Your Role in an Agency Onboarding Process
No one ever claimed that inbound marketing was easy. Effective? Absolutely. However, there’s a vast and varied set of skills behind the world’s greatest inbound brands.
A successful digital marketing strategy can require skills in web development, social media, SEO, content marketing, promotion, data analysis, and graphic design, to name a few. Heroes with the ability to hack all of these areas are rare, and individuals with true expertise in every aspect of digital marketing are only a little more common than unicorns.
Taking a multi-faceted approach to building brand awareness, generating leads, and closing new customers is complicated, which is why brands are increasingly choosing to work with an agency. Recent studies have found that as many as 50% of digital marketing activities are outsourced – and that figure is growing quickly!
Every business wants to see remarkable results from their new agency from day one. However, to some extent, your success will depend on just how actively you support your onboarding process. Getting your agency exactly what they need to succeed allows you to benefit from an improved quality of work.
While onboarding processes can vary significantly among even HubSpot’s partner agencies, here’s a few requests you’ll probably encounter during your first 30 days as a client:
1. Define Your Competitors
You and your agency both need to know who you’re competing against for customers. Brick-and-mortar brands should take factors like eCommerce competitors and the phenomenon of showrooming into consideration. Companies with similar search rankings aren’t always the best indicator of who you’re really vying against, and a great competitive analysis will consider factors like value, price points, and convenience. Your new inbound agency will blend your feedback on market placement with a thorough SEO analysis to determine what you’re really up against.
2. Share Successes and Failures
Even if your business has no experience with inbound marketing, it’s important to share what’s worked in the past. Hiring an agency may be your first foray into metrics-driven marketing, so no one’s expecting precise data on things like your visit-to-lead conversion rate. Share what’s worked in the past, and feedback you’ve gotten from customers if you have it. This isn’t crucial, but it can definitely help.
3. Provide Graphic Materials
If your agency is going to be creating any type of visual content, it’s incredibly helpful to provide logo files, and existing graphic materials that you’re happy with. Do you have a formal list of company branding standards that includes information like a description of your brand essence and color codes? You’re way ahead of the curve, and your agency designer will be eternally grateful. Otherwise, any examples of visual content you can share will help your designer understand your company’s branding.
4. Provide a List of Customer FAQ
Your agency may not know your business as well as you do, but they’d certainly like to get up to speed. One of the most effective ways to jumpstart your content or offer creation process is by providing a list of frequently-asked customer questions. This may be easier than you think – these types of assets are probably currently lurking on your sale’s teams desktops. If you’ve never taken the time to record this information, reconstructing it is probably as simple as a 30-minute meeting with your team.
Today’s consumer uses search much differently than the average person did a year ago. Questions are becoming a much more common way to retrieve information. By creating content around the questions your clients ask during the research stage of their buyer’s journey, your website will be perfectly optimized to serve as a resource while they research branded solutions.
5. Assist in Creation of Buyer Personas
If your brand already has buyer personas, you can go ahead and skip this section. If your profiles of your ideal customers were built from real qualitative data from customer interviews, you pretty much win at inbound marketing. Otherwise, this is going to be among the very first actions your inbound agency takes, probably in conjunction with migrating your website onto the HubSpot platform. You’ll be asked to provide contact information to your best customers – the ones who buy loads of your product and services, and refer your friends in droves. Your agency will work with these customers to learn more about their demographics, firmographics, pain points and other characteristics that lead them to become your customer in the first place.
6. Get to Know Their Agency
Whether you’re working with an agency that has 2 or 20 employees, take the time to get to know their team. You should ask to meet your future content creator, social media manager, graphic designer and web developer during your initial call, so you can answer any individual questions. This concept of team-wide meetings during the requirements-gathering phase is common in the Agile software development methodology. Proponents of this approach believe it gives each participant the power to get the information they need.
Agency owners, employees, and entrepreneurs who’ve used marketing agencies, we want to hear from you. What insights and materials do you believe are crucial to successful agency onboarding?
This post comes from Bill Faeth, the CEO/Founder at Inbound Marketing Agents (IMA), a HubSpot partner agency in Nashville, Tennessee. Check out his latest eBook co-created with HubSpot, Learning SEO from the Experts.
Image credit: sura nualpradid/freedigitalphotos.net