With the continuous rise of inbound marketing it is no longer just an option for companies to have a solid inbound marketing strategy, it’s a neccessity. Whether or not to handle your inbound marketing inhouse or to use an outsourced marketing agency is a question many small to medium businesses will have to ask. Deciding if working with an outsourced inbound marketing agency is right for your busines isn’t really difficult to figure out. But, it does mean taking a good hard look in the mirror and figuring out whether or not you or your business can successfully manage the various components of your marketing without hiring an agency.
Here are some tasks and responsibilities involved in inbound marketing, along with a few questions to help you frame the amount of work and expertise involved, to decide whether partnering with an outsourced inbound marketing agency is right for your company.
Defining Goals & Setting Strategies
What does your business want to accomplish – and do you know how to get there? It’s likely you you know what you want your end result to be – more sales qualified leads, greater brand awareness, stronger customer loyalty. But the question of how to get there is a little tougher. Putting together a comprehensive marketing plan can be tough and “fake it ’til you make it” can be costly and waste precious time.
Who are you selling too? A big part of setting goals and strategies is having a clear picture of your customers or buyer personas. Developing a buyer persona that gets results means interviewing your current customers in order to understand their pain points, challenges, goals, and buying habits. Once you fully understand your persona then and only then can you truly know what message should be in your content.
What channels will you use? This is also the time you will want to evaluate the channels at your disposal – paid, owned and earned media channels – and defining how you will align them in order to get that message to the right audience.
If you or your staff have the time and expertise to drill down into the data and pull out these insights, this process is one you could perhaps handle internally.This is an area where guidance from an experienced inbound marketing agency that understands how to leverage the channels and resources at your disposal to their best effect. Collaboration between agencies and businesses often yields the best results; a mix of insight and experience that makes strategies stronger and goals more realistic and measurable.
Creating Content to Meet Your Goals
Inbound marketing and quality content go together like peanut butter and jelly. In other words you can’t have one without the other. You can put together the most comprehensive inbound marketing plan but if you don’t have the staff to create the kind of content that stands out and grabs your buyer personas attention, then you’re back to wasting time.
Content creatio roles that need to be filled include:
- writing – blogs, emails, offers, social media posts
And to make things even more challenging you must take into consideration SEO which means choosing the right keywords and using them appropriately.
Outsourcing to others is a viable option, but it does create a need for quality assurance and management of those doing the work.
Time is also an enormous factor. Writing, editing, designing and so on can all be laborious tasks for those who take them on, especially if they’re already trying to manage other business tasks at the same time. The result is often rushed and mediocre content.
An experienced inbound marketing agency will already have these resources at their disposal and processes for ideation, creation and quality assurance. When you hire an inbound marketing agency, you gain access to their network of creatives, greatly increasing your capacity to produce more – and far better – content.
You have your marketing plan, your stellar content, now what? It’s time to promote it. Unfortunately it’s not like Field of Dreams where you “Build it and they will come.”
Content must be promoted throught lead nurturing email campaigns and offers, social media, blogs, and on your website . It’s important to note that SOMEONE in your organization will need to be in charge of drawing attention to your content. This job requires time, effort and careful analysis if you want to avoid wasting time and getting successful results.
Again, agencies have seen an immense variety of potential obstacles and outcomes on account of having worked for so many clients. They can bring this expertise to your campaign, letting you focus on what you do best.
Testing and Analyzing Outcomes
How is your content performing?
One of the most challenging parts of marketing whether traditional or inbound is knowing how your content is performing. At least with traditional marketing a customer may say ‘Hey there Mr/Ms. Business Owner, I saw your ad on Rt 66 when I was on my way here and just HAD to stop’ The world of inbound can be a bit more challenging. There are metrics and analys for everything you promote.
- Which landing page is generating better results?
- What topics or themes have generated the most interest, highest quality leads or strongest sales numbers?
- What keywords are getting the best results?
- Is one email subject line working better than the other?
- Which of my posts on Linkedin is getting the most engagement?
If you want your efforts to improve and evolve over time, you’ll need to have the expertise to analyze what’s transpired and the insight to know how to apply that knowledge. You’ll also need to invest in the right software and the time required to train your staff to use that software properly.
An inbound marketing agency will be able to give you actionable information, presenting you with options and ideas you may not have discovered on your own while trying to juggle so many other tasks. They can devote time and attention to analysis that few businesses can afford on their own, gleaning insights that a passing glance could not have revealed.
Maximize Your Budget; Improve Your Results
Inbound marketing can and is done inhouse. Many have found great success taking that road. Those who have will also be the first to tell you that it took them a great deal of time, effort, and resources to make it happen. And let’s face it not every business has the needed resources at their disposal or wants to develop them inhouse.
By partnering your passion and knowledge with the skills and experience of an agency, you can see greater returns in a shorter amount of time, without sacrificing your own time and effort trying to get things moving.
Just like any new venture a partnership with a inbound marketing agency may seem daunting at first, but it’s less intimidating when you remember that an agency is on your side, working to make you money – not drain your budget.