Would you marry someone you just met?
Unless you’re omniscient, you wouldn’t be taking that chance. So why put on the blinders before hiring an inbound marketing agency?
Your inbound marketing partner is an essential driver of your business’s growth. Therefore, you must take the time to do your due diligence when it comes to hiring an inbound marketing agency.
And we are here to help you do just that!
Today we are going to share info on some of the critical points that you should pay attention to before you settle on your inbound marketing services.
These are the top ten things you should know about your inbound partner before you decide to sign on the dotted line.
Let’s not dally anymore and get into the thick of things.
Table of Contents
1. Know The Whys
Ask yourself these:
- Why do you need an inbound marketing agency?
- Are you running low on leads and sales?
- Maybe you’re not performing as well as you’d like to?
- Or perhaps you’re just looking to expand into new territory and need some help to do just that?
Knowing why you need to be focusing on inbound marketing is essential to understand exactly what results you expect out of your inbound partners.
Once you are clear about the kind of results that you require, then you’ll be in a better position to assess which one among the many inbound marketing companies you’ve selected is just right for your business.
But it doesn’t end there.
When you take the first step, and meet your prospective partner, know that now it’s time to know their whys.
Why did they get into the inbound game? What was their inbound ride like, and how do they attract their clients?
All this information can help you get a sense of the level of expertise and passion that drives the company you are about to hire. What you should be looking for is an organization that is dedicated to serving the inbound needs of their clients.
And yes, don’t hesitate to share your own journey with them. This will certainly help them understand what your needs are and what exactly you expect from them.
2. Assess Their Website
Before meeting the representatives of any inbound marketing services, make it a point to check out their websites.
The website of any organization represents their identity on the web, and for an inbound marketing agency, their website should be reflective of their own strategy.
Just take a tour of their website. Gauge if they have curated it to guide the visitors to exactly what they need. Is the journey smooth or jarring? Can you quickly find what you were looking for, or do you have to meander a lot in order to get what you want?
Asking all these questions will give you a good idea of the kind of inbound work that the agency can do for you. A good agency should have a website that users can navigate fluidly to get to what they want.
In fact, the kind of work they have done on their own website will give you an indication of the level of work that they can perform for your business.
Your website is going to form the crux of your inbound marketing strategy, and you must be sure to give control of your site to a partner who can leverage it to your advantage.
A word of fair warning: in case you find a dull website that has been shoddily put together, then we’d advise you to stay away from that agency; unless you want to risk your website falling into that bracket as well.
3. See The SERPs
When you are hiring inbound marketing services, then one of the first things you should check out is the search engine ranking of the agency that you are about to hire. An agency that promises you the top rank on the Google SERPs should itself be holding prime real estate on the search results.
In case you find that the company you are considering is nowhere near the top five for the relevant search terms, then you know that they won’t be able to boost search visibility of your business.
But if you find that their own search presence is strong, well, then, congrats!
You are one step ahead of choosing that perfect partner among many inbound marketing companies.
4. Check Out Their Social Media Presence
Social media is no longer just a place where you can chat up old schoolmates.
Instead, it has become a brilliant tool for gathering information on anything and anyone under the sun. And this holds true for businesses as well.
Any inbound marketing company worth its salt is bound to have a genuine social media presence. However, just having a LinkedIn account is not enough.
You must make sure that they are adept at using the social media channels that are relevant for your business. If your business is a fashion boutique, then Instagram is the channel of choice for your company.
While this is merely an example, the point to take away from here is that you should make sure that the agency you have chosen is an expert at marketing channels which you think are relevant for your business.
Before you take the leap, however, make it a point to:
- check out the entire social media presence of the company that you are considering
- see what channels they use and how they use them
- how frequently they create and share content with their audience
- what is their social following
- how much traffic do they drive to their own business using social channels
All these indicators will guide you towards making the right choice.
However, make sure that you don’t feel overwhelmed and approach the task with an open mind.
After all, it’s social media we are talking about!
5. Are They Actively Blogging?
It’s no secret that the internet is overflowing with blogs. But that doesn’t mean blogs no longer work as an effective channel for driving leads and sales.
An active presence in the blogosphere is one of the prime indicators of a good inbound marketing agency.
Taking stock of the blog activity of the inbound marketing companies that you are considering will help you decide which of them has a better content strategy.
- Does their content rank high in search? Is it timely and relevant?
And most importantly,
- Is the content able to provide value to the users?
Asking and answering these questions in the affirmative will give you a good grasp on what kind of content strategy your agency of choice currently follows.
And this can directly correlate with the type of work you can expect them to perform on your own content marketing strategy.
An inbound marketing agency with a focused content delivery process is the one that you should be looking for. Avoid agencies that demonstrate inconsistency in their content efforts across blogs and social media.
6. Is Video On Their Priority List?
If marketing trends are anything to go by (and they usually are), then videos are going to be the dominant driver of leads in the world of inbound marketing.
With YouTube taking the crown of the world’s second-largest search engine, more and more customers are consuming video content to solve their needs.
So, you must ascertain whether your potential inbound partner is leveraging the power of video. You can easily do this by (once again) checking out their social media presence.
YouTube and Instagram should be the first places that you need to visit.
The type of content that they are currently using is an indicator of the kind of video service they can provide for your company. By correctly assessing their video performance, you can get a handle on what they can do for your business.
Remember, video is the future. Hence, you should align yourself with inbound services that are already inclined towards video marketing.
7. Are They Data-Driven?
We live in the age of data, and marketing is no longer a trial-and-error process to understand what works and what doesn’t.
With the advent of analytics tools like Google Analytics and Ads, you have a world of data at your fingertips that you must be ready to make sense of.
Ask your potential inbound marketing agency what metrics they will be using to gauge the performance of your marketing campaigns.
Inbound marketing is all about metrics, and unless your partners are using the latest methods to make sense of data, this is bound to affect your ROI.
Once you know what their reporting processes are, you can then decide whether the metrics they focus on will be conducive for your own business or not.
Once you understand this, then you can make an informed decision regarding how to proceed.
8. Check The Past
This is where it gets interesting.
The past work that your prospective agency has been doing will undoubtedly be a great indicator of what kind of work they can deliver for you.
Here you need to be careful and understand whether they have the necessary competence to deliver the results that you require.
Also, keep a watch on their market reputation. Ask the inbound agency to give you contact details of past clients. Give these clients a call, and don’t hesitate to ask for straight opinions.
Ask about the value they provide, the kind of service they give, and most importantly, be sure to know about the type of relationships they harbor.
Is the agency open to sharing ideas, or do they have to be prodded to get the job done? Knowing such little things can be of prime importance when it comes to making hiring decisions.
And if you think that the proffered contacts are not enough, then take to the web to do some research of your own.
Find other clients that have worked with the agency in the past and ask them about their experience. Will they come back for repeat business? If so, why?
And if not… well, then you need to know the reason there too! After all, a little learning is a dangerous thing.
9. Meet The Team
Don’t be swayed by the person trying to sell you their services.
Make it a point to meet the team that’ll be working for you.
See that you are being provided with domain experts who will be able to bring value to your marketing efforts.
What’s more, know who is going to be your go-to person in case you have some more queries or run into a snag.
10. Beware The Budget
Finally, get a clear statement of spend patterns that you’ll be expecting when working with the agency.
Often, there are hidden costs of hiring inbound marketing services. And you should be sure that the agency you have chosen has a transparent pricing policy that aligns with your organizational budget.
Only when you are sure about all the points should you decide on whether to hire that particular agency or not.
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