Inbound marketing is a strategy that earns the attention of customers and helps make a company easy to be found. It utilizes many forms of awareness marketing – content marketing, public relations, blogs, SEO, social media and more – to create brand awareness and attract new business.
Inbound marketing is certainly not a slam-dunk winning strategy. It takes planning and lots of work to make it successful. Some business owners take on inbound marketing as a DIY project. They figure in addition to everything else they do, they can learn about it online, do it themselves and save on marketing costs. Even large companies believe they can hire an intern or two and make it work without having to hire the necessary talent or the foundation in place to make it successful.
What Can Derail Your Program?
With these approaches, it is likely that the inbound program will fail. Let us take a closer look at the five things that will derail your inbound program.
- You have no strategy – Without a strategy, you have no idea what you need to achieve. You would just be executing on a bunch of tactics without having any idea on what you are supposed to achieve. By definition, a strategy is a high-level blueprint that outlines a particular direction along with an achievable goal while the marketing plan is a step-by-step roadmap on how you are going to achieve that goal. For example, the business goal may be to increase revenue by 20% next year. The marketing strategy behind that objective may be to introduce a new product. The plan would focus driving leads by developing an inbound campaign that identifies the appropriate keywords, personas, content, email tactics for that new product and drive online lead generation as well as outbound activities to augment that process.
- You really don’t understand your customer’s journey - A customer journey map is a generalized representation of how a customer, a particular persona, relates to your business, brand or product over time. It identifies customer touchpoints as well as influencers that could affect decisions along the way. IF you are not able to identify your customer’s journey, then you really don’t understand your customer.
- You develop directionless content – Developing content on a regular basis that is interesting ad valuable for your targeted audience isn’t easy. Blog posts, eBooks, white papers, landing pages, emails, and infographics are the content that powers inbound campaigns. If you don’t have a strategy or if you do not really understand your customer, chances are you are developing content that doesn’t matter.
- You damage your reputation – It is very easy to damage your reputation on social media if you don’t know what you are doing or if you are sharing the wrong content. There is a set of best practices for sharing content and engaging prospects using social media.
- You underestimate the time and resources needed- This is where many inbound programs fall apart. Inbound is not a side project yet many organizations do not allocate the appropriate resources for it to be successful. Once they realize how time consuming it is and other responsibilities start to take priority, they give up on inbound before they even see any results or the results they were expecting fast enough.
Inbound marketing works
Inbound marketing offers a clear path to increased brand visibility, by bringing leads to you. But in order for it to work, it has to be used correctly. If you have a strategy and a plan to get there, understand your customers, develop good content that resonates with your customers, follow best practices and allocate the appropriate resources, you should find inbound lead generation to be a straightforward and successful endeavor.
Check out these resources:
Need help with your inbound marketing? Sign up for a free inbound assessment.