When you are introducing Inbound Marketing into your business, one of the biggest decisions you have to make is whether to manage it in-house or use an agency.
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Taking the plunge and moving to an inbound approach to your marketing is a big step. You may have been thinking about it for some time; you've downloaded the e-books from the software companies, you've been reading blog posts by your favourite inbound marketing agencies for months and you know deep-down it makes sense, but changing the entire way your marketing works is a scary commitment.
Thinking back to the last time you redeveloped your website, was the end-result the site you wanted? If your answer's yes, there's a strong possibility it's not the website you need. Confused? Then I'll explain.
Pretty much every day we get an Inbound Marketing Review request from a person who hasn't developed a sound marketing strategy for their business. They have done pretty much everything except figuring out how they are going to find customers.
They've effectively bought a shop, decorated it, filled it with amazing products at fantastic prices then opened the doors, only to realise the shop's in the middle of nowhere with no roads leading to it and no other means for anyone to find it. It's very common.
In my last blog post I described the different stages of a customer journey from the moment they first hear about your business to when they become a lead and then an advocate. When it comes to actually producing the content for each of those stages, where do you start?
Customer Journey Mapping is used in marketing and customer service to identify how a person navigates the process of moving from being a complete stranger to becoming a loyal customer. It helps organisations look at all the important touchpoints in that journey that can help or hinder progress towards the end goal.
An inbound marketing agency or growth agency is an organisation that helps businesses attract new customers. In 2017 that usually involves using the web. For clarity, inbound marketing is a process whereby you attract visitors to your website who are looking for what you offer. You do this in the hope they will contact you, or at least learn something useful so they feel positively disposed towards your business and contact you in the future.
When people form relationships they generally take the time to get to know the person they're forming the relationship with. They might buy each other a drink, they may suggest a dance, they might suggest a future dinner date. It's how most people operate, the whole getting to know you thing. It's about investing your time wisely and carefully to make sure you're getting into something good. Although most people don't, it makes sense to do the same in business and here's why.
The old world order went something like this. If you had the money you employed an ad agency to create amazing adverts for your brand and these adverts were placed on TV, radio and in magazines. People saw your adverts, whether they liked it or not, and bought your stuff, which gave you the money to buy more adverts and so it went on. Seth Godin referred to it as the TV Industrial Complex. Then along came Google™ and technology.
In our post How To Build A Lead Generation Website we went into some detail about the whole Attract, Engage, Convert inbound marketing methodology. In simple terms, it's all about understanding your customers and their issues. Armed with this information you create a website that helps them, genuinely helps them, and this can in some cases lead to a commercial relationship.
Pretty much the only alternative is outbound marketing where you, in essence, buy people's attention with adverts.
Picture the scene. You're staring at your website wondering why it gets so few visitors or worse, wondering how many visitors it gets because you don't know. What you do know is it doesn't generate any enquiries. You want to fix it, you want to create a lead generation website, but you simply don't know how to start. Well now you do! In this article, I'm going to show you how to create a website that actually works for your business.
A wise man once said "Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy
Taking on an Inbound Marketing agency is a big step which needs a conscious commitment to investing time and money in your online assets, with the aim of seeing improved results in the long-term. Most businesses are doing a good job of at least some of their inbound marketing activities, from social media and blogging to lead nurturing and automation, but there comes a point when you need to bring in external help. Here are some of the signs that you have reached that point.
To some people, a strategy is simply about goal setting, a sort of happy-clappy love in where people agree to conquer the world. They believe if they set a BHAG or big hairy audacious goal it somehow means it will, by osmosis or something, happen. This is flawed thinking when it comes to strategic planning and as inbound marketing is a strategic activity, it's the wrong way to go about that too.
I don't mind saying that some days inbound marketing just feels like too much hard work. "But Dave", I hear you say, "you run an inbound marketing agency, how can you say that?". Well, I'm not saying I find inbound hard work, I love it because I love helping people, I'm saying I sometimes find it hard trying to convince others about its merits. I'll explain.