You've heard the buzz about inbound marketing and how well it works, and you're thinking - we need that! But, you don't have the time or inclination to develop and implement inbound strategies effectively, and your staff doesn't either. So, outsourcing to a marketing agency seems like a good solution.
Before you start looking around for an inbound marketing agency that fits your needs, here are four things you should know.
1. Inbound Marketing Works Better for Some Businesses Than Others
It could be argued that inbound or content marketing works for any kind of business. And certainly that is true to some extent. However, in our experience, inbound marketing works better for businesses where:
- Lead generation is key to success.
- There is a medium-to-long sales cycle (ie. your product is not an impulse buy).
- There is a sales team in place to follow up on leads.
2. Inbound Marketing is Not a Miracle Cure
If your business is floundering because your product or service is not ready for prime time or your customer service is terrible, you're just throwing good money after bad. Get your house in order first and then look to inbound to build on your solid foundation.
3. Inbound Marketing Will Not Give You Huge ROI Within a Few Months - and Any Agency That Says Otherwise is Lying
Inbound marketing is powerful and it works, but not overnight. Expect to see slow growth starting about the third month, ramping up over time. It often takes more than 12 months to see things really start humming along. Any agency that promises you stellar results in a short period of time is suspect!
4. Effective Inbound Marketing Will Require Some of Your Time - Even When You Work With an Agency
For a certainty, enlisting an agency to plan, manage maintain your online marketing will save you time. However, effective inbound marketing requires a substantial initial investment of your time. You'll need to help the agency become an extension of your company, which requires quite a bit of communication.
After your plan is in place and inbound is implemented, you'll still need to have regular communication with your account manager and possibly others. If your sales team can get involved, you'll find the quality of the leads and the effectiveness of the lead nurturing go through the roof.
Do not expect to hire someone to "do inbound" for you. It will always be a partnership, but the longer you work together and the more understanding and trust are developed, the less time you'll need to spend meeting with your agency. For example, some companies start out wanting to approve every social media update, blog post or email message that goes out. When the agency earns their trust, however, they start to loosen control and things start moving much faster for everyone involved!
5. Not all Inbound Agencies Are Created Equal
Some agencies focus on one or two niche industries, becoming an expert in a small scope. Others take a more general approach and learn about each client's industry as they sign on. Either type of agency can work for you - if you are both good communicators.
Some agencies (like OverGo) are a one-stop shop - providing strategy, content, reporting, management, email marketing, social media, graphic design, video, and even assistance improving your sales process. Others are more limited in scope.
6. It Won't Be Cheap
Just because so many of the platforms and tools you hear about for managing blogging and social media are free or inexpensive doesn't mean that inbound marketing is cheap - no, not by a long shot.
Creating quality content for your blog and advanced content such as ebooks, whitepapers and videos is incredibly labor-intensive (which is part of the reason you're not already doing it!). Add to that the price you pay for the experience needed to plan, develop, execute and maintain your marketing, and there are certainly less expensive ways to market your business.
Of course, there is nothing else that adds as much long-lasting value as inbound marketing, either, so it's definitely worth the investment.
7. You're Not Doing Yourself Any Favors By Delaying
Think if you just wait a little while something better (cheaper, easier, etc.) will come along? Nope. This kind of marketing is here to stay. So, once you've decided inbound marekting is for you, and you understand the above caveats, get going!
The growing popularity of inbound or content marketing is making it harder and harder (and therefore more expensive) for businesses in many industries to stand out. The longer you wait, the harder it gets.
Still not sure? We'd love to learn a little more about your business and help you see if inbound marketing is a good fit for you! Request your free assessment today!