In today’s competitive digital landscape, the old Field of Dreams movie quote; “if you build it, they will come” just doesn’t cut it when it comes to growing your business. While it may be true that you built a great business armed with a product or service that helps your customers solve a real problem, if those prospects never know about your solution, you’re likely on the fast-track to business failure. And this goes beyond just creating a cool postcard or buying a billboard ad to get your name out there: today’s buyers want to be well-informed about how you can help them before they talk with anyone from your company.
81% of shoppers conduct research online research prior to making a purchase. -AdWeek
If you’re reading this, you’re probably thinking that you need a more strategic and measurable digital marketing strategy that can prove its return on investment. You want to draw clear connections between dollars spent on marketing efforts and how it converts into customers. Let us start out by saying we have good news, because all of this is possible. However, the bad news is that it’s gonna take some serious work. Many companies quickly determine that it might be time to hire a Marketing Director who can manage it all. However, before you run over to HR to draw up a job description, you might want to read on to learn a bit more about just what someone will need to do to be successful with a new online marketing process.
Today’s Inbound Marketing Requirements
Digital marketing (or, as HubSpot agencies like us call it, inbound marketing) should be the most important element of your current marketing strategies. Direct mail, print advertising, and even things like TV ads should play a secondary role to online efforts. Although more traditional marketing tools can still be used as a supplement of your inbound efforts, they are no longer the most effective (or measurable) forms of marketing your business.
Inbound marketing is comprised of many elements, like:
An Optimized Business Website: Your website is the visual storefront for your business, so it needs to look good - no matter what device a guest views it on.
Marketing Automation Software: If you’ve read any of our content, you know we prefer HubSpot. It’s the premier platform to bring all your inbound marketing efforts into one place so you can execute, adjust and track the ROI from your initiatives.
Downloadable Content Offers: These are content elements like resource guides, webinars, case studies, and much more that your potential customer wants so much so that they will give you their contact information in order to receive it.
Email Marketing with Personalization: Emails you send to your customers based on user activity and their contact information. This includes things like lead nurturing workflows to keep prospects engaged with your company on a regular basis.
Personas: These are the fictional representatives of your customer. They identify what problems your potential customers face, how they search online, and their business and job role information. Having these helps create campaigns that resonate with the people who actually buy from your business.
Blog: This is the area of your website where you share helpful information your buyer personas care about. These serve as tools to move the prospect through the buyers journey and toward downloading a content offer.
Landing Pages: The pages your prospects see when they navigate to a contact offer that provides the tools they need (forms) to get the resource they want.
Call-to-Action Buttons: Buttons used throughout your site to guide the visitor toward other content or places on your site that may be of interest to them.
Lead Capture Forms: The area where visitors enter their contact information to become a lead or download content.
Social Media: The social media platforms you use to share and publish information on to draw potential customers toward your business.
Paid Social Media Advertising: The ads on social media networks you have to pay for to push your information in front of your target audience.
Online Videos: Videos that provide your audience with more information about your company, product or service, or information that can help solve a problem or issue they may be experiencing.
Content Strategy Development (Formerly known as SEO): This includes the strategy for target phrases someone may be typing or speaking about (Think, "Alexa") to search for information about a product or service you provide.
Want more about how you can create successful inbound marketing strategies this year? We have a new, complimentary webinar all about Planning your 2018 Digital Marketing Strategies. Get it right here.
Skill Sets Needed to Implement Inbound Successfully
Web Development - You can think of developers as the keepers of all the code on your website. They build out the elements that make it viewable across all devices.
Website Design - Designers make all the elements the developers create look visually appealing. From graphics to fonts and so much more, they bring the concept to life.
Content Creation - These are your writers, they are the people behind your blog, your content elements, the copy on the website, in your video scripts, and pretty much anything that needs words.
Marketing Strategy Development - A marketing strategist knows how to create campaigns and strategies that will work to drive new leads and engage existing ones so they move toward becoming delighted customers. They also use data to drive new ideas or change existing strategies to better serve your audience.
Videography/Photography - This is the group of people skilled in shooting video or still images to be used for your content elements. These people may or may not know how to edit footage or images, so that may require additional assistance.
Social Media Management - The person who understands how to publish/engage/purchase ads on social media channels as well as how to leverage them for maximum performance.
So, What Does All This Mean?
As you can see from the above marketing elements and skill sets, you’d need a highly experienced individual to do everything for a successful inbound marketing process. Trust me when I tell you that those highly-skilled people are very rare to find and will likely demand a significant compensation for the comprehensiveness of their skill sets. So, what we typically find that companies do to avoid trying to seek out these unicorns is to make a single hire who will utilize outside freelancers to fill in the gaps that they are not able to complete. This structure puts both the quality of work at risk as well as the reliability of future projects that are able to be completed by the same individual. (Also, keep in mind that adding too many freelancers can also put your new marketing person into the role of the manager of your freelancers rather than a marketing strategist for your business.)
Please Welcome the Solution: The Inbound Marketing Agency
The agency model gives you all the skills you need as a budgetary line item rather than an additional marketing employee and freelancers. An inbound marketing agency employs people with all the required skills to implement inbound successfully, and it often comes at less than what you would pay to hire that Marketing Director. Designers, developers, writers, strategists, videographers, are all instantly at your fingertips as an extension of your team. So, the answer to this question is quite simple, an agency is the preferred solution for organizations that can’t support a large inbound marketing team.
If you want to schedule a time to talk with us about the benefits of an inbound marketing agency partnership, please contact us below to set up a free assesment with our team.