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You Want To Hire An Inbound Marketing Agency? Here's What To Look For

Inbound Marketing Agencies Come In Many Colors And Flavors

You found inbound marketing. It’s what your company’s been missing all these years.

You have a small team of marketing people, but unfortunately, they don’t know inbound. Or, you’ve been working with a local agency, and while those people are nice, they don’t know inbound either.

You’ve made the decision to find an inbound agency to help you ramp up faster and teach your internal team what to do and when to do it. That’s solid thinking. Now you need to go on a search for the right inbound marketing agency for you.

Because so many inbound agencies look and sound strangely similar, here are five non-negotiables you should be looking for as part of your search.



Inbound Marketing Challenges? Try Calling Your Prospects Back

Inbound Marketing Won’t Make The Calls For You  This Is Where You Come In

This article might come off as a little brash. But, over the past few days, I’ve had a series of utterly awful experiences with potential service providers, and it got me thinking about a few of our experiences with clients and other businesses that just left me asking, WHY?

We recently moved our offices and need a new dry cleaning pick-up service. I searched on the web for that exact service, found a company, went to its website, got the phone number, called and left a message. Bang – inbound marketing at its best, right? Wrong. Days have gone by with no return phone call.

Since we’re new to the office community, we don’t know all the lunch places yet. One day, I saw a truck pulling up in the parking lot, bringing healthy sandwiches and salads into another building. I stopped the delivery person, asked about the company and told him we have 50 people in our office and I’d like to have someone call me about using their service. I gave him my business card with my cell number, and it’s been almost a week with no phone call. I guess they don’t want a new client.

Here are some more ridiculous stories of poor follow-through.



Why Content Marketing And Inbound Marketing Drive Organic Search Results

Content Is At The Core Of How You Get People To Your Website

There are many different inbound marketing agencies out there. Some of them have legacy search engine optimization experience, meaning that’s what they did before they were an inbound agency. They helped companies get found on Google, Yahoo and Bing.

They used tactics like backlinks, directories, website copy, page architecture and other black-box techniques to increase your rankings. Most of the time, these tactics worked pretty well. But, the end game is not just to be on the first page of the search rankings. The end game for marketing is to drive leads for your business.

When you adopt an inbound approach to getting found, the end game is much more central to the overall strategy. An agency like Square 2 Marketing, with no legacy search engine optimization experience, has had to rely 100% on content marketing techniques to drive our client search engine optimization strategy and high-quality rankings for clients. The results have been pretty amazing.



Why Marketing Software Alone Won't Cure Your Inbound Marketing Blues

Software Is Never The Solution If Your Process And Methodology Are Flawed

It really has nothing to do with inbound marketing. This comment applies to everything. If your sales process is bad, CRM software won’t help. If your logistics and supply chain are faulty, ERP software won’t help. If you lack the financial controls, financial software won’t help.

So, if your current marketing is not working and you don’t know why, don’t start looking at marketing automation software until you understand how to make marketing work for your company.

If software isn’t the answer, what is the reason your marketing isn’t working? The answer is usually more about strategy and tactics than it is about what software you’re using to execute. Remember, software is only a hammer. If you don’t know how to build the deck or you don’t have the right wood, nails, glue and footings, your deck is going to be a hot mess no matter how good your hammer is.



How To Use Pay-Per-Click In An Inbound Marketing Program

Is Pay-Per-Click Inbound Marketing? We Think So, If Applied Properly

Is pay-per-click considered inbound marketing? It’s a question we’ve been asking for a while, and honestly, our answer has changed over time. Not because we’re fickle or we’re hedging, but rather we’ve figured out how to infuse pay-per-click into our clients inbound programs. This has allowed us to answer the question as follows: Of course, pay-per-click is part of inbound marketing.

OK, but isn’t pay-per-click interruptive advertising? I guess so if you look at it logically. When you change your lens, however, and start marketing educational content with a highly personalized user experience, as well as use the micro-targeting available from social sites, you get a very effective inbound tactic that drives leads for clients.



A Day In The Life Of An Inbound Marketing Scientist

Test Results, Experimental Design And Performance Reviews, Oh My!

When I tell people my title, I don’t get asked, “What do you do all day?” But, I’ve always attributed that to most people not really knowing, being a little shy to ask and simply assuming it’s related to improving our inbound marketing agency’s ability to get clients better results – and they wouldn’t be wrong.

So, it seems reasonable to think that it would make sense for me to share with you what a Chief Inbound Scientist does, how the role helps our clients, how it helps our team and why we think every inbound agency needs one if they want to ensure the delivery of client results.



Inbound Marketing Training Impacts Results From Inbound 10X

If You Are Trying To Figure Out Inbound Marketing On Your Own, Consider Other Options

Do you remember the last time you did something for the first time? It felt uncomfortable. It was hard. You probably wanted to quit. You had to repeat it many more times before you felt like you knew how to do it and were comfortable with it. It’s also very likely that you made your fair share of mistakes along the way. This process is difficult.

Think about learning to play the guitar, training for a marathon or adopting a new language. The best way to get past the initial learning stage is to get help. We all seek advice, education and training to help us get better at new skills. This shortens the time it takes and enables us to learn from someone more experienced.



Why Stories Are Critical For Inbound Marketing Success

Inbound Marketing Is Designed For People, And People Love Stories

You can look at your marketing as an academic exercise, and you can consider it business as usual, but if you want your investment in marketing to pay off, you need to keep the customer’s human condition in mind. There’s a reason why the team at HubSpot took a stuffed animal to meetings as a way to represent the customer. There’s also a reason why we spend two months working with clients to come up with the stories that prospects need to hear in order to feel comfortable enough to become new customers.

People and stories go back to the beginning of time. Our brains are designed to retain stories, to share stories, to connect with stories. This is why your stories are such a critical aspect of your inbound marketing strategy. This is also why some inbound marketing programs fail to deliver results: If the stories are missing, your program is lacking a major component. Don’t believe me? Check out this great article from Fast Company on how our brains crave stories.



Inbound Marketing Makes Snapchat An Option For Social Media Marketing

Picking The Right Social Media Network Is About Matching Personas

Inbound marketing gives practitioners the ability to use some of the newest social media platforms to drive new visitors to their website and new leads for their business. Snapchat is one of the latest entrants into the social media race.

Not sure about Snapchat? Or, maybe you’ve never heard of it? Check out these amazing stats.

As of May 2015, Snapchat had over 100 million daily users: 37% are aged 18 to 24 (a very difficult demographic to target), and 26% are 25 to 34. This means there are 63 million Snapchat users between the ages of 18 and 34. That’s a lot of people if those ages fit your target personas.

Continue reading, and we’ll help you take advantage of a potential tectonic shift in social media marketing.



What I Learned About Inbound Marketing During My John Deere Factory Tour

Assembly Lines Don’t Work For Inbound Marketing Engagements

We’ve been doing work for a John Deere dealer, and yesterday, I had the pleasure of being invited down to Cary, NC, to spend the morning touring the John Deere factory. The experience was extremely enlightening, as they highlighted the checks and balances, efficiency systems and safety protocols designed to help John Deere produce a consistent and quality product over and over again.

That got me thinking about how inbound marketing can sometimes take on a factory or assembly line feel, as there are many tactics to be produced over and over again. However, it's crucial to remember that these blog articles, email campaigns and website pages are all unique. We’re not trying to deliver the same product every time. So, the key learning here is that inbound requires a level of creativity, innovation and strategic thinking that must be woven into almost every aspect of the effort.