As more dealerships discover inbound marketing, they often jump to the benefits and overlook what has to be done to achieve those benefits. The concept of inbound is straightforward: providing useful information to your existing customers and potential buyers will increase loyalty, help you be found online and viewed as a trusted source of information, create leads (and better-qualified leads), and help your sales team close new business and upsell existing customers.
Sounds great, right?
And it is – when you take the time to do it right. And to do it right, you need a team that understands the ins and outs of inbound marketing and how to apply that strategy using marketing automation tools.
You wouldn’t send a barely trained service tech to repair a copier at your most important account, would you?
If you don’t have the right team (it takes more than one person to achieve the results I mentioned in the opening), you can expect the same results for your inbound marketing program as you’ll have from that poorly trained tech.
You have a one-person managed services team, right?
Of course not!
You wouldn’t have a single person manning the role of a strategist (virtual CIO), remote monitoring, help desk, and on-site technician. Like your managed network services department, inbound marketing also requires a team for success.
There are two primary reasons your customers sign up for your outsourced services (whether managed network services, managed print services, or other outsourced services):
- Supplement their core IT team and allow them to focus on adding value to the business
- “Instant expertise” and streamlined budgeting. Instead of having the expense and hassle of hiring and managing a team of IT people, you can outsource some or all of your IT management for less than the cost of one IT person.
Those same reasons apply almost exactly to inbound marketing.
Inbound Marketing Takes a Team
Similar to fielding a managed services team, it’s nearly impossible to execute an inbound marketing strategy with just one person. Inbound marketing requires multiple skill sets. Even if you had a marketing superstar that could work 18 hours a day, it would be virtually impossible to find a single person that can do everything that needs to be done for success.
At a minimum to execute an inbound marketing strategy you need:
- Writing expertise
- Social sharing
- Administration and doing the manual work that’s required for marketing automation
There are other skills and knowledge needed as well:
- Copyrighting skill – writing that informs is a different skill than writing Web copy, headlines, and words that attract and entice conversions
- SEO knowledge – which keywords should you use? How should your page titles and meta descriptions be written?
- Design skills – publishing a whitepaper or a graphic requires knowledge of Adobe Acrobat or other creation tools
I’m stopping at three to keep the list from growing too long. Suffice it to say, there’s more to inbound marketing than creating a whitepaper, adding a form to download that paper on your website, and waiting for the leads to magically appear for you.
We’ve been building the Convergo team throughout 2015, and have a rock-solid core in place. Read on for our core roles and team members. We’re also fortunate that our team members are well-rounded and have skills and expertise beyond the core role they perform for our clients.
Content – Bryant Duhon
Content is the engine of inbound marketing. You need content creators that are able to get inside the heads of buyer personas and create compelling content. This includes blog articles that capture attention. It also includes downloadable assets like white papers, special reports, cheat sheets, and even podcasts that are useful. Anyone can crank out a white paper. It takes a special type of content writer to make technical topics both interesting and relevant to the buyer. We are blessed to have our Content Conductor, Bryant Duhon. Prior to Convergo, he spent nearly 20 years as editor (print magazine and website), webinar creator and host, poster writer, community and social channel manager, and, in his final three years, inbound marketer.
We are also fortunate in that Dorene (more on Dorene below) is also an excellent writer, as is Lindsay (when she has “time”).
Social Media – Jon Mitchell
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about social media, it’s that you can’t just mindlessly throw content onto your social pages. You need a separate strategy for each platform. Creating social posts that are engaging takes creativity and thought.
And if you think social is just Facebook and Farmville, you need to rethink your understanding. Social is a key way to distribute the content you create, “meet” new people online, and become a trusted resource of information for people (these things also drive people back to your website over time).
Our Social Media Director, Jon Mitchell, is passionate about social media. Not only does he offer 15 years of experience having worked for HP, run a FileNet implementation, and provided IT support, he is also a social fanatic. To get results from social, you need someone on your team with this level of experience and passion.
Jon also loves to write about the latest in social tools. He’s been an early adopter of both Periscope and Blab, and is constantly looking to upgrade our client’s social stature.
Design – The Team and Outsourced
While inbound marketers would all agree that “content is king” there is no question that the content needs to be presented professionally. You need to go beyond laying out documents in Microsoft Word. Your white papers, special reports, and infographics need to be presented professionally along with call-to-action graphics that enhance your brand.
We’re lucky in that there are tools such as Canva, Pablo, and HubSpot that allow us to create great calls to action and basic images to accompany blogs and social posts. For more extensive design work, we have relationships with designers who get the job done better and faster than we can do it ourselves.
Much like an IT department, in addition to the personnel, you need to invest in training and stay up-to-date on the latest trends. Our partner, HubSpot, provides extensive training to our team. In early September, we all spent a week learning from peers and experts at HubSpot’s annual Inbound conference. This alone is an investment of several thousand dollars per person. Throughout the year, we’re always learning something new through HubSpot’s online training, blogs, books, webinars, podcasts, virtual conferences . . . we are information omnivores – we go to where the best and most useful information is.
Managed Marketing Services
If you want to reach Buyer 2.0 with inbound marketing, you need a team. There’s currently a war for talent in the inbound marketing world. These people are hard to find and even harder to keep because they are in demand (trust me! I had to hire them!). At a bare minimum, you need two people to pull off an inbound strategy: a strategist that can also write content and a coordinator to do social media posts and help the strategist build out the marketing campaigns (hopefully using some sort of marketing automation tool to simplify tracking, fine-tuning, and reporting results). Hiring these two people will cost well over $100,000 per year.
When looking for these people, you need to look for people with:
- Proven marketing experience
- Inbound certification
- Marketing automation experience
- Industry experience
The other option is to take a cue from your managed IT services value proposition. Why not outsource your inbound marketing to a managed marketing services partner? Convergo brings you a team of inbound-certified marketing experts that understands your business and can apply best practices in marketing to enhance your business.
Not only is our team composed of experts in inbound, but we’ve managed to find folks from inside the industry. As unique as the office technology world is, having marketing folks on the Convergo team who have worked inside a dealership and who understand how the products and technology are used cuts the learning curve so we can start building the strategy faster.
It takes about 9-12 months to begin seeing inbound results. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll begin generating qualified leads.
Originally published on Convergo.