So, you've decided that Inbound Marketing will be the most effective way to achieve your business goals, and you want to create an Inbound Marketing team that can get it done. And because outside help is expensive, you're looking first at your internal team.
Then you're probably asking questions like: Who here has the most time to put toward this? What skills do they need? What content resources do we already have that we could leverage? How do we formalize our process so it's not just a huge waste of time?
What Are Your Inbound Marketing Goals?
Before you go any further, back up a bit and remind yourself why you're doing this in the first place: you have ambitious business goals that won't be achieved using tired, traditional marketing strategies. You know your online marketing should be doing more for you, and that's why you were drawn to Inbound in the first place.
So, start off by setting some Inbound goals. These should include website traffic, % of traffic converted to qualified leads, and customers gained through your website.
Now that you have specific goals in front of you, it makes sense to talk about the capabilities needed to make them happen. We've identified, through our personal experiences and with the benefit of dozens of other firms like ours who, like us, learned a lot through trial and error, that the following skill areas are critical to Inbound Marketing success:
Marketing strategy. Someone has to "own" strategy, and be able to view Inbound as an integrated piece of the big picture. Ability to move comfortably from 40,000 feet to ground level is key.
Creative copywriting. Since content is the currency of Inbound, your team needs both the capability and capacity to create a large quantity of quality content: compelling, energetic and informative blogs, profiles for social media, hard-hitting web and landing page content, and advanced content in multiple forms (video scripts, webinar outlines, eBooks, etc.)
Social media marketing. Social media is your content distribution and promotion channel, and also the best off-site way to connect with prospects. Your team needs to be skilled at creating, executing and managing social media plans while keeping well-versed on emerging platforms and capabilities.
Search marketing. To turn your efforts into online visibility, your team needs to know the intricacies of effective SEO (defined keywords, meta data, link-building strategies, etc.) and of paid search and social media optimization; they also need to understand ever-changing search algorithms.
Web and graphic design. Effective Inbound Marketing means your website, social media profiles, and all your distributed content become dramatically more visible to a growing pool of prospects. Web and graphic design capabilities are essential to ensure you're always putting your best foot forward in every public dimension of your company.
Inbound Marketing software expert. Great tools are more powerful in the right hands. Inbound software deserves dedicated users to create the greatest performance leverage, and also be able to understand and utilize the available data and analytics at your fingertips.
To assemble your team, start by looking at your internal capabilities and capacity, but do it with your eyes wide open. The reality with many companies is that their SG&A is allocated to support sales and marketing approaches whose time has passed. Most small to medium sized companies just don't have the capabilities needed to do Inbound Marketing effectively, and there's no cost-effective way to professionally staff for all that's needed.
Well, You Probably Saw This Coming A Mile Away...
Our point is that it's typically most effective for companies to use firms designed to deliver Inbound Marketing capabilities as they initiate Inbound plans. Here are a few reasons why:
Speed. You can begin moving immediately toward your goals. That means you're that much closer to enjoying the results, and that much more likely to get there before your competitors
Overhead. You're not taking any risk by adding headcount before you're completely convinced in the value of this approach
Skills Transfer. Your people are benefiting from the ongoing transfer of 2.0 marketing skills that will allow you to grow internal capabilities at your own pace, and properly realign SG&A for future needs
Want to know more about the process of Inbound Marketing and what it takes to make your efforts a success? Take a look at our free download: "Answers to the Top 15 Questions About Inbound Marketing."
Posted by Meg Hoppe Meg provides creative vision to all client projects and serves as the agency's chief content writer. She has extensive experience writing for a variety of industries, including manufacturing, financial services, and healthcare. Meg started in advertising and has become a thought leader in digital content creation and inbound marketing.