Inbound success story: 242% more quality leads through digital channels

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"Inbound Marketing is not a channel, tactic or technology. It's a philosophy – and it works." This strong statement is coming from the commercial team at Phenom-World – developer, manufacturer and supplier of desktop scanning electron microscopes (SEM). With Inbound Marketing and HubSpot, the team has achieved an impressive increase of 8000 blog visitors each month, a 242% growth in quality leads and a 220% growth in revenue from online channels. Stay tuned to find out how.

Phenom-World: how it all started

Phenom-World's mission is clear: make nanotechnology intuitive and available to every researcher in every lab. Selling desktop SEM’s via a network of partners in over 45 countries worldwide, Dutch-based Phenom-World aims to become the #1 in desktop SEM. Needless to say, an ambitious goal needs ambitious numbers! Their aim is to double revenue from €20 million to €40 million in 2020. This stressed the importance of gaining good quality leads tremendously.

However, back in 2015, their current Marketing strategy was mainly focused on top-of-the-funnel activities, such as branding. That's where Webs (Inbound Marketing and Sales agency and HubSpot Diamond partner) came into play. Phenom-World partnered up with us to set up an inbound strategy and implement the HubSpot marketing automation platform and CRM. This case study shows a snapshot of Phenom-World between 2016 and 2018, and how they grew their business with Inbound Marketing.

Lorelei de Boer, Digital Brand Manager at Phenom-World
“We did not have everything in place to prove the ROI of our marketing efforts. Although our team was already setting up many activities to provide leads – via our website, Search Engine Advertising, Email campaigns and events – we were not always able to prove the success of these campaigns.”

The challenge: gain insight in marketing ROI

To reach the ambitious goal that Phenom-World had set, the commercial team realized they were doing a lot of things right, but that their marketing campaigns were not aligned around gaining more organic traffic and high quality leads. Money and time was being put into activities that didn't always lead to the desired outcome. Their approach should become a lot more market-focused and match the buyer journey of prospects. 

On top of that, they did not have the right (holistic) marketing tooling in place to prove the success of marketing efforts. This meant that they had little to no control over their growth as an organization and no strategic plan on how to steer towards their goal. Phenom-World realized they lacked the desired skills/knowledge, process and tooling to tackle all these challenges on their own, in the timeframe they had set. At this point they called in our help.

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The commercial transformation of Phenom-World

Lorelei de Boer: “We needed a new set of marketing and sales tools that enabled us to structurally generate, nurture and track leads in every stage of the buyer journey. This meant: gaining insight on how prospects find us, how they behave on our website and other marketing channels – and why they buy.”

The following steps show how Phenom-World managed to kick-off their exciting inbound marketing journey.

Infographic PW V6 rood logo (1)-1

Step 1: Get the right people on board
Multiple strategic workshops were organized to make sure that inbound marketing was understood throughout the organization and key stakeholders.

Step 2: Use the right tooling
Results of marketing efforts needed to be measured structurally in order to improve them. A clear definition of KPI’s needed to be defined for the entire organization to ensure that goals could be achieved. We implemented the HubSpot marketing automation platform an HubSpot CRM. We also set up templates for the blogs and landing pages and designed and implemented CTA’s.

Step 3: Gain focus
We organized multiple strategic workshops to understand where we could make the most powerful changes through renewed marketing processes. This resulted in gaining insight into focus markets, buyer personas and challenges. It helped Phenom-World shape an inbound strategy tailored to their organization, and turned out to be an important milestone in shifting from thinking inside-out (products and features), to outside-in (market and customer-first).

Solution: how to gain more traffic, leads and marketing qualified leads?

These three steps resulted in a strategy that would help Phenom-World reach their desired goals. To make the required changes, the following goals were defined:

Increase traffic

  • Scaling down paid advertising

The HubSpot ads tool was used to gain insight in the cost per lead (CPL). Before, advertisements were mainly product-focused and not aimed towards the problems potential customers might be experiencing. The result: a high CPL and low quality of leads. Together we reduced advertising costs, while focussing content on solving challenges.

  • Creating a solid content strategy

A good content strategy (keyword research, topic cluster strategy, blogging strategy) resulted in fresh content being published weekly.

  • Optimizing existing (blog) content

Existing content was reviewed and edited to make it fresh and up-to-date. On top of that keywords aimed at the buyer’s challenges and smart CTA’s were added. This mainly increased the traffic and secondly, the conversion from traffic to quality leads.

  • Creating featured snippets

Content was put in a specific format that enables it to be shown as featured snippets in Google. This gave another boost to organic traffic to the website and blog.

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A featured snippet: what is the difference between SEM and TEM?

Gain more and better leads

  • Creating a quiz
    Images created with scanning electron microscopes are very impressive! Therefore, a quiz called “Guess the SEM image” was created. In the quiz different images are shown and a user has to guess what is shown in the image: easier said than done! The goal was to demonstrate that the desktop SEM image quality compares to that of a regular SEM. This resulted in a tremendous boost in more high-quality leads. Keep reading to find out how many...

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An example of an image shown in the quiz. Do you know what this is? 

  • Creating content funnels
    The personas and buyer journey were used as input to identify the top 3 pain points customers were experiencing. Three content funnels were created around these pain points. These funnels were used to create matching content offers centered around the phases in the buyer journey.

  • Content activation
    The created content was activated through social media (posting in various groups and using the feeds of employees), banners on the website, online trade magazines and E-mail.

Gain more marketing qualified leads

  • Defining leads and MQL's
    Phenom-World created a clear definition of what a MQL is and ensure this definition is known and used throughout the organization. In other words, make it easy to understand when a lead is defined as a quality lead and when a lead gets passed on from marketing to sales.

  • Implementing lead scoring
    A lead scoring model has been implemented to indicate how close leads are to becoming a MQL. Points are added to this lead score based on the actions performed on the website. Once this score reaches a certain threshold, leads become MQL’s and are automatically being passed on to sales.

  • Implementing lead nurturing
    Not all leads are ready to talk to sales. That's why a nurturing program was developed to nurture leads from the Awareness all the way to the Decision phase.

  • Implementing pop-up forms and automated form abandonment E-mails
    HubSpot pop-up forms were added to several Decision-phase pages to encourage visitors to complete a specific action. Also, automated form abandonment E-mails were sent out when someone almost filled in a form but for some reason didn't submit it. 

Impressive inbound marketing results

From January 2016 until today Phenom-World has worked with Webs to implement the new strategy and tooling to achieve their goals. And not without result!

Revenue growth:
The revenue generated from online channels has increased by 220%.

More leads:
Phenom-World has generated 242% more quality leads through digital channels. The efforts put into SEO and historical blog optimization resulted in recurring and lasting value from content. This resulted in more leads while being less reliant on paid advertising.

And what about the quiz? ... it resulted in generating 2200 leads!!

More traffic:
New and revised content, aimed at the target audience, resulted in a 274% growth in organic website visitors.

Schermafbeelding 2019-06-06 om 13.00.13Graph showing the increase in sessions since implementing the new strategy.

Decreased CPL:
The CPL used to amount €245. After the changes were made the CPL is now €65.

Lowered advertising costs (and higher quantity and quality of leads):
Additionally, the traffic generated through paid sources was decreased by 96%. The number of leads was however increased by 118%. By setting up the advertising more effectively, advertising costs were lowered by two-thirds.

Increased blog views:
The number of views on the blog increased by 8000 per month.
 The blog now has more views than an average online microscopy trade journal.

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Statistics from a recent blog.

Lorelei de Boer, Digital Brand Manager at Phenom-World
“The HubSpot tooling enables us to paint a very detailed profile of a specific lead, and every single touch point they’ve had with us and the impact it had on a sale. On top of that, when a lead fills in a form for a demo or a quote we collect all the information we have on this lead. Sales colleagues and our distributors are briefed about every touch point a lead had with us in the past. It helps them to better connect with leads and add more value in the sales conversation.”

The following infographic summarizes the results of implementing the inbound strategy:

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Inbound marketing: positive impact on the organization

Phenom-World has truly evolved from a product-driven to a customer-driven organization. Marketing and sales teams are much more aligned and a big part of the organization has completely embraced the inbound philosophy.

Fun fact: content is no longer only being produced by commercial teams: technical experts are also highly driven to write content that matches the needs of customers. They even come up with ideas to target other (niche) markets! This helped Phenom-World to greatly increase the relevance of their blog for its readers. Our colleagues still work closely with the Phenom-World team to further shape the future of inbound marketing.

"Inbound Marketing is not a channel, tactic or technology. It's a philosophy – and it works!"