So the time has come, and you have decided to outsource an Inbound Marketing agency to turn your website into your top sales machine, using the Inbound marketing methodology. You have realized that having an incredible-looking website doesn't cut it.
You need to increase traffic to your website and convert your website visitors to leads, run a series of lead nurturing campaigns to move your leads through the sales funnel to turn them into paying customers.
But the question remains do you do all this using your in-house resource, or do you hire an inbound agency? And if you hire an Inbound marketing firm which one should you use? How do you choose?
Let’s begin by discussing the reasons to hire an agency versus trying to do it all in-house:
In most companies, management and staff wear several hats, managing several different roles. Therefore, unless you have a resource that is underworked or hire more staff, there is a slim chance that someone has the time to learn, develop and carry out an effective marketing strategy.
It might appear to be straightforward. However, you may feel that it would be safer and more cost-effective to appoint a resource from inside your company to manage your social media and occasionally blog when they have time or a topic to write about. So an important set of questions to ask yourself is, can this person handle:
If yes, then there is no need for you to hire an Inbound Agency. If no, then there you go. Those are all the reasons to hire an agency to take on your Inbound rather than try to do it in-house using fragmented solutions.
So, now that we have highlighted the why-hire an agency part let's move on and discuss what to look out for when choosing which agency to work with.
Here are some key elements to take into consideration and my favorite tips for choosing an Inbound Marketing Agency:
If you come across an agency that does not use inbound to promote them, I would say, red flag! Details to look out for include:
It’s important to note that if an inbound marketing agency is not doing all of the above, it could imply that they do not believe that investing their own time in inbound is the best way to market their business. It could also imply that they do not have the resources to do it and may outsource. This leads to a fundamental question: why would they do it for you? And do it well?
Based on the types of questions that agencies ask you in meetings, it becomes clear how the agency works. What is their trail of thought? Are they trying to understand your business as if it was their own?
Are they asking the right questions to learn more about your business? Are they asking you about your marketing SMART goals? Your challenges? Your budget? Your timeline? Are you comfortable talking to them? Do you feel you can trust them? Do you sense that they are creative?
How would they respond to a question like, “now that we have discussed our current situation, goals, and challenges, if we outsource you, what plan of action do you recommend for us? In what sequence and order would you apply this plan? And most importantly, WHY would you apply this plan, and in this order?”
Asking why is just as important as the what, if not more important. You don’t only want them to tell you what the proposed plan would be, and you also want them to explain the reason/s why they would choose that plan of action. How they answer this will show you if they have a deep understanding of what they are doing.
You see, Inbound Marketing consultants are somewhat like website doctors. You want to have your company in safe hands. In the hands of people who know what they are doing, why they are doing it, and how they will do it.
There is no point in hiring an inbound marketing agency that doesn't measure the effectiveness of its work. It’s like driving a car without a speedometer. One of the great advantages of Inbound is that it is measurable. There are several metrics used to measure the effectiveness of an Inbound campaign.
An experienced agency will have a closed-loop reporting system for measuring how well the campaign is performing. It is this data that assists the agency in optimizing its inbound marketing plan for you. Useful questions to ask the agency on this matter are:
The clearer you set these expectations, the better the outcome.
There is no way that every agency out there is an expert in every field. So you might find yourself asking how an agency that is not specialized in your industry can and will be producing content for you since the content is key when it comes to Inbound. The answer to this is research techniques.
With this in mind, you will want to ask the agency how they plan to learn or research your company and industry when they create educational, valuable, and informative content for your website visitors.
A good way to get a flavor of the type of content and the pace at which they can create compelling content is by visiting the agency blog on their website. But, of course, you don't want to work with an agency that blogs once a month.
You want to work with an agency that always at least blogging at least twice a week. For Inbound to work well, you need to consistently and constantly be generating fresh, quality content. If you don’t have the right agency to create your content for you, then chances are you will not be achieving the pre-set goals you plan for.
When making your mind up about an agency, make sure you go to more than one agency. Approach a few. Talk to them. Ask to meet the team. Ask them about their Inbound certifications. Try to grab a feeling if Inbound is a passion to the team members or simply doing a job. Naturally, you want the passionate ones.
The creative ones. The different ones. The professional ones. At the end of the day, you want your brand to be stand out from your competition. So look for the agency that does just that. The one that stands out. Get an insight on what each agency could and would provide you, and then take the time to decide which one suits your companies needs. This will also give you a good insight into pricing.
All of this may seem overwhelming—lots of questions to ask and thoughts to think about. But at the end of the day, by getting these questions answered, you will have a great insight into how an inbound marketing agency works and what they can produce for you.
Ranya is a serial entrepreneur with over 8 years of experience working on the HubSpot CRM. She loves pushing her sleeves up , and getting s*** done. When she is not running her HubSpot partner agency, you can find her upside down on her yoga mat.
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