Read through any number of blogs today and you're bound to start thinking that taking on inhouse inbound marketing is no big deal. Growth hacking is all the rage and the way sites like Startup Jungle make it seem, it's super simple to angle the market in your favor without having the full blown budget of the big boys.
But is every startup really ready for that task? Can you tell your actionable metrics from your measurable ones? Are you really ready to tackle inhouse inbound marketing without a full understanding of what it actually entails? Here are some questions to ask yourself that will help you make the right decision.
Is Inhouse Inbound Marketing Right for Your Startup?
1. Do You Have a Dedicated Coder?
Growth hacking is a great way to boost your traffic in a minimal amount of time, but it involves someone that many startups overlook: a dedicated coder. Take AirBnB for example. When they coded their site to take listings directly off of Craigslist, they couldn't have done this without a coder that was not only full-time, but also innovative and extremely competent. Coding and scraping is going to be a big part of your inhouse inbound marketing since you don't have a professional marketing agency on your side - are you prepared?
2. Do You Have the Time to Pivot?
Another big part of running a successful inhouse inbound marketing team with your startup is being able to monitor metrics in real time and pivot - that is, readjust your strategy based on real time data. You need a dedicated team to constantly reevaluate your marketing strategies and campaigns while A/B testing your content to quickly hack the growth you need. Unfortunately, that's often more time and manpower than many startups plan for when attempting to setup their own inhouse inbound marketing team. Are you being realistic with your resources as they relate to your expectations?
3. Are You Following the Right Metrics?
A big part of cutting down on time and waste in inhouse inbound marketing is knowing exactly what to look for in order to evaluate and pivot. Without the proper metrics, you waste time looking at the wrong features of your campaign. For most startups, this means getting caught up in vanity metrics, or metrics that don't really matter - for example, likes on Facebook. Sure, you have 10,000 likes, but how many are qualified leads? How many are just liking it because it's funny and have no idea who you are? Vanity metrics get in the way of good business because they initially impress your bosses. Unfortunately, this only leads to a bigger disappointment when the conversion rates and sales numbers don't match the projections from the inhouse inbound marketing department thanks to the inflated expectations from following the wrong metrics. Can you say with confidence that you know which metrics matter most?
4. Do You Have an Inhouse Inbound Marketing Strategy?
Finally, you need to be certain that you have an inhouse inbound marketing strategy in place. Too many startups think that they can just "wing it" since posting on Facebook and Twitter is a rudimentary skill learned in the second grade nowadays. But there is so much more to a successful inhouse inbound marketing strategy - defined goals, qualifications, lead generation, avenues of traffic, retargeting - it's simply impossible to go in without a plan.
The bottom line here is that before you consider starting your inhouse inbound marketing strategy efforts, you should really talk with an agency to see what they can offer. It can mean the difference between success and failure in your startup.