Thinking of investing in inbound marketing?
Perhaps your inbound marketing agency has told you they don’t offer any guarantees.
As a business owner, this is not really something you want to hear, as inbound does involve investing good money and you want to ensure that your investment comes with as little risk as possible.
I always remember one guy’s reaction when when I told him that we don’t offer guarantees.
“You don’t offer any guarantees! Then it is me that is taking all the risks.”
Although I understand why he said that, it is not entirely true. The agency does take on board some of the risk, but yes: most of the risk will be on you.
This is why you must choose your agency wisely and make sure they demonstrate not only the risks to you but also the gains you can realistically expect.
In this post, I will talk about why great inbound agencies don’t offer guarantees and the reasons why.
Every investment has risks
Every time you make an investment, there is an element of risk involved. To be honest, if there was no risks in inbound marketing and we could guarantee results, then it would be a lot more expensive.
Not only this, but absolutely everyone would be doing it. However, my job is always to try and remove as much risk as possible.
Think back only a few years and you would find it hard for any digital marketing agency to give you a good idea of expected results, as it was difficult for them to join the dots and calculate return on investment for what they were doing.
Heck, even TV, radio and newspapers ads still can’t tell you.
In today’s world we have tools like HubSpot that do a fantastic job of giving us the data we need to work all these things out.
This means that your agency should be able to give you a good indication of results you can expect.
Granted, it’s still not a guarantee, but I think it is the next best thing.
Wouldn’t you agree?
Before I move on, I would just like to say that you should always be very wary of anyone who is offering you guaranteed results. This is usually just a tactic to differentiate themselves from other agencies and tell you what you want to hear.
But how can an agency guarantee something that they are not in control of?
Can your sales team sell?
When we get down to it, inbound marketing can get you leads, but ultimately it’s your sales team’s ability to be able to close sales that really matters.
You could argue that it is the quality of the leads that should be in question, and you would be correct. It’s not only the job of inbound to bring you leads, it should deliver quality leads, leads that are most likely to buy.
However, being able to sell is a skill every business needs to survive. When I first started in business I was terrible as sales, but I learned that inbound marketing is a methodology that is not limited to marketing.
There is no point having a fantastic inbound marketing strategy just for your sales team to resort to tired old tactics of selling when these leads make contact with you.
With inbound you have to know when to back off and let the prospect make up their own minds.
You’re not fully committed
Inbound marketing is changing marketing and sales forever, but for it to work you and the agency have to form a strong partnership and be committed to its success.
I see this time and time again; the people who see the most success with inbound are the ones that are fully committed to the methodology.
If you are looking for old school marketing where you pay and don’t have to do anything more, then sorry to tell you, but those days are over.
You lose track of what is important
The most important thing for your business is to get more leads and sales, as this is the real reason you are considering www.
It’s the number one reason most businesses come to me, and you shouldn’t lose sight of that main goal.
In the past, I have parted company with people who lose sight of this and get far too bogged down with the small things.
If you are waiting for everything to be perfect, then you will never get anything done. Content that you ship in the early days may not be perfect; expect that and just let it go.
It is better to be 80% perfect and out there than 100% and not.
I always tell my partners this, as the path to inbound marketing success it littered with the bodies of people who just won’t let go and trust the agency – let them do what they do best.
I personally can’t guarantee anything if you don’t follow my lead.
Businesses come to me because they need help reaching their customers and don’t know what to do, but some become inbound marketing experts as soon as you try to help them.
This all comes down to trust, and you should never hire an agency you don’t trust.
Why don’t they offer pay per performance?
This is a great question, and this is something I would love to offer clients. You only pay for the leads the agency get you.
There are a few problems with this model that would need to be worked out before I would considering offering it to partners.
- Inbound marketing is not like Google ads where you pay for a click and you know how many leads it gets you. One piece of content could generate you leads and sales for years to come. So how do you measure this?
- Leads don’t equal guaranteed sales – like I mentioned before, it comes down to your sales team, not the agency.
I for one am always looking for ways to offer partners a better service and remove the risk involved in inbound marketing.
Pay per performance is an interesting method, and I’m sure someone will work it out eventually, but until then you need to weigh inbound marketing up and see if it is worth the investment to your business.
Sometimes inbound marketing might not be the best fit for your business, but that’s ok.
Every investment comes with risk, but inbound marketing can give you good indications of what results you can expect to limit this risk. An agency can’t offer guarantees because they have no control over your ability to sell.
Not only this, you need to be fully committed to its success and you need to stay focused on what is important.
Apart from offering guarantees, what else could we inbound marketers offer you to reduce the risk and make you feel more comfortable in trying inbound marketing?
Let me know in the comments.