When people fail at inbound marketing, it's usually because they didn't do what the experts told them to do for some reason. Maybe they weren't capable, they didn't listen, they didn't prioritize it or they didn't believe it would work for them. But, tactically speaking, there are also many things that inbound marketing failures don't do, don't do right or don't do frequently enough.
Below are the most important things that unsuccessful inbound marketers should have done. I could have included, "they didn't use twitter properly". But nobody fails at inbound marketing because they didn't grow their twitter follower count fast enough.
Companies fail at inbound marketing because of the following bulleted list of things. I've put these in a specific sequence. I don't think I could tell you which failures happen more often than others. But, the things at the top of the list are the first hurdles that companies run into. And if they don't get over these first few hurdles, they don't usually have enough success to hit the roadblocks later in this list:
- They don't blog frequently enough. You can't grow traffic without blogging consistently, as in multiple times per week. You can't grow search traffic and social traffic withouth blogging consistently.
- They don't create enough educational, top-of-the-funnel offers. They don't create ebooks and webinars that entice anonymous website visitors to share their contact information in exchange for these free educational materials.
- They don't put [at least some of their] educational offers behind landing pages. They just give them away. People download them, and never come back. And since the company didn't collect their information, they have no way to market or sell to them.
- They don't drive traffic to their landing pages using calls-to-action (CTA) buttons and text. They don't place CTAs in blog posts, in email campaigns or on their home page. They don't promote landing pages on social media and don't optimize them for search. Some fools don't even point their pay-per-click traffic to landing pages using compelling calls to action in their ad copy.
- They don't nurture their leads using email marketing frequently enough. Once they capture the lead, they don't send any more educational content to the lead. They don't effectively establish themselves as a credible resource that provides ongoing value.
- They don't call their leads. Way too many companies either wait for their leads to call them by phone or to fill out a form that says "call me please". Before the days of inbound marketing, salespeople didn't wait for people to call them. Buyers are less receptive to being interrupted these days, but they haven't suddenly decided to buy more things more proactively on blind faith only after reading someone's content. If someone shares their contact information on a form on your website, and they fit your ideal persona, you should be trying to connect with them.
- They give up trying to connect with leads after 1 or 2 attempts. Companies who successfully leverage inbound marketing to grow sales call their leads 5-8 times over several weeks. And then again if they revisit their website. Really good salespeople won't let that good lead get away without connecting with them. They'll try for a long, long time to initiate a conversation. They'll use social media, email, voicemails and introductions from mutual contacts as ways to get in contact.
- They don't know how to engage a lead who isn't ready to talk about their company's product or services yet. They get frustrated because leads aren't ready to talk about doing business right away, like a qualified referral often is. Most inbound leads aren't as warm as referrals, unfortunately. Salespeople who cold call are excellent at building rapport, establishing relevance via positioning statements and credibility through asking the right questions. These prospecting skills are absolutely critical for turning inbound leads into sales.
- They don't have a consultative sales process that identifies a prospect's goals and challenges and then relates those goals and challenges to the right solution using the products and services that their company provides. Salespeople must be able to co-create a plan with the prospect that will help them. They must have the sales skills for this job and a process that demonstrates their ability to deliver value successfully post-sale.
These are the main reasons why companies fail to grow their traffic, leads and sales using inbound marketing. Yes, you can get away with not doing some of these things. But, companies who do all of these things will be the most successful.
Which mistakes do you see company's making? How have you helped them overcome these challenges? Which mistakes are you making? How have you overcome these challenges?