May 27, 2024

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Inbound marketing agency: how to choose the best one for your company?

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Choosing an inbound marketing agency is not an easy task, since the success of your business is in their hands. It is necessary for the agency and client to understand and trust each other.

Choosing an inbound marketing agency is not an easy task, since the success of your business is in their hands. It is necessary for the agency and client to understand and trust each other.

Inbound marketing is a complex methodology that can require a large amount of time and resources. For this reason, on many occasions the best solution for brands is to hire an agency that takes care of the entire process. These are the keys to success.

How to choose an inbound marketing agency step by step

1) Consider what you need from your agency

Before you start looking for an inbound marketing agency , there are a number of issues that you need to be clear about in order to narrow your search and set priorities. Therefore, in this first section we are going to see some key questions that you should ask yourself.

Do you need a supplier or a strategic partner?

Broadly speaking, we could say that there are two different models of relationship between agencies and clients:

  • If you are looking for a strategic partner , what you want is an inbound marketing agency that uses its experience in the sector to advise you on what you have to do. The client shares his needs with the agency and is guided by it to develop the strategy.
  • If you are looking for a provider , you already have a clear idea of ​​the inbound marketing strategy to follow and what you need is for someone to be in charge of executing it.

Both options have advantages and disadvantages, but the important thing is to be clear about what you are looking for and make sure that your inbound marketing agency fits that profile.

Do you prefer to work by actions or by objectives?

For the collaboration between agency and client to be profitable, it is important to have a defined way of measuring results .

If we work by actions, the client commissions the agency to launch and publish a series of things, for example, 10 articles, a 20-page ebook and a webinar per month. The great advantage of this approach is consistency: we will be creating a long-term reserve of content that we can then reuse.

On the other hand, if we work by objectives, what we entrust to the inbound marketing agency is to get us a certain number of leads, even if they all come from a single action.

What role does inbound play in your marketing strategy?

Some brands choose to completely abandon outbound channels and focus exclusively on inbound marketing techniques . For others, inbound is one more ingredient, along with other more traditional advertising and public relations techniques.

In any of the cases, the agency with which we are going to collaborate has to be able to respect and implement the chosen approach.

How are you going to manage sales?

Marketing and sales are two processes that always have to be well coordinated. When collaborating with an inbound marketing agency , we have to be clear about which of these two options we prefer:

  • Have the inbound marketing agency deal exclusively with marketing and pass qualified leads on to the inside sales team.
  • Hire an agency that can take care of both stages, that is, that deals with both generating leads and closing sales.

2) Evaluate the candidates

Even having the previous points clear, we will find that there are many options to choose an inbound marketing agency . In order to evaluate potential candidates, my recommendation is that you make a list of criteria to be able to apply them and compare results. These questions will help you get started.

What is the agency’s client retention ratio?

Agency-client relationships can end for many different reasons, from unrealistic expectations to economic instability. Also, agency and client don’t always mesh, and if things don’t work out, the best solution is usually to say goodbye. But even taking into account that 100% retention is almost impossible, it is important that the agency has stable clients.

What services do you offer?

To avoid surprises later, my recommendation is that you find out if the agency has a clearly defined catalog of services and rates. Only then will you know if they can really help you with what you need and correctly estimate the budget.

What are the strengths and weaknesses of the agency?

It is impossible to be good at 100% of the things and 100% of the time. Therefore, when interviewing a potential inbound marketing agency, you always have to investigate what the possible weaknesses are.

What are they specialized in?

Another factor to take into account are the sectors in which the agency works. In general, it is a good sign that they have experience with clients similar to you. But if the agency only works with a very specific type of client, there may be problems with potential competitors.

How creative are your campaigns?

If the agency lists clients on their website, check it out for examples of inbound marketing and digital marketing campaigns they’ve designed for them. Not all campaigns have to be unique and original, but they do have to be able to use creativity to add value to their clients.

How do they use metrics and reports?

Metrics and reports are the tool we use to quantify whether the collaboration with the inbound marketing agency is delivering results. So we need to assess whether their measurement systems are aligned with what we need to know, and whether they provide regular reporting.

In inbound marketing , and digital marketing in general, sometimes things seem to change at the speed of light. Technology and consumer habits are constantly evolving, so today’s best practices may be completely out of date tomorrow.

For this reason, one of the key criteria for choosing a good inbound marketing agency is that its professionals are in constant training and keep up to date with the latest news in order to apply them to your campaign.

3) Gather all the information before taking the step

One of the most important keys to making a good decision is having the right information. Before taking the final step, I recommend that you talk to the candidates on your agency “shortlist” and clarify these points well:

  • What is your action plan for your brand? An inbound marketing agency should be able to put together a custom action plan and budget based on your needs.
  • Who is in charge of content creation ? The inbound methodology is largely based on the creation of content as a way to generate attraction to the brand. These contents are your letter of introduction on the internet, so they must always fit the tone and values ​​of the brand. Therefore, you need to be clear about whether they will be produced internally, whether they will be handled by the agency, or some combination of both, as well as the approval and change processes.
  • How would you start working together? A good understanding of the onboarding process helps to better define the expectations of both parties, so make sure you are clear about the first steps, what the agency needs from your team, and when you might expect the first results.
  • Who are you going to work with? Presentations are important! Ask who are the people in the team who are going to take care of your account and assess their experience and skills. You should also know who you have to contact when you have any questions, when they are available and what response times they handle.
  • How do you manage crises or emergency situations? If we have learned anything in these months, it is that plans can change at any time. Therefore, it is essential to know how available the inbound marketing agency is to solve crises and what approaches they have taken in the past.
  • What tools do they use? Sometimes, the agency and client can share tools to work in a coordinated way, for example, if the agency passes the leads to the internal sales department. Even if they don’t, it’s important to have a good understanding of the agency’s work, so you should ask them what tools they use and, if necessary, ask them to explain them to you.
  • What payment model do you use? Inbound marketing agencies can work on a monthly or per-service basis. In any case, all rates and extras must be well defined from the outset to avoid surprises.

7 tips for choosing the best inbound marketing agency for your brand

1) Be clear about what you need

In the end, choosing an inbound marketing agency involves judiciously filtering through a ton of available options. And in order to get it right, it is essential to know what we need and why .

In the same way, in order to do a good job, the inbound marketing agency needs to have clear information from us. And in order to communicate clearly, the first thing is to know what you want.

2) Seek rapport, not perfection

As we have seen before, there are a series of objective criteria that we can and should apply to choose the right agency. But in the end, it is useless for an agency to be excellent if it is not suitable for our brand .

Big, small, with different specialties, for different sectors… the inbound marketing agency that fits your brand like a glove is out there, so don’t hesitate to keep looking until you find it.

3) Find out about the agency’s philosophy and values

Each company has its culture and its way of working. Sometimes it can happen that an agency is specialized in clients of your size and your sector, but your ways of understanding business and marketing have nothing to do with it. To avoid this error, you need to talk about values .

For example, at Cyberclick we have always been defenders of happiness in the company and we have synthesized our culture in three values: “Admire people”, “Always find a better way” and “Customer experience freaks”.

If you have not yet done the exercise of defining your values ​​as a company, I encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity to do so. I’m sure you and your team will discover a lot about what unites you.

4) Study the success stories

One of the most effective ways to really know how an agency works is to see what it has done for other clients. Many agencies include testimonials or success stories on their website; It’s a good start, but you don’t have to stop there. Go to brand channels to really see what they’ve done in context, and feel free to ask directly for first-hand experience.

5) Look at how they do their own inbound marketing

The best success story of an agency is… its own marketing! So find out what is the inbound strategy they have used to promote themselves as an agency and what are the results obtained.

6) Communication is important

In all relationships, both personal and professional, good communication is a fundamental ingredient. You have to feel that you and your agency speak the same language, that you can ask them your questions and that they tell you how everything is going without you having to insist on asking them.

7) Look for an agency with which you can learn

The best inbound marketing agencies don’t put themselves on a pedestal of experts, but go out of their way to explain to the client what they are doing and even offer specialized training .

The collaboration between the agency and the client has to be based on transparency and trust . Even if you’ve never done inbound marketing before, you still need to understand the what, how, and why of what they’re doing at all times. After all, they are speaking on behalf of your brand.