Six signs you're not ready for #inboundmarketing

Inbound Marketing and Social Media Outsourcing – Six Signs That You’re Not Ready

Inbound marketing works, but some businesses looking to hire an agency to help them are better off sticking to traditional marketing – for now. Yours might be one of them if:

You’re Not Ready for Prime Time

Six signs you're not ready for #inboundmarketing

If you’re not proud of your product, service or customer service – stop! Inbound marketing (and social media in particular) will magnify your shortcomings.

Need a case in point? Amy’s Baking Company in Scottsdale, Arizona had a very public meltdown starting on the reality show Kitchen Nightmares and continued in train wreck fashion on Facebook.

As one clever Facebook user advised, “I think you guys need to recognize that Facebook isn’t really a good channel for you.” Get your house in order and then embrace inbound.

You Don’t Know What You Want

“More sales” is not a complete goal. When you start talking to an inbound marketing agency, you will be asked questions such as:

  • Who is your ideal customer? Where do they prefer to get their information?
  • What kind of marketing are you doing now? How is it working?
  • What are your goals (traffic, leads, sales)? Get specific with the numbers.
  • When would you like to reach your goals? What happens if you don’t?

Granted, you may not have all the answers off the top of your head, but you should be willing to get the answers before you ask for a proposal. Without the answers to these questions, you cannot get a good strategy, and you’ll never know if it’s working. Trust me, nobody wants that.

You Haven’t Learned To Share

Don’t like to share? Only want to take, take, take? This manifests in social media as a tendency to share only your own content, usually including way too many sales messages. Our community manager, Carolyn, put it this way when I asked, “Who would NOT be a good customer for us?” “A company that just wants to be a part of social media to “sell” their product.” Ask your agency to explain to you why “give to get” works so much better – and trust them on it.

You Don’t Play Well With Others

Community Manager Marissa pointed to another poor candidate for outsourcing social media when she added, “A company not willing to give us any information.” We covered this one at length in our post about the need for ongoing communication when you outsource. If you are not able to maintain ongoing communication with your agency, wait until you can, or assign others in your company to be available for contact. Community Manager Tina says, that so many companies “miss the fact that the best results come from working together.” So true! Commit to open communication from the start and make sure all assigned employees keep it up.

You’re on a Shoestring Budget

Just because many of the tools that make inbound work – email, social media platforms, Google Analytics, WordPress are free, doesn’t mean that inbound marketing comes cheap.  There is a tremendous amount of know-how and hard work that goes in to it. Expect to pay at least as much for inbound as you used to spend on traditional marketing – to the tune of $2,500/month and up.

Until you can afford to outsource, do what you can on your own. Start blogging, get some social media training and share your posts there, and build your email list. That way, when you are ready to enlist professional help, you will have an excellent foundation and a big head start.

Another option is to ask agencies what they suggest for a hybrid approach. That is, if you create the content and handle the more personal social media updates and monitoring and they handle lead generation and email. A discussion of the skills of your staff and the time they can devote to inbound tasks may help you come up with a way to share the work and reduce your costs.

You Have No Use For Leads

Inbound and social media marketing has as its ultimate goal increasing sales. However, when you outsource your inbound marketing, what you’re going to end up with are leads. It’s up to you to take those leads and follow up by telephone once they’re ripe! Your agency can help you figure out when that is, but they are not going to do it for you. Make sure your sales team is ready and committed to follow up with the leads you receive.

None of these traits of a bad inbound customer are irreversible. It may just be that you have some more work to do before you’re ready and that’s OK! We all start somewhere, right?

Your turn! Have you ever had or been a bad inbound or social media outsourcing customer?

Ready to talk about your options? We’re happy to take a look at your current efforts and make some suggestions. Then, if you like what you hear, we’ll schedule another time to discuss how we might work together.  Request your assessment now.

Inbound Marketing Assessment

About the Author Alisa Meredith (311 Posts)

As co-owner and chief inbound marketing consultant at Scalable Social Media, Alisa Meredith spends a lot of time keeping up with online marketing trends for the benefit of our customers. Computers have been a passion of hers since her first T1-99, so inbound and social media marketing is a natural fit.


  1. Finally catching up on my reading list, Alisa! So glad you shared this for #ReciprocityRocks. I couldn’t agree with you more … you have to be organized (or get your house in order, as you say), you have to know what you want (and no, it can just be “to make money!”), and to be able to share. Too many people are missing those three points out there, aren’t they!
    I especially love the last part. Give more than you take. That’s just the way the social sphere works.

  2. Alisa Meredith

    Well, thank you for the opportunity, Brooke – always nice to chat with you!

    Yup, even when we were just offering social media support, we found that some people viewed it as a magic pill – a cure for all their business ills. That would be nice :).

    I just started using multi-page posts, but I’m wondering if either the formatting is making it so people don’t see to go to the next page, or if something else is happening. Might have to go back to one-pagers. Thoughts?

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