a blog post. This got me moving with the book.
Keeping up with this schedule takes a great deal of discipline. While I somewhat enjoy writing, I would rather be doing something else. It still feels like hard work. The book alone is 45,000 words long and took fifteen solid weekends of writing to complete. The feedback I have received and seen positive results keep me going.
SEO by Design
I learned about how effective SEO can be by accident when I started a blog on sailing back in 2006. By luck more than judgment, the blog became one of the top-ranked sailing websites for a few years. I had not realized when I started this blog how much it would teach me about the power of SEO.
I was determined to replicate this with healthlaunchpad. I was especially driven by this as we had started to get SEO traction with my software firm but we lost our way.
The short story is that Karen and I spent a great deal of time upfront focusing on my business strategy and the audience we were trying to engage. Once we had aligned on this, we brainstormed search topics.
Karen used these topics to develop a list of hundreds of keywords and key phrases. She analyzed these to pinpoint around twenty keyphrases that had some significant volume and low enough competitive intensity that would give us a chance of getting on the first page of Google search results.
This list of keywords underpins our content calendar. There is a deliberate strategy to attract people searching for specific terms by publishing and optimizing content that will rank for these.
This has been incredibly successful. Thanks to Karen’s help, traffic has increased 10X over three years, and non-branded SEO accounts for two-thirds of traffic to our website. Karen provides a monthly dashboard with multiple search-related KPIs. We meet on this and look at ways to optimize our content. It is rewarding seeing consistent improvements, such as the number of blog posts that rank on the first search page.
Amplification Through Social Media
I have been on LinkedIn since 2003 but always felt that I was scratching the surface in how to use it. When I started healthlaunchpad, I felt I needed help learning how to use it effectively. I invested in a coach and hired the fantastic Adam Franklin.
Adam Franklin specializes in helping sole practitioners (as I was) and small consulting firms (as we are now) learn how to use LinkedIn and other digital marketing techniques to grow a business. This was one of the best investments I have made.
The coaching helped me to understand better how LinkedIn works, how to create a compelling profile, how to create new connections, how to create a following, how to use it to run events, and above all, how to nurture new relationships.
Using LinkedIn effectively is a balancing act between being consistent in how often I post, invite connections, etc, and changing strategy when I learn something new about the algorithm or see that a particular approach is no longer working.
Despite its maturity, LinkedIn is changing all the time. What worked last month may not work today. InMail is a great example of this.
Sticking at it works. In the three and half years since I began coaching with Adam Franklin, my network has increased 3X, and more importantly, the new connections and followers are in my target market.
It’s like having my own TV network.
Partnerships – The Company You Keep
The fourth corner is the partners we are privileged to collaborate with. This includes HIMSS, Bombora, Terminus, and Propensity, as well as several terrific networks such Wayne Cerullo and team’s MAGIC group and SAMI in the Boston area.
Thanks to these relationships, we have had the opportunity to present our thinking to their networks. This has significantly raised our profile and dramatically expanded our reach. This fuels word of mouth about healthlaunchpad.
It is quid pro quo. For example, with HIMSS, we delivered significant value to their members by creating a 6-part webinar series on ABM from scratch tailored to their audience.
What’s Next? How About Eating Our Own Dog Food?
So, if you have followed any of our content or musings on LinkedIn, you will know that we are more than a little obsessed with ABM.
“So where does ABM fit in your marketing?” you may ask.
We have not been eating our dog food as much as we should. Sure, we are very targeted in who we are marketing to and we have focused on developing a handful of accounts. However, we have not been doing ABM at scale until now.
I will share more about what we are doing here at a later date, but we are deploying a very exciting approach that I expect to pay dividends.
Watch this space!
If you are interested and when you are ready, we can help you create an effective inbound strategy. Here are some ways to get started:
- Check out more posts like this in the Healthtech Marketing Learning Center. It is chock-full of articles, use cases, how-to’s, and ideas to get you started on your ABM journey.
- Follow me or connect with me on LinkedIn. I publish videos and articles on ABM and healthtech marketing.
- Work with me directly. Let’s book a growth session and we can explore ways you can improve your marketing using the latest techniques in account-based marketing.