When you invest in a new effort like inbound marketing at your company, or you enter into a partnership with a marketing agency, everyone expects to get results. No one does marketing for marketing’s sake. We want to establish our brand, build an audience, convert leads, grow a pipeline, accelerate deals through the funnel, and ultimately grow revenue. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen. Instead of experiencing the euphoria that comes with achieving goals, you suffer the frustration of unfulfilled potential.
If this happens, what should be your next course of action? First, take a step back and ask yourself if you’re clear on what results you want to see? Success or failure needs to be based on more than just a gut feel. Data doesn’t lie. What do the numbers tell you? If you don’t have a good handle on the numbers and what they mean, then that’s a great place to start with your team or your agency.
Here are several questions that can jump-start a discussion and help you determine your best next steps toward getting your desired results and increasing your revenue from your inbound marketing efforts.
- What key performance metrics are you tracking?
- What insights can you glean from the performance metrics?
- How do these insights impact your strategy and tactical execution plan?
- Are you measuring the right things?
- How do the performance metrics align with your desired business results?
- Do you know your desired business results?
- Have your desired business results changed since you began inbound marketing?
- When was the last time you discussed your desired business results?
- Are you communicating frequently enough amongst your sales and marketing or agency team?
- Do you believe that your solution is still tailored to deliver your desired business results?
- What are your recommendations to improve results?
- Have you conducted A/B testing to determine if that’s the direction you should go?
- Do you need to revise your messaging?
- Does your content resonate with your target personas?
- How do you know?
- When was the last time you conducted target persona research?
- Is the creative execution on target and meeting all established deadlines?
- What campaigns and content are planned for the rest of the quarter and year?
- How often do you update and evaluate your content calendar?
- Are your strategy, tactics, campaigns, and content aligned with your prospects’ buying journey?
- Are there tactics you're not currently doing that we should explore?
- What tactics are your competitors (or your agency’s other clients) using successfully?
Often, unsuccessful inbound marketing programs can be traced back to the very beginning of the process – the onboarding process (implementation of inbound marketing at your company or onboarding with your agency) or even the sales process. Many agencies are selling a service or a product instead of focusing on solving a problem or addressing a specific desired business result.
A detailed discovery should be a part of any new inbound marketing strategy, especially for client/agency partnership launch. And one of the most important elements of that discovery is gaining an understanding of your business challenges and growth objectives. Only then can a solution be tailored to fit your specific business requirements.
Once the solution is agreed upon, you should come to an agreement with your marketing/sales team and upper management, or your agency partner, on what success looks like. More specifically, what metrics are you going to measure to determine success?
The discovery, solution evaluation, and success assessment using performance metrics aren’t just one-time events. With marketing, you can’t just “set it and forget it.” The business world and your market aren’t static. Your challenges, requirements, and definitions of success can change dramatically over time. Consequently, they should be evaluated at least every 6 - 12 months.
Doing so, keeping a close eye on the performance metrics, and maintaining regular communication with your agency will help you achieve your desired inbound marketing results and increase the revenue that’s directed from these specific efforts.