When you’re working with an inbound marketing firm to help you attract leads and convert them to customers, it’s important to have strong communication and a good working relationship. However, there are a few things that marketing firms and their customers might do that each drive the other crazy.
Usually, neither side means ill by these actions — they’re just “old habits” or “our new strategy for optimizing workflows.”
The following list is based on real events — the names have been omitted to protect the innocent:
1. Not Setting Expectations for Deliverables
There are no words I dread more from a client than “just do whatever” when I ask them, "What do you need to have in this blog/ebook/email?”
Why do I dread this response? You would think unlimited creative freedom would be a good thing, right? Or, that it’s a chance to be pleasantly surprised by the creativity and effort of your marketing team.
Here’s the thing: Without some form of guidance, it’s all too likely that the content that is created will be lacking something vital or may not have the right focus. The marketing agency’s persona and industry research usually help, but they are no substitute for the expertise of the client.
You don’t have to draw a detailed map, but a quick “I’d like to make sure we talk about A, B, and C” can do wonders to make sure the content is top quality — and that it focuses on the issues you want to cover.
The same goes for design work. If you don’t set expectations for what you want in the design, then it will not match what you want to see.
2. Doing Everything by Committee
Have you ever heard the saying “too many cooks spoil the broth?” If the previous problem was all about a lack of input, then this is the other extreme.
Some organizations try to make sure that everyone has input on every piece of content — which, in theory, may sound like a good idea that gives multiple people in the business a voice. In practice, this can grind progress to a halt as people with different ideas about the direction, style, and tone of a piece of content start to argue with one another.
There was once a client who made a piece of content go through more than a dozen rounds of revisions as a committee of three decision makers went around and around trying to make it match each of their personal styles in turn. When one person was done editing, the next would change it because they didn’t like the other’s style.
The content launched three weeks behind schedule — putting the client’s whole content strategy on the back foot. The problem was that this continued with every piece of content the client needed to put out. Even content originally written by one of the decision makers was put through this vicious cycle of endless revisions.
So, the lesson here is that it is often better to leave things to a single decision maker—or maybe a decision maker and an expert—to minimize delays in getting content through the proverbial door (while still maintaining content quality).
3. Clamming Up About Internal Processes
Do you know one of the things that customers most want to know about your business (besides pricing)? They want to know how you do what you do — because this tells them:
- What makes your company unique; and
- How you ensure quality/performance.
Telling your customers how your business works through an “About Us” or “What We Do” page is also a great chance to tell your story and bond with website visitors before they ever even talk to you directly. However, to achieve the best results, that story needs to be loaded with accurate details about your company and its processes.
Unfortunately, many businesses neglect to share details about their internal processes with their marketing partners, making it very difficult to create content that accurately reflects what makes that business unique in their industry.
Sometimes, it is necessary to withhold a bit of information — after all, you don’t want to go handing out the recipe of your company’s "secret sauce.” However, choosing to share some details about your internal processes can do wonders to help you gain the trust of website visitors so you can turn them into customers.
What Inbound Marketers Do That Can Drive Customers Crazy
Working with an inbound marketing company of any kind is a partnership — and that’s a two-way street. So, in the interest of full disclosure, here are a few things that a marketing company might do to drive you insane:
Constantly Bugging You for Resources
A good inbound marketing company will want you to share resources such as training docs, details about how your processes work, and even access to subject matter experts (SMEs) in your organization.
It can get annoying, but these resources can mean the difference between creating campaigns that drive lead generation and ones that fizzle into nothing.
Dragging You Into Weekly Meetings
A good partnership requires at least occasional communication. So, odds are that any decent marketing company is going to try to drag you into weekly meetings.
In these meetings, you’ll be able to discuss weekly goals, request updates about special projects, and help guide the direction of your marketing campaigns.
Pushing You to Try New Strategies
Every now and again, your marketing consultant should try to urge you to launch a new campaign, try a new marketing strategy, or target a new audience. This is all meant to help you attract new leads and grow your business.
Will every new strategy pan out? No. But, it’s better to try something new and learn what doesn’t work than to let your marketing stagnate.
The above, while annoying, are meant to help a business improve its inbound marketing efforts. If your inbound marketing consultant isn’t pushing for any of the above, it might be time to consider a new marketing agency.
Want to know more about inbound marketing, how it works, and how you can use it to build your business? Talk to one of the team here at Bluleadz!