Why 434?

Over the years, we’ve often gotten the question “What does the ‘434’ mean?” It’s a fantastic question, and one that has a lot of meaning behind it. First, “434” is a reminder of where we began. In 2011, we started this company around a dinner table in Lynchburg, Virginia—area code 434. Lynchburg is still our home base, but as we’ve grown over the years, the “434” has come to mean more than just our physical location. It also signifies the way we work and our processes. As a content marketing agency, we know that results matter. We’ve refined our methods, and distilled our practices into a unique bookend approach. Our process parallels our logo, consisting of: four lines in one corner, three lines moving up and to the right, and then four lines in the other corner. This shape represents our bookended approach to any marketing activity we have taken on, which has helped us achieve a great deal of success with our clients.

The “434 Method”

Our marketing strategy consists of three stages, each represented by one of the numbers in our name.

  • 4: Collaboration, Buyer Research, Data collection, and Strategic Alignment
  • 3: Content development for each layer of the marketing funnel: Top, Middle, and Bottom
  • 4: Strategic Refinement, Brand Amplification, Revenue Growth, and Return on Investment (ROI)

With these techniques, we are able to create winning marketing content for our clients and watch as it bolsters online presence, and ultimately drives revenue.

Stage One: Planning a Strategy

4 Parts: Collaboration, Buyer Research, Data Collection, Strategic Alignment

During our initial meetings with prospective clients, we cover a lot of ground, because we need to learn about you if we’re to create content that legitimately helps you. What is your business strategy? What is your purpose? What are your goals? Who is your target audience? How do you want to present your brand to the public? What is your typical sales process, and what is your ideal customer’s buying journey?  

Our first step in the planning process after we meet with a prospective client is to start  researching. This research is extensive, and covers a lot of technical aspects of keyword research, including search intent and matching the right answers to search queries. At 434, our analysts know that numbers are important, but they’re not everything, so we take care to try to understand the why behind each keystroke when someone pulls up Google. We organize this research into documents and spreadsheets that guide us as we continue to move forward. Usually, between meeting with clients and doing research, this part of the process can take one to three months initially, and is typically ongoing.

Because this process is ongoing, it also means that we work to stay in consistent contact with you, brainstorming new ideas, following industry trends, and continuing to figure out what will make your content “pop” to your audience. We will routinely present you with finished content and show you how current content is performing, and we’ll pitch new content that we believe will help your sales strategy progress.

Stage Two: Creating

3 Parts: Top-of-Funnel, Middle-of-Funnel, Bottom-of-Funnel

As a B2B content marketing company, we do it all: website building, content creation, content promotion, graphic design, and video production. Each skill set  contributes to developing content that reaches new audiences, draws them in, and helps them reach out to clients. Our approach is based on the essential process of a marketing “funnel,” and fitted to the digital landscape heavily dependent on content.

But what exactly is “the funnel”? The funnel is made up of three layers: top, middle, and bottom. While most sales teams are familiar with a traditional sales funnel, the funnel takes on a new meaning through the lens of content marketing. It’s a visual representation of the intent behind each piece of content that we create for our clients. 

  • “Top-of-funnel” content is content that is designed to drive traffic and raise the authority of  your website. Based on our keyword research, our knowledge of how Search Engine Optimization (SEO) works, and our knowledge of the client’s needs, we create content that will attract potential customers to your website. Top-of-funnel content often takes the form of educational content, which informs the reader and establishes you as an authority in the space you serve. Search engines reward content that’s genuinely valuable to readers, so we are always careful to create meaningful content. You’ll never see keyword-stuffing or any other outdated SEO tactics from us.
  • “Middle-of-funnel” content, as you might expect, is a mixture of top and bottom tactics. It’s designed to more directly address the customer’s need while also continuing to provide information about the general industry. Picture a “how-to” article that combines best practices and how your solution will help a client achieve those practices. It works to build the connection and trust between the client and their potential customer, hopefully leading to the “hand-off” mentioned above.
  • “Bottom-of-funnel” content is specifically designed to convert searchers and website viewers into leads and customers. This content is aimed directly at the potential customer or client, urging them to contact you, make an appointment, or make some other kind of direct connection. This connection is what will motivate them to build a customer relationship with your business. We consider “bottom-of-funnel” content the “hand-off” from our team to your talented sales team.

At each level of the marketing funnel, we strive for a multi-faceted end goal: what answers do your customers want to hear, how can your business become the solution for their needs, and how will this set your business apart from the competition well into the future?

Stage Three: Full Steam Ahead

4 Parts: Strategic Refinement, Brand Amplification, Revenue Growth, ROI

As we get to know you and create content that aligns with your goals, we keep a close eye on key performance metrics that let us—and you—know how your web content is working. How is the content we’re creating performing online? How many leads is it generating? How is it translating into sales and repeat customers? How satisfied are those customers? And how can we improve?

Content marketing isn’t a one-and-done marketing service. It’s a living, breathing strategy that changes as algorithms, the industry, and your customers do. Our average retainer client sticks with us for at least five years to let our marketing process run its course. With the results that we drive, we have seen exponential growth in the past (we’re not kidding!), even over the course of just a couple years! The key to our shared success is that we never stop working to create the best content possible and improve upon existing content as we learn more and see results. For many of our clients, we’ve gone back and recalibrated our initial content and design, editing it so that it functions better within the website and updating it so it stays relevant and evergreen. Our increasingly-digital society means changes can happen seemingly overnight, and we don’t want our clients to get left in the past.

This is also a part of who we are as a team and a business—we’re always working to improve for our own sakes and for the benefit of our clients. We never just rest on our laurels. The world evolves too quickly for that, and we want to keep up just as much as you do.

So…Why Work With 434?

We hope that if you’ve gotten anything from this explanation of our methods, it’s that we’re thorough and dedicated to your success. We’re committed to making a difference in our clients’ lives and businesses, because building something excellent that will draw people in is what we’re all about. We’re here to partner with you and help you meet your business goals. We’re 434 Marketing, and we’re your team. Contact us today!