I get this question a lot and thought I would write an article to shed some light on our position in terms of DIY inbound marketing. So the question is, “Can I do inbound marketing myself?”
Sidebar: Before we get into this, I am not a salesman, I’m a business owner who is always striving to help customers build a better business. The goal of this article is not to sell you inbound marketing services but to raise important considerations when contemplating the best method of inbound implementation. As a business owner it’s up to you to find the solutions that fit your needs best. My intention is to approach every engagement with a client, logically and ethically keeping in mind what is best for their business. And, in my opinion, more often than not, our products sell themselves.Your needs will dictate what services are right to solve the challenges you are facing with your own marketing and sales growth.
So back to the question, “can we run our own inbound marketing and be successful?”
This is a Yes and No question and answer.
Yes you can do your own inbound marketing. There are hundreds if not thousands of companies who do and they see big wins for their company. You, are completely capable of doing 95% of everything professional marketers do. There are often tools available even at the customer level that are just as robust as some of those we use ourselves. The majority of marketers are not “blinding you with science” or geniuses who have developed some crazy algorithm to solve your marketing challenges. It’s much simpler than that. We are the experts and our services reflect a higher level of return for our effort as well as alleviating the burden of you having to do the work yourself. But in our experience, while we’ve seen business owners attempt to take on inbound marketing in-house, we have yet to see them successfully match or even come close to the results we get for clients. There are two reasons for this.
#1 Time and Experience
Inbound is an on-going all-out effort to drive the right prospects to your website. On average we spend no less than 40 hours per month on inbound marketing for every client and some, much more. With this time we are carefully planning an on-going marketing strategy that sets realistic and measurable goals around the following list of monthly duties:
- Content planning
- Keyword research
- Content creation
- Content promotion
- Identifying target buyers
- Creating offers such as eBooks, white papers, etc.
- Developing & managing email marketing,
- Website search engine optimization
- Website design and development
- Landing page design & form Integration
- Social media promotion & management
- Creating lead list workflows to nurture new leads
- And much more
It takes a full-time team of marketing professionals to oversee each campaign and to handle these production aspects of the inbound campaign.
Also, a key portion of inbound marketing is the measurability of everything we promote, publish, and send. Every email, blog post, social post, website visit, and lead is carefully tracked and measured to assess what is working and what needs to change on a weekly, monthly, and yearly basis. Understanding this data and how to make better marketing decisions based on actual facts is critical.
Doing all this yourself and dedicating the amount of time it would take to do so effectively would inhibit you or anyone else from doing their other job duties month to month. Sure you could hire an in-house inbound marketing expert but what do you think that would cost to find someone who is proficient and qualified to manage all of these moving parts in tandem? On average an inbound marketing specialist makes around $60,000 per year plus benefits. But depending on where your business is based and the proficiency of your inbound specialist the number could be much higher.
When you hire an inbound agency you also must keep in mind you are hiring an inbound marketing team, not just a solo production worker. What happens if your in-house marketer takes a vacation or is injured and out of work for several weeks? This could crush revenue growth and your inbound efforts. Agencies on the other hand are often scalable and have contingencies in place so as not to affect your business. Agencies also know how to put the best people on the tasks they are best suited for. If your in-house inbound marketing specialist is a great writer but poor with web design or SEO that is another service you may have to pay out of pocket to implement or hire additional workers to cover those deficiencies as well.
My final point to consider when hiring in-house, you may be able to hire great talent, but then you also have to purchase or pay monthly for the tools to do the job. Software such as Adobe Creative Suite, SEO keyword research tools, email marketing software, social media automation, CRM software, can all cost thousands per year collectively or even individually in some cases. When you weigh agency costs against the costs of having to higher an in-house inbound marketing specialist it pays to hire an agency without question.
#2 Bigger and Better ROI
The success of your inbound marketing is directly related to your level of effort.
The more you put in, the more you get out. Most agencies deliver on their promise and their costs are a direct reflection of the time and effort needed to get results. Some readers might scoff at the idea of a marketing company actually doing what they say they are going to do. Imagine that! But here again is the beauty of inbound marketing. It keeps you honest. All data and metrics are shared with the customer on a weekly, bi-weekly and monthly basis. We are held entirely accountable for our efforts and if we are not producing results the client will know right away. Plus, our plan often includes realistic projections and forecasts for sales and lead numbers. If we are not hitting those marks it is another key indicator that we are not holding up our end of the agreement.
You might be wondering what an inbound marketing investment looks like in terms of cost. On average most companies are spending anywhere from $70k to $200k on inbound marketing. Yes some spend far greater and some manage to make it work for less. That number might sound high but when you see that the average ROI in just 12 months is 9x more leads per month and in 24 months 25x more leads per month, you can just imagine how the investment in marketing more than pays off in added sales to your business.
Marketing in general should be a logical and straightforward approach to building brand awareness and getting the right buyers in front of your product and services. Anyone can do well tackling inbound marketing for their business if they:
- understand what tools are needed to perform the job
- are proficient using those tools
- can identify who they are marketing to
- can develop an inbound marketing plan and strategy
- can analyze data and make decisions that improve ROI long-term
If you would like to learn more about inbound marketing or see if it might be a good fit for your business, schedule an assessment call with us today. Let’s see if we can work together to drive better leads to your business.