What to Look for in an Inbound Marketing Agency

What to Look for in an Inbound Marketing Agency

By Kristen HicksSep 19 /2016

business-people-shopping-for-inbound-marketing-agency.jpgYou know inbound marketing requires a lot of time and work. You know this because your team is currently feeling the strain. Hiring and training new employees to help pick up the slack would take even more time, work and money. You’re starting to face the truth that you need help.

It’s time to consider hiring an inbound marketing agency.

Handing the work and responsibility off to specialists who know inbound marketing can be a huge relief—but only if you find an agency that really does know what they’re doing.

Before you take the plunge, take some time to evaluate your options so you choose an inbound marketing agency that can achieve the kind of results you want. These seven steps can help you identify the right agency for you.

1. Ask about their process.

Any inbound marketing agency that’s been at it for a while should have a proven process in place. They shouldn’t be learning how to do inbound marketing from scratch with you as a guinea pig; you should be able to step into a process they already know works.

When you have your first consultation, ask them to talk you through the details of how they approach creating and executing an inbound marketing strategy for clients.

2. Pay attention to the questions they ask you.

While a proven process shows they know their stuff, if an agency acts like inbound marketing is one-size-fits-all, you should be concerned. To craft an inbound marketing plan that works specifically for you, they should seek to understand:

  • What makes your business unique
  • Your goals for inbound marketing
  • Who your audience is and what they respond to

Your meeting with an inbound marketing agency should be an information gathering session for the both of you, not a pitch that’s all about them and what they do.

3. Ask about their current clients.

Learning about the clients an inbound marketing agency has now can tell you a couple of different things. First, it gives you a sense of whether they work with any businesses similar to yours in terms of industry or size. While that shouldn’t necessarily be a requirement, if they do have similar experience it lets you know that they’re already familiar with your space or experienced with the challenges a business of your size faces.

Second, and more importantly, it gives you the chance to gain an idea of how long businesses stick with them. If they can point to happy customers who have worked with them for many years, then you know they treat their customers right and do work that satisfies.

4. Check out their work.

You don’t have to take their word for it, though. Once you know who some of their clients are, you can visit their websites and evaluate their work. Browse the website and blog. Consider signing up for the email list. Look at the variety of work they do, and decide whether you like what you see (keeping in mind that you’re not necessarily the target audience for the work you’re viewing).

5. Find out who would be working on your account.

Inbound marketing agencies are made up of people. The individuals you work with will be a big part of the experience you have working with the company. Ask who will be your main point of contact and who will be working on your account. Find out a little bit about their experience and who they are.

6. Find out what reports they provide.

Any reliable inbound marketing agency will consider reporting an important component of what they offer. Find out what types of metrics they track and how often they send reports over. The reporting they provide should help you measure how well you’re meeting your goals. If they seem more focused on vanity metrics that don’t tell you much that’s tangible, it won’t be worth much to you.

7. Check how they do inbound marketing for their company.

If you haven’t already, read their blog. Check out their guides. Are they high quality and persuasive? The work they do for their clients can tell you a lot, but the marketing they do for their own business is meant specifically to persuade someone like you. If it works, then you can trust you’re in pretty good hands.

It’s not just you—inbound marketing is a lot of hard work, but it’s easier for the people who know it best. The right inbound marketing agency can take a load off your shoulders and put their specialized expertise toward helping you start to see better results.

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The Author

Kristen Hicks

Kristen Hicks is an Austin-based copywriter and content marketer specializing in helping businesses connect with customers through content online.