Inbound marketing isn’t a rocket science, but yes, you need experts. While, as a natural tendency, you like to go with the one who is experienced and pitches less, it is not the right approach when hiring an inbound marketing agency.
There are two specific reasons for it: firstly, inbound marketing is a new field. The newer your agency are, the more creative they can be. Secondly, inbound marketing is way more affordable than outbound marketing.
As Guy Kawasaki says, “If you have more money than brains, you should focus on outbound marketing. If you have more brains than money, you should focus on inbound marketing.”
Hiring an inbound marketing agency isn’t a child’s play. Follow these suggestions and hit the nail.
Do your homework
Understand the needs of your business. The better understanding you have of your needs and goals, the better inbound marketing agency you approach. If you don’t have a budget for inbound marketing or don’t know what you require, it will be hard to know if an inbound marketing agency is sufficiently equipped to help you.
So it is better to spend some time thinking about
- What you really need help with.
- You need the inbound marketing agency to develop and implement your entire strategy or just parts of it?
- In marketing, cost isn’t the deciding factor of the amount and quality of your work but your own budget Pen down a budget according to your need, demand and pocket.
Charity begins at home
Try to learn about inbound marketing – the most common elements of a strategy, tools etc. The better you understand inbound marketing, the better inbound marketing agency you will select.
Preach what they teach?
Every inbound marketing agency you will come across will claim to be the best you can get. But be wary. If an inbound marketing agency doesn’t drink its own wine, drop it. Certain things to look out for while finding an inbound marketing agency:
- Blogging is one of the most common and important tool of inbound marketing. When you come across an inbound marketing agency find out if they have a blog. If so, do they blog regularly?
- Can they convert their visitors into lead? Do they have enough calls-to-action like buttons or links to entice the customers? Do they have landing pages to convert a visitor into contact? Do they keep tracks of the lead; interact with them through emails or offers?
Do their costumers become their promoters too? Marketing, any type, is a game of word-of-mouth. Get to know if the inbound marketing agency keeps its customer happy to convert them into a recurring customer as well as promoter.
If an inbound marketing agency is not doing these things, it implies that they do not think investing their own time in inbound marketing is the best way to market their business, why would it be the best way to market yours?
Check client list
Find out the companies the inbound marketing agency you are considering has worked with or is working with and whether those clients are satisfied. Learn if the inbound marketing agency you are seeking has direct experience working with clients in your specific industry.
You should ask the agency to give examples of previous accomplishments they’ve reached with their clients. Let them prove that they know what they’re doing and that they do it well before you start investing in their services.
Contact their past clients, if you can, to know if they were happy or satisfied with the work provided by the agency to them. This will also check that whether or not the clients the agency has mentioned really have worked with them. This will strengthen the authenticity of the inbound marketing agency.
When it comes to hiring an inbound marketing agency, you need to find the right voice, the right tone, and the right company to promote what is most important to you. Your money and your resources are valuable.
Don’t waste your efforts by hiring an agency that is not going to distinguish you from the competition and who is going to simply create a robotic, automated, already there voice for you. Don’t just stick to one agency only. Try out as many as you can. Look at each inbound agency’s website.
Do a Google search of the agency name; read the reviews. Also search the business owners’ names; this will tell you about their goodwill in the inbound marketing line. Be extremely wary of working with an inbound marketing agency that has a terrible online reputation. Learn what each of their recommended approaches are and take time to decide which offer will suit your company’s needs best.
Put a face to the name
If you have zeroed on an inbound marketing agency, do meet the team. This ensures that you are working with a legitimate agency and that they aren’t hesitant about working with you to attend a face-to-face meeting or a video meeting.
This will also let you know whether the agency you will be working with have efficient team working on your project, their thought process, the flow of the work. Your brand is important. Choose an agency that will protect your brand online and will present it in the best manner to the world.
How social the agency is
As HubSpot says, inbound marketing is multi-channel by nature because it approaches people where they are, in a channel where they want to interact with you. Visit the agency’s Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages.
How many followers do they have? How often do they post? Read through a few of their latest updates. Does what they share appeal to you? Are you going to follow/like the agency now? Why or why not? Answer these questions and you will shorten the shortlist.
Use of reliable tools and technologies
Learn if the agency’s inbound marketing strategies include tools like social media platforms, blogs, email marketing, SEO, Pay Per Click (PPC), Whitepapers, EBooks, Case Study Production etc. If they use new content marketing technologies and software.
Abide by these 3 rules
- Demand a monthly reporting from your inbound marketing agency. Ask them to provide a report that so that you can analyze whether the work they are doing is providing you with positive results or not. Ask them for suggestions to upgrade or revamp the strategies, provide them with your reviews.
- An in work inbound marketing agency will know what works because it already has tested what doesn’t. An inbound marketing agency is the best example of a successful inbound marketing strategy. If their own inbound strategy is failing in attracting you there is no need to waste your time and resources over them.
- An inbound marketing agency should have a hunger for success. A laid back agency with no spark is a no go zone. A good agency will pursue its visitors into marketing leads and marketing leads into sale leads and finally into happy promoters.