As I speak to inbound marketing agency owners I hear a lot of the same challenges over and over again.
How do I get a steady stream of opportunities so my new business becomes predictable and repeatable, month in and month out?
The answer to that question is you need your own Inbound Marketing Machine. I actually think most people already know the answer, but perhaps they don’t know how to go about creating a Marketing Machine for their own agencies.
So in the first of a four part series on agency New Business Development for inbound agencies we’re focusing on step by step instructions on how to create your own Inbound Agency Marketing Machine.
Step 1 – Strategy before tactics.
Back into your inbound marketing goals based on your own revenue requirements for 2015. Want to go from $1M to $2M? Figure out how many visitors you need, how many leads, how many sales ops, how many new clients at what average monthly retainer. Once you know this, you create the inbound tactics required to generate the visitors and leads you need to hit your revenue goals.
Step 2 - Assign a resource and make them accountable for your own inbound marketing.
There are a variety of ways to handle this. You could give one of your account teams, your own agency as an account. Treat your agency just like you’d treat a client. If you meet with clients weekly, schedule your own marketing meeting weekly. If you do progress reports, do it on your campaigns too. Don’t cut any corners. Another way to tackle this is to assign one person to be your internal inbound marketing manager. Take them through the same process you would with a client, start with strategy and planning, differentiate your agency and then implement all the important elements of inbound.
Step 3 – Run your own inbound marketing campaigns.
Start blogging more frequently. Look at the biggest inbound agencies and you see they’re blogging more than once a week. You need to do that too. This is why having someone responsible and accountable (besides you) for your own marketing is so important. Make sure you create long form content downloads at least once a month.
Make sure your website is responsive, tells a compelling story and differentiates your agency. Take a quick look at a couple of other inbound agencies. Notice anything? Right, they all look alike. They all use HubSpot graphics and they all tell the same story. Make sure your visitors know why you’re different right from your home page.
Start nurturing your leads too. Email them regularly, invite them to webinars or local workshops. Keep them informed on new and interesting opportunities at your agency. The more compelling your story the more leads you’re going to get. Make sure your story is told on social sites too. I know this is time consuming but the better you get at your own inbound the more leads you’re going to get and the better results you’ll deliver to your clients.
Step 4 – Make sure you’re getting referrals and leads from offline sources too.
Square 2 Marketing has a kick ass inbound effort that generates hundreds of leads a month, but we still get 1/3 of our leads from referrals and another 1/3 from speaking events. You need to add these elements to your marketing machine too. Ask clients for referrals, create a remarkable referral program. We send our referral sources a personalized root beer bottle with a messages that says, “Thanks for the referral, we owe you a beer.” The label has a characterization of both Eric and me, almost everyone emails us with a nice thank you and you know they’re talking about it with everyone they know.
Inbound agency owners need to be evangelists for inbound and public speaking is a great way to get the word out, position you as an expert and generate a lot of leads for your business. If you're nervous start small with local chambers, but as you get better and more confident start to branch out into industry conferences, marketing events, business owner or CEO forums and other strategic opportunities.
Get a standard deck together and pitch your ability to educate audiences on inbound marketing. You might have to create a number of presentation ideas for a variety of potential audiences and then assign this task of pitching you as a speaker to your marketing person. Before you know it, you’ll have one or two speaking events a month and as long as you ask your attendees if they’d like to speak with you about getting leads for their business, you’ll come out of all those sessions with a handful of sales opportunities for your agency every time you speak.
Step 5 – Analyze and optimize.
If you’re doing inbound properly, you’re looking at performance daily and making adjustments weekly. Have your client team or inbound marketing manager report performance to you weekly and monthly. Have them report short term performance like blog views or page conversions each week and longer term performance like site visitors, lead generated or improvements in social reach monthly.
Set lead goals monthly and review performance religiously. Quickly you’ll see that this approach delivers a continuous improvement perspective that ensures each month is better than the last. Before you know it your visits are up 10x and your leads are up 3x to 5x. Now you’re working with an inbound marketing machine that you can use to scale up and grow your business.
As you read this, you might be thinking—this is going to be hard work. Yes, it is. But you have to do it. If you’re not rock start level at generating leads for your agency how can you expect anyone to pay you $10,000 a month to generate leads for their companies.
Start Today Tip – The biggest boldest move you need to do today is assign someone to handle your own marketing. Again, either give it to a client team or hire someone to be your dedicated inbound marketing manager. It’s no longer a luxury item, it’s a requirement.
Then establish the marketing goals, like visitors and leads, needed to hit your revenue goals. Finally, set up the rhythms you need manage your own agency marketing. This might be daily huddles, or weekly sessions with your team. Regardless of what it is, make sure it gets on the schedule, week in and week out. Before you know it, you’ll see the leads flowing in and the new clients will be lining up to get started.
Next week, Part 2 in the New Business Development Blog Series - What Your Sales Process Needs To Look Like To Drive New Clients Into Your Shop.
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