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Posted bywpbizSat, Aug 3, 2013 @ 1:51 pm
As a marketing executive or small business owner, you’re used to discussing blogging, search engine optimization (SEO) and social media with marketing agencies during the courtship process. This is what you’re hiring them to do. But there’s a problem when the conversation centers on these activities, and it will keep your company off course. Because the conversation really needs to be about about your business from the start.
The Traditional Process of Hiring an Agency
You’ve experienced it, haven’t you? You meet with a number of, say, social media agencies, hear similar pitches, talk a lot about nifty tools and growing audiences in channels that hopefully result in business, gather proposals and make a guess. Or pick based on price. Or reputation. And in the end, is this effort really affecting your bottom line? Maybe. But you’re probably not sure how a bunch of Facebook likes are helping you make money. So why does it really matter who you hire?
Inbound Marketing Adds Greater Value
Actually, it is possible to to see if Facebook is helping you generate revenue. I know a small business owner who can trace $1 million in revenue back to one blog post. One. Blog. Post. He knows this because he’s practicing inbound marketing, a strategy that helps businesses grow using online content and a process modeled around buyer behavior. Yes, inbound marketing requires a really cool tool that allows you to measure marketing results. But its real power is tracking all activity to the conversion of leads and sales.
And it’s all meaningless unless we understand how to use it to achieve your business goals. To answer an earlier question, it really does matter who you hire.
“It’s not a solution unless it ties back to your business goals.”
I will ask you about numbers when we speak, sure. They are critical, because inbound programs are derived from them. How many blogs, offers, landing pages, social media interactions do we need to attract x amount of traffic; convert y number of leads? We can’t know how much activity or frequency is needed until we know the endgame. So numbers are paramount.
What Do You Want to Achieve and Why?
But I also need to know the softer goals and why they are important—in the theatre we call this your motivation. My car is on its last legs, so next year I need to be able to afford a new one. I don’t live in a public transportation-friendly city, so the car is key. I know what I can afford and spend, but the urgency is being driven by the fact that Honda heaven looms large. What’s yours? Retirement, your child’s college education, a dream vacation, a new house? It doesn’t have to be monumental, but it does help me determine how aggressive your plan needs to be. Which determines cost.
The time we spend focusing on and clarifying your business goals should be a good exercise for you, too. What will achieving them help you do? Have you really stopped to think about goals in a broader context? What happens if you achieve them—or if you don’t?
Inbound is a way to simplify marketing, which is a godsend in of itself. And you do reap value from channel activities, but it only happens by having deep discussions about your goals. Then it is possible to design an inbound marketing solution.
Which I’d love to do for you!