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5 Things an Inbound Marketing Consultant Can Tell You

Posted by Loree O'Sullivan

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image credit: amagill via flickr cc
 
If you are considering hiring an inbound marketing agency, there's a good chance you are hoping for some multi-channel help. Maybe you need more bandwidth to create custom content. Perhaps your website is in serious need of an SEO audit. Regardless of where you need help, hiring outside assistance may be the logical next-step to reach your goals. But what if you're not entirely sure you need an inbound consultant?
 
Let's imagine your business is in the relative minority when it comes to inbound marketing. You have all of the competencies and skills needed in-house. You don't struggle to create enough content, or make your marketing messages stand out. Can a consultant help if you have a robust, talented team and you're already meeting your metrics?
 
Absolutely. Per 9Lenses, external consultants can offer numerous advantages to organizations that are already doing pretty well. Their value can be attributed to:
  • External objectivity
  • Expert status
  • Established expertise
In this blog, you'll learn how these factors could come into play if you're considering hiring an inbound marketing expert in Tulsa or your hometown for strategy advice. Join us as we review some things a consultant may be able to tell about your business that your existing inbound marketers might not find apparent. 

1. How Your Messaging Stacks Up

Even if you're doing everything right, you may not be driving SEO results or winning an audience. This could be due to your messaging, content quality, or any other number of factors. The best inbound marketing consultants have knowledge of competitive analysis, which can help determine how your messaging fits into your industry. Per Simon Clough, Global Marketing Director at Clear, “the battle cry ‘differentiate or die’ has never been more relevant.”
Perhaps your marketing team doesn't understand how you're different than the competition. Maybe you're unsure of how to communicate this via content. Regardless of where you stand, an inbound consultant can help you differentiate and win over your competitors. This could include: 
  • Defining Your UVP: What is your unique value proposition (UVP)? What product, service, experience, or benefit do you offer that no one else does?

  • Is Your Messaging Likeable? Does your marketing have the potential to win customers for life? Are you building brand loyalty through content marketing?

  • Does it Make Sense? Does your brand story sound believable? Is your tone consistent with your UVP? Do customers feel like they understand your brand immediately?

2. The Effectiveness of Your Cross-Channel Communications

SEO, content marketing, social media, and email don't exist in channels. At least not in your customers minds. As far as your customers are concerned, your communications on every channel are all aspects of your brand experience. If your marketing team perceives each digital platform as a stand-alone tool, your inbound marketing could be fragmented. Your customers could be getting inconsistent, or even conflicted, messages from your different channels.
 
Inbound marketing is most effective when it's viewed as a cross-channel strategy, from the customer's perspective. HubSpot's Aaron Agius writes that today's organizations "need to pursue one, holistic approach -- an omni-channel experience." A consultant can assess:
  • Whether your messaging and presence is consistent across channels
  • Steps (and tools) you need to integrate your marketing across multiple digital mediums
  • How well you've optimized for multiple consumer tools, including desktop, tablets, and smartphones

3. The Tools You Need

Inbound marketing isn't a tools-focused approach. In fact, some people even argue that you can perform inbound effectively using exclusively free tools and software from open-source organizations. It's not the easiest approach to inbound, but it can get the job done. With a lot of time, effort, and a deep knowledge of Microsoft Excel. 
 
But, honestly. Who has time to juggle 18 or 20 tools effectively? And more importantly, who wants to use one tool for storing email contacts, another tool for templates, a third tool for sending emails, a fourth for measuring metrics, and so on? Almost no one.
 
An inbound marketing consultant can assess your current marketing and productivity tools portfolio, and make recommendations on how you can work more efficiently. Accomplish more. Get better results, and reduce crossed-wires among your existing staff. Tools should make your job easier, and if you're not sure whether your technology is helping or hindering, a consultant could be in order. 

4. Why You're Not Meeting Your Metrics

There's quite a few moving pieces on an inbound marketing campaign. In order to execute and promote successfully, you may be coordinating:
  • Offers
  • Landing Pages
  • Emails
  • Lead Nurturing Workflows
  • Blogs
  • Social Media
And in many cases, you're coordinating quite a few more factors than the basics listed above. If you're a newbie or intermediate at marketing measurement, you could be struggling to figure out what's driving your results, or how you could improve.
 
An inbound consultant can dive deep into your existing SEO, competitive environment, and your metrics to determine what exactly it's going to take to help you exceed your goals. Even if you're confident you can execute with some expert advice, you could almost certainly benefit from some in-depth metrics analysis. 
 
To learn more about the nuts and bolts of a successful campaign, we recommend How Much Time Does it Take to Run an Inbound Marketing Campaign?
 

5. Whether You Know Your Audience or Not

If you're using buyer persona profiles, or profiles of your ideal customers, to shape your content marketing you're certainly on the right track. Ideally, these profiles should combine demographic and, in B2B, firmographic (company) characteristics to create vibrant depictions of who you're trying to convert into leads and customers. These profiles may be culled from knowledge from customer interviews, relationships, your sales and customer service team, and your marketing metrics.

An inbound marketing consultant can assess your existing resources, and determine how well your buyer persona profiles align with the following factors:
  • Your customer's language
  • Typical web and content consumption habits
  • Pain points and priorities
And what if you're struggling to generate buyer persona profiles in the first place? That's certainly something an inbound consultant can help with, too.
 
Do you think outside perspective on inbound marketing can be valuable? How?
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