Only businesses that go with the flow of modern times grow. And these days, this means taking advantage of the internet and the modern technology in order to attract more customers and drive sales.
One of the most effective lead marketing strategies of today is inbound marketing, which is a strategy for attracting customers using blogs, content marketing, social media marketing, search engine optimization, and other forms of pull marketing. It sounds a bit complex, and well, it actually is.
In order to become an effective inbound marketer, you have to know how to make all these pull marketing techniques work together. You have to find the balance. The thing about inbound marketing is that it is constantly evolving and changing. Even veteran inbound marketers are sometimes at a loss when it comes to their strategies which seemed to be working before, but now the results of their efforts are plateauing and even declining.
This is especially true for companies whose startup marketing strategy is inbound three to six years. They were one of the few players in the field, and they enjoyed results after results, growth after growth. Here come other companies who want a share of the pie, and the strategies of these veteran inbound marketers stop working.
Why is this? What could have happened? Surely there is a place for everyone in the business side of the internet, right?
This article does not aim to answer all those questions, but it gives you the five most common mistakes made by veteran inbound marketers. Yes, even veterans – the ones who had been doing this for years – can make and are making these mistakes.
If you are a veteran inbound marketer, these five things may ring a bell. If you are new in this area, then read on so you will know what things to do or not to do in the world of inbound marketing.
1. Buyer Profile or Persona
A buyer persona is a fictional character who represents your ideal or target customer. Of course, the attributes and characteristics of a company’s buyer persona are greatly based on real data and market research.
Most veterans in inbound marketing don’t have a written, precise, and clear buyer persona. And herein lies a major problem because buyer personas are very important as they provide companies a clear and straight insight. It helps them define limits, priorities and even helps in product development.
If you have a buyer persona, you will know what content to create, what keywords to focus on, what type of posts to boost, what images attract potential customers, and many more. Above all, if you have buyer profiles, these can act as triggers for specific actions such as email responses.
Indeed, buyer personas can align all processes within the company and without it, companies are left with a lot of things to do but with no clear target.
Creating personas is not a walk in the park, but it is doable, and in fact, it must be done. You really have to sit down and create a thorough client profile and you should be able to determine the following items among others:
- The challenges that the persona is facing;
- His or her priorities;
- Concrete identifiers such as gender, age, nationality, etc.
Is one buyer persona or profile enough? This really depends on how many different types of people you are trying to attract. Some businesses have only 1 to 5 buyer profiles, while others have as much as 15 to 20. The key is to really know your product and services and to whom they are for.
The tricky part about creating buyer profiles is that the task is a never-ending one. You are never done with buyer personas or profiles. People are constantly changing. Their needs and wants today may not be the same in the next couple of weeks, months, or years. Thus, your buyer persona should constantly be checked and revised and updated.
2. Content Map
A content map is simply a list of all site pages, landing pages, blogs, CTAs, and graphics with the corresponding answers to the following questions:
- Which buyer profile is this site page, blog post, etc., targeted to?
- Which buying stage is this built for?
- What does this intend to achieve?
Content mapping ensures that everything in your website is useful and accounted for. Above all, it ensures that your website visitors are catered well and that you have answered their questions.
The challenge of most veteran inbound marketers who seem to have lost touch is either they don’t have a content map or their content map is outdated. They have failed to see the significance of having a content map.
Veteran inbound marketers do not see the real value of their company’s website. Websites are seen as something static, somewhere to dump all information about a company and its products and services. Just add these here, and done. The next time the company has a new product, add that one here and done.
Over the years, all these thoughtless additions to the website pile up until you are left with a puzzling and overloaded website. Let us make one thing clear though: updating and making changes to your website is a must, but you have to do it in a mindful and planned way.
Remember these top ten characteristics of a website that are important and essential:
- Accessible and friendly to all users including the elderly and disabled;
- Compatible wth mobile phones and tablets;
- Well planned structure of information that makes it easy for users to find a certain information;
- Fast load times;
- Content that is well-formatted and easy to read;
- Error messages are displayed correctly;
- Contrasting color scheme;
- Usable and sensible forms
- Easy navigation;
- Compatible with different browsers.
4. Nurturing Strategy
So you have generated leads through inbound marketing, and that is great! Well, it is for a few months, until you see that there is no conversion of leads to sales. What are you doing wrong?
Veteran inbound marketers find out that generating leads and then bombarding these leads with sales pitches do not work at all. You have to add value to them. You have to be able to help them. You have to answer the questions that are in their minds. Then and only then can they make the important decision to buy your products and services.
How do you do this? Great content is the key. This attracts people and gives useful information. Nurturing also requires a personalized touch. Emails must be sent in such a way that the recipient will think that the company is really thinking about them.
5. Data Collection and Utilization
Inbound marketing enables you to gather a lot of data from your target customers. Which web pages are getting a lot of traffic? Is the traffic being converted into sales? Which posts are getting the most engagement? Do these posts generate sales? These data are then analyzed into deeper and probing questions. Why aren’t all the traffic and engagement converted into sales? Why are people buying? Why are people not buying?
Inbound marketing becomes effective when the data being collected are utilized and analyzed. And it does not stop there. After analyzing the data, you have to make the necessary changes.
Inbound marketers, regardless whether they are veteran or not, are faced with the same challenges. The market is constantly changing, the technology is always upgrading, and new marketing methods are being introduced.
The key is to just go with the flow and make changes along the way. Do not stop changing your buyer profile or your website or even your products just because you think you have enough customers and you are satisfied with the status of your company. Pretty soon, some of your existing customers will change their minds and lifestyles, and you will be left behind.
These five common mistakes that veteran inbound marketers make are all too common. By reading this article, however, you will hopefully avoid committing these mistakes in your company.