Your businesses success depends on money. More specifically, your customers’ money. And to get this cash, you need these potential customers to be aware of your existence and your ability to solve their problems: you need effective marketing.
The problem is however, that the marketing landscape has seen a huge shift in direction in recent times, seeing businesses make great steps to develop strategies that focus on organically pulling customers to them through Inbound strategies, content and SEO strategies, as opposed the more traditional push model.
Outbound marketing (such as print and TV campaigns) might not be dead anymore, but they’re definitely not the dominant force they once were. In fact, according to HubSpot’s 2015 State of Inbound report, Inbound campaigns achieve more ROI than Outbound campaigns.
So that means we should all be achieving great results because we’ve switched to an Inbound-driven approach right?
Well, not quite.
What has now happened is that businesses are typically heading either in one of two directions: adopting an Inbound strategy without the internal resources to yield sufficient ROI, or calling upon Inbound agencies or consultants who aren’t fully qualified to deliver the results you need.
And that sucks.
It sucks because it means capable, otherwise marketing-savvy businesses are failing at the most important part: the actual execution. So, to prevent you from experiencing an Inbound disaster, we’ve pulled together a short list of the things you need to look for in your search for an Inbound agency or consultant that will actually help you achieve a return on your Inbound investment.
1• They Take a Collaborative Approach
While there is often comfort in relinquishing responsibility to a marketing expert, the reality is that any consultant or agency worth their salt will be quick to highlight the fact that it is a collaborative process. No agency or consultant will have all the information they need to develop a successful, sustainable Inbound Marketing strategy without a deep dive into your business and industry. And this means they need to work closely with you.
In practical terms, this means you need to look for a partner that spends significant time (particularly in the beginning) getting to know your business’s culture, goals, customers and industry trends. These are vital considerations for any strategy, let alone one that is driven by the creation of timely, relevant content.
We suggest you look to work with a consultant or agency that not only initiates these research sessions, but actively uses them as the basis for building a tailored inbound strategy that aligns perfectly with your vision and market. If you settle for less, your results will be substandard.
2• Their Expertise Transcends Inbound
It’s important your agency has a sizeable level of expertise in areas other than Inbound. Now we’re by no means advocating a jack of all trades, but what we are saying is that you need to work with experts that are fully aware of Inbound’s place in relation to the wider aspects of marketing, PR and sales.
And this is because Inbound doesn’t exist in a silo, you need social and SEO to drive traffic and distribute content, you need experts that know how Inbound can facilitate stronger relationships between marketing and sales functions, you need an expert that understands how to support Inbound with traditional marketing to deliver ROI. They also need to be able to measure this ROI against your goals.
To put it simply, you need to look for an agency or consultant whose expertise in Inbound isn’t at the cost of considerable knowledge in other areas of the business. Effective consulting is always driven by a tailored approach because it’s all about context. The same applies for Inbound Marketing, any strategy that is isolated from the bigger picture isn’t going to help you succeed.
3• They Have A Track Record For Generating Quality Sales Leads
The proof is always in the pudding and in this case, we’re talking about the high quality leads your prospective agency has generated for previous clients. This is hugely important because no matter how well-written and compelling your content, and no matter how well-designed your landing pages, lead generation is the Inbound Marketing end-game.
High quality leads make it significantly easier for your sales team to close sales and convert prospects into paying customers. As a result, you should look for an expert that has a track record of developing strategies underpinned by tangible lead-based KPIs and results. Remember, the ‘destination’ is effective lead generation, all other aspects of the Inbound services are just vehicles for getting there.
By investing in an expert who can provide evidence of success with clients in the past, you can rest assured you’re working with an agency that can deliver the results you’re after and can help you overcome any obstacles that stop you from achieving this goal.
Talk is cheap, so judge your future agency or consultant by the leads they deliver, not anecdotal evidence or well-worded promises.
If you’d like to get in touch with Inbound experts that deliver real results, or would like to book an appointment to discuss what Inbound can do for your business. Simply get in touch and connect with me by clicking the button below.