It's true: your business might not be the best for inbound marketing.
Realistically, if you’re going to invest in a marketing strategy, you’d ideally like to know if it will work for you before you commit to it - which is completely understandable. But how do you know if inbound isn’t right for you?
Simple. Keep reading.
You have more prospects than you know what to do with
What a problem to have - too much business.
If you’re a business with a consistently good word-of-mouth reputation for providing quality products or services, inbound marketing isn’t necessarily the best route to go down. Take a local business as an example: a small joinery company that has customers booked in for months. For this kind of business, inbound marketing won’t work - not just because they’re a small business, but because they don’t have to work hard to nurture prospects when they’re already being recommended as a solution to a problem right away.
However, the likelihood is you’re probably not a business with a team of two people working solely in the local area, and you’re probably not the first solution your customer will come across (sorry). The reality is you have to work to catch their attention, and inbound is the only method that recognises this.
You want a one-size-fits-all solution
If you want an out-of-the-box marketing solution (spoiler alert: this doesn’t exist) that requires no effort but gets results - inbound isn’t the one for you.
It’s no secret that traditional inbound marketing doesn’t work for all businesses, but it has been so well assembled that it has become an extremely attractive solution to many businesses, who falsely believe that following a rigid plan in a neat little package will get results.
But, here’s the thing. Inbound doesn’t work like that. And it shouldn’t.
Inbound isn’t (contrary to what some marketing agencies would have you believe) as straightforward as it’s sometimes made out to be. A one-size-fits-all solution won’t work, and if that’s what you’re looking for then inbound isn’t for you. An inbound strategy will only perform effectively if it is completely tailored to match your business needs, goals and challenges - and it does require a considerable amount of time and effort before you start seeing results. With inbound, you’re in for the long haul.
You aren’t transparent
Inbound is about getting you closer to your customers - answering the questions they’re asking and gaining their trust. How do you expect to do that if you can’t be somewhat transparent with what you’re offering?
Inbound is about your customer, not you. Where outbound strategies tend to focus on what you’re good at and go in for the hard sell, inbound strategies focus on what your customers actually want to hear. For example, the one thing many businesses are always reluctant to talk about on their website is pricing, because of the perceived notion that it will put off potential customers. However, if your competitors have their pricing on their website - why don’t you?
Without some sort of transparency, your customers won’t trust you and you’ll lead them directly into the arms of your competitors. This isn’t to say you should publish everything on your website, but with an inbound strategy, you’ll understand your customer well enough to know what they need to hear.
You can’t invest in your website
Ah, the core of any successful inbound marketing strategy: your website.
It’s where you’ll generate traffic, convert leads and delight your customers, but if you don’t have a website designed and optimised with the customer journey in mind, inbound is unlikely to be successful. B2B purchases very rarely happen without a trip to a supplier’s website, and if yours isn’t informative, accessible and clear - they are likely to go elsewhere.
Unless your website is written, designed and built to convey the crucial information needed to generate a purchase, you’ll keep losing opportunities. Inbound websites are created with customer experience at their core and see increasingly positive results, but if you can’t invest the necessary resources into getting an inbound-ready website, you probably shouldn’t do inbound.
You aren’t ready to change
The final and arguably most important reason why you shouldn’t do inbound is that you aren’t ready, or willing to change. In order to achieve success with inbound, you need to change the way you originally thought about marketing, sales and the customer experience. If you’re not willing to do this, then inbound isn’t for you.
Some companies prefer traditional outbound methods such as cold-calling and shouting into the void hoping that someone, somewhere will hear. And that’s fine - if you have the budget to do so. Putting messages out there in the hope that someone wants to purchase your product or service can be expensive without any proper research, and it means you’re less likely to attract relevant, qualified leads that are more likely to convert. There’s an abundance of research out there that suggests customers are getting smarter. They’re no longer falling for the sales shtick - so why are so many B2B organisations still doing it?
Who knows. What we do know, however, is that inbound is the way forward. If it isn’t made for you, then that’s fine - but if it could be, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to change the way your company interacts with and attracts its customers.
So, what have you got to lose?
See what results you can expect with inbound in our free download: An Introduction to Inbound Marketing. We break down what a 12-month inbound strategy can do for your company, including our unique process for delivering results.