What’s the first thing you think about when you picture ‘marketing automation’? Automated emails?...
How can you become an inbound marketing champion and improve your marketing agency client collaboration? See tips on how you can be a better client and marketer.
Inbound marketing is intense: not only for the agency doing your inbound marketing, but also for the client, and believe it or not, this is one of the major pros of choosing a marketing approach.
Two years ago, when I told people I was working at an Inbound Marketing Agency, they’d said, “a what agency?”. Fast forward two years, and the tables have turned. An array of industries are now talking about this term “inbound” and it’s not always in the traditional marketing sense of the term. Inbound is critical to the way businesses now do business - it’s not about the aggressive hard sell, instead, it’s about talking to people to help them solve problems and find opportunities. Let them come to you during their journey.
Being an inbound champion means you understand that marketing should have an ROI, and inbound marketing can achieve this. It’s so much more than your traditional strategy - it’s taking your full marketing strategy and giving it the legs, tools and goals it needs in order to achieve measurable results.
The best results come from clients who get it. It’s important during our onboarding process that our clients are 100% involved, and that we’re on the same page in terms of goals outcomes. This won’t happen overnight, however, as inbound by its very nature is not something every marketer will be aware of as a term, yet they might be practising the methodology without realising it. You need to be on their side, walk them through the process, and at times do a but of hand holding. Your message to clients should be: It’s ok to feel like a fish out of water- the inbound process can be uncomfortable, and can have you having to answer some tough questions about parts of your business that you may not want to come to terms with. That’s ok!
Inbound marketing isn’t just a journey for the customer’s customer, it’s also about the journey that our customers go on.
As a client, becoming your marketing agencies champion internally means you will have the best day-to-day knowledge of your company's marketing, and it’s one of the best ways to become an expert in the world’s fastest growing and most effective way of marketing.
Here are some practical tips you can use to become the inbound champion for your office.
1. Ask questions
It’s ok to feel out of your depth when starting an inbound strategy or onboarding process. Your team of inbound marketers are here to help you along the way and answer any questions you might have. Remember - not every question will have a direct answer, but it might lead to some fascinating discussions about your business.
Pro tip: You know your business best, and getting excited about your marketing is what’s going to encourage others - show them the numbers and statistics that support your marketing efforts
2. Decide who’s responsible for what in your team
Inbound marketing requires resource allocation from your side as the client - it’s important that you’re aware of this from the get go, and that you have the resources necessary to implement the campaign. Depending on your inbound marketing package, these resources could range from a content writer (content being the engine behind inbound marketing), through to the person writing your social media.
Pro tip: Don’t panic about the resources - we’re here to help guide you in terms of who you need to help you
3. Get your shi*t together. Every month. Every week. Every day
Running an account, no matter what the size or scope is, is bound to pose challenges. Now I’m not saying challenges in the negative sense of the word - I’m positioning the world challenge in this context as both an opportunity and hurdle. The challenges you may face on a daily basis could include client demands, time (TIME), scope of work (this isn’t in my SLA) as well as tight deadlines. There are an array of tools out there to help you get your shit together in terms of account management. One of the tools we use at Spitfire Inbound is WorkflowMax, which allocates time and resources to monthly jobs. You therefore know exactly the amount of time you have to spend on a job at the beginning of the month. Importantly, you should also be aware of the tasks you need to do that month. From meetings such as monthly report as well as status, you should have a clear focus as to what your focus for the month is. You can read more about the productivity tools we use here.
Pro tip: Keep a running list of your tasks that you will repeat every month - no need to reinvent the wheel every month!
4. Keep us in the loop
Press releases and important company news are vital for us to know - there are many reasons we need to keep up to date with you and your industry, and that’s why we’re sure to set up things like Google Alerts to be on top of any news that is made publicly available. Things like PR can be posted on your blog, and company news could prep us for any interactions we see from customers and prospects in the digital environment.
Pro tip: As your marketing agency, we love your company as much as we love ours, and any news you share is important for us to know
5. Share your ideas
Inbound marketing is collaborative, and the more ideas you share with us, the better inbound can work for you. Remember, with a tool like HubSpot, there are so many creative ways to implement marketing processes and strategies both internally and externally. So, when you have an idea, share it!
Pro tip: Keep a shared document of ideas which you can update whenever you have a moment of inspiration.
6. Keep monthly meetings structured, but with fluidity and agility
We run a monthly reporting meeting with each client, and depending on the level of package they’re on, either a monthly or bi-weekly status meeting. In the case of Barloworld Logistics, we have a bi-weekly status meeting. Now, while some people like a structured to do list and agenda, and to stick to it, others like to use these dedicated timeslots to explore opportunities, discuss ideas on the strategy, and anything else that’s relevant to the account’s success. I of course have a structured agenda, but before going in to the status meeting, am well aware that there will probably be one item on the agenda that we’ll focus on, either due to its complexity, importance, or both. My status meetings are completely working meetings, and not merely a “to do” list. I don’t believe that if you’re going to be agile in your strategy, you can be rigid with your to-dos.
Pro tip: Meetings are important as the tone and relationship can get lost in emails. Don’t make the meetings a waste of time - turning them into working meetings is the best way to overcome this.
7. Let us know what we’re doing well, and what we could do better
Our job is to do great inbound marketing for your company, and part of that involves building your trust in us. If there’s something that we do that you think is the bee’s knees, tell us - it makes us feel good. However, if there’s something we do that you don’t think is working, give us that feedback. Our goal is to make your marketing as simple and rewarding as possible, and so we want to address any frustrations you have early on.
It’s critical that the agency is there every step of the way. Specifically at the beginning of an Inbound campaign, clients tend to feel out of their comfort zones as it’s an expensive investment, not only from the tool’s perspective, but also in terms of the time commitment from their side. You can’t go into this alone. As the client, they need the backing and support from you. You need to reassure, commit, and succeed along the way. Go and work at their offices, touch base frequently, and don’t hesitate to pick up the phone.
Pro tip: Customer feedback is what allows us to build better business practices and processes, which means we can do better work for you. The more you give us, the better work we can do.
8. Have fun!
Working with a client and brand that you’re passionate on, means that your vested interested is solely focussed on their success. Have fun, be creative together, and don’t be afraid to invite your client out for a coffee or wine (I’m personally a wine person). It’s important that you’re in a partnership.
Whether you’re in an agency or specifically an inbound agency, the way you manage an account and the relationship with your client will determine many factors, namely success, transparency, and the length of the road you travel together.
Pro tip: Having fun is what builds your excitement and passion for the brand!
Want to find out more about how to make the most of your agency? Give us a call!