Doug Wendt is a co-founder and senior partner with Wendt Partners.
Are you ready to take your marketing strategy to the next level and implement inbound marketing? While it may seem like a daunting task, there are many consulting firms out there that offer packages specially formatted to cater to all of your inbound marketing needs. Here are five factors that should be considered when you purchase an inbound marketing package:
1. Your Objectives
Define your goals from the start. Are you looking to take your business from a small startup to a powerful enterprise or are you simply looking to reel in some more leads? Both scenarios require very different approaches. While a project as big as the first one mentioned would entail a complete overhaul of your marketing strategy, the latter would focus on adding additional components and making certain adjustments to your current strategy.
2. Audience Type
Inbound Marketing is all about reaching your audience - whether it be by keeping a blog or by sending out e-newsletters. Therefore, it’s important for you to know who your audience is. One defining characteristic of your audience is the level of your target buyer’s position. Do you find your company selling directly to CEOs or do you focus on operations managers or purchasing departments?
Also, what kind of customers does your business cater to? Are you looking to appeal to consumers (B2C), other businesses (B2B), or government agencies (B2G)? These are all very different audiences and therefore, respond differently to certain approaches. While consumers may respond best to Facebook campaigns, promoted Twitter hashtags, or other forms of promotional social media, businesses may respond best to LinkedIn campaigns or educational webinars.
3. Internal Resources
Your internal resources are the people and skills you already have available within your organization. These may be your social media experts, experienced writers, graphic designers, - anyone who would be useful in getting your inbound marketing strategy up and running.
Theoretically, the more internal resources you have, the fewer services you’d need in an inbound marketing package - unless, of course, you’re seeking to ramp-up a new marketing effort or achieve higher results. If you have writers readily available to write posts for your business blog, you probably aren’t in need of a package that includes four pre-written posts each week. Likewise, if none of your employees are confident writers, you probably wouldn’t be served well by a package that only includes one blog post per month.
The more you invest in an inbound marketing package, the more results you’ll see in the long run. Obviously, the budget you have available to dedicate to your inbound marketing strategy will ultimately determine which inbound marketing package you purchase. However, the funds you put towards your inbound marketing package don’t only improve your marketing strategy. What most people don’t understand about inbound marketing is that it isn’t just a marketing strategy, but a sales strategy as well. The approach inbound marketing takes generates more leads, yes - but it also nurtures those leads throughout the sales process as well.
For example, if you gain a new lead through a prospect signing up for your e-newsletter, your sales team can then use inbound marketing tools such as white papers and ebooks as sales material when they meet with your lead, and the inbound marketing ‘drip’ communications will continue to entice and engage your prospect in the interim. Having more sales tools would be of invaluable help to most sales teams, and can provide your leads with more material to look at before making their decision. In summary, inbound marketing helps both sales and marketing - so your budget for inbound should take both departments or functions into account.
Is your business mainly Mac- or PC-based ? Do you make use of cloud computing? Do you host your own website or use a third party provider? Are your employees familiar with CRM software packages like Salesforce.com? Are any of your employees certified to use HubSpot or another marketing automation system? These are all important factors to consider as you evaluate inbound marketing packages.
For example, if you have an employee who is a certified user of an inbound marketing system such as HubSpot, it only makes sense for you to purchase a package that uses that system. In the case that none of your employees are particularly familiar with inbound marketing programs, you should probably lean towards a more comprehensive package in which a third party marketing consultant will provide most - if not all - of the content you publish - and can teach your team how to use the system effectively over time.
6. Business Status
Are you a startup? Growth company? Mid-market enterprise? Does your business have a strong social media presence or following? Depending on how big your company is, different packages will be more ideal. If you’re a startup interested in implementing inbound marketing into your marketing strategy, you’d probably be looking at smaller packages that will help get you on your feet, while you find your place in the market. Similarly, if your business is more well-known and established, but lacking in marketing strategy, you would probably want to opt for a larger package that has more features and services included.
Keep in mind that merely purchasing an inbound marketing package doesn’t immediately set you up on the road to success. Inbound marketing thrives on content - both the quality and the quantity. It’s critical to make sure that your business is keeping up with your blog, e-newsletters, white papers, and other components of your strategy.
Of course, one benefit of a comprehensive inbound marketing package is that it allows your agency or consultant to manage these objectives on your behalf. In order for you to experience results, you must be committed to your inbound marketing strategy and to the marketing agency or consultant you select as your partner. That begins by selecting the right package for your business.
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