It has become a commonplace of modern marketing that companies no longer “sell” their products or services to customers. Gone by the wayside are the days when a well-produced commercial or a well-placed ad alone could drive sales. Gone as well are the “good old days” when a Twitter feed and a Facebook page were enough to establish your online bona fides.
In order to have a truly effective marketing program, companies must now adopt a multi-channel strategy, utilising online content, email, social media, and a whole host of other inbound approaches.
These inbound marketing strategies are crucial for today’s businesses, because what is true is that contemporary customers no longer passively absorb marketing messages. Rather, these Internet-empowered customers “choose” to purchase a product or service based on information they glean from online searches, online communities, and social media.
Inbound marketing “pulls interested customers to your company and creates lasting relationships,” according to Hubspot’s “2013 State of Inbound Marketing” report.
According to Google’s “Zero Moment of Truth” study, today’s customers consulted an average of 10.4 online or traditional sources before making a purchase decision, almost twice as many sources as just one year before. Similarly, in the B2B sector, customers are typically 50-60 percent into their decision-making process before they ever even contact a company representative, according to the Marketing Leadership Council’s “Digital Evolution of B2B Marketing” report.
Given the need to utilise such diverse mediums, more and more companies rely on the expertise of digital marketing agencies to achieve their inbound marketing goals.
In a post entitled “5 Reasons Digital Marketing Agencies are Booming (and 4 Reasons You Might Need One),” Search Engine Watch’s Erez Barak homed in on the core competencies of the digital marketing agency.
Today companies are looking at email, SEO, PPC, SEM,…third party content, all social media channels, daily deals, webinars, infographics, slideshare, etc. No one person can be the expert of all those digital marketing channels as the industry becomes more granular and specialist-driven.
In this environment, agencies can provide expertise for specific channels or create a program that is a rifle shot at a target market rather than a spray-and-pray shotgun blast.
So if you’re focusing on inbound marketing and are wondering what a digital marketing agency might be able to provide, here are a few examples:
You find the prospect of digital marketing overwhelming
You may be great at what you do—designing cloud solutions or apps for Fortune 1000 companies, say. You don’t want to take time away from the “real work” of your business. Maybe you haven’t a clue how to market your product. The right agency can implement a fully functioning digital marketing program that will create buzz, build your brand, and maximize the impact of your investment.
You need fresh eyes on your existing marketing program.
If your current marketing efforts are seeing a reduction in ROI, a digital marketing agency can inject new ideas and solutions, be they creative, technical, or analytical. Perhaps your website is getting traffic, but that traffic isn’t turning into conversions. An agency can design and implement a website usability program that will identify and fix issues and roadblocks on your site, leading to new customers and repeat business.
You don’t want to find, hire, and train full-time digital marketing staff.
Perhaps you have a short-term project or campaign you want to try. There’s no need to bring in new employees to run a six-month effort only to leave them with nothing to do when the project concludes. Digital marketing agencies are teaming with individuals already versed in their roles and functions.
They are, so to speak, ready to hit the ground running. They can quickly assess your needs and execute a project, campaign, or initiative without the learning curve required of new staff.
You need to add a new channel to your marketing mix.
Suppose you have a great website, but it’s not generating leads. A digital marketing agency might recommend content marketing. Content marketing (white papers, video, infographics, etc.) is fast becoming a crucial element in any inbound marketing program. An agency can plan, execute, and promote your content, increasing awareness of your brand, establishing you as a thought leader, and attracting new and repeat customers to your business.
Brands are increasingly looking to digital agencies to help them engage today’s Internet-empowered customers. These customers are less concerned with stories about brands and more concerned with how a brand can help them. Thus the need for inbound marketing, which, according to Hubspot’s “2013 State of Inbound Marketing” report, provides “a holistic, data-driven strategy that involves attracting and converting visitors into customers through personalised, relevant information and content—not interruptive messages—and following them through the sales experience with ongoing engagement.”
By providing strategic counsel, audience insights, an understanding of multiple channels, and compelling content, digital marketing agencies help businesses to grow and sustain market share.
Are you looking to better engage your audience? What inbound digital marketing strategies have you tried and how did they work for you?