Welcome to Digital Homesteading.
This collection of resources from 9 Clouds helps you build your business and community.
Hello, my name is Allen and I’m a programmer. It’s been four months since my last programming job.
I’m a member of the creative team at 9 Clouds. I never thought I’d be in marketing. In fact, most of my professional career I thought of marketing as just a necessary evil. Then I discovered inbound marketing.
That discovery changed everything, including the trajectory of my career. I (mostly) retired my programming tools, took a job with 9 Clouds, and went all in with inbound.
What Is Inbound Marketing?
Traditional outbound marketing is oafish. It is ham fisted. It’s an endless barrage of color and adjectives. It’s the belief that if you yell loud enough, someone will hear you; if enough people hear you, someone will buy from you.
Inbound marketing, on the other hand, is agile and proactive. Instead of making sure everybody knows who you are, you put that information out there so when people are ready they can find you.
Instead of coming to you only after you’ve worn them down, weary with marketing fatigue, they come to you with eager anticipation. They’ve been looking for you.
I love this: I get to learn about different products and industries. I research, write and put meaningful content on the web. The satisfaction doesn’t end when I publish the content, either. Strangers become leads become customers. I love measurable results.
I get paid to do this. I’d do this for free! (Don’t tell my boss. I do need a paycheck.)
Development Isn’t Marketing
While web development is a necessary part of digital marketing, the website itself is not marketing any more than a blank billboard is. Development isn’t marketing, and developers aren’t marketers. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying developers can’t be great marketers—here I am! But web development and inbound marketing are both full time jobs that require an all-in investment of time and resources.
9 Clouds is strictly a digital marketing agency. We do not build websites, so we get work with many different web developers on behalf of our mutual clients.
This isn’t always painless. The truth is, there can be tension between digital marketers and web developers. Most developers experience with SEO is adding alt tags to images. They don’t really understand marketing. That’s okay—that’s why we’re here. We (most of us anyway!) don’t understand development, either.
I hate to admit it, but there were times when I was building websites where I was frustrated by digital marketing companies telling me what to do. (Some times it was 9 Clouds!). I thought they were telling me how to do my job, so I’d push back when they wanted changes that didn’t make sense to me. Sorry guys.
I’m on the other side of the equation, I get it now. I can still appreciate where the developers are coming from, too, and use that to help us all better communicate. Our goal is the same. We want our clients to succeed.
Inbound Marketers Are Industrious Squirrels
We’re meticulous, but always in fast forward. Entire initiatives are conceived, planned and executed in hours. This took some getting used to for me. In my previous life as a developer, I worked on big, slow rolling projects. Planning alone would take weeks, development months. Days were full, but easily planned.
Now, the broader marketing plan is still a “big, rolling project”. But inbound marketing requires a great deal more attention and agility during execution. We can plan months out, but success depends on measuring results constantly and adjusting accordingly.
The endgame is a little different, too. As a web developer, the objective was to finish the build and move on to the next one. In marketing, there is no “end”. The inbound methodology is to attract, convert, close and delight.
That the job never ends makes for a much different client relationship. We’re not selling a digital commodity. We’re partners. Our clients success is our success.
I’ll never forget the first time I witnessed the entire 9 Clouds team exploding in celebration. It wasn’t because we’d landed a new client; it was because our client—our partner—had sold a car.
Work & Play—Who Can Tell the Difference?
9 Clouds is an amazing company to work for. You can see it in the joy and passion we each bring to the office every day. We’re obsessed with our clients success, we love our jobs and we’re enthusiastic about inbound marketing. This passion is why we all contribute to this blog. Learning, sharing and educating is what we do. It’s what’s in our hearts.