After stumbling through website development, trying to find time for blogs and struggling to remember to post on social media, sometimes, outsourcing to an inbound agency is the best decision for your business.
There are a few strategies you can use to make the most out of your new partnership.
1. Take Inventory
Before the inbound marketing agency can go to work creating awesome content for your business, they first need to know a little bit about you and your products or services.
An excellent way to get started is by taking inventory of all your current content. This is essential for two reasons. One, it helps the marketers acquaint themselves with your brand. Two, it gives them opportunities to repurpose content so you can get the most bang for your buck.
In addition to content already published online, look for workbooks, brochures, mailers, or anything else your sales team might use regularly.
This will optimize your partnership because the marketers won’t be redoing content you’ve already created, and it’ll help them start publishing work even sooner.
2. Set Goals and Expectations
Before writers start typing out blogs or emails, before developers start designing a new webpage, it is important everyone get on the same page by setting goals and expectations.
It is advisable to create SMART goals or Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time Bound. This process just prevents the team from having any false assumptions. It also requires considering where your marketing currently stands.
- Three new leads daily six months from now.
- Increase site visit to lead by 10% in the next quarter.
3. Outline Roles and Responsibilities
Each partnership will look a little different. You might have writers on staff who will contribute to the content the marketing agency is creating. You might be wanting to create your own social media calendars, and you’d only use the inbound agency for help with advertising.
In your first meeting, everyone both on your team and the marketing agency have to come to an agreement on who’s doing what and when.
4. Complete a SWOT Analysis
A SWOT (Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) analysis optimizes your partnership with an inbound agency because it’s a road map of your company, the current top performers in your industry and the areas of potential growth.
This process will identify problems in your current marketing efforts and find potential solutions. It might influence changing some of the initial goals outlined earlier in the partnership.
5. Design Your Buyer Persona
Writers have an audience in mind every time they sit down to type. Without a buyer persona, they are leaning on their own assumptions rather than your expertise. A buyer persona early in the partnership will guide everything from website development to blogs and emails.
You’ll spend less time fixing content because you don’t feel it’s right for brand if everyone starts the process understanding who you’re trying to serve.
At McMahon, Buyer Personas are a part of our onboarding process. A team member will conduct a strategic conversation to extract the details of your target market and assumptions you carry about your audience. Then we name the individual and share it with you so you can share it with your team.
Here are some things we want to know:
- What are their demographics? (This is where most people stop).
- What triggers them to start searching for a solution your company offers?
- Why would they walk away from the sale?
- What’s at stake if a customer chooses a different company? What will they lose?
- What are some misconceptions customers might have about your services or products?
6. Create a Content Plan
Every quarter we have a content plan. Answer the question who are we trying to target, and what message will resonate with this audience? Sometimes, it might mean writing blogs, ebooks and emails about auto loans to help a federal credit union find potential borrowers who are wanting to purchase a car shortly.
The plan considers every step of the buyer’s journey (awareness, consideration, and decision). The content should help guide your target audience through the process of discovering your brand and choosing your products and services over your competitors.
Typically, each quarter we have a gated piece of content, which means a visitor has to provide their email address to open it. Every blog promotes the gated piece of content to maximize the transition of anonymous website visitors to new leads.
Creating a plan optimizes the partnership because everyone knows the direction the team is going. What if the federal credit union decided they wanted to reach out to potential auto loan borrowers, but it wasn’t communicated to the writers? It’s possible the federal credit union would be frustrated that the content creators kept writing about the benefits of high yield savings accounts rather than auto loans through federal credit unions.
7. Complete Keyword Research
Similar to a content plan or SWOT, keyword research helps the marketing team discover where the organization lands on a Search Engine Results Page (SERPs) for various keywords.
Ranking for the right keywords will be the difference between a successful inbound campaign and a big flop.
This process will optimize how the writers in the marketing team structures their content, and help them find high-value topics most likely to yield the best results.
8. Give Access to the Right Platforms
From day one, your will need access to your social media platforms and website. When you delay getting them access, then you slow down their progress on getting their job done. Make sure you have an early conversation outlining access to the right platforms.
9. Communicate Regularly
Set up checkpoints with your marketing team. Choose one day a week, every other week, once a month, or once a qua
rter. Choose the right time for you to check in with the team and note the progress and provide any feedback on the current content.
Communication is the secret sauce for a successful partnership with an inbound agency. If they have questions, then try to answer them quickly. Similarly, if you have input or questions then send it their way, and they should also respond in a timely fashion.
10. Choose One Person for Communication
Having a lot of input from several team members is certainly helpful, but big team meetings should be a relatively rare occasion. Instead, choose one person on your team to communicate to one person on the marketing team.
We assign client representatives for this very reason. You won’t optimize your partnership if every meeting is a few hours long. Just remember, the more voices contributing to a question the more opportunities you’ll have for misunderstandings, and including big groups in every decision will slow down progress.
11. Continually Discuss Next Steps
What’s next? If you want to optimize the partnership, you always have to be looking forward. Spend time breaking down every goal and idea into small actionable steps. If we want to increase visits to the website, then what’s next? If we're going to double the daily leads in the next 12 months, then what’s next?
Maybe you’re still contemplating whether or not hiring an marketing team is right for your business, and that’s okay. Take your time, measure the pros and cons or spend a half hour talking with us.
You can also download our free guide on how to scale your business this year, which might mean outsourcing some of your marketing efforts and starting a partnership with an inbound agency.