Over the past five years, HubSpot has enjoyed tremendous business growth with thousands of happy customers worldwide documenting high return on investments when shifting from outbound to inbound.
So, it is not surprising that more and more Fortune 1000 companies have come to understand the benefits inbound marketing could bring to their business and are actively looking for the best suited Hubspot partner agency to help them leverage those benefits.
When Fortune 1000 companies want to hire an outsourced agency to handle their marketing activities, they make their choice based on certain criteria such as industry expertise, high quality of services and guarantees. However, hiring an agency can be really challenging, even for them.
One of the main problems is the “buzz” created around inbound marketing, so tons of SEO firms and social media agencies have recast themselves as inbound marketing firms, in order to get a piece from the pie. This makes it rather difficult to separate the pros from the posers. Below are some helpful suggestions to make the search and qualification process easier and more reliable.
Agency Core Services
Inbound marketing is based on four core services, each of which include certain tactical components, and if these tactics are put together into a coherent strategy, the agency can deliver real value to clients. These four services are as follows:
- Generating traffic to a website through SEO, blogging and social media marketing
- Ability to develop premium content, necessary for converting strangers into leads, by building landing pages and call to actions
- Work up tailored lead-nurturing campaigns to convert leads into customers
- Analyse and measure every step in the process to make adjustments and get better results for future campaigns
Questions to Ask for the qualified agency:
- What tactics do you use to generate traffic/ leads and convert them into customers?
- Which KPIs do you focus on and how do you report on progress?
- What client examples best prove success that your agency has delivered?
Sound Strategy and Clearly-Defined Delivery Process
First and foremost, your potential Hubspot partner agency should dive into your business and explore the ins and out, and only then make recommendations and develop a strategy aimed at achieving goals and challenges peculiar to your business.
Expect a timeline for each step and documented tactics they plan to employ. Make sure that each component of the strategy make logical sense.
Questions to Ask
- What do you recommend us to do first, second, etc (given that the agency has already studied the business, and defined its goals and challenges)
- What is the weak side of our current marketing strategy?
- What component of inbound marketing correlates with our business goals best of all?
When considering a partnership with inbound marketing agency, one of the first questions you should ask is who's in the team you will be working with. It is very important not to worry about experience and expertise of the marketers whom you trust your company success.
Questions to Ask:
- How can you prove the experiences of your team members are relevant to my business?
- Who will be my account manager and responsible person for my project?
When choosing an inbound marketing partner, check whether the company has certifications. Start with Inbound Certification offered by Hubspot. If the staff of inbound marketing agency is not inbound certified, it is a red flag, as there will be no evidence of its expertise in this area.
HubSpot certification proves not only theoretical knowledge, but also a practicum illustrating the ability to master the HubSpot platform. And finally, HubSpot Partner Certification, which means that the agency is able to do great inbound work and keep customers happy.
Website in Tune with Inbound Marketing Techniques
A picture is worth a thousand words, an old proverb says. When deciding on which agency to utilize don't just listen to its sales pitch; dig into the website to gain some insights into how good they are at what they do. Glancing swiftly at testimonials page and success stories is not enough to see the whole picture, so make sure to thoroughly examine all the website pages to find out whether they are constructed in an inbound style they recommend you to use. If the agency is strong in inbound marketing, then you should be able to locate that prominently displayed on their website. Think twice before hiring an agency that do not practice what it preaches.
Questions to Ask:
- What results do your inbound efforts bring to your website?
- What are key takeaways from using inbound marketing to promote your business?
High-impact inbound marketing cannot be crafted without a thorough understanding of your industry. In other words, subject matter expertise is a must for the inbound agency. When the agency has experience and expertise in your industry and have worked with companies like yours it already knows the marketplace specific features and can easily dive into your business. In addition, you won’t have to pay an agency for learning your business — it is something that agency should do on its own time. Expertise is even more essential for content creation, because it is impossible to produce premium content without realizing your customers’ pain points and market dynamics.
- Have you an expertise in my industry?
- What companies in my niche you worked with before?
- Can we talk with clients for which you produces successful results?
Fact-Based Case Studies
There can be no other evidences of agency expertise than fact-based case studies. Those vague case studies unable to provide solid numbers measuring success or name the company the agency was working with are no longer in play. The point is history of proven relevant success that make your comfortable in several ways. First, it should prove successful performance of the project in a niche similar to yours, so you can be sure that the agency can help you achieve success as well.
Case study is also a good source of information about what key performance indicators they use and how well they understand what matters for companies in your niche. Finally, case studies can show how well the marketing agency understands the goals and challenges of their customers.
When you are looking for an inbound marketing agency, you should definitely aimed for finding one that will be on the same wavelength with you. No matter how credible the agency is, if there is no cultural fit or chemistry, it will be very hard to work with them on a daily basis.
The agency you are partnering with should be your teammate, and not someone who will dictate you a strategy. Just as you do when hiring new employees, be sure to choose a partner agency who can easily fit into your corporate culture and with whom it will be easy and fun to interact on a regular basis.
You have a long way to go with your inbound marketing partner, so don’t rush the process, do your due diligence. Thoroughly analyze the competencies of Hubspot partner agencies, their strength and weaknesses. Consider your business goals and find out which company on the list has strengths that can help you achieve them. Ask lots of questions, gather objective data and don’t forget about chemistry. An ideal partner agency relationship is a mixture of skills and chemistry, and if there is no chemistry, chances are the agency is not a good fit for you.