Inbound marketing campaigns are tough to keep on track.
There’s lots of moving parts, things can change quickly and the smallest miscommunication can cause havoc.
When it comes to keeping inbound marketing campaigns on track, trust and consistency from both the client and the agency are incredibly important.
The phrase ‘Consistency is key’ is a bit of a cliché but in this case it really rings true.
To see an increase in traffic from blogging or social for example, you need to publish on a regular basis, several times a week. This is only possible if the communication between the agency and the client is strong.
If one side isn’t keeping on top of the work, the campaign quickly falls behind, and results will suffer as a consequence.
After consistency comes context.
Helping the client understand how tactics tie to the bigger strategy and the bottom line will help drive better communications. Reporting on results can seem ineffective for clients unless there is a strong connection to how the activities have helped to close customers.
We’ve pulled together the top 5 things that we have seen hold up campaigns and, of course, the solutions and top tips to overcome these common problems.
Brand tone of voice
Being unsure about your brand’s tone of voice creates ambiguity about what your content should “sound like” and is one of the most common causes for campaigns getting knocked off course.
Much of the problem with tone of voice comes down to personas not being properly established and researched at the beginning.
In this blog, we talk about how inbound lead generation works when you speak your persona's language
Work with your agency to agree a brand tone right from the offset. Once the persona research is done you will know who you want to target and will have a better idea of the voice and tone they resonate with.
This helps the agency produce content that is easy to sign off - the right titles, the right themes and the right tone.
Too much technical content
Complex, technical content can be important for those prospects making a buying decision.
But not every piece of content can win the pulitzer prize.
Aside from the fact that this would take far too long trying to organise time with a subject expert for every piece of content, prospects in the early stage of the buyer journey don’t want to read 1,500 words of technical detail.
They want fast answers to specific problems.
Sometimes the best content is the 500-750 word SEO optimised blog that focuses on a particular topic and is digestible. Deciding on a realistic, appropriate content strategy can help both the agency and the client get the right balance.
Quality assurance vs control
Giving up control is often hard for clients when they are passionate about their business and what they do. But the agency is there to help! You can’t do everything (one, because you just won’t have the time) and not letting go of the QA process is a sure way to delay a campaign.
This is why it is important to have an established client/agency relationship.
If you can place trust in your agency (and your own team), you can hand over control and they can do all those things that you don’t have time to do, ensuring you’re producing quality content on a regular basis.
Optimising internal communications and processes
Building a client/agency relationship relies on points of contact from both sides.
As an agency we have seen this work really well...and not so well.
So when doesn’t it work?
If there are too many points of contact on the client side, it can become confusing and ultimately slow things down if everyone wants an overview on what content is being produced.
On the other hand, if there is only one point of contact on the client side, what happens when they go on leave? Often successful campaigns end up grinding to a halt because no-one else is in the loop.
Another important question is: is the point of contact the right one?
Not having an in-house marketing team or at least one dedicated marketing person can be a real hold up. When the client contact is the CEO or someone too senior, signing off marketing collateral is at the bottom of their priority list. More urgent, business things crop up and this can mean we never gain momentum.
However, there is a sweet spot. As an agency, make sure you have the RIGHT point of contact who can move things along without too many people getting involved. As a client, ensure your teams are clued in on what is happening for when you’re not there.
Having a clear vision
Having a clear vision for your marketing is essential. When there is confusion or ambiguity, clients become prone to change their mind which creates delays and wasted time.
Here, we go through five steps you can take to create and effective Inbound Marketing Strategy
The best way to overcome this blocker is to set goals.
Setting SMART goals right at the beginning helps keep both the agency and the client focused and makes it easier for the agency to provide insights into how certain activities and services contribute to the overall goals. This means clients don’t question their investments and remove items that we know are foundational to success.
This doesn’t mean your goals can’t change or evolve. Checking in every quarter to review whether goals are still relevant is intrinsic in maintaining that clear vision. Updating goals isn’t a problem as long as both the client and the agency remain clear on the direction of the campaign.
Here at Six & Flow, we start working with you by presenting a 12 month strategy road map so the client knows and understands the exact focus of where we’re heading (even if the details get worked out later down the road).
By laying out the full inbound marketing strategy in this way, both the agency and client get a full understanding of what needs to be completed and, just as importantly, it gives them a chance to spot any bottlenecks and fix potential problems before they become an issue.
Ultimately, the success or failure of a campaign comes down to making sure everything is being completed when scheduled to ensure consistency across every channel.
This all comes down to communication between agency and client and making sure everyone is on the same page (and willing to have sometimes difficult conversations to get things back on track).
We recently hosted a webinar with HubSpot where we discussed the current pace of change and uncertainty in the world and talking about how you can adapt to an online and remote way of working. Watch the recording below.