So you’ve read about all the awesome things inbound marketing can do and you want to learn more. Great! The next step is to determine if you are ready to get started. Inbound is somewhat of a complicated process with lots of moving parts, so you can save yourself (and your agency partner) a lot of time, money, and energy by making sure your organization is fully prepared to commit.
Before diving into the world of inbound marketing, all business owners and marketing professionals should ask themselves the following questions:
Do I need immediate results?
Inbound marketing takes time to work. You can expect a “ramp-up” period of about three to six months before you start to see full impact that inbound can have. So if you are in a crunch and need to produce new leads right now, inbound alone isn’t going to save the day. But this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t move forward with inbound marketing – just be realistic. We usually recommend that our clients invest in paid advertising to produce immediate results while their inbound campaign is still gaining momentum and have seen a lot of success with this strategy.
Am I ready for a partnership?
In order to be successful with inbound marketing, you’ll need to go in with a higher level of commitment than you do with your other vendors. In fact, you shouldn’t even treat your inbound agency like a vendor at all, you should treat them like a valued partner and an extension of your brand. Inbound marketing is an ongoing process that will need to be constantly refined and improved on a consistent basis. This means you should be looking for an agency that you can have a long-term relationship with.
This goes both ways, too. Watch out for agencies that want to be treated like a vendor. Chances are they don’t know how to get results and are much more comfortable handing over deliverables such as blog posts, email campaigns, content offers and such. Don’t settle for this – make sure you are getting results by being involved in your inbound campaign.
Am I prepared to invest?
Most businesses expect to see results within the first six months when getting started with inbound marketing. While this is perfectly understandable and achievable, you’ll need to invest heavily (around $10,000 a month) within those first six months to see this kind of growth. During this time, you’ll have to prep the program, create content, develop a strategy, and align all other aspects of sales and marketing as they relate to your inbound process.
Of course, you can absolutely get by on a smaller budget, but understand that you will not see the kind of rapid growth you might be expecting.
Do I have a strong sales process?
Inbound marketing, by itself, won’t solve all your problems. If you aren’t 100 percent happy with your sales process, you should focus on creating one that is clear, repeatable, and easily scalable before you dive into the world of inbound marketing. All the leads in the world won’t mean a thing if your sales team isn’t following up and closing deals.
You should also ensure that the line of communication between your sales and marketing teams is open or else you are going to have a lot of problems producing qualified leads for your sales team. Marketing needs to know what is happening with the leads they are providing or else they won’t be able to focus their efforts on the most reliable lead sources, which equals a lot of wasted effort and frustration.
Prepare For Success with Inbound Marketing
Inbound marketing can produce amazing results for any business in any industry. However, you need to be sure you are prepared to do it right and that your expectations are realistic. Are you ready for a long-term partnership with your inbound agency? If you need quick results, are you prepared to make the necessary investment? Is your sales process full-proof and scalable?
If you aren’t 100 percent sure on any of this, that is perfectly OK. A good inbound marketing agency will work with you to help get things set up and develop a strategy that works for your business, so don’t hesitate to reach out and start vetting agencies as soon as possible.