9 Reasons why your Inbound Marketing strategy is failing

In 2016 my team and I worked with a dozen of clients. creating and executing their inbound marketing and sales enablement strategies. I have learned a lot from this experience and I would like to share what I have learned.

Adopting Inbound Marketing and Sales will generate more leads and close more customers.

But if you don’t have a good strategy in place and a good execution. Chances are your investment will be in vain and your Inbound efforts will fail.

Here are my top 9 reasons why Inbound can fail

1. Your SMART goal is not so smart

Vague business goals that sound like “ I want to sell more” or “I want to grow my business” are bond are not achievable. Your goals need to be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant or Timely. Always focus on goals that have an impact on your bottom line.

For example, Francis is the CEO of a SaaS company. Francis sells his software as an annual subscription for $1000. Francis currently has 1000 active subscribers. His smart goal for 2017 will look something like this:

I want to increase the number of my active subscribers by 20–30% after 12 months of doing Inbound. That means 200–300 additional subscriptions, bringing in an additional $200,000 to $300,000 of increased revenue by the end of 2017.

SMART Goals is your first step in aligning your sales and marketing activities. Both your sales and marketing teams can align their own KPI to it.

2. You don’t know your customer well

Buyer personas that are too generic, or they are demographic segments are incomplete. You need to know your personas behavioral data all the stuff that can help you know who your customers are.

“Get closer than ever to your customers. So close that you tell them what they need well before they realize it themselves.” — Steve Jobs, Apple.

You need to dig deeper into the behaviors and characteristics of your buyer personas, their goals, values, attitudes, the process they follow to get information, and most importantly to understand the reason behind every behavior, characteristic, and the mental process they follow to look for information or make a purchase (always ask why?).

How to use LinkedIn to build your buyer personas

3. You’re not producing enough content

According to eMarketer 60% of marketers create at least one piece of content each day.

Websites with over 310 indexed links in Google, get 236% more traffic than those with smaller sites.

The more content I can put out, the more luck I have,” — Gary Vaynerchuk

Don’t make the mistake of creating content when you feel like it. Make it a habit.

Encourage your team to produce content, adopt everyone writes culture at work.

Even your customers can blog and be a part of your content creation strategy.

The idea is to keep on producing fresh and remarkable content. If you don’t your competition will fill in the space.

4. You’re not producing the right type of content

Producing content for the sake of content will not work. You need high quality and educational content that is in context with your buyer persona. Content that is engaging with your personas at each stage of their buyer journey.

“Without context words and actions have no meaning at all” — Gregory Bateson

Avoid promotional content that sounds like a sales pitch. Instead, attract your buyer personas with useful and educational content.

We all like to consume different types of content and your buyer personas are no different. Sticking to one type of content will not cut it. Experiment with different types of content blogs, webinars, infographics, videos, podcasts etc.

5. You are not promoting your content

The number of pages that Google indexed grew from 30 trillion back in 2013 to over 130 trillion today. This means that producing content and waiting for your prospects to discover it is not an option.

You need to have a new and well thought of content promotion strategy.

Identify the social media networks your buyer personas use, and promote your content there in a non-invasive manner.

You need to publish and engage with other users on LinkedIn Pulse and Medium.

Experiment with new trends and social media networks like Snapchat and Facebook live.

Identify your best performing content and promote it using PPC to gain more traffic.

6. You do not have the right team

Inbound Marketing is no different from a lot of things in life. To win you need two things; an amazing team, and a coach with a vision.

For Inbound to work you need a team with the following skills; SEO, Inbound Marketing, Content creation, UX design, Analytics design project management skills.

This means that the idea of having a “dedicated someone” in your company will not work. There is no single person can have all these skills sets combined.

Inbound Marketing is a time-consuming process a single person will not be able to execute all tasks on time.

Now after having the team, you need the coach who creates the internal buy-in inside the company. He or She pushes for real engagement across the different levels of the organization.

The role of the coach goes beyond managing the team. The coach paves the way for the Inbound team to succeed. Aligning all different areas of the business and break barriers between departments.

7. Your sales and marketing are not aligned, and you did not implement an Inbound Sales Strategy

You invest in Inbound Marketing to grow and scale your business. But for this to happen you need to align Sales and Marketing.

The role of marketing is to generate leads. The role of sales is to turn those leads into paying customers.

Sales & Marketing alignment is the agreement on what are the characteristics and behaviors of a Sales Qualified Leads. In other words when a lead exhibits specific behavior Marketing will send that lead to Sales.

Adopting an Inbound Sales strategy will transform your traditional sales team into a Modern Sales team.

Instead of cold calling and mass mailing, they are guiding their prospects throughout their buying process. Empowered with lead insight, business intelligence, and resources to develop effective conversations.

8. You’re not tracking the right KPIs’

93% of CMOs say that they are under more pressure to deliver measurable ROI.

21% of B2B companies are successful at tracking ROI of their content marketing. And 15 percent say they do not track ROI on content marketing at all.

If you are not tracking the right KPIs’ therefore you can’t measure ROI of your marketing.

For your Inbound Marketing Strategy to succeed you need to be able to track what is working and what is not working.

Use HubSpot reporting and GA to track the cost per lead, cost per customer (CAC), and the lifetime value of your customers.

Without tracking the right KPIs you will not be able to calculate the ROI from Inbound Marketing.

9. Your website User Experience sucks

Your website is the touch point with your prospects and customers.

Focus on experience more than the design, how a website function has more impact than how it looks.

A website that functions well is a website that loads fast, responsive, and has a clear copy.

To do this design your website for your buyer persona only and not your CMO, CEO or stakeholders.

“The problem is there are no simple “right” answers for most Web design questions (at least not for the important ones). What works is good, integrated design that fills a need — carefully thought out, well executed, and tested.” — Steve Krug

Use heatmaps, session recordings, and user testing tools to help you answer these questions

  • How easy it is for them to complete the tasks they want?
  • Did they leave your website with a pleasant experience?
  • will they ever come back?
  • Will they recommend it or share it with a friend or a college?

Your website is a living entity and it is continuously evolving. Also, the buyer behavior online is changing all the time. In today’s world, nothing is static. So always be improving your website experience to make it exceptional.

There are my thoughts on what I have learned this past year. To wrap it up, I believe that the Inbound methodology is the new way to market and sell your products or services.

I would love to know more about your Inbound experiences too.

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