Inbound marketing remains one of the most popular types of marketing for B2B companies. In fact, globally, around 75% of marketers say they primarily conduct inbound marketing, whether through an inbound marketing company or in-house.
Due to its popularity, and the fact that it works for so many businesses, It is often the foundation on which other marketing strategies are built. The strategy ensures that you have a functioning online presence, which is so important in the digital-first world, and that your website can demonstrate your expertise in your chosen market.
Inbound marketing is the most cost-effective way to market your business, so it’s important to get it right.
However, while it is the most cost-effective form of marketing, it is also often the most time-consuming. This leads many B2B businesses to look for an inbound marketing company or agency. Understandably, it can be difficult to break through the noise and find the right one for your business.
They need to be able to integrate with your teams, and really understand your value within your market, so they have to be the right partner. No matter your industry, here’s what you need to look for in an inbound marketing company.
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Why Hire an Inbound Marketing Company?
As mentioned, inbound marketing can be time-consuming, especially if you haven’t already laid the foundations. However, it’s still an extremely important strategy for any B2B business, so it’s critical that you start building an inbound marketing approach.
Understandably, in a growing B2B business, in-house marketing teams are often already stretched. They are likely working on outbound and paid strategies as these pay dividends quicker than inbound. Writing long-form content and working on SEO strategies often take a back seat due to their lengthy nature. This is where an inbound marketing company can help.
It’s also important to note that inbound marketing requires SEO expertise, as well as teams of content creatives, to ensure you achieve maximum ROI. It’s not always feasible to hire an entire inbound team in-house. But, you need to be targeting the right keywords for your business, with the right messaging, and your content needs to provide value to targeted buyers.
Inbound marketing isn’t always easy to get right. Since it can take between 6-9 months to see the results of content marketing, it’s important to work with an expert to lay the marketing foundations for your business.
The First Steps
Before asking what you need to look for in an inbound marketing company, you first need to consider your requirements and needs. The first line of inquiry with any inbound marketing company will be what you’re looking to achieve, and what you need their help with. Without this information, it’s impossible to know whether the relationship will be a conducive one.
Begin by taking the time to look at your business, your existing marketing, and any goals you have for future sales and lead generation. Perhaps your website simply isn’t performing as it should. Do you simply need help with generating content as a top-up? Do you need help with SEO? Or, do you need advice on your wider inbound strategy?
Consider your goals for your inbound marketing campaign, and what problems you’re facing towards that goal. This information will be the major defining factor in what does or doesn’t make a good inbound marketing company for your business.
What to Look For
While finding the right company will be largely dependent on what you’re looking to achieve with your marketing, there are some key components that you should look for in any good inbound marketing company. Make sure that your potential partner can prove their position in their own market, and demonstrate their expertise on a larger scale.
Any good B2B tech inbound marketing company should love tech. That is to say, they should use the right tech to carry out their work as effectively as possible. They should be familiar with industry standards, and be able to help you integrate that tech into your marketing efforts.
Ask a potential partner company about their marketing tech stack. What companies are they working with? And, what tech are they using on a daily basis and why?
You should be able to identify some major names in the industry. For example, HubSpot is key for contact management and marketing automation. Tools like SEMrush are industry leaders in keyword analysis and SEO performance analysis. While they don’t specifically have to use these two companies, make sure they have verifiable knowledge of appropriate marketing tech for their industry.
This might seem like stating the obvious, but your potential inbound marketing company should be able to demonstrate its inbound marketing expertise. How did you find them? Did you use Google? That’s a good start.
Take a look at their website. It should have a clear UI and be optimized to rank on Google, both on desktop and mobile. The company needs to demonstrate that they’re up to date on Google algorithms, and understand how to keep their website in top condition.
It’s also worth browsing their content offering, and where they’re ranking. This demonstrates their content creation ability, and their understanding of SEO. Ultimately, if they can’t follow best practices for themselves, then they can’t promise to do the best for your business.
Many inbound marketing companies won’t just have experts in inbound marketing, and nor should they. Inbound marketing works best when it is integrated with outbound and paid advertising strategies.
Your outbound and paid provide valuable information to your inbound targeting. Without these analytics, your inbound targeting is more likely to fall short. Your content can also be a valuable addition to your other strategies.
One of the primary tenets of inbound marketing is to provide value to buyers first, rather than pitch to them. The same could be true for your interactions with your leads, no matter the channel. Use content to facilitate and nurture relationships with all leads at every stage. That’s why you need a marketing partner that understands the value of all strategies, not just inbound.
Visibility and Transparency
This might sound counterintuitive, but inbound marketing isn’t the perfect marketing strategy. It has its limitations. It’s time-consuming to carry out effectively, and it often takes 9 months or longer before you see results. If you see negative results, it can take that time again to rectify them.
Any potential inbound marketing company should be well aware of these limitations and challenges, and be upfront about them. If they say that inbound marketing is the be-all and end-all, then they’re not being honest with you. Transparency should be a critical element in your search for an agency or company.
Now, this isn’t to say that they should be all doom and gloom either. They need to be realistic. Inbound marketing has its limits, but they should demonstrate what they intend to do to address those challenges, and keep driving forward.
The Right Inbound Marketing Company for You
While all of this should be considered before signing a partnership with any agency or company, the final say lies with you. You know what you need from an inbound marketing company. You know what goals you’re working towards, and what advice or help you need to achieve them.
Get to know the challenges you’re facing, and what changes you’d like to make. This is critical information for any new partner. With this information, you can work together to build a strategy that works for both sides, and performs for your lead generation efforts.
At Nituno, we work with B2B tech companies to implement inbound marketing strategies that work. We can integrate seamlessly with in-house teams, or work independently to grow your lead generation, and enhance your customer acquisition. Get in touch with us today to discuss your holistic B2B marketing strategy.