An inbound marketing strategy isn't an easy thing to launch, and may be one of the responsibilities you should delegate to an expert so that you can focus your energy on running your startup. However, how do know if your inbound marketing strategist is right for you?
The right inbound marketing strategy can drive prospects to your website, convert them into leads, and make things much easier on your sales professionals. The wrong strategy can be a monetary sinkhole and even result in personal embarrassment.
Here are some ways to evaluate a potential inbound marketing professional or agency:
They Focus On Content
Content is an instrumental part of an inbound marketing strategy, but many marketers fail in their content strategy because they are fuzzy on the details. A great content marketer will already have a portfolio of ideas ready to go. They won't all be winners, but just the fact that they have been putting time and effort into content generation means that they won't be winging it or throwing some content out there just to see what works.
They Have Personas Ready To Go
Every self-respecting inbound marketing or product development professional starts with personas. These fictitious, potential customers act like the profile that the FBI uses to catch criminals, only in the case of marketers they are capturing audience engagement. These personas are the guideline to who your audience is, what they value, and what need you have to fulfill for them. It may take some time and feedback from several of your departments to create a finished persona, but any marketing professional worth working with is already working on a template or rough draft.
They Can Map Out Your Product's Lifecycle
Just as you are aware of your product's lifecycle, so must your inbound marketing department. If you know that you are going to need to release a new product annually or that competition is going to force obsolescence, a marketing pro who is working with the mistaken notion that a slow-developing plan or perpetual branding effort is going to work for you may not be your best choice. Getting a professional who understands your product lifecycle and will market accordingly is the only way to get the results you need when you need them.
Job Number One Is Problem Solving
Great marketers realize that they are solving a problem or fulfilling a need, and it is this that drives visitors to your website. No matter what funnel they are using, from direct emails to blogging, that truth is central to their content strategy. If your marketing pro cannot articulate the problem that they propose to be the solution for, that could be a big red flag.
They Do Their Research
There is a ton of market research out there, and even more available from your own analytics. You may have an entire team whose only job is to pore over it all. The inbound marketing professional or agency you want is already read up on it. They know the statistics, the demographics, and the way to use it to quantify the problem that your potential leads want solved. Research is only half the battle, but if you were in a battle would you want to lose half of it? Marketers who do their research will be prepared to address concerns and have answers to questions before they are even asked.
This may just be scratching the surface of what to look for in your inbound marketing professional or agency, but it is a great start to getting an outstanding campaign off the ground for your startup.