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Inbound Marketing in The Netherlands: Colt International [Case Study]

Posted by Jess Stark on 7/25/11 11:30 AM
Today's post is a guest post from Robbert van den Heuvel, owner of the first Dutch Certified Hubspot Partner: Heuvel Marketing.
Heuvel Marketing is working closely with other European agencies to assist international companies with the development and execution of a uniform and cohesive inbound marketing strategy for their multilingual markets.
Robbert is a Certified Inbound Marketing Educator and has access to a vast international network of high quality inbound marketing service providers in the fields of SEO, copywriting, content curation, SEA, social media campaigning and marketing automation.

Colt International was born as a family business, founded by Jack O'Hea in 1931, and has grown steadily since. Still a family business, today Colt International is present around the world, providing healthy, comfortable and safe working conditions in industrial and commercial buildings. 
This case study describes why the Dutch branch of Colt International implemented an inbound marketing strategy and what steps they have taken to achieve their goals.


What were the challenges for Colt International?


Interviews with the marketing manager and sales manager revealed that the Dutch branch of Colt International was facing the following challenges:

  • Establishing their company as an innovative thought leader in their industry;
  • Getting found online by more targeted visitors;
  • Generating a greater number of qualified leads through their website;
  • Developing a heavy social media presence;
  • Getting more insight in marketing investments.

Why were these important challenges for Colt International

  1. Continuing the rich tradition of being a early adopter in the field of marketing

    Colt International has always been an innovative company with respect to its marketing activities. In the early 70’s Colt International was one of the first Dutch business-to-business companies that used direct mailing to reach their audience. This tradition was continued in the early 90's when Colt International was one of the first Dutch companies with a corporate website. 

  2. Low amount of high-quality Web traffic

    Despite the relatively large amount of visitors to their website Colt International experienced low conversion rates. They hardly received requests for information from their company website. A deeper analysis of their web traffic showed that a large part of their visitors were destined for the "Working at Colt International" page. So, their traffic was mainly consisting of job seekers and high school students.

  3. Diminishing return on investment from traditional marketing tools

    Colt International was bothered by the fact, that the efficiency of traditional marketing campaigns, including direct mailings, advertisements in trade publications and trade showed a steady decline in results.

The Solution


In January 2011 Colt International partnered up with Heuvel Marketing to develop and implement an inbound marketing strategy, supported by HubSpot inbound marketing software.

They undertook the following activities to reach their goals:

  1. Organizing an Inbound Marketing Workshop
    On January 10, during the annual “Sales Kickoff” Colt International organized an inbound marketing workshop for the marketing staff & sales team. The goals of this workshop were:
    • discover and describe ideal customers and buyer personas for each different business unit;
    • distinguish the compelling reasons of these ideal customers for buying Colt Internationals products and services.
  2. Setting up an Editorial Calendar and a Social Media Promotion Schedule
    Based on the results of the inbound marketing workshop Colt International compiled a list of relevant topics per buyer persona. Consequently, with this list in mind, they setup an editorial calendar. Furthermore Colt International put together a list of relevant social media channels for each buyer persona.
  3. Writing Blog Articles
    In February, Colt International started writing and publishing two blog posts per week, guided by the editorial calendar. In late March this frequency was reduced to one blog post per week.
  4. Social Media Promotion Workshop
    Colt International appointed a “subject matter expert” for each of the six different business units. The Subject Matter Expert has the important task of promoting blog articles in relevant social media channels. Colt International organized a small workshop to help the Subject Matter Experts on their “social media journey”.
  5. Setting Up a Lead Generation Program
    In April and May, Colt International developed two white papers and one customer case study. In order to be able to generate leads with these documents Colt International set up a landing page and a basic lead nurturing campaign for each of these documents.

The Results 

  1. Increase of relevant web traffic

    At the start of the project, the number of visitors to the Dutch website of Colt International was approximately 3,800 per month. In the following months this number rose significantly to an average of around 6,000 visitors per month:


    colt visitors

  2. Generating significant amount of high quality leads through social media and blogging

    Within 3 months time Colt International generated more than 100 high quality sales leads by promoting their blog articles, white papers and case study in social media:

    colt leads


VIDEO: Gertie Arts Marketing Manager talks about her experiences and HubSpot inbound marketing


Colt UK inspired by Dutch results


Convinced by the results of the Dutch inbound marketing campaign, on May 1st, the UK branche of Colt International started with inbound marketing and HubSpot.


Does your small business have international reach? 


See how Heuvel Marketing can help you develop an international inbound marketing strategy. You can follow Robert on Twitter and LinkedIn.


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