If your digital business isn’t performing as you’d hoped, you might consider hiring a local inbound marketing agency to boost your revenue.
But choosing your ideal marketing match can be as tricky as online dating – their profile might be enticing, but how can you tell if they’re the real deal?
Rather than focusing on the marketing equivalent of a winning smile, our useful tips help you reveal the substance beneath the surface, ensuring your company receives a return on investment that allows you to live happily ever after.
Read on to find out how to:
- Shortlist agencies with a proven track record of success in your sector
- Find a team that is comfortable discussing metrics and data analysis
- Look for an Agency that Walks the Walk; and
- Choose the Pitch that Focuses on How to Achieve Your Goals
Shortlist Agencies with a Proven Track Record of Success in Your Sector
Start by selecting inbound marketing companies that have a proven track record of success in your sector. Ask your local business network for recommendations, and tap into industry groups on LinkedIn to draw up a shortlist of candidates.
Once you have your shortlist, do some research on each agency’s recent clients. Inbound marketing agencies that have recently worked with clients in your sector will have an insight into the factors that influence success for your company, and they’ll know what is needed to help your business succeed.
You’ll find evidence of their expertise in any in-depth industry content they have on their site. If they’ve helped a business like yours in the past, they’re more likely to be able to help you. Look for blogs and case studies that identify specific marketing challenges in your sector, explaining in detail how the agency successfully tackled these issues.
Find a Team That is Comfortable Discussing Metrics and Data Analysis
No matter what area of marketing your business wants to improve, you need an agency that measures and analyses data to get you results. Look for a team that is comfortable discussing specific metrics and sharing their analytical thinking with you.
Ask for detailed examples of strategies that they have developed for other clients (with confidential information masked) and talk through how they used data analysis to achieve a better return on investment. In particular, look at how well they identified the client’s goals, tracked their metrics and dug into the data to achieve insights that improved performance.
Testing should be a central part of any inbound marketing strategy, so ask them to share the testing they’ve done on different projects and consider how the results helped them to tweak and adapt their marketing strategies to optimise results.
Beware of marketing agencies that speak in generalities about how they helped clients, rather than giving concrete, specific examples that link directly to your own challenges and goals. Your return on investment is important, so make sure you work with a business that is open and transparent about how their strategies translate to your bottom line.
Look for an Agency That Walks the Walk
Another way to identify the inbound marketing agencies you want to work with is to check whether they are using inbound methods to attract their own clients. They talk the talk, but do they walk the walk?
A successful agency should have a website that’s easy to navigate, with a responsive design and effectively-placed CTAs that convert visitors to leads. Look at the quality of their web content. Ask yourself, is this the premium content I expect? Next, check whether their social media accounts are regularly updated. You should be impressed by what you see.
Evidence of marketing thought leadership can also be a good sign. If the company’s leaders are often quoted in the press, or they publish articles on trade sites, it’s evidence of a good media profile. Marketing industry awards show that they compare favourably with other companies in the sector.
While 75% of agencies use inbound marketing, a really effective marketing company should be its best case study of how to succeed. They should be able to show you data, charts and graphs of how their inbound marketing strategies have boosted their own business. If not, look elsewhere.
Choose the Pitch that Focuses on How to Achieve Your Goals
Any marketing agency worth its salt will arrange a meeting to ask you about your goals and challenges. Even though they have a background in your sector, they should be curious about your company, in particular, asking questions that help you think about your business in a different way.
Good marketing companies listen. Their follow-on questions should show that they understand what you’ve said. Any marketing strategies they suggest should be tailored to your specific situation and challenges, with detailed flowcharts or diagrams on hand to show how they could make different approaches work for your company.
As well as offering specific campaign suggestions, good agencies will give you a timeline for each part of the project, along with a description of the resources that will be needed to make it happen. These suggestions should make sense. If you’re unsure about any details, keep asking questions until you’re clear about their strategy.
Overall, a good local inbound marketing agency will be passionate about what they do and how they can help you generate a healthy return on your investment.