6 Steps for Onboarding an Inbound Client

Here’s the deal, getting started with inbound marketing doesn’t have to be difficult. Working with an agency means less work on you, because we take on all the heavy lifting. We make it as simple as possible to get you onboarded, and when we launch your inbound marketing campaign, we can get to the fun part — watching the leads roll in!

Maybe you’re already signed on to get started with inbound marketing, or maybe you’re just wondering how the onboarding process works to find out if working with an agency is right for you. Either way, we are here to help and show you the simple basics of onboarding. It just takes five simple steps to get started with onboarding an inbound client! 

We’ll start by establishing goals and getting your tools and technology in order, then finish up by getting approvals on the first month of content topics. Keep reading for details on each step of the onboarding process.

Five easy steps, and your inbound marketing campaign will be live!

Step One: Fill out a strategic onboarding questionnaire 

The purpose of an inbound onboarding questionnaire is to get a deeper understanding of your business, align our strategy moving forward, and begin to workshop ideas and strategies for your projects. 

Here are a few questions you can expect to answer when you are filling out a strategic drill:

  • How do you think your brand is currently perceived by consumers?
  • What does your sales process look like and how are you tracking leads?
  • Do you know who your target audience is and the individual stages of their buyer’s journey? 
  • How will you measure success with this campaign and report on your results?

If you can’t answer every question, not a problem. We’ll just ask you to take your best shot and answer what you can. The more information we have, the better — even if it isn’t perfect.

We’ll use the strategic onboarding questionnaire to make sure each member of our team that will be working on your marketing strategy is on the same page about your business. Once we have a firm understanding of who your business is, we can start crafting a marketing plan just for your business and goals. Speaking of goals…

Step Two: Tell us what your goals are for your business

In a perfect world, a business has clearly defined goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound — also known as SMART goals. This type of goal helps to ensure you stay on track and everyone on your team can follow the steps that need to be taken to reach the goal. They will also help with tracking and measuring the success of the outcome!

Maybe you want to see the traffic on your website double? Perhaps you need a very specific number of leads to achieve your yearly revenue goal? Whatever the goal is, it is crucial to tell your agency so all parties are rowing in the same direction.

If you don’t know where to start with creating SMART goals, we can help! We created a tool for that very purpose. Check out our inbound revenue calculator to see what kind of conversion rate, website traffic, and lead flow you’ll need to generate revenue to finally take your business to the next level.

Step Three: Provide access to marketing tools

It’s quite difficult to run a social media campaign without access to a company’s LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram. Or to post blogs and upload content offers without a company’s HubSpot login! That’s why the next step is both obvious and crucial. Provide your marketing agency with access to your social media accounts and any tools relevant to marketing so that we can perform an audit.

Some tools that we can audit for you are marketing CRMs like HubSpot, Marketo, or Pardot. Even email tools such as MailChimp, Drip, or Constant Contact. If you have a marketing CRM and you want us to take a look, let us know and we can perform a free in-depth marketing CRM audit to give you insights into where you stand. Since inbound marketing is built on the premise of automation, tools and technology are vital!

Step Four: Attend a kickoff meeting

Within the marketing kickoff meeting, we’ll have the chance to establish roles and responsibilities, review the project timeline, and discuss the details of all the deliverables we will be providing. The kickoff is a great time to ask a ton of questions and make sure everyone is on the same page about how our teams will work together. 

Step Five (this is a big one): Review the Inbound Marketing Blueprint

What is an Inbound Marketing Blueprint, you ask? It’s a marketing guide tailored specifically to your company to serve as a solid foundation for future marketing efforts. This is a vital part of successfully onboarding an inbound client. 

We start with research, interviewing stakeholders at your business, and really unpacking what you’re all about. We analyze your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats as they relate to your specific industry.

What do we need from you in this step of the onboarding phase? We’ll need you to help us get stakeholder interviews set up and to be available to answer follow up questions from time to time. We want to make sure our team is on the right track so we can put together an effective marketing strategy.

We base all of our initial marketing decisions on the research completed in this process. Once we have a firm foundation of research to back us up, we move on to the strategy portion of the client onboarding process.

Within the marketing strategy, you’ll find ideal buyer personas, channel mix recommendations, and content mapping examples. These key pieces are the elements of the Inbound Marketing Blueprint that will position your business to run successful inbound marketing campaigns.

Step Six: Approve content mapping

Once the inbound marketing plan is in place, it’s time to jump into action! The last step in the onboarding process is to approve the topics that we plan out for the upcoming month. The content we map out for your business will be in line with the buyer personas and keyword strategy outlined in the Inbound Marketing Blueprint. We handle everything from creating the blogs and content offer topics to all of the writing — all we need from you is feedback and approvals!

Answering some questions, providing access to tools, and approving topics and content, not too bad right? Like we promised, we’ll take care of the hard stuff so you can focus on what you’re good at, keeping things running smoothly at your company.

Ready to Work with an Agency?

Now that you know what the onboarding process looks like, take the next step and work with us! Our in-depth process for onboarding an inbound client is just one of the many reasons to choose Pinckney to improve your digital marketing strategy. We specialize in branding, inbound strategy, SEO, paid search, web design and development, and even traditional marketing, too. Reach out to us when you’re ready, we’ll be here thinking about how we can help your digital marketing strategy excel.

This content was originally published in 2018 and refreshed in 2020.