Hiring an inbound marketing agency to power up your marketing efforts is exciting. You've carried out your research, created a shortlist and, finally, found your perfect match. But your work doesn't stop there.
While you rightly expect your chosen agency to deliver great results, you also have a vital role to play in achieving this. The emphasis is on working in partnership, to ensure that you get the most out of your new relationship. Having entered into a contract with you, your agency has a vested interest in your business and they want it to succeed as much as you do.
By knowing how to conduct this professional relationship from the start, you maximise your chances of success. So how should you work with your inbound marketing agency?
Treat them as a partner
You should view your inbound marketing agency as a group of people that you can work with to generate innovative and exciting marketing campaigns, which will help you to connect with more of the right people.
The emphasis is really on working together. So don't put up barriers – invite them in to view the inner workings of your business. Let them see what drives you; what your fears are; what you really, really want to achieve (even if it seems unreachable). And don't be afraid to reveal the less favourable aspects of your business – it's important to put all your cards on the table.
The best agencies will want to learn all this as a matter of course – after all, the more they understand about how your organisation operates, the better the results they will be able to help you achieve.
And while you can still have a successful working relationship if you treat your agency as a vendor, the output you receive is likely to lack that extra spark of creativity and dynamism that derives from a true partnership.
Show off your expertise
Your inbound marketing agency has the marketing nous; you are the experts when it comes to your business and wider industry. Your partner can plan, execute and analyse high-quality marketing campaigns across a variety of channels – but they need your insights and knowledge to ensure that these perfectly hit their mark.
Even if you know next to nothing about marketing, you know a lot about the workings of your organisation. Across the board, there is likely a treasure trove of untapped knowledge - for instance, your sales team will know the types of questions that crop up from potential customers again and again.
In the planning stages of a marketing campaign, in particular, your input can add another dimension to proceedings. It's also really important to ensure that you take this role seriously. If your partner asks you to provide something to aid a campaign - for instance, a list of FAQs, or statistics about a product - try and get it out of the door as soon as possible.
Trust their judgement
While it's essential to work as equal partners and your knowledge is an invaluable resource, there will be times when you simply have to trust your agency. Occasionally, this might entail agreeing to a course of action that you're wary of – but it's important to have faith in your choice of partner and to let them do their job.
Often, it takes time for an inbound marketing approach to take effect – six months is generally a good benchmark. Throughout this period, consistency is the key – for example, blogging on a weekly basis, launching campaigns on a quarterly schedule, and sending out bimonthly email newsletters.
Inbound works by building an engaged and relevant audience through the power of content; an audience that will eventually generate new customers. Clearly, this isn't a process that will happen overnight. So if things feel a little slow to start with, it's important to stay on course and trust in your partner's judgement. The leads - and customers - that you go on to acquire will be all the more valuable as a result of your efforts.
Choosing to work with an inbound marketing agency is a brilliant way to energise your marketing efforts and form meaningful connections with more of the right people. However, the success of your venture will be dependent on the health and quality of your relationship. It needs to be a partnership in the true sense of the word, with both sides working to achieve the best results.