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April 10, 2018

What to look for in an inbound marketing agency

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What to look for in an inbound marketing agency

If you thought choosing marketing automation software was tricky, find the right inbound marketing agency is just as hard. After all, you can’t simply request a free demo from a prospective agency to show you how they’re going to help grow your business, generate leads and increase conversion rates. And how much information can you really glean from only trawling their social media feeds? We understand what an important decision choosing the right inbound marketing agency is – the long-term health of your business depends on it. That’s why we’ve written this blog – to prep you with the questions to ask when looking for the ultimate inbound marketing agency.

Does your prospective agency offer the right inbound marketing services?

Inbound marketing can be broken down into three phases: devising a strategy, implementing that strategy and optimising that strategy based on real time data. In order to achieve all of the above, your ideal inbound marketing agency needs to be offering specific core services: SEO, social media and blogging; premium content and landing page creation to generate leads; lead nurturing campaigns to coax leads down the sales funnel, and the analysis and reporting required to optimise strategies. Their website will tell you if they offer these services, but by asking the right questions, you can get an even clearer picture. Check out HubSpot’s guide on hiring an inbound marketing agency for advice on the right questions to ask to determine whether they offer the right core services.

Do they have proven methods, processes and practices to execute your business goals?

It’s all very well being able to setup a HubSpot account, write stunning content, create landing pages and implement forms, but does your agency have tried and tested methods to design and execute an inbound marketing strategy that’ll achieve your business goals? Present your goals and ask them how they’d go about achieving these goals. You should be confident that they’re using the core services mentioned in the previous paragraph, that they can outline the tactics they’d use in the execution of their plan and that they can give you estimated timelines and costs. Most importantly, do they have the skills to harness and interpret the data that underpins any inbound strategy?

Inbound Marketing

Are they asking you the right questions?

Proven processes and methods are essential, but that doesn’t mean an agency should offer a cookie-cutter approach to an inbound marketing strategy. You’ll know if an agency is crafting a bespoke strategy for you, because they’ll ask you plenty of questions to get a detailed and accurate picture of your business and what is needed to reach your objectives. They should ask you lots of questions about your target audience and what makes them tick, what makes your business unique, and spend time getting to know your industry and business as if it were their own.

Who makes up their team?

This won’t be immediately obvious from the About Us section on an agency’s website, but finding out the mix of people that make up an agency can give you clues about whether they’re a business that can deliver your goals. A lot of agencies hire student interns or recent graduates, and while there’s nothing wrong with that, you want to make sure that the team assigned to your account contains senior strategists and creatives. After all, these are the people responsible for the direction and outcome of your inbound marketing strategy. Your assigned team should have enough confidence in their abilities that they’re completely comfortable taking the reins and telling you what needs to happen to reach your goals – as opposed to a team that adheres to your every whim just because you’re the client. Your inbound marketing agency should also be prepared to train your team in inbound marketing practices. If your team is upskilled in inbound, it makes the working relationship with your agency that much smoother.

Is their website optimised for inbound marketing?

This point might sound like a no-brainer, but looking at an agency’s website will tell you if they’re doing inbound for their own business. If they’re not, it won’t inspire much confidence in you that they’re able to do inbound for your business. Are they posting a blog at least once or twice a week with original and high quality content (updates on the latest office party don’t count). Are there calls to action – such as the option to download a piece of content, sign up to a newsletter or request a quote – on each of the pages on their website? Can you see any forms inviting you to fill out your contact details in exchange for an offer? If you can’t see any of these inbound marketing hallmarks, you might want question the validity of their claims that they’re inbound specialists.

The inbound marketing agency you choose needs to have the same expectations as you when it comes to the outcome and aims of your inbound strategy. If you’d like to find out how such a strategy can help you grow revenue and generate more customers, download our guide:

Inbound Marketing