Inbound Marketing has many synonyms like- online marketing, Search marketing, Internet Marketing and Digital Marketing. It doesn’t matter with what name you call it- it takes time and specialization to get results. Few industrial, B2B companies have an inhouse team to handle the various components of Inbound Marketing, while others interview Inbound Marketing agencies that can help them drive to their goals. But the real question is what should an interviewer look for in an Inbound Marketing firm to determine whether they are the right fit for the business or not:
#1. Do They Have The Required B2B Experience?
A firm with only one token in its roster of clients or none for the worst of it, is probably not your best choice. You should look for company that has a long history and extensive list of work experience with B2B or industrial service marketing. If you find one with experience in your industry domain, even better. Even if the experience in the right domain is present, the next level to judge a B2B marketing firm is that how well is there track record in the industry sector. You can ask them for case studies for industrial companies and especially B2B Inbound marketing. Other indicator could be the samples of their monthly reporting to other clients.
No matter what an Inbound Marketing agency tells you to close a deal but there is a huge difference in industrial marketing and B2C, or retail marketing. The bottom line is that if you select the right firm with industrial experience, you’ll not end up explaining every single thing to them; you’ll get better service; no time would be wasted to get things done; They’ll be able to make necessary changes or recommendations in the methods they employ to attract clients; all of this will maximize your Return On Investment(ROI).
#2. Can They Strategize And Execute?
Most Inbound marketing firms have separate departments that execute the various components of Inbound Marketing Campaign- SEO, SMM, and Content Marketing. Make sure that you work in tandem with the lead strategist to understand how they are going to make your campaign work. There is not one method to implement Inbound marketing. The strategies change not only with the difference with the industry type in B2B space, but also with unique demands of every business. Every client is unique and there will be variations in strategy and tactics based on goals, budget, and internal resources.
#3. What Technologies Are Employed by Them?
If designing your company’s website is the first step for you, then make sure that you hire a firm that utilizes an open source web development software, such as WordPress, ModX,Joomla, or Drupal. A custom made CMS for your website may sound more enticing to you because of its cheap development cost, but after a few years you’ll realize that only this Inbound marketing agency will be able to migrate it to any other platform of your choice. If you use a website that is built on an open source then you can find any programmer who will be able to migrate your entire website to a new platform if required.
The other technologies that concern you are what automation software or what analytics software is used for reporting the stats to you and what is the frequency going to be for reporting.
#4. Do They Have a Cohesive Unit to Work on Your Project?
Many Inbound Marketing agencies have been found to include Inbound Marketing in their promotional material as their main-stream product but the reality is that they outsource most of their services to freelancers. There is a proliferation of freelancers who specialize in Search Engine Optimization, Social Media marketing, and Web Content Marketing.
Look for a firm that can offer you the team according to your requirements. Ask them to meet the key players like- the strategist, the team leaders or the designers who are the “technical wizards behind the curtain” that most marketing agencies never give a client access to.
#5. The Agreement- Make Sure You Read it
Most of the Inbound Marketing firms require to sign a year contract or even more to work with a new client. Make sure you understand the terms you are agreeing to, and that it is acceptable to you.
Do your homework; ask all the questions above or even more that come in your mind to satisfy yourself that you are choosing the right firm. Apart from this, communication with the agency is very important after you have made the decision to hire the agency; be responsive, work closely with them, and provide whatever information they need to buid traction and deliver results.