As your business grows, your marketing efforts will too. But eventually, traditional marketing methods won’t be enough. If you want to keep getting more customers and making more sales, you’ll have to make some changes.
Inbound marketing is the next stage of the digital marketing landscape. While outbound marketing tactics focus on seeking out new customers, inbound marketing makes potential clients come to you.
Hiring a full-service inbound marketing agency will allow your business to take advantage of this innovative marketing strategy, outsource your lead generation, and amplify your customer reach—but first, you have to find the right fit. That’s where we come in.
OneIMS is a lead generation and customer acquisition agency, which means we’re experts in inbound marketing. Our guide will help you create a plan for hiring an inbound marketing agency that meets the unique needs of your business.
Let’s dig in.
What Is Inbound Marketing, and How Can It Help My Business Grow?
Inbound marketing is a strategic methodology for building relationships with potential customers. It focuses on forming connections with new audiences through tailored experiences and valuable content. The goal is to increase quality traffic and engagement, leading to higher conversion rates.
At OneIMS, we approach inbound marketing with the three C’s: connect, communicate, and captivate. By connecting with your target audience and clearly communicating your services and products, you can then captivate your ideal customers with the solutions they are looking for so they will take the next step in the buyer’s journey.
A comprehensive inbound marketing methodology uses many different forms of marketing and analysis to attract new business and generate leads.
There’s a reason the phrase “content is king” is so popular—it’s an accurate representation of the value of content when it comes to marketing. Creating engaging, useful content that connects with your target audience will encourage them to come back for more. If the blogs, product guides, social media posts, testimonials, and white papers you write provide value to potential customers, they will be more likely to purchase your products or hire your services.
Generating quality leads is the goal of any inbound marketing strategy. By providing high-quality content at every stage of the buyer’s journey and making it easy for your target audience to discover that content, it is more likely to reach your ideal customer and therefore more likely to be converted into leads.
Having a list of emails from prospective clients isn’t enough; the next step is actively engaging with and providing value to your subscribers until they are ready to become customers.
A strong email nurturing campaign may include anything from educational materials to brand awareness—whatever will generate leads and build trust. And, if you haven’t already, consider using a marketing automation platform to easily funnel potential customers through email workflows to make the email nurturing process more effective.
Marketing works hand in hand with sales, and sales enablement is the process by which these two teams can benefit from each other. On one hand, marketers provide the sales team with everything it needs to engage with customers and convert leads. On the other hand, sales can highlight content gaps and manage leads at every stage of the buyer’s journey.
Website Design and Performance
How a website is designed and how well it works can make or break a customer relationship. Each website visit should be treated as the first step in the buyer’s journey, and inbound marketing clarifies that path and develops a strategy for leading visitors to the pages they will find most helpful or engaging.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of improving a website’s rank on a search engine results page (SERP) by targeting keywords and phrases and otherwise optimizing content—making it easier for your audience to find your website among similar search results. The higher your website’s SEO ranking, the more likely it is to appear among the first few items on a SERP.
Conversion Rate Optimization
The conversion rate of your website is the percentage of visitors who perform the desired action, like making a purchase, signing up for a service, filling out a form, subscribing to an email list, etc. Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is the process of improving your website’s conversion rate by increasing quality traffic and enhancing content for your targeted audience.
If you know exactly where your revenue is coming from, you can see the impact of certain marketing strategies and optimize your budget. Revenue attribution is the process of connecting the dots to determine which forms of advertising or marketing have been successful, which makes it easier to further develop the most profitable methods.
How Do You Know If an Agency Is a Good Fit for Your Business?
The business-to-business (B2B) market is saturated with a variety of inbound marketing agencies. You need to sort through your options to find exactly the right fit for your business.
Here’s what you need to look for.
Their Values Match Yours
The culture, personality, and values of an inbound marketing agency need to be compatible with yours; otherwise, there could be a lot of issues in the future. Make sure potential agencies take a holistic approach to inbound marketing and are a good fit for your business.
They Have a Trustworthy Reputation
You are placing your company’s marketing strategy—and overall success—into the hands of whichever agency you choose. It’s critically important that they are hands you can trust.
By reading client testimonials, reviewing case studies, and getting feedback from other businesses, you can determine if an inbound marketing agency has a trustworthy reputation.
They Set the Right Expectations
You should know exactly what return on investment (ROI) you can expect from an inbound marketing agency. An experienced marketing team will set reasonable and clear expectations so you know what deliverables and content you can expect—as well as when you can anticipate receiving them.
They Make Communication Easy and Transparent
Communication is a key part of your relationship with an inbound marketing agency. You deserve to work with marketing experts who can answer your questions, assuage your doubts, and follow up on your concerns both quickly and reliably. Accept nothing less.
They Fit Your Budget
A good inbound marketing agency can work with your budget as well as help you determine your company’s most critical marketing needs so funds can be allocated to those areas. If an agency isn’t able to fit your budget, it’s not the right option for your business.
The Steps You Need to Take Before Hiring an Inbound Marketing Agency
You may have found an inbound marketing company in your budget, with a good reputation, and offering exactly the services you need, but don’t pull the trigger right away. Follow these steps before hiring an inbound marketing agency to make sure you are investing in the right company.
Check Their Online Presence
Digital marketing is a significant part of any inbound marketing strategy, so think of an inbound marketing agency’s online presence as an opportunity for them to practice what they preach.
Is their website easy to find and navigate? Do they regularly update their blog? Are their social media channels active? An experienced, full-service inbound marketing agency will showcase their skills in all these areas.
Review Their Client Testimonials
Getting an accurate picture of an inbound marketing agency’s track record will give you a glimpse into how they treat their clients and whether they are a good match for your business. Check out client testimonials, case studies, awards, and reviews to build a comprehensive account of the agency’s history.
Schedule a Call
Once you have crossed off as many contenders as possible and narrowed down your list to just a few potential inbound marketing agencies, set up meetings to learn about the services they offer and whether their company values match yours. Use open-ended questions to judge their marketing and industry knowledge—and then compare their answers to the other agencies remaining on your list. Bit by bit, you can eliminate agencies that aren’t a good fit.
Watch Out for Red Flags
There are a few red flags that you should be on the lookout for during your search for an inbound marketing agency.
They Promise Specific Results
The goals of a marketing campaign should be ambitious and realistic. Exorbitant, unbelievable promises, on the other hand, are a sign that the marketing agency is overexaggerating their abilities. You should be skeptical.
They Communicate Poorly
When you hire an inbound marketing agency, you are investing in what is (hopefully) a long-term business relationship. Do you want to work with a company that communicates poorly?
Throughout the sales process, take note of how quickly they respond to emails and how often they answer the phone. If their communication skills are inadequate now, they will probably get worse later.
They Don’t Ask About Your Challenges
An effective inbound marketing strategy takes into consideration what makes your business unique—the good, the bad, and the ugly. A marketing agency should ask about the unique challenges your business faces so they can tailor their strategy to meet your needs. If they don’t, they are setting you up for failure.
Their Own Marketing Is Poor
If an inbound marketing agency’s own marketing strategy is ineffective, why should you trust them with yours?
A badly designed website, inactive social media, sloppily written emails, or lack of updated content are all signs that they’re not that good at digital marketing.
You’re Not Speaking to the Team You Would Be Working With
Sales representatives are important, sure, but you won’t be working with them for long. Where are the digital marketing experts, SEO strategists, content writers, website developers, graphic designers, or project managers who will put the strategy into action? If you aren’t speaking with members of the marketing team you’ll be working with, you have a reason to be cautious.
The Cost of Working with an Inbound Marketing Agency
Hiring an inbound marketing agency requires an initial financial investment, but the payoff is worth it.
The size of the company, as well as the industry in which you operate, will impact the cost of working with an inbound marketing agency. The marketing services you require also make a difference. For example, if you are starting from scratch and need the inbound marketing agency team to build your company a website instead of updating your current online store, you can expect additional costs.
Some companies use a fixed cost model, which is based around set rates for projects. This pricing structure guarantees consistent content or other deliverables each month. Other inbound marketing agencies adopt a flexible pricing model with an hourly rate, meaning deliverables can change from month to month depending on how long they take to create.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that hiring an inbound marketing company is usually much more cost-effective than hiring a full in-house marketing department. If you need to increase your marketing efforts but don’t have enough marketing staff on hand, an experienced inbound marketing agency can work within your budget to handle all your campaigns.
Questions to Ask Potential Inbound Marketing Agencies
As you narrow down your search for an inbound marketing company and set up phone calls with sales reps and marketing team members, keep these questions in mind. How they answer these inquiries will help you determine if they are a good fit for you and your business.
Why Should I Choose You Over Another Agency?
Any qualified inbound marketing agency should be able to clearly articulate why they are the best choice as well as distinguish themselves from their competitors. What makes the agency different from the rest? If you ask this question and aren’t satisfied with the answer, it’s a sign to move on.
What (Specifically) Led to the Case Study’s Success?
Case studies offer a glimpse into the most successful partnerships in the history of an inbound marketing agency. Your job is to push that narrative a bit. Ask about specific strategies they put into place and what factors led to their client’s success. The answers to these questions will give you a hint as to whether the agency not only understands why the marketing campaign was successful but also how to replicate similar results for your company.
What Is Your Onboarding Process?
By the time you ask this question, a good inbound marketing agency will have already researched your business, your industry, your digital presence, and your current marketing efforts to determine how to create an effective inbound marketing strategy—and they should have the next steps mapped out. See if the onboarding plan they have developed for you looks reasonable and makes sense before moving forward with the agency.
Hiring an inbound marketing agency is the next step for any business looking to reach new customers, increase digital traffic, and create brand awareness.
If you’re ready to grow and invest in your business, we can help.
At OneIMS, we have the strategies, tools, and solutions you need to engage with clients and reach your marketing goals. Our team of marketing experts works with companies in a variety of industries to develop innovative and successful marketing solutions, and we pride ourselves on producing measurable and sustainable results.
We offer a variety of inbound marketing services tailored to your unique business needs:
- SEO services
- Content marketing
- Paid media management
- HubSpot management
- Reputation management & PR
- Website design & development