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6 Traits to Look for in an Inbound Marketing Agency

6 Traits to Look for in an Inbound Marketing Agency Blog Feature

Carolyn Edgecomb

Office Manager, 7+ Years of Logistics and New Hire Management

May 25th, 2013 min read

Looking for an inbound marketing agency? If so, you might not be sure what to look for.

Not every agency is going to be the same. Some will be interested in gaining a new client where other agencies want to do everything possible to achieve your goals and meet your needs.

We've identified6 traits you should be on the look out for when searching for a new inbound marketing agency.

What to Look for in an Inbound Marketing Agency

1. Case Studies / Customer Proof

Just like when you’re shopping for a new car or service you want to look at product reviews and what customers have to say.

The same concept applies when you’re looking for a new inbound marketing agency.  After all, your company’s business goals are at stake. This shouldn’t be a snap decision.

In a recent study by Bazaarvoice stated that more than 8 out of 10 people say that opinions and recommendations from people they don’t know indicate brand quality and influence decision to sign a contract. Making it essential to share customer stories with prospects.

As a potential client you should look at what type of customers each agency has worked with. Look at their case studies, particularly those within your industry. An agency with experience and success will be able to provide your company with a higher level of insight and advice that you couldn’t get from an agency that didn’t have a familiarity with your industry.

A case study will help you envision what type of results you could see from their services. Any reputable inbound marketing agency will prominently feature case studies to provide you with a clear picture of the value they bring to the table. 

2. Desire to Develop a Strategic Plan

Many marketing agencies look to jump right in to completing tasks without first developing a strong foundation and solid plan.

Unfortunately, you cannot maximize the results of your inbound marketing campaign if you don’t have a clear GamePlan.

You wouldn’t give a contractor the money to build a house if he/she didn’t have a blueprint; the same goes for your inbound marketing strategy. Your marketing agency shouldn’t just jump into designing or redesigning your website or launching your first campaign without a plan.

Inbound marketing includes a number of different services and tactics. In order for it to be successful, you have to combine all of the services in a way that drives results and you cannot do that if you jump right in. An inbound marketing GamePlan will effectively lay out the process of achieving your unique business goals over a 12-month period.

In order to build an effective plan, your marketing agency should be asking you all the right questions in order to more effectively market to your target audience.

Is your agency asking you these questions?

    • What are your business goals? It is important to note that different goals require different inbound marketing programs.
    • Who are your ideal prospects?
    • What keywords are people using to find businesses like yours?
    • What other keywords do you want to optimize for?
    • Do you already have content assets? This can range from brochures to articles to videos to even different mailings.
    • Who are your customers? Have you identified your buyer personas?

It’s important to stay away from an agency that wants to start blogging and posting social media updates right away. Your company needs a customized plan that’s tailored to meet your unique goals because a strategic plan isn’t one size fits all. Your plan should reflect the type of marketing goals you have, whether they’re moderate or more aggressive.

Interested in a strategic inbound marketing plan; schedule a free 30-minute assessment with one of our inbound marketing consultants.

3. Ability to deliver a variety of inbound marketing services

Due to the speed in which technology is changing, it’s imperative that any marketing agency you choose to partner with is both adaptive and innovative.

Unless you’re a Fortune 100 company with your own marketing department, the days of outsourcing to one-trick marketing pony agencies are over.

The reason? Simply put, it’s no longer effective to simply have a nice website. Is it lead generating? Is there a blog? Are you sharing all of your content via the various social media platforms?

Most importantly, the most successful companies are working with agencies that are also equipped to work in the campaign development and strategic planning in order to execute a more successful strategy.

Look for agencies that are experts in the following:

    • Strategic Planning
    • Campaign Development
    • Converting Leads
    • Growing Sales
    • Marketing Analysis

4. They Practice What They Preach

Would you listen to an agency that was telling you how important it is to blog three times a week and how you should post a social media update at least once a day and they weren’t implementing either of those practices?

If what they’re selling is so valuable and important, than should be implementing the same practices, offering a more transparent view into how it all actually works.

Take a closer look at the content they’re providing. See if their content is valuable and educational. How many likes, shares, and comments do their blog articles and social media updates have?

Another great sign that an agency is practicing what they preach is through their website.

Is it optimized for mobile? Is it search engine friendly? If not, you shouldn’t question the inbound marketing methodology itself, but rather the manner in which the particular agency is executing it.

5. Focused on the Success of Your Business

Great marketing agencies have your business goals at the forefront of their strategy. Instead of focusing on particular tasks that need to be hit, i.e., “well…we published 10 blog posts this month, so I’m not sure why your traffic has slipped,” a good agency will instead focus on identifying the problem early on, and suggesting and doing what they can to right the ship.

Unfortunately, too many agencies feature a task-oriented model; therefore, if your business goals are falling short, they may not have the answers or solutions you are looking to hear.

If the path to achieving your business goals is dependent on tasks rather than strategy, it may be time to reevaluate your investment.

6. Values Transparency

Transparency should be a core value of any agency you work with. Any agency that values transparency will consider their client as a part of the team, continuously asking for your input and feedback, and more importantly, keeping you in the loop with everything regarding your campaign and results.

It’s also important that your marketing agency act as an extension of your company. A great marketing agency will schedule a time where you can meet the entire team, understand their capacity, and really understand how inbound marketing works and what you can realistically expect from your investment.

A great agency will be transparent regarding:

    • Cost
    • Timeframes
    • Realistic deadlines
    • Expected return/results
    • Analytics
    • Time management

You should never feel as though you’re searching for answers. As an extension of your marketing team, your agency should be acting as your liaison, rather than a hired gun that keeps you out of the loop.

Still not sure if you should switch marketing agencies?

For more answers on whether you should keep your current marketing agency or switch to an inbound marketing agency, check out our newest Ebook.  You’ll find all of the answers that you’re looking for!

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