The conversation about inbound has shifted – it’s no longer a “flash fad,” but an ongoing movement that holds its salt – and people have taken notice. This has led CEOs and Marketing Managers everywhere to question whether to hire an agency or do inbound internally.
Don’t be fooled, as this is no easy choice to make. Both require a long-term commitment and an understanding that inbound is an investment and not a magical, instant remedy to your problems. Leads don’t jump out of an inbound ether that we hold locked away in a secret laboratory. It takes elbow grease, time, and strategy (and maybe a little bit of pixie dust… just a little).
To help your decision, I’ve outlined each side of the grassy knoll; from there, it’s up to you to see which option is more feasible for your organization.
The Inbound Marketing Agency Route
Partnering with an inbound marketing agency gives your company a solid foundation for ongoing inbound best practices and initiatives.
Based on my experience with clients, there are a few different ways you can leverage an inbound agency – you can either:
Fully outsource all your digital marketing initiatives to them
Collaborate and work alongside the inbound team
Work simultaneously with your marketing team and the agency’s team to double-down on your efforts (a hybrid option, which I’ll detail more later)
Regardless which suits your company best, there’s a considerable advantage to having an agency whose sole expertise lies in the inbound marketing world. This is especially true if you have a HubSpot partner agency, which means they work with them to help you grow.
It can also be more cost-effective to hire an agency, especially if you’re a small company and can’t afford to pay for new hires, training and other ongoing employee costs. With an inbound agency, you can hire a team and get a basic set up in about 90 days and be off to the races (give or take your arrangement/needs), rather than the slow crawl of assembling an internal team.
Just know no matter how you leverage an inbound agency, be aware that it’s a partnership, and it should be acknowledged as such. We aren’t just task-takers; we can’t move the needle for you if we’re distracted from housekeeping that isn’t part of our strategy.
Trust me – we have a method to our madness. Leaving us to our devices is the best thing you can do for your traffic and leads.
Moving on to the next option: DIY.
DIY Inbound Marketing
You can make an internal inbound team happen yourself – just be prepared to do some heavy lifting in time, hiring and budget.
That said, if you have the financial stability to hire a few members to the marketing team, just know it can take months before you start to see the fruits of their labor. They may not be familiarized with your industry, or need to become acclimated to internal processes first.
The learning curve here can be larger, and you’ll have to pull other employees from their work to help train and onboard them. It’s often difficult for small and medium-sized businesses to allocate the time spent to train new hires – but it is possible.
Here are a few tips to making the most out of your inbound team:
Have new marketing hires complete HubSpot’s inbound certification (it’s free!)
Make sure as the Marketing Director or CEO that the vision is clear, and expectations of the team are both realistic and long-term
Encourage their feedback and creativity, as it can help bring a new perspective to the table you may not have realized (the proverbial “forest through the trees” syndrome)
Provide all the tools they’ll need to succeed: whether it’s HubSpot, the Adobe suite, etc.
If you aren’t able to get an internal team overnight, we’ve found more and more businesses are utilizing a hybrid option of an agency and an internal team, where the Marketing Manager/Director of Marketing and a content or design team member collaborates with an inbound agency. This is perfectly viable, and a great way to segue an internal team to be self-sustaining.
Apples to Oranges
The reality of this choice (of an inbound agency vs. doing it yourself) is it varies from business to business. Needs change over time, but it’s nice knowing your options!