Your inbound marketing campaign is a flop.
You’re doing what all the experts have told you to do; create regular, engaging content designed for your ideal customers – but no one is listening.
You cringe at the thought of walking into your boss’s office to talk numbers. Because there are none.
Despite your best efforts, your inbound marketing campaign is unpredictable and results are wavering.
It feels like you’re playing baseball with a blindfold on, the harder you swing the more likely the ball is to fly into the foul zone.
A recap of what inbound marketing is all about
Inbound marketing moves beyond traditional push or interruption marketing, to a way of marketing that your target audience loves. This is possible only if you are more concerned about delivering value rather than selling your products.
It involves creation of targeted content that targets specific needs of your prospects or customers. Your content needs to act as a solutions provider in and of itself.
It is on the basis of this content that you will be able to attract and engage the attention of your target audience and convert them into customers.
Seen from the perspective of customer acquisition, inbound marketing can be broken down into three key stages:
- Improving brand visibility among your target audience
- Converting your target audience into prospects
- Turning prospects into paying customers
At each stage, you are creating and delivering value to your audience through content creation and distribution, which is the real essence of inbound marketing.
But not every inbound marketing campaign succeeds in its attempts to acquire and retain customers.
Inbound is a tough nut to crack because you are essentially trying to sell your products, but in a roundabout manner. You need to consistently deliver value to your audience by way of authoritative and actionable content, and make sure it reaches the maximum number of people; after this you need to wait for your efforts to deliver returns in the form of increased website traffic, better conversions and finally, increased sales figures.
There are plenty of things that can go wrong to prevent this from happening.
Here are five reasons your inbound marketing campaign isn’t bearing fruit.
1. You haven’t set measurable goals
Image credit: Incite Business
Your inbound goals must be measurable and attainable.
If you haven’t zeroed in on a set of tangible goals for your inbound campaign, you won’t be able to give it the direction it needs. Every tactic that is a part of your inbound marketing campaign needs to work towards a specific goal.
In the absence of clear goals, you won’t be able to target the right audience nor come up with the right content.
So, before you actually work out a campaign ask yourself questions like:
- Exactly how much more traffic do I want?
- By what percent am I trying to increase conversions?
- What is the total profit I expect from my inbound efforts?
- By when do I want to see tangible results?
According to a report from NetProspex and Ascend 2, the top 5 objectives for inbound marketing in the year ahead will be:
- Improving lead quality
- Increasing sales revenue
- Increasing conversion rates
- Increasing lead quality
- Increasing brand awareness
Are these objectives on the top of your list as well?
Something else you must keep in mind is that your goals must be reasonable. For example, you might want to double your conversion rates. But because your landing pages aren’t optimized; this might not be an attainable goal. So, you’ll have to sort out your landing pages first, before you zero in on a measurable conversion goal.
2. You’ve forgotten to track ROI
Image: 401 Harmony
Are you getting bang for your marketing buck?
This question can only be answered if you are tracking inbound ROI. According to a recent HubSpot study, marketers who are actually measuring ROI, experience year on year ROI growth.
So tracking ROI makes a great deal of sense.
What it also does is tell you whether your inbound marketing is actually contributing towards your brand building efforts. If you’ve got a clearly defined set of goals you want to achieve, you will get a fair idea about the metrics you must measure to calculate ROI.
Metrics like overall traffic, referral traffic, conversion rate, number of brand mentions, coupon redemptions, newsletter signups, cost per lead and others determine the success or failure of your strategy. It’s imperative that you track and make them a part of your ROI mix.
While calculating ROI from your inbound marketing campaign isn’t easy, there are a wide selection of tools that are specifically meant for this purpose; including HubSpot and Aero Leads.
3. You’re not creating high quality content
The foundation of inbound marketing rests on high quality content. And it’s difficult to come up with excellent content pieces day in day out, the kind of content your audience will love going through and sharing. Marketers will tell you that it’s one of the most difficult challenges they face, and many of them aren’t able to push out quality content on a regular basis.
54% of B2B marketers rate ‘producing engaging content’ as the top challenge; 50% of B2C marketers regard it as a top challenge as well.
Look closely at your inbound strategy and check whether you have been producing engaging content consistently. If not, this may be contributing to the less than perfect results of your campaign.
If you’re serious about improving and increasing the productivity of your content creation process, Buffer’s post on the subject, ‘How the Hell Buffer Creates So Much Content So Quickly’ is a must read.
4. You have an inexperienced team
Inbound marketing cannot be handled by anybody; each and every inbound marketing tactic needs a specialist. Take the case of content creation. You need expert content creators in the form of writers and designers who have the expertise and experience to come up with content that perfectly fits your marketing goals and helps accomplish them.
Even the process of content distribution demands expertise in social media and other distribution channels. If you think you can get away with putting an inexperienced team in charge of your campaign, you are wrong.
Inbound only works if it has a solid, reliable and well-informed team driving it forward.
5. You forget you’re actually marketing
Image: The Conversation
Unfortunately yes. Inbound marketers are so consumed with delivering value to their target audience that they sometimes forget they’re actually trying to pull potential customers towards the purchase funnel.
Inbound marketing is a balancing act. While it needs to be value driven, this value should encourage your target audience to know more about your brand and its products and services. This is the ultimate aim of inbound marketing. You are providing value to your audience and trying to leverage this value to forge better brand connections, improve brand awareness and attract leads that convert into sales. Don’t forget this.
If you think there is something wrong with your inbound strategy, check whether you are making any of these five mistakes; and sort them out quickly. Remember, your competitors might be getting their inbound strategy absolutely right. So, there is no time to waste!
Guest Author: Michael Georgiou is the CMO and Co-founder at Imaginovation, a web design & mobile apps development firm in Raleigh, NC. He’s a dynamic business professional and entrepreneurial guru with proven success in creative strategy, online branding, project management, and communication projects in both the public and private sectors.
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