Posted by Todd Hockenberry ● Sep 11, 2023
A 2023 Inbound Marketing Strategy Requires the Right Resources
A key part of any strategy is understanding your resources and planning so that your people, tools, and processes are equipped and aligned. When all the resources at your disposal work together, they allow you to achieve specific goals.
When we look at some of the things we know, it helps us to understand the shape of our strategy better, allowing us to align our resources. For instance:
- B2B companies with at least 400 website pages generate 4X the leads of sites with less than 100 pages
- Companies that publish 15 new articles a month generate 5X the leads of those that only publish 1
- Websites with 40 landing pages generate 6X the leads of those with 10 or less
These facts help us see that building new content needs to be a priority. However, building an inbound marketing engine of that size (400+ pages, 15+ articles a month, and 40+ landing pages) takes carefully managed resources working together.
I will walk you through three high-level strategies business owners, and executives can use to strategically deploy resources and reach their 2023 Top Line Growth Goals.
Do It Yourselves - Insource
The first option you have is the DIY method. Doing it yourself has a couple of advantages. Firstly, when you insource your inbound marketing, you have complete control. The only thing that limits you when insourcing is your time and ability. The second big advantage of insourcing is, of course, that there is no external cost. However, you need to balance the ROI of outsourcing against the ROI of your own time and internal resources.
To help determine if the time/ability/ROI works out in your favor, you should ask yourself a couple of questions.
- Time - Inbound marketing can be time-consuming. Research, creation, and maintenance all take time, and you need to ask yourself if you have the internal capacity or the ability/desire to hire a team.
- Expertise - Does anyone on your team have experience with successful inbound strategies and campaigns?
- Talent - Can your team learn inbound marketing fast enough to make a difference in 2023?
- Focus/Management - Do you have the bandwidth to manage this team to drive results in 2023?
Hire Someone To Do It All - Outsource
If insourcing isn't the right fit for you, the next obvious option is outsourcing. Outsourcing allows you to transfer the time and energy requirements onto an external team with the right experience to help you meet your goals.
Again, a couple of questions can help you determine if the team you're considering is the right fit.
- Subject Matter Expertise - Does the agency you are considering know anything about your field or customers? This is especially important if you plan on outsourcing your content creation.
- Track Record/References - Have they successfully and demonstrably grown a business using an inbound strategy?
- ROI and Accountability - Can they show how they will deliver an ROI and be accountable to the goals?
Hire Someone to Coach and Consult Your Team - Hybrid Approach
The third strategy, a coach or consultant, combines the first two.
This hybrid approach allows you to maintain a high level of control and leverage your expertise in your field while also using an outside source to help guide you and remove some of the burdens of time and resource management.
There are a couple of guideline questions for this approach as well.
- Who is Compatible With Our Team - Can you integrate the inside team with an outside firm? Do you know who, internally, will be responsible for interfacing with the external team?
- Who Manages the Relationship - Is there enough internal focus to keep the team on track? Who, internal vs. external, does what? How are responsibilities going to be divided?
- Setting Goals, Responsibilities, and Time Lines - Can you build a system that is 1 + 1 = 10 in terms of ROI? How will you maintain accountability?
- What about AI? Does my team have the expertise, time, and focus to learn all of the marketing AI tools and how they can best serve us in reaching our goals?
The disconnect for many business owners is that they either think the internal team can handle inbound with just a few hours or that outsourcing means throwing it over the wall to an agency and watching the leads roll in.
The key strategic question is a long-term one:
What structure best suits your current resources and helps the company build a platform that sustains future growth goals?
In our experience with dozens of companies, working with consultants and agencies with a proven track record of success is the surest pathway to reaching your goals. Very few companies we have seen in the B2B SMB space have the internal expertise to execute a strategic inbound marketing strategy that significantly impacts company goals.
Many companies find that the outsourcing model works for them mainly because it allows them to focus on what they do best (their own business) rather than inbound marketing. However, if an agency or consultant does not have a solid list of references and tangible evidence that they have run successful inbound marketing campaigns, then buyer beware.
We took on a new client that had hired a large, well-known national firm to handle their inbound marketing and, after 6 months, fired them for gross underperformance. Our new client hired them without getting any real references. We, on the other hand, provide a long list of references and access to active HubSpot accounts showing real data to show our effectiveness.
For other companies, however, pure outsourcing isn't the right approach. Many companies bring agencies and consultants in to help build the internal team and train them over time to be able to run the program internally. This is an attractive strategy for companies that have more internal resources available in marketing and sales but lack inbound marketing expertise.
But inbound is changing fast.
Inbound marketing, in its essence, is about attracting potential customers through relevant and helpful content, engaging them at every stage of the buying journey, and delighting them to promote business growth.
As the digital landscape becomes more complex and consumer behaviors evolve, leveraging the power of artificial intelligence (AI) in inbound marketing strategies has become imperative.
Hiring experts in marketing AI can be a game-changer for inbound marketing teams. These professionals possess the expertise to harness the capabilities of AI in analyzing vast amounts of data, predicting consumer behaviors, personalizing content delivery, and optimizing campaigns in real-time.
By integrating AI-driven insights and automation, inbound marketing efforts can be made more effective and efficient, ensuring that businesses not only reach their target audiences more precisely but also engage them in more meaningful and personalized ways. In a digital era where personalization and efficiency are paramount, having AI specialists on the inbound marketing team is no longer a luxury—it's a necessity.
Beginning with the sentence "But inbound is changing fast." to the end of the last paragraph, was written by ChatGPT in about 7 seconds.
Maybe that text was better than my writing maybe not. But it is not terrible.
For the record, using AI to write your content is not what we would recommend but it does have a role in content ideation, delivery, and promotion.
AI is becoming embedded in your marketing tools like HubSpot. Are you using it to your advantage or are you at competitive risk to a company of young upstarts that sees AI as the way to leap over the established competition?
Adding inbound marketing as a top-line growth strategy makes sense for ALL B2B companies; how they structure the resources will determine if it is successful.