Marketing is always changing, and for those of you working with or in the industry that is no surprise. For individuals looking to get started with marketing, a full-service inbound marketing agency or HubSpot-certified partner may be the best approach.
A full-service inbound marketing agency can help businesses in a number of ways. You can expect to find blogging services, search engine optimization, social media marketing and various forms of content marketing housed under one roof when working through a full-service inbound marketing agency.
Most full-service inbound marketing agencies start with a sit-down consultation with businesses in order to better understand their target audience and the company's future direction. Inbound marketing agencies will also have specialized knowledge in lead generation, lead nurturing and demand generation.
The Inbound Marketing Process
Over the last decade, inbound marketing has seized the throne as the most efficient online marketing method around. Inbound marketing focuses on creating engaging content and making that content available to potential customers online—e.g., through search engine optimization, email marketing campaigns and social media marketing.
Everything that a full-service inbound marketing agency does is intended to increase awareness about your company and move potential customers from curious onlookers to sales-ready leads. This is accomplished through creating content that's relevant and engaging for potential customers at all levels of what's known as the sales funnel.
Creating Targeted Content
In fact, inbound marketing is necessary at every stage of the sales funnel because customers have different needs as they transition from leads to prospects to customers (and hopefully repeat customers later on). A full-service inbound marketing agency understands this and tailors content to customers' current needs.
Sales Funnel Stages:
- Repeat Customer
An inbound marketing company knows how to generate and convert leads, whether that's creating and disseminating "top of the funnel" content for potential customers who've just heard about your company or creating more niche "bottom of the funnel" content for sales-ready leads who are ready to buy.
It's important that customers not be treated in a one-size-fits-all way when it comes to content marketing. Why? Because doing so would be overwhelming or annoying for customers less advanced in the sales funnel and underwhelming for sales-ready leads who are more interested in finding a specific solution to their problem than doing more research on a topic they already know plenty about.
Customers at the initial awareness stage of the sales funnel need to know that you exist in the first place. This is where social media marketing, advertising, and email marketing—all of which can be handled by a full-service inbound marketing company—come into play. These kinds of marketing techniques are aimed more at volume and reaching a large number of customers.
Other customers who have heard about your company and know how your products can help them, yet need more time to think about a purchase (evaluation and engagement stages from above), might be better served by receiving a free demo or more niche information.
An email marketing campaign would be a great place to offer demos or coupons to customers at this stage in order to get them thinking more seriously about purchasing from your company.
Going from Qualified Leads to Repeat Customers
A full-service inbound marketing agency knows how to turn qualified leads to repeat customers, then evaluate whether everything is proceeding according to plan with tracking and analytics. This last step is accomplished by aligning the benchmarks that were laid out in the goal setting and planning stages with future success.
Generating Qualified Visitors
Right from the beginning, an inbound marketing agency will be concerned with generating qualified visitors. Blogging, social media marketing, and search engine optimization are all relevant services at this stage and can help increase awareness and frame companies and their products in a better light.
These services really pay off since three-fourths of customers don't go beyond the first page of Google's search results, which speaks for the need for intelligent search engine optimization. Not only that—over 80% of companies said that their social media presence was critical to their business. There's a growing recognition that inbound marketing is essential for generating qualified visitors.
Turning Visitors into Leads…into Customers
Full-service inbound marketing agencies also know how to turn visitors to your website into sales-ready leads.
Getting more leads often depends on making the right content offers in the form of white papers, newsletters, and infographics at the right time—i.e., when customers are intrigued but maybe not quite ready to buy.
More qualified leads might even receive demos or a complimentary eBook as a quid pro quo for their contact information. Landing pages and calls to action (CTAs) ensure that leads at this stage will likely be persuaded to move further down the funnel. Email marketing and automated email marketing drip campaigns can also reach out to sales-ready leads and turn them into buyers.
Pro Tip: An inbound marketing agency's use of marketing key performance indicators (KPIs) can ensure that you're efficiently meeting your goals.
An agency partner is an invaluable asset for businesses around the country to tap into. Collaborating with an inbound marketing agency for your digital marketing and relying on an agency partner for, say, reputation management and deeper social media engagement is a surefire way to build your brand.
Pooling the expertise of an inbound marketing agency that handles traditional inbound marketing services in house—e.g., things like search engine optimization, landing page development and email marketing campaigns—with the niche expertise of an agency partner guarantees that no stone is left unturned in the pursuit of higher brand visibility.
Benefiting from Agency Partnerships
It's actually an asset that an inbound marketing agency hones its craft by focusing on only a couple digital marketing services at a time. Some inbound marketing agencies focus almost exclusively on search engine optimization while others help their clients with a combination of video production and online graphic design.
These are all essential services if your company is like half of American businesses that spend between one-tenth and one-half of their overall marketing budget on digital marketing services. Although the average amount spent on strictly digital marketing tends to hover around 25%, digital marketing itself is increasingly important in our hyper-connected world of forums, social media, customer reviews, and online shopping.
Collaboration is Better
Staying connected with customers means building stronger, ongoing relationships on social media, ensuring that your website is cross-compatible and responsive across mobile devices, and rendering your online storefront mobile-friendly by implementing an e-commerce solution.
All of this might sound like a lot of work, and it is: divvying up the work between an inbound marketing agency and an agency partner means that you can take advantage of every digital marketing service that your company needs to grow its brand.
Collaboration is almost always a good thing because it allows everyone involved in the branding process the opportunity to combine their expertise in such a way that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Outsourcing for services like marketing automation, reputation management and social media marketing actually strengthens the reach and effectiveness of inbound marketing agencies and allows those agencies to better serve their clients.—HubSpot
Whether you need someone to orchestrate and manage an email marketing campaign or you need timely video optimization and search engine marketing, there's an agency partner out there with just the right expertise.
Below you'll find just a sampling of branding, reputation management and outreach services that agency partners can offer companies of all sizes.
Brand Identity and Brand Strategy
A company's brand goes far beyond a logo to include the value it brings customers, the excellence of its customer service, and the attitude that infuses everything that company puts out to the public.
Because logos, names, and tag lines necessarily precede brand strategy—in that without a workable brand it would be difficult to market or strategize in the first place—developing a solid mission statement and corporate identity is an essential first step for companies to take towards cultivating a successful brand.
Enlisting the expertise of an agency partner that specializes in discovering a unique brand identity and achieving long-term goals with an industry-specific brand strategy can put any company on very solid footing.—HubSpot
Online Reputation Management
Online reputation management, sometimes shorthanded as ORM, is all about ensuring that a company's brand stays in good standing with customers. Partners that specialize in online reputation management do two things very well—they minimize exposure that could be damaging to a company's brand while playing up everything that a particular company does well. (Forbes)
Reputation management is a highly-personalized service that's frequently outsourced by small businesses and Fortune 500 companies alike. In fact, online reputation management is one of the most niche services out there, requiring those in the field to couple tech savviness with marketing know-how and crisis management. In order to build a successful brand, getting this stage right is absolutely critical.
Social Media Management
Online reputation management definitely overlaps with social media management in that both are concerned with using sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to frame a company's brand in the best light.
Social media management can be thought of as a more refined, niche-specific form of online reputation management. The same rules apply, but the playing field is slightly different in the case of social media management. How is it different?
An agency partner that does social media management probably hires social media managers as well as community managers to help companies create brands that succeed.
Each takes a slightly different approach to cheerleading brands on social media, but both raise awareness online while playing up a company's strengths. This is really the secret behind any successful 21st-century branding campaign.
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