You think it holds all the answers to your sales and marketing needs, but... it also sounds a little too good to be true, right?
Well, I'm here to tell you a few things.
The first is that inbound marketing does not hold all the answers (but it does hold a lot of them). The second is that you are not the only one who doesn't know where to start. Last one is that the only way to succeed is to try.
That being said, there are probably a few things holding you back from succeeding, or maybe even getting starting, with inbound marketing. Either you don't know how to do something, don't understand it, think you aren't good at it or all of the above.
Well...you're in luck, because today I am going to break down the top 5 reasons why people fail with inbound marketing.
#1 Having Unrealistic Expectations
I've seen it happen time and time again, people turn to inbound marketing looking for a quick fix to, often deep-rooted sales and marketing problems.
With this in mind, it cannot be stressed enough that inbound marketing takes time. It's not a magic potion that works instantly.
It's also not a one-size-fits-all solution, so before deciding to jump into inbound marketing you need to do your homework.
You need to identify your end goals, determine if they can be met with inbound marketing methodolgies, and if you are willing to take the time to learn, understand, and implement (or hire someone to implement) the best practices.
Again, it's a process, it takes time and to be successful you have to have realistic expectations.
Let's face it, time is money, so whether you plan to dedicate an existing staff member, hire a new staff member(s), or hire an agency, someone needs to plan, manage, and execute your inbound marketing strategy.
Plain and simple, inbound marketing is an overall investment...but it's so worth it. Trust me.
#2 A Lack of Clear Goals
If you are still reading this it means you are ready to put in the work. I like it.
So, before you can begin your trip down the inbound marketing highway you need to know what your destination is.
In this case, that means who your target buyer is and what you want them to do. Without a buyer persona (or multiple), it's like shooting into the dark, you may or may not hit the target you are aiming for.
So, where to begin? Ask yourself some basic questions to get your brain waves going:
Who are our current customers? Take some time to examine and better understand your current customer base, and ideally some time to speak with a few of them. How did they find you? Why did they choose you? What other companies did they look at in comparison to yours? This information will be extremely helpful in identifying your buyer pesonas and helping you to reach more of them.
What does my service or product provide/solve? There is a reason why your customer's chose you; why is that? What is it that your customers need that you offer, or solve better than the compeition? What sets your company apart?
Who is our competition? Even though your customers chose you, you know that they likely researched the competitors as well. Identifying and understanding your competition is the key to overcoming them to win the sale.
What action do we want new customers to take? Understanding who your target audience is just part of the battle, you must also identify what you want them to do. What's the goal you want the end user to take? Sign up for a free trial, a demo or perhaps request a consultation?
However, the caveat to this is that content has to be done right.
Many people think that quantity and frequency alone will bring them results; but if you don't have a strategy and standards in place, your content will fail.
In order for content to work for your inbound marketing it must be a part of a well planned strategy, driven by specific goals, designed to address concerns of your target audience.
Now, I understand that sounds like a fairly complicated process, so let me break it down.
Let's say that you want to increase the number of 'Free Trial' sign-ups for your application on your website.
You can't just post a bunch of content about how awesome your product is. You need to take baby steps.
Think about it as you would when meeting a new person. You have to first get to know them, understand them, and build a relationship with them through repeated interaction before they begin to trust you and depend on you as a friend.
That's exactly how you should think of your buyer persona
First, you identify your persona (which based on point #1 your gears should already be turning on) and then you start targeting them with information-based content, such as a blog post, that they would be interested in.
This targeting could take place through Facebook ads, LinkedIn posts, or email marketing and should be designed to lead your audience to a blog post.
Once they are on the blog and like what they see (again, reason for high-quality content) they may choose to open the lines of communication by commenting on your post, subscribing to your blog, or even filling out a form for an offer on your website.
Now you have the chance to continue to build this relationship; turning initial interest into a lead or relationship that over time can be strategically nurtured into a marketing qualified lead or even a customer.
You know how it goes; when sales are down the marketing team points the finger at the sales team for things like lack of follow up, poor execution, and asks "what is the sales team doing?"
Then when leads are down the sales team points the finger at the marketing team saying the leads arn't qualified, questioning ROI on high budget campaigns and asking "what does the marketing team even do?"
This ends up being a wash-and-repeat routine, often preventing sales and marketing from working together for what is actually a shared goal -- more conversions.
In order for inbound marketing to be successful your entire company needs to be on board, and most importantly your sales & marketing teams need to be a united front working together to nurture leads into sales.
If you've gotten this far you are pretty serious about joining the inbound marketing club, but there's one last thing that will prevent you from success.
This one's one because it involves committment, which, as we all know is something a lot of us have an issue with.
Inbound marketing is not a shiny new toy, it's a methodology, and you've got to be in it 110% for it to work.
What this means is that you need to be ready to make changes not only in how you capture new leads with content, but with your entire marketing roadmap. This, at the very surface, will involve:
Landing Page Creation
When it's all said and done, no matter what type of company you have, what your experience level is, or who your buyer persona is, there is one thing that unites all inbound marketers -- the constant drive for quality strategy, results and increased conversions.
So take the time, do the research, put in the work (or hire someone to put in the work) and you very well may be rewarded with a little inbound marketing magic.