The old marketing playbook is broken: 86% of consumers skip television ads, 91% unsubscribe from unwanted emails, and 200 million are on the do-not-call list, according to HubSpot. In order to attract customers, companies have to provide them with something they love. That’s what inbound marketing does. Inbound marketing is a holistic, data-driven approach to marketing in the digital age. It attracts consumers to your brand, builds a relationship with these consumers, and converts them into loyal customers.
When you use inbound marketing, customers come to you: it’s all about providing the right content in the right place at the right time. Inbound marketing is relevant and helpful to your customers; in fact, when done correctly, inbound marketing should never even look like ‘marketing’.
How to Pick the Right Inbound Marketing Agency
So you know inbound marketing is important, and you know that your business needs inbound lead generation in order to survive. The next step is to hire an inbound marketing agency. For better or worse, there’s no shortage of inbound marketing agencies for hire. How do you know which one is right for your business’s needs? The good news is that you don’t have to be a content marketing or SEO guru in order to pick the right inbound marketing agency. Use these five questions to guide you to the right agency:
1. How does your planning process work?
A concrete inbound marketing strategy is essential to have in place before diving into emails, blogs or website content optimization. Ask the different agencies you are thinking about hiring how their planning process works. Will you be sitting down with a dedicated team to put together a comprehensive inbound marketing strategy? What methodology will you be following to manage your funnel analysis, messaging, content calendar, etc.? The planning process is essential to establishing clear lead goals and projections.
2. What feedback do you use to refine my marketing plan?
Just about any agency can set up and execute a basic inbound marketing plan. The real challenge comes with continual optimization. Talk to the different agencies about how they will be incorporating feedback to optimize your program and further refine your strategy. Otherwise, you could end up spending a lot of money for a plan that may or may not work.
3. What metrics do you use to track effectiveness?
While most agencies track the same metrics, it’s still important to discuss these metrics in advance and be sure that you are on the same page about what to expect. How does the agency track landing page conversions, social reach, and content performance? Look for agencies that go beyond basics, like page views, and put extra emphasis on engagement metrics and social amplification metrics.
4. Who will be managing my account?
This is a real biggie: you don’t want to have the senior account rep put together your inbound lead generation plan and then delegate this plan to a freelance associate! You want to be sure that the team at your inbound marketing agency is ready to work closely with both your sales and marketing teams. Education is also key; you want to be working with a team that can help educate your team members about the best ways to leverage your new inbound marketing program to not only generate leads, but also to cultivate these leads and close the deal.
5. What software do you use?
Marketing automation software is an absolutely critical component for successful inbound marketing implementation. Talk to the agency about which program they will be using and ensure that it integrates seamlessly with your existing CRM software. Otherwise, you could end up with a lot of data about potential customers and no clear way to manage or access this data in a meaningful, timely manner. The effective management of inbound lead generation data is just as important as generating the leads in the first place.
When comparing inbound marketing agencies, there’s a lot more to look at than just price. Cheaper doesn’t always mean better, especially if the agency is keeping prices low by outsourcing day-to-day program management or using outdated software. These five questions will help you identify the right agency for your business's needs.