Inbound marketing is one of the most powerful tools for generating sales today. However this technique – also closely-associated with related forms of promotion such as content marketing and permission marketing – is only as effective as how well it is strategized and performed. All too often, businesses make critical mistakes in crafting and executing supporting programs. What follows are generally considered to be the five biggest mistakes that business make when either creating or executing their outreach strategy.
No Sound Inbound Marketing Plan
“Focus on the core problem your business solves and put out lots of content and enthusiasm, and ideas about how to solve that problem.” – Laura Fitton
Not having a clear idea of what your objectives are before starting an inbound campaign dooms the project from the start. Basically, if you don’t know what results you hope to drive, then you’ll never achieve them. While it may sound rather rigid and time-consuming to formulate a sound marketing strategy first, it is akin to penning a script for a play or movie – it provides a supporting structure that precisely choreographs where you want programs to go. Without going to the trouble to provide prior foundation in the form a solid strategic plan, then programs are unlikely to yield desired results due to a lack of focus. In other words, it’s hard to hit your target when you don’t take the time to aim first.
Lack of Coordination with Alternate Strategies
“You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give it to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new.” – Steve Jobs
While inbound programs operating on a different principle than outbound marketing methods, there still needs to be close coordination between the two in order to achieve maximum effectiveness. One fine example is adding a call to action within outbound advertisements – i.e. banner, print or pre-roll ads – that helps drive audiences to dedicated landing pages where more content (e.g. articles, videos and podcasts) can be found and consumed. In essence, this doubles up efforts to pull more people to the website, and stick around once they’ve visited.
Ignoring Consumer Feedback and Analytics
“If you have more money than brains, you should focus on outbound marketing. If you have more brains than money, you focus on inbound marketing.” – Guy Kawasaki
Numbers and metrics are at the heart of the inbound strategy, and should be tracked and responded to routinely. This means that there needs to be key performance indicators (KPIs) in place for your products or services that the inbound marketing plan is focused on meeting. Expectations may include boosting figures or close rates with regard to lead generation, website traffic and sales, and content mapped to best boost these results – ignoring the numbers or failing to respond to customer feedback properly will lead to failure. Clients who use inbound marketing services are looking for clear evidence of their effectiveness such as increased website traffic, rates of conversion, and more leads and sales. Benchmarks need to be noted, and performance results of both overarching initiatives and specific pieces of content tracked to determine whether this particular strategy is working.
Trusting Software to Handle Everything
While there are many wonderful inbound marketing software solutions, even the best tools come with limitations. For example, blogs that use the most advanced traffic- and engagement-generating tools will still have to come up with article topics, create original videos and engage in social media promotions efforts of their own. There is only so much inbound marketing software can do – a human element is also present in these promotions. Those who choose to utilize them should be aware of associated commitments.
Not Staying Current with New Trends
If there is any truth to all forms of marketing and advertising, it is that everything can change on a dime. Sound, proven methods of reaching customers can flip around due to changes in Google algorithms, the rise of fresh technologies and trends, growing emphasis on new social media platforms, and other disruptors. Inbound marketing can be quite complex, but by establishing a strong plan, keeping an eye on the numbers, staying up to date with the times, and coordinating programs to best integrate with other supporting strategies, you can build powerful platforms that drive long-term profits and growth.