5 Questions to Ask before Starting an Inbound Marketing Program
If your company is thinking about implementing an inbound marketing program, one of the most important factors is realizing how big of a maneuver this actually is. A full inbound marketing campaign shifts the entire focus of your marketing and sales teams and reorients their mind-sets to new tactics. Because this is such a major choice with holistic consequences for your company, you need to arm yourself with the necessary information regarding inbound marketing in order to know if it’s a good fit or not. With that in mind, the following are five questions to ask before you jump into any inbound marketing campaign.
Is Inbound Marketing Right for Your Business? Here are Important Questions to Ask – Before You Proceed With an Inbound Markeitng Program.
1. What are the business goals and objectives you’re looking to achieve through inbound marketing?
What are you actually trying to achieve? For example, are you looking to generate more leads to your site, or are you trying to promote a new product offering? If you can’t pinpoint what you want to accomplish through inbound marketing, your chances of succeeding with it are greatly diminished.
If you know what you’re looking to do, however, you’re in a much better position to determine if your goals and objectives align with what inbound marketing can provide.
Remember, your goals should always be SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time sensitive). If your goals aren’t SMART, it doesn’t matter how great of an inbound marketing strategy you implement—you’ll never get to where you want to go.
At the end of the day, goals should also ultimately be about increasing your revenue and growing your business.
2. Do you have organizational buy-in to help ensure an inbound marketing program will work?
If you don’t have understanding and buy-in from every group in your company affected by your inbound marketing campaign, you’re far less likely to succeed. From C-level management down, the individuals within your company must understand the principles of inbound marketing and believe that those principles, when applied diligently, strategically, and consistently, will work.
When you’re looking to inbound marketing agencies or inbound marketing consultants (whichever is the better fit for your company), you want people who will provide that necessary training and the educational value regarding inbound marketing. The right people will take the time to teach your company what inbound marketing is and the theory behind the strategy of your campaign.
If your marketing and sales teams truly understand why inbound marketing can be so effective, they are in the best positions to succeed with it. That means selecting a consultant or agency that puts a high premium on educating its clients rather than just implementing the program.
3. What is your budget for an inbound marketing campaign?
This is largely a logistical question, but it’s an important one. Do you have the necessary resources to implement an inbound marketing campaign? Assess your available resources early on. After all, no resources means no campaign.
There are two major things you need to consider with this.
Can you implement an inbound marketing campaign internally?
If you want to do the work in house, you must have the infrastructure that supports it. Namely, this means having employees who have both the knowledge base and ability to craft your blogs, social media updates, e-mail campaigns, and more.
Can you hire an inbound marketing agency?
If you determine you don’t have the necessary resources to do this work in house, it will be necessary to hire an inbound marketing agency to complete that work for you. This means budgeting for these services and determining if your company is in a position to afford this.
Whether you tackle this internally or externally, make sure your goals are realistic in light of your available resources. If you don’t have the budget to hire out two blog posts a week, you might have to start smaller and realign your goals.
4.How much time can you allocate to your inbound marketing program?
As with budget, if you don’t have the necessary resources (in this case, time), you won’t have success with inbound marketing.
Realize going in that an in-house effort is going to take a significant amount of time. It involves:
- Marketing and sales alignment facilitation.
- Content and SEO strategy development.
- Buyer persona creation.
- Content creation.
- Content publishing.
- Marketing automation and CRM integration.
- Mapping the content to the buyer’s journey.
- Content catalogue creation.
- Lead-scoring system implementation (to know when to best hand off leads).
You must realistically assess if you have the time, expertise, and technical abilities within your internal staff to successfully complete this process.
If you choose an external program, it’s still going to be a time investment, but you will have access to the agency or consultant’s resources and expertise.
You’ll still be involved in the management process, but you can potentially save a lot of time and effort by allowing the expert to guide your content creation strategy and system set up rather than attempting this through costly trial and error.
An external marketer or consultant can also provide educational value, so you can learn the inbound marketing process and expertise yourself over time. Then, in the future, you can decide to take the process in house if desired.
5. Are your marketing and sales teams aligned?
Without effective alignment of marketing and sales, your inbound campaign is at a huge disadvantage.
To help align these teams, make sure they have shared goals and common objectives. The easiest way to ensure that is by putting a service-level agreement (SLA) in writing.
An SLA can also stipulate how effective communication throughout the sales cycle—from buyer persona creation to content mapping to lead nurturing—will be achieved.
An SLA is just one effective way to promote sales enablement in your inbound marketing efforts.
Learn how to increase marketing and sales productivity by developing a predictable, gowning sales pipeline through inbound marketing and sales enablement.