Enlisting the help of an inbound marketing agency is an investment that you need to be certain will bring big returns down the road, but what can you do upfront to ensure this happens? One way is to ask the right questions early in the relationship during an inbound marketing assessment.
This is a great time to discover gaps in your marketing strategy (often FREE of charge), but it is also a good time to identify some of the gaps the agency will have in serving you. The below questions will be valuable in evaluating the best agency for you:
1. What industries do you serve?
Prior to kicking off an inbound marketing campaign, you want to be sure that the agency will have the knowledge and resources fit for your industry. This is especially important if your industry is more technical or a niche audience.
2. Do you have experience in B2B, B2C or Both?
Industry knowledge is important, but the types of marketing tactics needed for serving B2B and B2C companies differs. The agency you partner with should be experienced in marketing to your type of audience.
3. What results have you seen in the past?
Ask about the results they’ve helped clients achieve in the past. The agency should have documentation or case studies to share these results with you.
4. Are you best at attracting traffic, converting leads, or closing customers?
As a former in-house marketer myself who went through multiple inbound marketing assessments in quests for an agency, I can tell you that the majority of these assessments will focus on attracting visitors and converting leads that are towards the beginning of the buying cycle. However, there are very few agencies who effectively build out campaigns that help to close customers.
5. What resources do you have on your team?
From strategy to execution, you’ll need a variety of resources to make inbound marketing work. An agency will be a better extension of your team if they have a team of writers with industry knowledge, graphic and web designers, developers, and inbound marketers.
6. Will you create the strategy and help implement it?
Depending upon the resources and budget you have available, you may or may not need help in executing the strategy found in an inbound marketing assessment. Asking about what the agency will and will not do is important because you do not want to sign-on with an agency that gives you a blueprint but doesn’t help executive if execution is what you already need help with.
7. How much time will I need to devote to our partnership?
Building a successful inbound marketing strategy means you may have to devote some time to partnering with the agency. How much time you have to devote depends on a number of factors including the agency’s process and project scope. During the assessment, the agency should already be discovering some of these factors and can give you a good estimate of what is expected from you.
8. Do you have experience with e-commerce?
If you are an e-commerce site or plan to build one in the near future, it’s essential to work with an agency that knows the ins and outs of e-commerce.
9. Do you have experience with local SEO?
When location is a factor in reaching your customers, you want to ensure that the agency is well equipped to optimize your website and inbound campaigns for local SEO.
10. What is your client retention rate?
It’s great for an agency to have worked with hundreds of clients, but this isn’t a compelling value-add if that means the agency has a high client turnover rate. While there isn’t an industry standard for an inbound marketing agency’s client retention rate, a good inbound marketing agency will be prepared to answer this question.
11. How do you measure ROI for clients?
Believe it or not, there are are agencies that do not measure ROI. Others measure some aspects but not necessarily the metrics that ensure your investment is adding to the bottom line. For example, the agency may be able to show that they’ve helped grow traffic significantly, but this means little to you if that traffic isn’t helping drive leads and customers. The agency you work with should plan goals with you and give timelines you can expect to see ROI with an inbound strategy.