Inbound marketing delivers results.
It’s been proven to cost less than outbound marketing while delivering a stronger ROI. However, inbound marketing, like any aspect of business, only works when you have a robust strategy and a plan on how to execute it. Simply using a few inbound marketing tactics won’t yield the results you crave.
If your inbound marketing strategy isn’t generating traffic and leads, then you might be committing one of these inbound marketing mistakes.
Inbound marketing works on the premise of using content in various formats and channels to attract buyers. When done well, you’ll align content to every buying stage and deliver content that’s relevant to prospects’ pain points and provides answers.
There are many inbound marketing examples of well-executed strategies. The method encompasses many different tactics including blogging, long-form content, social media marketing, email marketing, and video marketing. With all these possibilities, it’s often hard to ensure perfection. Your strategy may also be bogged down with manual processes that impact efficiency and productivity.
The important thing about inbound marketing is that if you’re making mistakes, you should keep making changes until you get the results you're looking for. If you’re making these mistakes, correct them and learn from them.
Maybe you’ve been using several inbound marketing tactics or are just beginning to try it out; either way, without a long-term plan and strategy, you’re likely to see your efforts fall flat. You may have seen some good returns with more traffic to your site. However, without a strategy, you won’t be able to nurture those visitors and turn them into customers.
The most critical part of your inbound marketing strategy is the integration of all efforts. One-offs in inbound marketing aren’t sustainable. Your overall strategy should drive everything you create. Your plan needs to define how you execute these tactics as well as how to measure their effectiveness.
For example, if your company is launching a new product, your inbound marketing plan and strategy should support this with a fully integrated campaign that could include blogs, whitepapers, webinars, social media, email, and more.
Your team can produce high-quality content, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to resonate with your buyers—you need to know them intimately first. Part of inbound marketing is having very detailed buyer personas. Those personas will change and evolve, so you should keep refining them.
When you truly understand your buyer’s pain points and preferences, it’s much easier to develop content they’ll want to consume. So, how do you keep a pulse on your audience?
By collecting information from these sources, you can tune into what is on the mind of your buyers. They’ll respond positively to this because they’ll see your brand as an expert and thought leader on the subject. This correlation builds trust, one of the most important bonds you can have with an audience.
This mistake is a subset of the lack of strategy error. Within your strategy, you must clearly define objectives and goals. Are you seeking higher quality leads? Do you want to build your email subscriptions? Or is your first goal to increase brand awareness?
These are all possible goals you can achieve with inbound marketing, but you need to nail down what yours are and develop a strategy and plan that supports them. When you choose your goals, you also need to know how you’ll measure them. For example, if brand awareness is a goal, then you might measure it by looking at organic keyword ranking improvements and social media engagement metrics.
Inbound marketing requires technology to be impactful. There are too many pieces and parts to do everything manually—you need to employ marketing automation. The right technology platform can enable many different efficiencies and better workflows.
You can use marketing automation to:
The content quantity/quality debate is not as black and white as many think. You may think that more is always better and push to deliver content quickly, but you may be sacrificing quality. Publishing frequently is paramount to inbound marketing success, but if your content isn’t interesting or compelling, buyers won’t stick around.
To ensure quality, you should have requirements for your content. You should always look at a piece of content and be able to answer why it would have value to your audience. If it doesn’t, then it probably isn’t worth pursuing.
If you are still concerned about cranking out a significant amount of content, look back at the topics and formats that your audience liked the most. Think of how you can spin that content or repurpose it in a different format. If your buyers really enjoyed a blog post that’s in a list format, think about how you can take that and transform it into an infographic, for example.
Inbound marketing isn’t easy—it takes time to master. And once you do, it will change again. That’s the nature of the discipline. If any of these mistakes sound familiar to you, then it’s time to make some adjustments so that inbound marketing is playing its part to grow your business.
Michael Brenner is author of 3 books including Mean People Suck, The Content Formula, and Digital Marketing Growth Hacks. He is a Forbes top CMO influencer, was named a Top Business Keynote Speaker by the Huffington Post, and a Top Motivational Speaker by Entrepreneur Magazine. He is CEO of Marketing Insider group, where he works with Fortune 500 brands and startups to build effective marketing programs.
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