Inbound marketing is an effective strategy designed to attract your ideal client to you when they are already actively looking for a solution. If you are implementing inbound marketing, are you getting the results you expect? If not, you may be guilty of making some (or all) of the following inbound marketing mistakes.
Not creating an inbound marketing plan
Many folks want to go straight to executing activities. They tackle their website and create content without first having a solid plan. Without a simple inbound marketing plan, you are likely to wander aimlessly instead of being focused on what will attract and convert your ideal client. Remember that inbound marketing is about knowing your audience and providing them with the right content at the right time. Make sure you can answer at least the following questions before you begin executing tactics:
- Have you clearly defined your ideal target audience?
- Do you know how to reach them and where?
- Do you understand their challenges so your content will get their attention?
Tip: Don’t skip the plan and head straight to tactics. It will waste time and money.
Not setting realistic goals and measuring results
A very common inbound marketing mistake is not setting specific goals you wish to achieve. Without setting outcome goals, it is difficult to determine the effectiveness of each campaign. Reviewing results against your goals helps you decide whether you continue with that activity, modify it for better results or ditch it entirely.
By tracking and then reviewing your results, you will be able to see what marketing efforts are more effective than others or if something isn’t working at all. Don’t get caught up in the idea that ‘things will get better’. If you keep doing the same things, you can expect the same results and waste a lot of time and money.
Tip: For each inbound marketing campaign, make sure you have some way to track the results. Most online channels have some type of analytics capability that gives you the data you need to understand what is going on and can make adjustments.
Not creating an editorial calendar
One of the most common inbound marketing mistakes small businesses make is creating content haphazardly without an editorial calendar. This practice will most likely result in content that doesn’t have a purpose. Using an editorial calendar enables you to map your content to the needs of the customer, answering questions your ideal clients have so they can make an informed purchase decision.
Included in a useful editorial calendar are the content topics, draft titles, keywords, publish dates, media type (video, audio, text or some combination) plus your channels of distribution and call to action.
Tip: Be realistic with how often you will create new content. An editorial calendar creates a schedule that can work for you. It can also help you organize your content into topic clusters that enhance your content optimization.
Not making your website modern and professional
Whether you are doing inbound marketing or traditional offline marketing, everything you do should drive people to your website. No matter what type of business you are in, people will go to your website to check you out. It must project your best brand image on all devices to make your business look current and professional.
Your website is also the only property you “own” on the Internet. Posting original, useful content for every stage in the buyer’s journey should be on your website first. This helps you retain control of the content and where and how it gets distributed. Adding original content into your blog increases your digital footprint, giving search engines additional pages to index in the search results pages.
But finally, your website should be designed using mobile first design. When your awesome content is found, the visitor doesn’t hit the back button because it is impossible to read on their mobile device.
Tip: Review your website from all devices. See if you are projecting your best images on all devices. Also, ensure your website speaks to the needs of your target audience.
Hiring an SEO agency that uses cringe worthy tactics
Optimizing your website content is an art and a science. If you see:
- Blog posts ending in with town names and that town scattered throughout the post
- Titles of pages with keyword phrases like an about page that says “Local SEO Company” rather than “About Company Name”
- Links with town names at the bottom of the page linking to duplicate content that only changes its title
- Publishing blog posts that are less than 200 words and don’t say anything
Quickly take your business and marketing dollars elsewhere.
Tip: Write your content for the human. When you do that, it optimizes naturally. Low quality, useless content and unnatural search engine optimization techniques are unprofessional. These tactics may hurt your visibility in the search engines. You are not fooling anyone as to why the content is written as it is.
Copying your competitor’s tactics
Just because it worked for them, doesn’t mean it will work for you. Review what your competitors are doing so you can learn from them. Find a better way to market your business based on your strengths and resources. Don’t assume what they are doing is working or is the right way to do marketing.
Every business deserves its own strategy based on their vision and goals and what fits into their budget. You don’t want your marketing to generate too many leads that you can’t handle or not enough to reach your desired growth.
Tip: If you choose to work with a marketing agency to outsource your inbound marketing activities, be sure that they develop a marketing action plan that is specific for your business. Too many agencies use a cookie cutter approach to marketing, using the exact same set of tactics for every client they take on.
Not having the patience to let marketing work
Marketing is not a magic bullet where results happen overnight. Set realistic expectations and understand that results may take 6 months or more to really kick in. People looking for a solution need the time to research and analyze their options before reaching out. If you quit before they have narrowed down their purchase decision between you and your competitor, guess who wins?
Tip: Inbound marketing is a marathon, not a sprint so plan accordingly. It takes consistent effort and time to see results.
These are common inbound marketing mistakes and can be costly to your business. A solid marketing effort takes a combination of planning, creativity, execution and patience. Develop a creative inbound marketing plan that works your business, execute and measure the right strategies and have patience to let your marketing efforts deliver results.