When I was 7 years old I went to a neighborhood picnic with my family. I was wandering around the dessert table when my mom came over to me and told me I could join the "three-legged race" that would be going on later in the night. Being a competitive little bugger (who would later become a runner) I was sure I would win, so I signed up and awaited glory.
I had no idea what a three-legged race was.
When I got to the starting line my smirk turned to a look of incredulity as I was strapped to another kid. I backtracked in my mind to see what I had missed. 'Race...I definitely heard race...but....three legs!' It was too late for me to back out now so I took my starting position and prepared myself to drag, shove, and carry the deadweight attached to my ankle across the finish line.
I heard the word "go" and took off like a rocket.....I immediately fell to the ground as the weight of my "partner" held me fast. The race was lost on the first step, I knew it, the kid attached to me knew it, my older brother (laughing hysterically) knew it. I embraced defeat as any 7 year-old would, by shouting defiance at the world.
Working with an Inbound Agency can be a lot like running a three-legged race. Both you and your partner want to win, but you need to work together if you want to do the best you can. Below are a few ways you can increase cohesion with your Inbound Agency and make your efforts a big success.
Allow Your Agency to Gain Your Trust
I'm usually the kind of person that saves the best for last, but in this case, the best is too important to leave until the end. Above all other things, if you want to make sure that you get the most out of your Inbound Agency Partner, you need to give them the opportunity to gain your trust. You hired them because they're experts, you hired them because they know what they are doing; they have almost certainly helped businesses like you a thousand times in the past, so when they come to you with advice or an idea, give them some of your trust. Let them explain their process and why it works. Ask for concrete data and statistics, but remember that your success is their success, and that they are looking out for your best interest.
Be Open to New Ideas
It's human instinct to stick with the familiar. Habits are incredibly hard to break especially when they've been around for a few decades. But if you want to have a successful partnership with your Inbound Agency you have to be willing to change a few things. Be open to working with new ideas, strategies, and solutions. It isn't an easy thing to do, but remember that you hired your Inbound partners to make a change.
Try to take unfamiliar ideas and suggestions in stride, even if they follow a different line of thinking than you are used to. Different isn't always a bad thing. Give your Inbound Partners the chance to explain their changes and why they might work. Suggest doing A/B testing for certain ideas, or experiment with different formatting or language. Remember that changes aren't permanent. To find the perfect strategy, you might need to try a few new things.
Communication is Key!!
The old saying holds true for you and your Inbound Agency Partners. If you want to get the most out of your relationship, then you and your partners need to communicate efficiently and effectively.
Make sure that you set a standard for clear instruction and hold your agency partner to the same standard. Below are a few things you can ask your agency to do to make sure miscommunication doesn't occur.
- Include pictures and links in emails and messages
- When passing information on, forward or copy the message given to you
- Ask for and include qualifiers (date, time, quantity, etc.)
- Include all relevant individuals in email threads and messages
Ask Your Inbound Partners What You Can Expect
Inbound Marketing is a long-term investment that requires strategic planning and constant testing and re-testing. You aren't going to see results in a day, but if you have chosen to work with an agency that knows their stuff, you should start to see results within a few months.
Your Inbound Agency should be reporting to you and setting your expectations before you even ask, but if you have any questions in regards to specific tasks or projects, make sure that you have a good grasp on what you can expect in terms of results and time. This will help you and your partners prioritize tasks and set a monthly budget that matches your specific needs.
A partnership can seem like a scary thing, but honestly it is an easy and effective thing if you know how to handle it. Just like a three-legged race, you need to work in tandem with your partner, giving trust, being open to new ideas, communicating effectively, and managing your expectations. If you do these things, you should be able to make it across the finish line with ease.
If you are interested in learning more about working with an Inbound agency, contact us by clicking below. No pressure, no commitment, just a casual conversation.