Inbound marketing is often hailed as a successful way to bring in new leads, revolutionise your marketing process and create a sustainable, long-term methodology for business growth. However, if you’re unsure of what you’re doing, then inbound marketing can fail to give the results that you need. We’ve been in the inbound game for a long time, and throughout that time, we’ve made our fair share of mistakes. Here’s how NOT to succeed with inbound:
Believe that inbound is easy
Too often, inbound marketing is touted as a ‘one-size fits all’ route to business growth. This simply isn’t the case. You can’t just apply inbound marketing tactics and wait for the leads to come pouring in - you need to tailor and apply it to your specific business goals and needs. As with many methodologies, you can’t just set it up and go - inbound requires time, effort, budget, skills, attention and patience in order to see results. However, if you’re willing to put in the work, it can be extremely rewarding.
Think of it as a strategy, instead of a methodology
Don’t commit to inbound if you’re not ready to change the way you think about marketing. The inbound methodology is about turning traditional marketing on its head, and if you think that you can just tweak your old methods, then you aren’t going to succeed. It’s essential to create and sustain a ‘culture of content’, and to do this, you need to throw what you know out of the window. Your business is now essentially a publisher, and you need to accept that to do inbound successfully, you need to be creating 8-12 blogs a month, in addition to guides, checklists, and assets to provide information to your potential customers.
To do this, you need the input of your in-house experts. This isn’t just a case of choosing one employee and rolling with it - your experts can be found across departments, in consultants, sales teams, admin and customer service, and even in your own customers. Consult with everyone, and your content will be stronger for it.
Skip creating buyer personas
It’s very tempting to skip buyer persona creation - you think you know your customers, and therefore, surely you know what your potential customers want to see?
Skipping this step is your one-way ticket to failure. Without a comprehensive buyer persona, you run the risk of creating content that isn’t specifically aligned with your buyer’s pains, and that isn’t working as part of your wider strategy.
Equally important is to make sure that you are consistently referring to and refining your buyer personas. They’re no use to you if they’re just sitting on the company drive somewhere - refresh your understanding of them every time you go to write a piece of content, be it an asset, a landing page, or even a social media post.
Write only with sales in mind, and don’t consider what your readers want
This follows on from the last point - your buyer personas have specific pains and needs that they want to find a solution for. If you’re just writing about how great your newest product or service is, then you’re not really writing content for them - you’re writing it for you. Think carefully about the traditional buyer’s journey in your business. What challenges do your leads typically face? What questions do they usually ask? Use this information to inform your content, and you’ll find that your readers are much more likely to engage with your content, and ultimately turn into customers.
Create content without measuring the results
Sure, with inbound you need to be creating content, but don’t just send blog posts into the void and then move on to the next one. You might have a piece of content that is great, but isn’t performing. You might have a piece of content that is terrible, but is still getting lots of irrelevant traffic. The key to implementing inbound marketing well is to continuously analyse and optimise your strategy. Revisit old content, tweak it where necessary, and have the flexibility to adjust your strategy when needed. The results of your previous content experiments are vital for your content creation in the future, and you can use them to develop future campaigns.
Try inbound marketing without any specialist tools
Inbound is about writing content and then analysing it, right? So you can do it with a Word document or two and Google Analytics? Wrong.
There is a reason that specific inbound marketing tools exist, and it’s to make sure that you’re planning, executing and measuring your campaigns efficiently. Thousands of companies use HubSpot for this reason - not only did the company develop the inbound marketing methodology (so they know it the best), but their platform also allows for in-depth tracking and analysis of the customer journey, your content’s success, and the impact that your marketing efforts have on your business’ bottom line.
Realistically, you could probably pull off an inbound marketing campaign with the use of spreadsheets, multiple analytics and tracking tools, and a team of marketers. But why would you want to, when there are platforms that make it easy to manage your campaigns? Ultimately, investing into a specialist tool isn’t just a way to make your job easier, it’s a way to fully invest in the inbound methodology, and in your business’ future.
Did any of these points sound familiar? It’s very easy to mess up when it comes to inbound, and that’s the main reason that many companies don’t see the results they want. If you still have questions about how to successfully implement an inbound campaign, why not check out our total guide to inbound? We’ll take you through how to plan your strategy effectively, the KPIs that you’ll need to understand and track from the beginning, and how to optimise based on your results. Best of all, it’s completely free - just click the button and go!