It was really only a few months ago that I heard the term “inbound marketing”. With a chemical engineering background and most of my prior work experience in labs, I hadn’t ever delved into the world of inbound marketing.
On the day of my interview at Znbound I heard someone say , "Client se pyaar karna seekho", which translates to "Learn to love your client". In the coming weeks I learnt new concepts, tricks, tools and so much more, all with the goal of helping the client. When a lead approaches us, one of the very first steps at Znbound is to do a comprehensive inbound potential analysis.
The goal of this is to primarily determine if we can help the customer achieve their goals and a ROI. Why this comprehensive analysis when you can just convert the lead to a customer simply by telling them YOU CAN?Well, that’s not always true.
While a lot of times we connect with leads that perfectly fall into the spectrum we can absolutely ace, there’s also several leads that maybe better off using an in-house marketing team, or maybe another agency that specializes in Saas (your truly), or even a lead that might not be at the stage in their business wherein they should adopt the inbound marketing route. However, how many times do we as marketers really tell them the latter options?
Not a lot.
This can create problems, not just for the client but for us as marketers as well. Top-notch customer service doesn’t just involve being available when the client needs, prompt email responses or sending Christmas cookies. One of the most important aspects of customer service moves beyond external dealings and involves focusing on the overall well-being of the customer. For example, a good marketing agency would ensure that monthly goals such as leads/traffic are being met as per the decided scope. A great marketing agency on the other hand would take that extra step and go beyond the scope. This could include cleaning out HubSpot portal for forms and contacts that aren’t being used and causing unnecessary clutter and lots more, in the case of inbound marketing. This brings me to the very reason for writing this blog.
“One of the most important principles of success is developing the habit of going the extra mile.” - Napoleon Hill
Taking that extra step for your client’s can do wonders, not just for the client but for you as well.
When was the last time you bought something from amazon without looking at the reviews?Creating trust can be can be a process. It takes weeks if not months. However, customers that trust the experience more than just the results are more likely to return, spend more and even recommend you to others. It is only when the client sees not just results but also the interest you as an agency takes in every individual detail that they can start building trust. Being able to trust that an agency is whole-heartedly working towards achieving the best for the company not just in terms of meeting goals but also ensuring smooth functioning, makes for the best kind of customer service.
Inbound Marketing can be unpredictable. While some things might work well for one customer, they might do the opposite for another customer. It is therefore important to have room for experimenting. How comfortable would a customer be to let you conduct A/B testing that might potentially even affect business? How comfortable would you be taking chances?If your customer believes that you’re working towards the end goal of helping THEM foremost, it lets them give you more room for experimenting, even if it might cost them. But before that, you as an agency need to take that step towards getting out of your comfort zone and taking chances that you haven't before. Read more about our high risk high rewards inbound marketing growth strategy to find out what happened when we did the same.
Learn to say NO
Counter-intuitive in a blog post that talks about taking the extra step for clients?Very rarely do we and should we say no when it comes to customers. However, it is equally important to make the customer aware of possible outcomes in terms of goals. Say a customer comes in with a goal of 4 new deals every quarter. Don’t just say yes! Analyze the case thoroughly, assess the possibilities and only then make a promise. If the account would require a lot of work and results would show only in 6 months, convey that to the client. If the client might require a complete website revamp, tell them that! If you don’t think you’re the best agency to get them to where they want, tell them that too!They’re not always going to like what they hear but nevertheless have to be given an accurate picture. A lot of times, marketers shy away from giving the exact picture in the fear that they might lose a potential client. Then you know what happens.
Performance with Purpose
Indra Nooyi, CEO, Pepsico changed the direction of her company by promoting “performance with purpose”. The same principle could very well apply to Inbound Marketing. The past couple of years have seen a huge advent in the number inbound marketing agencies all around the world. But can we say the same for quality?Inbound marketing has been seen trivialized to “lead generation”, “content marketing”, “website redesign”, “seo optimization”. While each of these are significantly important, only when put together do they make up “inbound marketing”. We need to remember that the goal is to really help grow business not just increase leads to meet a monthly number. While planning a wholesome strategy is more time consuming and elaborate, it is the only route to a ROI. Planning is more important than execution when it comes to inbound marketing and it is essential to think long term. This not only translates into revenue for the client but also excites agency members to come up with unique and innovative ideas that ultimately results in the growth of an agency as a whole.
Notice a need
Don’t wait for the client to tell you what they need. Listen, observe, predict, ask. For example, one of our clients in our regular weekly meetings mentioned struggling with lead assignment. Our first instinct was to recommend and implement a round robin lead assignment workflow. This helped them assign and prioritize leads creating a better work experience for the client as well as more opportunities.
Not just that, several times the client might not know what’s best for them when it comes to marketing. As an inbound marketing growth agency, it is essential to foresee the best interest of a client and make recommendations accordingly. Don’t just stick to the listed scope and close other possibilities. While laying out a scope is a good way to help direct effort, the broader picture needs to be accounted for even when planning day to day actions.
Get out, eventually
Inbound marketing is integral to a company's growth strategy. Be the pushing factor and help train your client to develop their own internal inbound marketing strategy and team eventually. Puzzled? Inbound Marketing is a lifestyle and not just a campaign or a project. While an inbound marketing agency can direct the client on the right path and even help along the way in the initial stages, the sooner a client is able to independently fuel growth via inbound marketing, the sooner they'd see success. For us as marketers, it gives us a chance at a brand new challenge in the form of a new client!
Be a true partner
Drop the “what's in it for me” approach. Really look to helping your customer and achieving the very best for them, even if it’s at a cost. Don’t back out from going the extra mile because you don’t see a value in it. Moreover, create opportunities to take that extra step for clients. Involve the client and hold them accountable as well and work together like a partner. Both the management and the team slowly embed this as a part of company culture and that’s when real success and growth happensConclusively, take the extra step to fuel your own inbound marketing agency growth. I don’t just mean this in terms of clients and thereby the revenue they bring after having been recommended by existing customers. I mean in terms of internal team growth and learning. Every new client brings along new challenges and therefore new learnings. Digging deep into each case and trying to understand the core helps broaden the spectrum of learning and therefore every client is a stepping stone to becoming a better inbound marketing growth agency.