When business owners start researching the cost of implementing inbound with an inbound marketing agency, they may experience a little sticker shock. It costs HOW MUCH? A budget-minded CEO might even wonder if it makes more sense to hire an employee to do the work in-house.
To make the best informed decision, it helps to look at all the costs that go in to making inbound work well – costs your inbound agency combines into one monthly rate. You might find that, when all is said and done, the cost of using an agency is a pretty good deal!
Inbound Marketing Software
Inbound marketing software is a set of tools that work together for the most efficient and accountable inbound marketing. Often combining a website and blogging platform, landing page creator, email platform, social media publishing and monitoring program, keyword and competitor researching and reporting, this software may not be cheap, but it will not only give you better results than cobbling together many free or budget-priced programs. It also makes your marketing agency more efficient and allows them to make adjustments where needed – all of which saves you money!
On its own, however, marketing software will get you nowhere. This is where your marketing agency becomes so crucial for your success.
One does not simply “Do” inbound marketing. :) There must be a strategy behind every action. For an agency like OverGo, we start with an onboarding process. You’ll find incredible value in taking a hard, in-depth look at your goals, challenges, and timelines. This value goes beyond planning for good inbound marketing – it may even cause you to rethink some of your other business practices.
From there, we look at your current marketing assets and website messaging. We fill in the gaps and then we get to work adding more content, start leveraging social media and put in place processes that, while they will be adjusted as time goes on, will form the basis for all your content marketing. It’s incredibly in-depth and time-consuming (take it from one who has been in on more than one of these), but it is the foundation for the most effective marketing possible.
At OverGo, this strategy is a collaboration between at least four of us and requires multiple meetings and plenty of writing and research. We all have different strengths and passions (I’ll take content audit and social, please!) and we put them to good use in this process. When we’re done, your account manager has a road map for your next 12 months of marketing.
Now that the strategy is in place, it’s time to start creating content. Blogging is great for increasing traffic, so it’s important to get that started right away and stay consistent. This requires a blogger or a team of bloggers who have experience in your industry, or the ability to become familiar with your industry quickly.
We’ll share with them your buyer personas (part of your strategy) so they’ll know who they’re talking to. They’ll also have blog post topics well in advance so that we can keep to a regular publishing schedule. Assigning writers, editing, getting approval from you the customer, and posting the content to your blog all takes considerable time and money.
Premium Content Creation
Premium content is what brings leads in from your website. It could be an ebook, video, infographic, or even an interactive game that is only accessible after a website visitor submits some contact information. Creating this valuable content involves skilled writers, editors and graphic artists.
Behind every piece of premium content are landing pages, thank you pages, follow up emails, supporting blog posts, social media updates and images. The writing and layout can take many, many hours of time.
Once you get those leads from your premium content, you want to get them closer and closer to becoming customers. Your inbound agency knows how to do that. Often involving a series of emails selected on the basis of expressed interest, business type, and in the case of B2B companies, job title, these emails provide drip marketing that help move someone along the decision-making process to become a customer.
This too, requires its own mini-strategy and a great deal of writing. We can even work with your sales team to make sure they know when to follow up on a lead. It’s all worth it when you start seeing sales from your website, but it takes quite a bit of agency time!
Reporting and Adjusting
Every month you’ll get a detailed report showing clearly how well your marketing is working. You’ll even be able to see which activities are giving you the best return on investment. These reports and subsequent conversations with your agency will provide the basis for making ongoing changes to optimize your results. Time well spent, but time, nonetheless.
Your account manager will be in touch regularly to get your approval on created content, get your feedback, remind you of anything we might be waiting on from you and let you know how your marketing is performing. The preparation, meetings, phone calls, emails involved often consume several hours a week of agency time. All with the aim of improving your marketing results.
Images and Image Editing
Each piece of content requires compelling images. We use either royalty-free stock images, often enhanced by our editors or account managers, or custom-designed artwork. Not only is it vital to keep us all on the right side of copyright law, we also want to project a professional image for you in every piece of content that goes out. Some of these images are costly, especially when something must be designed just for your content.
Your inbound marketing agency may also be managing paid advertising for you. Not only are you paying for the cost of the ads themselves, but the cost of the time involved in strategy, writing copy, designing images and implementing must be added as well.
Social media can be fabulous for building brand awareness, improving customer service and driving traffic and leads to your website. Your inbound marketing agency makes effective use of the social media part of the strategy by posting regular status updates, interacting with commenters, networking with other businesses and even looking for questions they can answer on your behalf.
This is something you could have your staff do – if they have the time, inclination and the marketing know-how. Most companies find it just doesn’t get done without outside support.
If your staff doesn’t include a team of skilled marketers, writers, editors, social media professionals, and designers, you may find that, while not inexpensive, the benefits you receive by working with a skilled inbound marketing agency are priceless. Their combined years of experience working with CEOs and business owners just like you can take your busines to a place you never thought possible.