Take it from an agency: inbound marketing might not work for you

As an inbound marketing agency, we are increasingly seeing companies try, and fail, to lead a successful Inbound Marketing strategy.

Picture of Jack Williams Jack Williams

Published: 07 Oct 2016

5 minutes read

Take it from an agency: inbound marketing might not work for you

As a B2B inbound marketing agency, we have quickly come to realise that inbound doesn’t work for everyone. “Why?” I hear you ask. Well, there are a number of considerations and commitments every organisation needs to make when signing up to any form of long-term marketing plan, and inbound is no exception.

If you’re going to start with inbound marketing, you need to dedicate time and resources to it, otherwise it just won’t work. You’ll spend 6 to 12 months wondering what is going on, and in the end, just give up.

Here is why it won’t work for you:

1. You’re impatient

Inbound marketing isn’t a quick and easy solution. It can take anywhere between 6 to 24 months to see a real difference. At around 6 to 8 months, you’ll usually start seeing your website traffic increase, and the number of relevant leads increase. However, you may not even make any return in the first 12 months.

If this worries you, then inbound marketing is NOT for you.

2. You haven’t got a plan

A lot of companies do what I like to call ‘stuff’. By ‘stuff’, I mean posting on social media, publishing blogs, and offering trials and consultations. Some of the more savvy companies also start toying with the idea of PPC, landing pages and downloadable content. However, very few have a strategy in place to bring it all together.

What is the purpose of that blog you just wrote? Does it relate to your offering, or something else you have written about? Does it pull customers towards your unique selling point (USP)? Who are you trying to attract? If you haven’t thought these things through, inbound marketing won’t work for you.

The obvious solution to get around not having a plan is get someone else to make one for you (Ahem…) Don’t worry, I won’t sell to you on a blog post. That’s not inbound.

Note: If all your blogs are about why your product is the best, and why people should choose you, they’re probably not going to work.

3. You don’t know your customers as well as you thought

You’d be surprised at how many companies I talk to that still don’t know who their audience is. I’m not just talking “companies that can benefit from our services”, or “business owners”. You need to know what makes that person tick. What is their role? What are their responsibilities? What do they do on a daily basis? How web-savvy are they? What are their goals? What are their challenges? And so on, and so forth.

The ‘Holy Grail’ of marketing is made up of 3 things:

  • The right message
  • The right person
  • The right time

If you don’t know the basics of your target audience, how are you going to write content that appeals to them, and get it in front of them at a time that suits/makes sense to them?


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4. You’re happy as you are

Surely every company wants to grow? Well, you’d be surprised at the amount of companies I have spoken to who have had steady year-on-year growth, and aren’t really interested in unlocking the potential of targeted, revenue-focused marketing.

“If it’s not broken, why try to fix it?” Madness, I know. It may not be broke and it may not need ‘fixing’, but inbound can complement your existing business growth efforts to bring in even more money.

However, if this sounds like you, then inbound marketing isn’t right.

5. You don’t have the resources

As well as commitment, inbound needs people, mainly salespeople. If you’re considering inbound marketing, then generating leads must be very important to you. If you start generating more leads, you’re going to need salespeople to follow them up. Also, having 1 to 2 in-house marketers can be beneficial, and aid content output, so long as they have a background of content writing – if they are more events focused, then they may struggle

6. You don’t have the budget

Inbound is a very sizeable investment. You could be spending anywhere between £30,000 and £100,000 a year, depending on campaign size, PPC spend, and whether you use internal marketing resource or an agency.

The potential ROI from a well-rounded inbound strategy is enough to make up for the spend, but these results don’t happen overnight. You need the budget initially, but after 12 months or so, it will (or should) start paying for itself.

7. You’re all about numbers

It’s great to have clearly defined goals, such as increase website traffic by 100%, or increase conversion rates by 2%. But remember, Inbound Marketing is all about generating high quality sales opportunities. You may not generate that additional 50% traffic, or increase the number of visitor:lead conversions, but the traffic that is coming to your website may be better quality.

Once you, and your business, come to terms with completely rethinking what you know about marketing, then, and only then, will you find yourself on the right path to inbound success.

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