Questions to Ask During an Inbound Marketing Consultation
Inbound marketing has exploded over the past decade, garnering widespread acclaim for its effectiveness and ROI-increasing capability. It’s been well-documented that the results you can obtain from inbound marketing are far more cost-effective than using traditional marketing methods. Although many businesses are aware of the outstanding advantages offered by inbound marketing, they often don’t have the time or resources to train their team members on the basics of inbound marketing practice, let alone implement a strategy. For this reason, businesses often solicit the services of an inbound marketing agency to help educate their team on foundational inbound techniques such as SEO and email marketing, as well as help develop and execute a strategy that will increase lead generation and customer retention.
True to the customer-facing nature of inbound marketing practice, most agencies typically offer a “try before you buy” consultation in order to provide critical insight, expert-level knowledge and third-party objectivity to help grow your business. Should you decide to hire an inbound marketing agency, you’ll need to know the right questions to ask during your free consultation in order to properly screen the agency and make sure they’re a good fit for your business. Below are seven questions to ask in order to get the most out of your inbound marketing consultation.
1. What types of service packages do you offer for lead generation and traffic generation?
Any inbound marketing agency worth its salt will offer you a service package that includes blogging, SEO and social media sharing in order to help generate more traffic to your website. They should also offer lead generation management services (like landing page construction, etc.) and they should have a well-thought-out lead nurturing process to help you effectively convert those leads into sales.
2. What type of analytic tools do you use to measure performance?
You can’t manage what you can’t measure, and this statement is especially true when it comes to your lead generation efforts. A quality inbound marketing agency will utilize some form of analytics tool (e.g., Google Analytics, Kissmetrics, Spring Metrics, HubSpot, etc.) to analyze and evaluate every aspect of user behavior taking place on your site. Make sure they offer detailed analysis that covers every phase of the leads-to-sales process. Special care and attention should be given to the adjustments you can make to improve user experience on your website.
3. Based on your understanding of our current position, what do you recommend for us to do first, second, third, etc.?
A solid inbound marketing agency should be able to map out a step-by-step plan to get you from where you are to where you want to be, with concise, actionable strategies and campaigns that are in alignment with the goals and objectives you have for your business. Don’t settle for vague generalities when it comes to strategy; an agency worth considering should be able to provide you with a detailed rundown (including timelines) of the specific steps they’ll take to put their recommended strategies into action.
4. What aspect of inbound marketing do you feel is the most important for our business in particular?
There are many “flavors” of inbound marketing practice, and it’s important to get a feel for what type of techniques and strategies your potential agency favors to make sure it’s a good match for your business. A good agency will be able to recognize the areas of your business that need the most attention in terms of inbound marketing; for example, if your business currently has no prominence on the Web, the agency should be able to recognize that traffic generation via blogging, social media and SEO will be your first priority. The agencies you consider should be able to formulate recommended courses of action based on an effective interpretation of all available data.
5. What component of inbound marketing do you consider to be your greatest strength?
All inbound marketing agencies are different, and some are more skilled in certain specific components of inbound marketing than others. You may find that one agency is masterful at implementing SEO, while another one excels at email marketing. Whatever the agency’s primary strength may be, ask them how they can leverage that strength in a way that will benefit your business.
6. Are you familiar with my particular industry?
This is a critical question, as it will inform you as to whether or not the agency is familiar with the jargon, key players and thought leaders in your particular sector. Each industry is its own microcosm, and for an inbound agency to be worth considering, they must be able to quickly assimilate the key drivers and nuances of your particular field.
7. Can you provide me with some case studies of other businesses you’ve helped?
Theories and whiteboard strategy sessions are fantastic, but if the company has no proven track record of success, it may be too much of a gamble for you to take. Ask them to furnish you with examples of clients they have worked with that have benefited from their methods and techniques. If they can provide case studies that demonstrate effectiveness in execution and getting results, you’ve more than likely found a winner.
Partnering with a top-notch inbound marketing agency can help your business flourish in terms of visibility, influence and overall reach. Use the questions listed above to help you qualify the agency that can ultimately help you increase your online prominence, attract more leads and close more sales.