Welcome to Marketing Lego Thought Leader Interview. Today we will have a word with Rob Ayala, CEO & Founder at Digitalegia/Inbound Agency, about his journey and how he came up with his agency. We will also talk about the valuable insights on inbound marketing, outbound activities and more.
Hi, everyone. My name is Harshit. I’m the director of Business Alliances of two amazing marketing SaaS tools, RankWatch and WebSignals. Welcome to today’s Marketing Legos’ thought leader interview. We have an inbound marketing specialist and sales strategist, Rob with us, founder and CEO of Marketing agency Digitalegia. Rob, welcome on board and so happy to host you.
Perfect. Rob, your journey so far is quite fascinating. You’re a law major who shifted to marketing. Then your work ended up in a marketing and sales VP position in a SaaS company, then starting your own agency. So, please share more about your journey so far and how you got to where you are today.
With the outbound strategy, you were making a lot of effort to create a sale. We saw that and that’s when I saw a real necessity on the school market, especially back then. That’s why I decided to start my own company. At the beginning, we started to work just with school, but when we saw that we could really help software companies, we expanded those services to the software companies. Well, it’s been really challenging work with all customers, from startups to big companies. But that challenge is a good challenge and it’s been really satisfying. All results and all success stories we have.
Perfect. It’s quite fascinating because quitting a full-time job and then starting your own agency is something like… Many marketers struggle, but I understand if you’re good at something, why not offer your services to more people? I’m pretty sure that must be the drive that you want. Was it the same or was it something else?
You’re also teaching, right?
Please, Rob, tell us a bit more about the service offerings of your agency.
We also offer the inbound service. That’s when we need to have a really customer success team and they are in charge of the customers, they follow up every inquiry they have. The inbound service, it’s really good to improve churn rate. That helps a lot. We also offer that. Right now, we offer a 40 month service. We offer integrations. We integrate many, many tools with probably their marketing, automation tool or their CRM, or depending on how many tools they are using or their ARP. We need to integrate so that it’s flowing in a safe environment, but in the same ecosystem that helps the company have all the data in the same place and everything is on real time at the same time. We do that also. On the other hand, as I told you, as we teach or we consult companies as well, there are two differences between it because we offer capacity stations where we teach methodology or we teach how to use tools, the automation tools and stuff like that. But when it’s a consultation, it’s just like sitting next to the customer and seeing what their goals are and working with them with their strategy.
It’s more towards focusing on the customer.
Not just confined to their sales, but any business operations that they are struggling with or basically marketing and both sales, right?
Got it. What processes do you have in place in your agency? What is the typical client lifecycle in your agency?
We have an SDR team that sees those inbound leads. They make a call, they make a video call, phone call, or whatever it’s needed. They make a briefing where they see the needs of the customer, the challenges, their goals. It’s also good for us because we can have that qualification of that lead by talking with these guys. That’s our MQLs or marketing qualified leads. Those are the leads that they are working with. If it’s a good lead, they convert it to an S an SQL, so, I say it’s called a sales qualified lead, and they turn it to the sales team. The sales team, I also participate really actively right now in the sales team too, and I sell a little bit. I like my history a lot. But yeah, I like to sell too. I like to get involved with the customers. I like to get to meet them. I like to get to know their challenges. I like them to see my face and see that if I’m not going to be the one who’s going to be executing the strategies, but I’m behind the team, just getting to know that everything is going according to plan.
Then we make that sale. Well, we talk to sales on the sale. We dig a little bit further with that lead to see those specific challenges or maybe some metrics that we need to make our proposal. After that, we make that proposal. I could tell you that lately, most of the time, we have a successful closure. We’re really happy with our sales method, our lead acquisition method, because they are inbound. Actually, when I get the most satisfaction is when the customer or the lead says, or tells me, The way I get to you, I want my customers to get to me. I feel really happy when they tell me that because it seems that we did a really good job there.
I completely get it. If you have a strong online presence and your prospect audience can find you easily, they can reach you. Submit the contact form, query, then that’s something that they even expect out of you. Being an inbound marketing specialist. That is how it works.
Got you. For the client handling and management part, do you have account managers or how exactly that process works? What’s the nature of the client revenue cycle as well? Is it much more of one time customers or more recurring business for you as an agent?
That’s what I tell them. It takes time, but people need to be patient. But we have some other strategies and we don’t just do it. We also need to help our customers with a little bit of outbound strategies. That’s when, for example, our advertising strategy goes really along with our inbound strategy, but we make other side campaigns that are more a little bit outbound, not that the inbound. We talk about the company, we talk about the services, and we help them get to those people that they’re on the decision stage and they may really get to that funnel or sales funnel right away. That’s the way mainly we work with them.
Got it. Just like you mentioned, you’re actually practising a few of the outbound strategies as well. It’s not always 100% inbound. I’m sure most of your clients, because inbound anyways, takes a little bit time to build up that momentum. If a client is getting a little bit impatient, then there are few activities in outbound is something that you can definitely give a shock to. Apart from ads, are there any other outbound activities that you deliver to your clients?
Okay. So, on all mediums like Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, all of those, or is there a specific?
Got it. Rob, can you please help us with a few strategies, inbound marketing strategies that you feel that every business should have?
Got it. Are there some steps that you can share with the viewers? Say, a brand doesn’t even have any inbound strategy in place and they want to go about a good content strategy. What are the steps that they should follow?
The internet to solve those problems. After that, we do a keyword research so we can know how those trends are, how many searches they have, the difficulty we’re going to have to get that tracking with that keyword and stuff like that. Then develop the content strategy through that buyer personas through those specific stages and using keyword research.
Got it. What tools do you primarily use or would recommend for the beginners?
For example, we use some other tools to see how our content or our topic clusters are built, or our content is built around that topic cluster, for example, with HubSpot. We need to use several tools for it.
I think HubSpot is pretty good for tracking down your Pillar page and then mapping the secondary pages in.
In your experience, Rob, inbound does take time. What is the average that you would put down, months or whatever? In number, how long does it usually take to see results?
What are the main KPIs that you chase to measure your inbound marketing success and that you pass on to your customers?
That’s funny. But yeah, we focus on those metrics because that tells us that our strategies are working. Also another metric that an architect didn’t tell you was source, conversion source. Where are we getting those conversions from? If it’s from social media, it’s program CEO from Google search, or it’s a Google paid search or display or whatever. But we need to get to know what’s working for that customer, for that customer, for that specific service or for that specific product because it could be the same company but different services or different products. Probably for a specific service, it works better. Google’s organic search and for other services works better. Probably advertise. It depends.
The channel is probably best for you, which is driving better ROI. Everything matters.
So, Rob, you have so many years of experience now. Please share one of the most successful case studies with us, where inbound marketing has really done wonders for our customers. And what is the key matrix that you basically draw the conclusion line that this is working really well?
They make an investment on marketing. They saw that they needed that and we’re still there. We helped them. This software company, it’s called Facturama here in Mexico. It’s like an invoice company because here in Mexico, there are specific stuff that the government ask you for your invoices. They’re in an electronic document and stuff like that. They have a platform to help you do so. Right now, they have over 15,000 customers in all the country. They are talking to more funding rounds. They actually got to sell part of the company to US company right now because of the change on the customer acquisition. We helped them to do so. That’s our main. I don’t have the numbers right now, but for example, we helped them from direct traffic to the website to get those qualified leads. We actually built some landing pages where people could pay, not just convert, but pay and start up an Ecommerce. But instead of just having a long sales process where people had to talk to somebody, maybe they had a demo on their software, and then maybe they had to talk to the board and make a decision, stuff like that.
We helped them to reduce that. Well, at the beginning, when the content is ready, we help them to nurture those leads and help them get to know what they need on the software, how to use the software, until they have to or they have the way to just pay it through their licences. That’s our most successful case study.
Which channels did you primarily utilize?
Content strategy was one of the main areas where you definitely showed your expertise. Apart from that, what were the other marketing channels that you leveraged to bring them more traffic? SEO must be one of them because for an SEO goes ahead.
Got it. Any horror stories in your experience? What has made the customer go bad? Anything in your experience so far?
And for example, there were unrealistic goals. For example, if he had at that point, he had 20 customers, he wanted 200. That’s unreal. The growth is just palatable and you need to be a little bit more realistic on your goals. In the end, we had a bad relationship because we were always fighting. We didn’t end up all the retainers because it was uncomfortable for us to work with him or with them actually. But we have a point person with them that’s why I said that to him. But it was really uncomfortable working with him. He was also uncomfortable with us too because he didn’t understand what we were doing because he wasn’t on the profile we were used to working with. Even though he had the interest to work with us because he had references from other companies that we had with Bright Results and stuff, he wasn’t that profile we work with. At the beginning, we end up breaking that retainer. I believe he went to work with maybe another agency or so. It was not that good for us working with him. It was more work than results. I don’t know. We didn’t fit together.
So, the lesson we learned there is that even though there is a person or a company that wants to work with us really badly, it’s not on our profile or doesn’t match our profile, our customer profile. It’s better to say no at the beginning than have that relationship that is just really tiring. And at the end, you end up bad with that person or with that company. Instead of being a promoter of your services and being happy with the agency, they are detractors. So, we learn that. It’s better to say no at the beginning than just say yes because we want more business.
Makes sense. Rob, coming to my last question for you today, can you please share a few tips with our viewers on how to maximize the effectiveness of inbound marketing?
Got you. Any tips, say, for example, your goal, and most of the business goals are increasing the qualified leads, bringing in more business. Is there any tip that you would share that can put your inbound strategies on a roller coaster and give you much quick returns?
Anythink like, I know ads is something that they should definitely try, but anything apart from that that you feel can give a quick result?
But community managers, they have to be proactive, too. And they need to search on other social media groups, on other social media pages, on other blogs, on other forums. And he has to be on the community, not just on social media. They need to do that research and to find who else is grinding about this content, who else is talking about these topics, and get them to grind and comment there and add links to the website and, hey, I see this solution and why don’t you check out this? And be that proactive, effectively working with creating that environment and that community, not just on the social media profiles of the company or the customer. They need to be on the web creating that community. When we do so, it really works and it helps a lot because it’s less intrusive and more effective because you don’t see an ad that tells you and you see the sponsored link. It’s somebody else telling you what to look for, what to tip, and they are helping the other people, too. It’s just a person helping you and telling you that. It has more effect or it’s more effective when we do so.
That’s our way to accelerate results.
That’s pretty cool because it’s so rare. Not many people actually build their strategies around community building altogether. It’s so rare and yet so effective. I would say very prominent. but ignored strategy, I would basically quote. But good to know. Rob, any final words for the viewers, please?
That’s the way nowadays people are buying. We just research on the web what we need and when we find those answers, we see and take the next steps to solve it. Make sure you are doing that and not just focusing on your company, on your services. Focus always on your customer. And if you are or you get to be a customer’s secretary company is the way to grow better. The message here is to grow better, not just to grow by growing. The purpose is to grow better in a better way and have less return rate and improve your sales growth and stuff.
Got you. Got you. Thank you so much for all the useful tips that you’ve shared with us today. Thank you so much for your time. Really appreciate it.