You should know that not all inbound marketing is created equal. Avoid these mistakes and you should have great results from your inbound marketing program.
Ineffective Social Sharing – Some companies use a generic social- sharing widget, or one built into a content management system (CMS) or inbound marketing platform. Often, these types of widgets only allow you to share the title tag or article title. As a result, the share comes across as very impersonal. Use sharing functionality that allows you to customize messages to be more conversational, as this drives conversions.Poor Segmentation – The better you know your target buyers, the better you can tailor your communications to them. Unfortunately, many companies stop at the title and company size. But what can you really know about a prospect based on that information? Certainly not enough to develop content that hits a nerve and keeps prospects engaged over time. Instead, you should customize messages to your prospects acquired via both inbound and outbound marketing based on more than title and company size. You do that by segmenting on the types of content they prefer, the last time they engaged with your content, or based on interests they’ve specified on your registration forms.
Flat Lead Nurturing – Flat lead nurturing is tied to not knowing enough about the distinctions in your target audience. The result is that marketers deploy a single drip campaign to the entire database. The problem is that each person in the database has unique issues to solve and this one-size-fits-all approach means you’ll ultimately alienate all your prospects with messages and content that doesn’t resonate. Instead, create compelling nurturing campaigns based on the interests or pains of your prospects.
Generic SEO - While search engine optimization can help your site and content get found online, a generic approach can drive the wrong traffic to your site. Again, it gets back to how well you understand your prospective buyers and their concerns. If you simply focus on high-level keywords in your content and pages, you’re going to attract a broad range of people, many of whom are probably not in the market for your offering. Many companies fall into this trap because they rely on free SEO tools, or ones that come with their CMS or inbound marketing solution. By allocating a bit more of your budget to SEO and calling in the experts, companies often realize an exponential ROI.
Lack of Sales Visibility – You can generate all the great leads in the world using inbound marketing, but it won’t amount to anything if your sales team isn’t in sync with your inbound marketing activities. Imagine someone tweets that they are looking at three different vendors, and then visits your site the next day and downloads a white paper. If your sales reps can’t see both the social comments and the content consumption in their CRM system, you risk them delivering the wrong message when reaching out to the prospect.
Measuring on ‘First Touch’ Alone – Knowing the source of a lead and attributing revenue to that lead source doesn’t actually tell you how to optimize your campaigns. Instead, you need to know how much each program – inbound and outbound – influenced the purchase. Some activities are going to create buzz, others downloads (i.e., leads), and others will drive purchases. If you only measure the lead source, you won’t accurately be gauging the value of other important programs that ultimately contribute to revenue.
So how do you move from bad to best practices? Use a robust marketing automation or revenue performance management system to optimize inbound programs that generate leads and help move leads through the sales funnel. Not only will your company see increased revenue from marketing programs, but as a marketer, you will be able to prove the value you’re delivering so the marketing team finally gets the credit it deserves.