Inbound marketing. You’ve heard of it, you’ve read about it, and you’re committed to using it to move your business forward, with your sales team and marketing teams onboard to make it a success.
When you’re putting together your inbound marketing strategies, it can sound super exciting: The prospect of a clear return-on-investment, a revenue generation machine producing the very best, high quality leads. What could go wrong?
Well, in truth, there are several pitfalls that businesses encounter when implementing inbound marketing, and these common mistakes can often prevent you from achieving success.
The truth is that inbound marketing does work, but these pitfalls can leave you frustrated and unmotivated. But all hope isn’t lost, because we’re going to break down the top 4 inbound marketing mistakes, and how you can avoid them.
Now let’s look at each of these in more detail:
Inbound marketing is pointless without a solid strategy in place. There are a lot of moving parts that all require attention and planning before you begin your digital marketing efforts.
Content marketing, social media marketing, buyer personas, email marketing and everything in between are all marketing tactics that come together to form your inbound marketing machine. No longer is it simply about posting blog posts to your website.
Instead, you need to have a plan in place. This means instead of going about it haphazardly, you give yourself direction for your inbound marketing strategy. This would include crafting buyer personas, agreeing KPIs (more on that later), training and support and more. But by doing this, you give yourself a level playing field and a guide for implementing your marketing programs.
Let’s set the record straight: There is a clear difference between content marketing and inbound marketing. Content marketing is a part of inbound marketing, the difference being the former is about establishing yourself as an authority figure, and the latter encompassing the tools used to drive lead generation.
That being said, we often encounter businesses who tell us that they do a lot of blog writing, but nothing else. No marketing automation, no social media, no email marketing. The problem here is that they’re relying solely on content marketing, which will only get you so far.
The problem with only focusing on content marketing is that your efforts are only responsible for generating traffic. Sure, driving traffic to your website is great, but if you’ve not got a method of capturing email addresses, or guiding your audience along the customer journey, you’re fighting a losing battle.
Instead, you want to embrace all aspects of inbound marketing, including content. That way, you have a full suite of tools that will work together to capture leads, build relationships and convert your leads into sales.
The phrase “content is king” is often bandied about by marketing agencies. And rightly so, especially when you consider that 88% of marketers using content marketing as part of their marketing strategy.
However, your content is only effective if you do it right. Where businesses fail is quantity over quality, believing that the more content, the better. Sadly, this isn't the case.
In order for inbound and content marketing to work together well, it crucially has to be a part of a marketing strategy, with your audience at heart: Their pain points, their questions, buyer personas based around their needs.
If your blog writing, or your website, or your entire marketing efforts aren’t designed to address the concerns of your audience, then you’re producing bad content. And the result of bad content is that you lose buyer trust, meaning they’re less likely to make that important buying decision with your business.
To solve this issue, it comes back to strategy. Make sure you have created your buyer personas, and think about brainstorming their top questions and concerns. Once you’ve done that, you can start using your marketing to address them over time.
This is probably the biggest hurdle we see businesses encounter time and time again, and it's one reason that businesses give up all too soon with their marketing efforts.
The ugly truth of inbound marketing is that results don’t happen overnight. It’s not a magic wand that gives you instant gratification.
Instead, it’s a process that ultimately results in lead generation over an extended period of time. Why? Well, there’s two reasons.
The first is down to how consumers buy in today’s digital world. As we’ve said before, 70% of the buying decision is made before the consumer even gets in touch. That means they’re spending a large portion of time researching so that they can make an informed buying decision, and it’s this research that businesses overlook.
The result is that buyers take longer to make a buying decision over products or services, and that means your marketing takes longer to produce results. So ironically, if you expect instant results and give up too soon, you’re actually doing your audience a disservice and losing buyer trust.
The second reason instant results don’t work is down to search engines. The advent of digital marketing means everyone faces stiff competition online, meaning your quality content is inevitably competing with other brands, some bigger and some smaller.
Because of the fierce competition, it takes time for Google to recognise your site, it’s quality content and begin indexing your pages and posts. This means that when you launch your inbound marketing strategy, it can take time to ramp up.
So, rather than expecting instant results, you instead want to think about setting realistic expectations. Our recommendation is to commit to inbound marketing for a minimum of 12 months, and set measurable goals for your entire marketing funnel.
With any marketing, you’re likely to make mistakes. You could be a complete inbound marketing novice, or you might be a well-established business working with an inbound marketing agency.
Often, working with an agency can help prevent you making mistakes, as they’ll have the experience, tools and knowledge required to help you make your marketing successful. If that’s something you think you need, head over to our diagnostic to evaluate your marketing efforts so far!