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Do These 8 Things Before Hiring an Inbound Marketing Agency

1. Clarify your financial goals

Before starting an inbound marketing program you need to clarify your financial goals, in particular:

  1. Make sure you know how much monthly new revenue your inbound marketing program needs to drive to support business growth.

  2. Calculate how many new customers you will need each month to generate the amount of revenue you desire.

These two numbers are vital to setting up a successful inbound program. (Marketing is only successful if it helps accomplish business goals.) These calculations will help you and your agency determine how many website visitors you need to attract and funnel through the sales cycle in order to meet revenue goals.


2. Identify your buyer segments

One reason inbound marketing is so powerful is that it matches individuals with relevant content and messaging in order to create genuinely personalized experiences. (Keyword = personalized.) (Click to tweet!)  Personalization doesn't happen by chance—it is planned. To make personalization happen, you and your agency need to have a solid understanding of who your customers and target audiences are. Take time to define the demographics and other characteristics of your ideal customers. Create a persona to represent each different buyer segment. If you're a B2B brand, for example, you know that Judy, the executive level decision maker,  has different challenges, goals, responsibilities and interests than Josh, the junior level product user. Messaging and content that is relevant to one is not useful to the other. Learn what makes them each tick.

Buyer personas are the basis for a lot of different marketing efforts. They determine what type of content you need to create, how and where you'll share it, the calls to action you'll use to convert leads and more. Research and think about personas so you can discuss them with the agency you are considering hiring.


3. Audit your top of funnel marketing

Top of funnel marketing includes everything you do to attract people to your brand, and it's a major area of focus for inbound marketing. Before pairing with a new agency it is helpful to know how successful your current top of funnel marketing is. If you haven't previously planned marketing efforts based on sales funnel stages it is okay. Just look for the things you have been doing to attract traffic to your website or help people find your brand. Then, think about how well they are working, whether there are holes in your tactics, and where you need help. Here are some questions to help you evaluate your current top of funnel marketing:

  • What type of presence do you have on social media? Does your brand have accounts on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+ or other social sites? Are you active on those platforms?

  • Are you blogging regularly? How often do you publish blog posts? Do your posts draw comments or get shared?

  • Do you have a variety of content types on your website that draw visitors, for example, ebooks, whitepapers, videos?




4. Identify website needs

How do you use your brand's website to generate new leads, push people through the sales cycle, win customers and keep existing customers? Okay, that is a pretty loaded question, but the point is, your website should be doing a lot of work for your brand. An inbound agency can help you optimize your website by adding elements and content to your site that will attract, nurture and convert customers.  Think about these areas and others where you would like an inbound agency to help you strengthen your site:

  • SEO - optimizing your site for better search results

  • Blogging - creating content, optimizing and promoting it

  • Design - making the site mobile responsive, dynamic and user friendly

  • Conversion - designing successful calls to action, landing pages and forms

  • Content - planning and developing valuable web content and resources


5. Assess your nurturing efforts

What have you been doing to nurture leads that are in the middle of your sales funnel? Take inventory of your nurturing and try to determine its impact by answering questions like:

  • Do you send segmented emails with different content and messaging to different personas?

  • Can visitors subscribe to your blog via email?

  • Do you use any automated lead nurturing technology?

  • Do you have a lot of landing pages on your website?

  • Are your landing pages, content and CTAs dynamic or are they the same for every site visitor?


6. Talk to sales

Marketing and sales alignment is a stumbling point for so many brands. Whether you are thinking about hiring an inbound agency or you are already working with an agency, now is the time to reach out to sales. Getting sales and marketing to work together is a process. Your goals initially should be to:

  • Have discussions about synchronizing marketing and sales in order to make the sales process seamless.

  • Get feedback from sales to understand what challenges they are facing and learn how marketing can help.

  • Set expectations that marketing will use lead behavior and buyer signals to qualify leads before sending them to sales.

  • Plan for marketing to create sales materials (strategic demos, product sheets, etc.) and messaging that extends each lead's personalized buying experience.


7. Prioritize measurement

Before launching an inbound marketing program, think about what expectations you have surrounding program measurement. You want to be sure that the agency you hire has the tools and know-how to measure results across your entire sales funnel and all marketing channels. Determine what metrics are most meaningful to you so you can establish measurement expectations and ensure your agency delivers analytics that tie results to your business objectives.   


8. Interview agencies  

Finally, you're to the obvious step of interviewing different agencies. Every agency has its own flavor and talents. Look for an agency that will execute inbound marketing in a way that links to your brand's unique objectives. It should be easy to match your needs to an agency's services if you've done the steps above.  

Get help assessing your program and inbound needs. Contact Jones for a free marketing consultation

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