When business owners and company marketing departments hire outside firms, such as inbound marketing or social media companies, to manage and implement activities outside of their own core competencies, many often hope the outside firm will take care of the heavy lifting, permitting the in-house staff to be largely “hands-off” in the process.
But the fact is, no one knows your business, your prospects, and what they need and want, better than you and your sales and marketing teams. You can leave your inbound marketing firm to its own devices, but you won't see the results you want as quickly as you'd like. So how can you help?
- Provide your inbound marketing firm with your buyer persona definitions. (Don't have them yet? Learn how to develop them here.) Buyer personaes were written for a reason. And that reason is not just to get your sales and marketing teams thinking specifically about their audience, (although they accomplish that business objective better than nearly any other technique out there), but also to provide an easy-to-reference starting point for others involved in your company's strategic marketing efforts.
- Enroll in-house personnel to stoke the fires, share ideas, and keep everyone excited about the inbound marketing plan. Your inbound marketing firm is there to help maintain momentum, but only with cooperation from your staff.
- Make a time commitment yourself. We've all been there: We spend too much time working IN our businesses to work ON our businesses. But the good news about inbound marketing is that a planned time commitment can yield big results -- because you have the right inbound marketing firm working on your behalf. Be involved in the high level, big picture decisions and in tracking the results in order to make the right adjustments... and leave the rest to a combination of enthusiastic, passionate in-house staff and your inbound marketing firm.
- Execute, test, refine, repeat. Understand that any campaign is a process of execution, testing, refinement, and then doing it all over again. An inbound marketing firm should have the right technology and analytics in place to keep this process streamlined and effective, but understand that inbound marketing is a mix of art and science.
- Be patient. In the beginning, you'll see incremental changes as you achieve your goals for organic traffic, engagement, click-throughs, etc. Given time, these will results in buyer conversions. But not right away. Understanding that a successful inbound marketing plan requires commitment and patience is the best thing you can do for your company's efforts.