At the start of 2016, Thrive TRM was a software startup ready to go to market with a cutting-edge Talent Relationship Management (TRM) platform that would help recruiters and talent executives make better hiring decisions. There was just one problem; Thrive was a small team that lacked the bandwidth to execute marketing initiatives that would attract customers to their newly designed website. Enter eCity Interactive.
In a little over a year, we’ve increased Thrive’s website traffic by 753%, grown organic search traffic by 40X, and generated a steady flow of leads from our inbound efforts. How did we accomplish this in only 12 months? Using HubSpot, a targeted content strategy, and insider knowledge of the recruiting industry, we were able to build brand awareness around Thrive TRM and convert first-time website visitors into leads.
Differentiating Thrive TRM from other HR tech software
HR technology is a highly competitive market filled with tools aimed at automating the talent management process. As such, it’s critical that new platforms entering the market differentiate themselves in order to generate awareness, build credibility, and acquire new customers.
When Thrive TRM was created in 2014, there was no system designed specifically to address the gap that existed between commercially viable software offerings and the talent relationship management process. Previously, firms used a variety of applicant tracking systems and customer relationship management platforms, which were dated, difficult to use, and inefficient. Thrive TRM was a completely new kind of automated, collaborative client reporting process that would enable recruiters and team builders to deeply connect candidates with search teams and other stakeholders.
“We thought the market was ready for a new approach that upgrades user experience and improves the way hiring teams and others manage talent networks,” said Thrive President and Head of Product, Reed Flesher.
Preparing to release this cutting-edge software that would change the way search firms and other agencies managed talent, Thrive knew the best way to help people understand the product was to get them to use it. In order to do this, Thrive needed a way to generate more demo requests. It was then that Thrive saw an opportunity to leverage inbound marketing as a way to attract visitors to their newly designed site, educate them on a different kind of talent relationship management software, and convert them into leads via a “Schedule a Demo” landing page. “I’d heard so many good things about [inbound], and I felt like it’s the direction marketing has been headed in the past few years,” said Flesher.
The idea of organically generating web traffic and leads was especially appealing to Thrive after analyzing a list of highly competitive, costly keywords that could potentially drive people to the website via a pay-per-click strategy, “You can’t just survive off of pay-per-click anymore,” said Flesher.
While Thrive TRM was invested in the idea of inbound marketing, they knew that as an early-stage startup they simply did not have the bandwidth to bring on a full-time Marketing Manager. “Each headcount makes such a such a big impact in a small company,” said Flesher on the decision to partner with an agency rather than hire someone in-house.
Telling Thrive’s story through inbound marketing
As a platform that supports every aspect of talent management, Thrive captures a lot of hiring intelligence on candidates and companies. Sensing there was a story to be told about all of this data on recruiting trends, Thrive joined forces with eCity to begin developing a content strategy that would help in-house recruiters, search firms, and VC/PE firms make smarter hiring decisions.
From the beginning, we knew the key to inbound marketing success would rely on how well we were able to understand Thrive’s target audience of recruiters, search firms, and VC/PE firms. Thus, we kicked off the project with a thorough round of research and planning which included:
- Creating buyer personas
- Identifying the buyer journey
- Developing a messaging plan, and
- Conducting a content audit.
From there, we were able to identify the best channels to reach Thrive’s audience and begin developing blog posts, white papers, and podcasts that would address their most pressing pain points.
As a Hubspot partner agency, we were able to get Thrive up and running with landing pages, calls-to-action, automated emails, and social publishing in no time. Integrating Thrive with HubSpot was “pretty seamless from our side,” said Reed Flesher. Using Hubspot’s marketing automation tools and our inbound marketing expertise, we then began boosting Thrive’s organic search traffic through consistent, educational blog posts; promoting those posts via social channels and email marketing; and converting those visitors into leads with the help of targeted calls-to-action and landing pages.
Exponential growth in 12 months
Once we started publishing content on a regular basis for Thrive, website traffic began increasing steadily. Just four months into the implementation of inbound marketing, Thrive’s average number of website visits was increasing noticeably month over month. Through targeted and consistently delivered content, we increased Thrive’s overall website traffic by roughly 753% in year one.
By creating engaging, informative content related to the recruiting problems Thrive solves, we helped potential customers discover Thrive TRM organically through search engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Rather than spending large sums of money bidding on high-volume, expensive PPC keywords related to Thrive, we were able to attract customers to Thrive’s site by publishing the right content, at the right place, at the right time. This has resulted in a 40X increase in organic search traffic alone in the past year.
Perhaps the most important statistic to Thrive President Reed Flesher and his sales team is the steady flow of new contacts our inbound strategies have produced. By adding premium content such as white papers, eBooks, and templates to Thrive’s website, we’ve been able to collect information from website visitors in exchange for these useful resources. This has resulted in 10X more inbound leads a month for Thrive and allowed the sales team to use HubSpot to track and nurture these leads through the buyer’s journey.
“The functionality is great from a sales perspective,” said Elisha Barry, Global Account Executive at Thrive. “I can track the emails, opens, and clicks, which is really important for us.” She also noted that the steady publishing activity and monthly email newsletter has helped Thrive stay top of mind with prospects she is connecting with via other sales channels. “After we go to events, [prospects] look into us, and they see we have all of this great blog content,” said Elisha. This strong online presence inbound has created for Thrive not only lends credibility but also keeps prospects engaged moving forward.
What does this growth mean for Thrive?
In just one year, inbound marketing has shifted the way Thrive approaches their online marketing efforts. In order to attract the VC firms, search firms, and recruiters Thrive was built for, it’s become clear how crucial it is to demonstrate industry expertise and educate buyers on the benefits of switching from an ATS or CRM to a TRM. Partnering with eCity to create and promote this customer-centric content has allowed Thrive to build up their digital presence without sacrificing time spent perfecting and upgrading their product. Moving forward, we will continue evolving Thrive’s inbound marketing strategy to better serve customers and contribute to company growth.