Ever wonder how to choose an inbound marketing agency? Need some 411 on practical questions you can ask to position your business to get exactly what you want?
You’ve asked. And we’re delivering. In this week's rendition of FAQ Friday we answer your questions; helping you look polished in your search for an inbound marketing agency.
Hold on to your breeches. We are cutting past the fluff and serving it straight up.
What is the ROI of inbound marketing?
The ROI of inbound marketing is certain. Investment returns can result in a variety of different assets. At the end of the day, you’re hiring an agency for their expertise. Some of the areas you can see a return in are: growth metrics of sales productivity, online content (branded copy for blogs and social media), website engagement, social media productivity, sales, CRM development, marketing efficiency and new leads.
How quickly will I see results?
The short answer is that it takes time. A strong inbound marketing strategy is built over a period of time. The longer answer is that you could see immediate spikes in page visits, prospect conversion and sales. However this will depend on how far along you are in your inbound marketing development. This can also be influenced by your capital. The more prepared your business is the more equipped your hired inbound marketing agency will be to roll out all the best practices immediately and start generating results.
In addition, a good marketing agency will outline a time frame to achieve specific goals. They will take into consideration your current efforts, areas of opportunity and any start-up costs, and then share their approach and tactics for helping your business achieve those goals.
Are you a full service agency?
There are many different sizes and field expertises of inbound marketing agencies.
It is important to remember that one-size does not fit all when it comes to selecting a firm. Agencies come in all shapes and sizes, with different specialties and talents. Make sure that the agency you select matches with your business marketing goals. Here are four areas your desired agency should do and do well:
- Generate web traffic through website, social media and blogging.
- Develop premium content (ex: landing pages etc. to capture leads).
- Create targeted leadUn-nurturing campaigns (to convert leads into customers).
- Analyze and measure your progress throughout your campaign.
Not sure how to go about selecting the right inbound agency for you? No worries. We’ve got the answers to support your efforts in selecting a full-service agency.
Should I also hire an SEO company?
The core of any inbound marketing agency is to generate and review your online traffic, particularly your website traffic through SEO, blogging and social media. The key here is to hire a marketing agency that aligns with your needs of SEO. If you know that SEO is your pain point, than hire an agency that meets all four core competencies above and specializes in search engine optimization. Be sure to ask your marketing agency to review your current SEO trends and share their strategy on how you can enhance your current SEO efforts. This is really at the core of any 360 inbound marketing agency.
Can you help me with my branding?
Of course an inbound agency can help you with branding. Your digital efforts are an extension of your brand. For any business, the place where you conduct sales should create a brand experience for customers that draws them in and encourages them to support you again and again. Think of one of your favorite restaurants or clothing brands. Their brand is bigger than their logo. Their brand creates an experience. If you shop here or eat here you not only get the exchange of a product or service but you also get an experience. It doesn't matter if you have a physical location or not because you do have a digital location via your website and your social media platforms. These are all ways for prospects to interact with your brand, gather information and have some kind of experience. Therefore digital inbound marketing is a key aspect to furthering your brand.
The key here is two things:
1). Find an inbound agency that specializes in brand development
2). Checkout our previous post on building a successful brand with inbound marketing.
Have you worked with a company like mine? Have you worked in my industry before?
Here is where you should receive any case studies and samples of previous work produced by your intended agency. You want to know, “Have you done this before?” These testimonials will be helpful for you to see what the end result might be for your company as well. These client success stories will also take you deeper into a specific campaign that you can ask detailed questions about. This will also show you how the agency delivered on the bottom line. You are also welcome to ask for references.
If the referred client still is in contract with the company, that is a sweet bonus and confirms the agency's ability to deliver so well that clients keep working with them.
How often will we interact?
A well-rounded marketing agency will incorporate scheduled meeting times within their sales process. These meetings allow your selected agency to have a recurring spot on your calendar to ask questions and provide feedback on any measurable success.
Beyond scheduled meetings the agency you want to work with should also be interested and available to provide transparent training opportunities and full disclosure into how they are running your campaigns. Having the opportunity for your team to rally behind the agency and get excited about what they are doing for your training is essential. An agency that takes the time to train your key leaders or your entire team, really furthers the opportunity for overall marketing success. As your team grows in skillset it sustains all momentum jetting your inbound efforts more diversely.
In what industries do you specialize?
Every good marketing agency specializes in something. A few specializations can include:
- Social Media
- Lead Targeting
- Customer Delight
- User Experience
All of the above are areas of specialization that agencies may produce. The trick here is to do your homework. Take time and research organizations. Check to see what agency aligns with your core needs and your goals. What areas do you need to get behind? Where could you use helping hands? The agency you select should help you target your need areas making your life easier and not harder.
How quickly can we get started?
Your intended agency will ask about your goals and the timing and urgency around meeting those goals. Once those are established, metrics and benchmarks will be confirmed and your agency should be on their way to developing a detailed marketing strategy.
How do you measure performance?
Yes a great question! You should always—always ask this question. You are hiring this agency right and you don’t want to be antsy but you want results. A strong agency will share metrics, benchmarks and analytics based on agreed upon goals. Your selected agency should keep documented data on their progress along every step of their marketing strategy. This will provide full transparency into the progress of all campaigns and help you track performance.
What types of service packages do you offer to your clients?
You want to hire an agency that explains what is does and how it executes. Inbound marketing covers a lot of ground. You want to be sure you have established a strong transparent communication with an agency that can explain to you how it executes.
For example does your agency service everything in-house? Or do they outsource for certain tasks?
Who on their team does what? If they do outsource how long have they worked with that person/company?
Answering all of the above questions will better equip your team with all the know-how clarity to build your confidence in the service package delivered to you and your team.
How did you evaluate my website and what recommendations do you have?
Before jumping into the technical side of your website evaluation let’s start with how it looks. Is your website user friendly? Does it show your brand voice?
Your website is, for many prospective customers, their introduction to your business. It doesn't matter if they find your site organically or via your social media profiles (more on that in a second), your website should capture your viewer. You want to do all you can to capture that prospective client right there in that moment. Know your audience and your personas. Build a website that is optimized to service and capture that exact person.
If you realize you need support on your website or need to revitalize a few aspects of your site, an inbound agency can help you. Most inbound agencies stress user experience as a foundation of their approach. Take your website to the next level with these Build Your Website tips.
Another form of evaluation has to do with reviewing site data metrics. What type of site traffic are you currently receiving? Where is your site traffic coming from? Are hits to your site organic (meaning people are typing your business name into google and looking specifically for you)? Or are prospects finding your website through various means?
After a comprehensive review your agency will better able to strategize and get tools to help you increase or redirect traffic to your website.
What part of inbound strategy is most important for me?
Measurement. This is so important. A great agency will place an emphasis on measuring goals. They will keep track of their progress on your campaigns and be able to give you data-based updates on reaching your goals.
This is actually great for you and your business as it will give you something to look forward to—actual measureable goals you can track. This will also be a great way for you to see every step of the way of what is going into your campaign strategy.
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