Mistakes are a part of life – without them, we wouldn’t learn, grow or become any wiser. But repeating the same mistakes again and again isn’t a good thing either, especially when those mistakes are likely to cost your business money and hinder it from growing. Even Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results. Yet, the same inbound marketing mistakes are being repeated by businesses everywhere. Here are four such mistakes you can start avoiding now:
1) Not creating or updating buyer personas
As we mention in our inbound marketing guide, and in previous blog posts, creating buyer personas is central to pretty much all inbound marketing activities. Personas help mould your strategy around the people you want to attract and convert into customers and guarantees that you can create content and messaging that’ll resonate with them. Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as writing a few paragraphs that describe Product Manager Pete or Director Dave, and what they worry about from day-to-day. Creating buyer personas involves a lot of research, data about current customers and analyses thereof to craft a living, breathing prototype of your ideal customer – their priorities, how they’d use your product or solution, their challenges, career goals – even what they do in their spare time is relevant. The big mistake so many businesses make is a) not spending enough time creating an in-depth picture of their personas, and b) failing to regularly update these personas, at least every year (although every six months would be ideal).
2) Failing to set SMART goals
Marketing might have been more of an art than a science in the past – before we had the technology that makes collecting and analysing vast quantities of data possible – but inbound marketing is firmly rooted in science. As such, no inbound marketing strategy is complete without goals – SMART goals to be precise. It’s excellent to strive towards growing your business and increasing profits, but your goals need to be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely.
Instead of vowing to acquire more customers every month, aim to acquire seven more customers a month. Ensure you are using the right metrics to measure the success of your goals and make sure you set deadlines (and stick to them) too. It might sound like more pressure, but it’ll pay off. The next step is to use the data you collect – oh, you’re not collecting data yet? – about the success of your inbound strategy and measure it against your chosen metrics. If you’re not on track to meet your goals you can (and should) tweak your tactics until you are.
3) Avoiding the blogging part of inbound marketing
With so many advantages brought by blogging to your business, it’s amazing that more businesses who’ve jumped on the inbound marketing bandwagon don’t prioritise this activity. We know that investing time and energy into pumping out two or more high-quality posts every week is a schlep, but blogging is an important component of content marketing (inbound marketing’s best friend, as we emphasised in our last blog post). The content your business produces helps draw visitors to your website and establishes it as a thought leader in its industry.
Not only do great blogs add value to your audience, but every blog post is one extra indexed page on your website. And indexed pages make it possible for Google’s crawlers to find you. Regular blogging also tells search engines your website is active – inactive sites fare far worse in search engine results than active ones. And what’s more, blogs are a way to turn visitors into leads, through calls to action that encourage them to download a guide in exchange for their contact details.
4) Forgetting to invest time in lead nurturing
Lead generation tends to be the main focus of most marketing activities, the rationale being that as long as you have leads, you’ll get customers. This isn’t true. Yes, high visitor to lead conversion rates are excellent, and the fact that hundreds of people have downloaded your content offer is great – but if your content doesn’t result in more sales, your inbound marketing strategy isn’t doing its job. Lead nurturing is the essential link between lead generation and revenue generation that gently coaxes your leads into customers. When your lead is still at the top of the buyer’s funnel, they’re not ready to buy – they’re probably still trying to work out whether they’ve got a problem or not. The point of lead nurturing is to help them figure out what that problem is and to solve it, and eventually convey the value your solution can offer them. Many businesses get this step wrong because a lot of patience and work is involved – be careful not to fall into this trap.
If you’re interested in what an inbound marketing strategy should look like, and how you can avoid the mistakes discussed in this blog post, download our guide: