Have you invested in inbound marketing strategies but been disappointed with the results? Do you think that inbound marketing for B2B does not work for your company?
Before you decide to give up, review these 5 mistakes that are often seen in companies that fail with their inbound marketing tactics.
Consider the following scenario:
You are the marketing manager at company X and over the past year have read a number of articles and posts about inbound marketing methodologies. You realize that this is something that the company needs to invest in to better adapt its digital marketing and sales strategy. Therefore, you have decided that the company should invest in inbound marketing, and you have put both time and resources into getting started. Now it’s finally in place – the landing page where your visitors can download the guide you have created – and a sales team that is ready to receive your hot leads. But all you end up getting is a single contact who downloaded the guide… where are all the leads?
Can you relate to this situation? The fact that you do not succeed with your inbound marketing strategy is probably due to the following reasons:
- Having the wrong expectations
- Measuring the wrong KPIs
- Not collaborating during the lead generation process
- Creating the wrong type of content
- Following the wrong method of execution
I have written this article to help you succeed with your inbound strategy. It will give you insights into what is wrong and help you find the right way to move forward with your plans.
Why Inbound Marketing Strategies Fail
1. Having The Wrong Expectations
Many marketing executives and business leaders who start their inbound marketing campaigns have expectations of seeing results quickly. But these are not realistic expectations because inbound marketing is not a “quick fix” for your marketing and sales strategy. It is not a method that is supposed to give you as many leads as possible in the shortest amount of time.
ROI Of Inbound Marketing
Inbound marketing strategies provide long-term results in the form of:
- increased revenue
- increased customer loyalty
- more efficient sales processes
- stronger brand
But none of the above happens over a short period of time. It requires time, patience, and investment of resources before you can start seeing the results.
You need to create good content. Your content marketing efforts should focus on helping and attracting the right audience by providing insights into the buyer’s real challenges.
The entire company needs to follow a customer-centric approach. It requires new ways of collaboration, new processes, and maybe even changes in various teams of the organization.
You need to make sure that the teams that handle your inbound marketing campaign are using the same system and measuring the same things.
The core of inbound marketing for B2B is to get buyers to come to you. But it does not happen overnight because it takes time to build visibility, trust, and relationship.
When your inbound marketing starts to work, you will realize how valuable it is. This is precisely because it helps to build a long-term business and creates a continuous flow of revenue for the company.
Inbound Marketing vs Outbound Methods
Unlike outbound methods that stop delivering as soon as the sales team stops reaching out to the prospects, inbound marketing keeps generating leads. All the content you have created remains and will continue to generate attention and help your buyers.
If the company is looking to see some quick results, there are other methods that can be used to complement the inbound marketing strategy, such as performance marketing or growth hacking.
When I help companies get started with inbound marketing strategies, I also perform a “quick wins” analysis. This analysis looks at activities that can provide quick results for the company. They should be executed in parallel with the inbound marketing campaign.
2. Measuring The Wrong KPIs
Do not measure everything just because you can. Measuring digital efforts has become an important part of the marketing process.
Today data has become so accessible to every marketer thanks to the digital transition. Another influencing factor is that the market has given data so much significance in recent years, with buzz words such as “big data” and a focus on following a data-driven approach.
A plethora of smart tools have popped up in the market, that can help with analyzing the digital audience and their online behavior. And on top of all that, new opportunities are arising to measure, along with KPIs to map and use as objectives.
It’s easy to get carried away but take a moment to ask yourself why you are measuring all the KPIs.
Some metrics trigger our reward system because they are simple to measure and give us a boost of confidence when we see the numbers going up. But they may not have any correlation with the ROI and revenue generation.
Another problem today is that the performance of many marketing managers is assessed based on predefined measurement values. Driving traffic to the site and generating leads are common examples of metrics that companies like to focus on. But how do they correlate with your bottom line?
For example, if driving traffic is one of your most important metrics, then you will of course do what you can to drive as many visitors as possible.
At the same time, if you do not analyze whether it is the right visitor you are driving to the site, what does your measured value for insights look like?
You may bring in a lot of visitors who are not potential customers (or potential employees if you have inbound marketing for recruitment or employer branding).
If you are looking to bring in new customers and increase your sales, the number of visitors is a vague factor. To measure your traffic, you need to link it to a more meaningful measurement value.
You should spend time analyzing the type of visitors that you are attracting. This can then be translated into your own measurement value that describes the scope of the type of visitors that you want to drive to the site.
You should also continuously monitor and see how many of your desired customers or dream prospects have visited your website. Then perform an analysis of the visitors based on company sizes, decision-makers, etc.
Are you doing what is important or what can be measured easily?
It is easy to fall into the trap of doing things that can be measured easily or simply prioritizing those efforts.
Doing what can be measured easily is quite satisfying because you see the results of what you do. It also makes it easier for you to show the results to others. But it may be possible that the efforts you prioritize are not the most important ones in reaching your goals.
”What gets measured gets done”
If your task is to drive sales, the measurement of your efforts should be linked to the company’s business-critical KPIs. For example, number of new customers, number of transactions, ROI, etc.
Find the right metrics that affect the company’s bottom line and impact prospects through their entire buying journey.
3. Not Collaborating During The Lead Generation Process
Most companies today understand the importance of digital transformation. But the degree of maturity for inbound marketing and following a customer-centric approach varies between companies.
The management team in your company may be aware that the buying habits have changed and that a different focus on digital marketing is required today. But it may not be as clear that it is the marketing team that needs to do the job and take responsibility for guiding the visitors online through their buying journey.
You may find companies adding another sales resource to the organization to increase sales while cutting back on the marketing budget.
It can also be seen that marketing managers are given other tasks, making them function more like an all-in-one resource. There is a traditional view that a sales resource drives revenue while a marketing resource is a cost.
Getting The Entire Company Involved
Companies with only the marketing manager working with the inbound efforts cannot deliver the desired results.
There must be a collaboration between marketing, sales, and customer service. Together, you need to have a consensus on how to create the conditions to attract more customers and increase customer loyalty.
But what does it mean to include the entire company or organization in your inbound marketing strategy? How do you operate and where does that change begin? If you are the marketing manager, how do you get the management involved?
These are complex questions that have no simple answers. It depends a lot on what the organization looks like, and the views of those in the management team.
In order for inbound marketing methodologies to be effective, everyone in the company should have a consensus on the following:
- Purpose of inbound marketing
- Expectations from the campaign
- The impact on different teams and working methods
- The position of the company with all the profits generated from the customers
4. Creating the wrong type of content
Does it mean that you need another strategy?
Not quite because content marketing is part of your inbound marketing strategy. The difference is that inbound marketing for B2B is so much more than just the content and communication itself. But of course, it is a big part of the strategy as it is about putting the focus on the customers and guiding them through their buying journey.
You can create good content by basing it on:
- real customer challenges
- problems that buyers are faced with during their buying journey
- answering questions that the visitors may have
- inspirational and engaging content
There are many tools and methods for finding the right content for your marketing. If you need more inspiration, check out the following:
It is beneficial to follow an outside-in approach to create content and not the other way around.
Unfortunately, it is far too common for companies to create a lot of content based on them instead of focusing on the users. That includes themselves, their products, and services. But the target group does not care. They want to read about things that are helpful, interesting, or entertaining.
Your website shouldn’t look like a product catalog. This is not to say that you should not have a product catalog, but it should not be used as part of your strategic inbound marketing method. It is more of a hygiene factor or a list of information that the buyer expects when it has come this far in its buying journey.
If you have several similar products that make it difficult for customers to pick the right one, then you have an opportunity to create content to help them make a decision.
Perhaps a guide that helps the buyer understand the difference between the products can be the right content to convert more people into customers. This is because it is based on a challenge that your buyers face during their buying journey.
Finding these elements where the right content can make a positive impact on your buyers’ experiences and conversions is absolutely critical to the success of your inbound marketing methodologies.
As I’ve mentioned earlier, it requires the entire organization to follow a customer-centric approach. Everything you do should help your customers or potential customers.
If the marketing sits in its own silo and creates content, without engaging with the customers, the sales team, or customer service, then the content will probably not have a big impact.
5. Following The Wrong Method Of Execution
Are you chasing leads or helping your target audience?
Analyze your inbound marketing methodologies. Have you set up a lead generation process to collect as many leads as possible? Do you have methods for collaborating with your team members to create better customer experiences?
By now, you probably know that inbound marketing for B2B is so much more than just a method for collecting leads.
Many companies make the mistake of focusing on the execution before putting enough thought into what people really want. Of course, it is important to collect leads for having enough contacts to reach out to.
But what happens if it becomes more important than making the actual buying experience as smooth as possible?
It can have a negative impact on the conversion, i.e., the number of people from the target group that you succeed in building trust and relationships with.
Open Or Locked Content?
Using forms and call-to-action are certainly components of inbound marketing, but that does not mean that there is a standard method for everything you do.
Locking your content behind a lead form is not always the right thing to do. You should compare it against open content and determine what is more appropriate for your situation.
“If we do not have a form on our page, we will not be able to collect the contact information and take the leads any further.”
This is a common concern, but there is nothing in the statement that is based on the buyer’s best interests.
If you have open content, more people will be able to consume it, and you build greater trust with your audience. Depending on the type of content and where in the purchase process it is supposed to help, it may have greater or lesser value.
Ask yourself the purpose of locking your content and if it really helps to achieve your goals.
If it is supposed to be a brand-building strategy, you want as many people as possible from your target group to get in touch with your company. Since they do not have enough trust yet, you need to be as helpful and generous as you can to attract them. In such cases, locked content would contradict the purpose of the marketing.
Your Customers And The Purchase Price
Get to know your customers. Conduct customer surveys, talk to customers, and get involved in understanding who they are and what their situation looks like.
Talk to everyone in the company who comes in contact with your customers. Analyze your data and the questions that are posed to the customer service team.
Map the purchasing journey with the help of your team members. Make sure that you create content that turns the visitors to your website into loyal customers. Identify your ideal customers and focus on how you can help them in the best possible manner.
If you had not considered this before you started your inbound marketing, you need to do it now. It’s all about focusing on the customers.