Not every goose is golden, not every dart hits the bullseye. If you expect every single marketing campaign, inbound or otherwise, to be a roaring success then you’re not living in the imperfect real world that the rest of us share.
Nobody ever said this was going to be easy.
That said, there are steps and guidelines to follow, a check list that needs to be drawn up before you launch any programme. If you tick all the boxes then you can have a large degree of confidence that your programme will work efficiently and effectively in the short, medium and long term. Or to put it another way, confidence in your top, middle and bottom of the sales funnel.
First things first - have you done your homework?
Have you researched your market, identified your target personas, researched their pain points, understand exactly what it is that keeps them up at night and how your product or service solves their day to day issues. This planning and strategy work needs to be done upfront and it needs to be exhaustive. Leave no stone unturned. We can’t emphasise the importance of this enough. What’s the use of producing great content if you’re not talking to the right people about solving their pressing business problems.
This brings us to content.
Is your content good enough? Actually is it fantastic enough? Does it engage, educate and empower your audience? Does it read well, look well and leave the right impression? You want to be seen as a thought leader, so act like one. Every piece of content needs to be consistent and raise your profile within your industry. Inbound is a soft sell approach, so while you won't be shouting 'buy me’ from the rafters, you will need to seduce your audience with ‘listen to me’ content pieces. Once you earn the trust of your audience, they are far more likely to seek you out and enquire about your offering. All your content pieces need as much TLC as your final product or service. Good content isn’t a preference, it’s a necessity.
Have you set your goals and are you tracking results, KPIs and ROI?
This goes back to the original point about doing your homework correctly. But it doesn't stop there as you need to track everything once the campaign is up and running so you can tweak here and there to optimise your results. But you won't know what to tweak if you have no goals or objectives set in place. Be realistic with your goal setting. We all want to conquer the world, but start on your own doorstep and take it from there. Set lead goals, brand awareness goals, how much traffic to your site to aim for, conversion rates of casual visitors to quality leads, and from marketing qualified leads to sales qualified leads. You need to see tangible results, so you need to know what to look for and how to measure success. You also need to allow this to happen through the funnel, so obvious things like optimising landing pages and data capture tools are basic essentials.
Ask yourself if you have the in-house expertise to achieve this?
If you do, great, you’ll save money from having to outsource. However, bear in mind the sheer volume of work that goes into the full marketing programme; the planning, strategy, quantitative and qualitative research, persona analysis, content marketing planning, scheduling and producing. Then you have the performance analysis, tracking to lead into the middle of the funnel strategies - which open up another workload to do list. It’s a lot of work and if your team drops the ball anywhere down the chain, it could end up a wasted effort. Experience counts for everything - make sure your team, whether internal or outsourced know the ropes.
Inbound marketing, just like any other marketing initiative has failure rates. But generally speaking, you’ve nobody but yourself to blame if you’re ignoring all the best practice advice.
On the other hand, if you take on board some (preferably all) of the points above and have a strong team in place to plan, strategise, research, coordinate and execute a targeted programme with clear objectives and continually track and tweak, then you can be feel very confident that the results will speak for themselves with quality leads incrementally growing over time.
For a bit more info on all things inbound, download our eBook Intro to Inbound below.