Inbound marketing gone wrong: 5 often-made mistakes
As a marketing method, inbound has been widely adopted in the majority of B2B companies. As opposed to traditional marketing techniques like ads and cold calls, inbound marketing approaches potential customers with a relevant storyline. Instead of being pushy or aggressively seeking out customers, inbound marketing aims to engage customers into their business, by being empathic and honest. But beware: some things can torpedo and sink your inbound marketing strategy before you know it.
The path to the successful implementation of inbound marketing can be bumpy and scattered with pitfalls. It can be tricky to engage your organisation in the new inbound vision and convince everyone to adapt the new methods and techniques that come with it. That’s why it shouldn’t be a surprise that there can be some serious hiccups along the way.
1. Don't write self-centric content
Blogging is one of the strongholds of a solid inbound marketing strategy. Many companies taking their first steps in inbound marketing, start writing at a frantic pace. However, it’s not essential to publish an article a week. It’s not about how much you communicate, it’s what you say that matters.
Even though articles headlining ‘We’ve won an industry award’ or ‘We’ve launched a fantastic new <product>’ can be great news for your company, they are far from inbound-savvy. Inbound marketing focuses on answering your potential customers’ needs and helping him face his challenges successfully. So make sure you write keyword-rich content, that pops up high in the search rankings of your prospects and adds real value.
2. Unclear targeting
Smart targeting is a crucial piece of the inbound marketing puzzle when you’re aiming at a specific audience. When you don’t have the right insights in your target group(s), you will probably produce content that seems relevant to the segment of your potential customers, but somehow doesn’t quite catch their attention. For instance: notice that you’re mainly getting response from marketing managers, when it was your intention to engage CEOs? It’s wise to make the necessary changes to your content, or finetune the segmentation of your database.
3. Inaccurate segmentation
Email still is a highly popular marketing tool. Judging by all the corporate mailboxes overflowing with marketing-related emails, that’s pretty obvious. To make your email stand out in your contacts’ mailboxes (and to stop them from clicking that dreaded unsubscribe button) it’s essential that what you send is 100% relevant to them. While a step-by-step tutorial may be interesting for an individual in the middle management, the CEO will probably ignore it. So be sure to determine which parameters you’ll be using, before you start segmenting your database
4. Poor integration of sales and marketing
Inbound is often initiated by marketing professionals. Danger is that it’s often stuck at the marketing phase and fails to spread out to other departments. We’ve seen marketing teams generate plenty of qualified leads a month, without them being picked up by their colleagues in sales. To be successful in inbound marketing and get return on your investment, it’s essential that marketing and sales teams join forces. Agree on which leads have the highest potential (and priority) and set up a clear flow to follow up on them, preferably driven by an inbound methodology.
5. Lack of tracking or follow-up
Without an effective method of tracking, the performance of your inbound marketing efforts is bound to disappoint. So be sure to measure the rates of traffic, engagement and acquisition of every digital marketing campaign you execute. Set up regular reports that track all metrics. It’s the best way to continuously improve the performance and work out your most effective approach to conversion.
Most businesses can identify their long-term marketing goals using the SMART goal framework:
- Specific - A goal should be easy to understand, who is responsible and the desired outcome
- Measurable - Your goal should have concrete criteria for measuring progress
- Attainable - Your goal should be realistic and possible to reach
- Relevant - Your goal should matter to your business
- Timely - You should have an expected date to reach the goal.
When drawing out an inbound marketing plan, it’s essential to know about the possible pitfalls that could keep you from getting the results you’re aiming at. By defining those issues for your company, you can anticipate on them and deploy your inbound objectives into the different layers of the organisation.