Inbound marketing buy-in has come a long way since H&C Inc. saw the potential for our clients and grew into the strategic marketing team you know today. Now, most companies that we talk to are recognizing inbound marketing strategies are effective and necessary — consumers' behaviours are changing and in order to be successful organizations must adapt to meet these new needs.
With everyone from enterprise-level companies to small, local businesses going inbound, now is the time to look at your inbound marketing strategies and figure out if you're getting the results you should be.
WHY YOUR INBOUND MARKETING CAMPAIGNS AREN'T WORKING
We regularly sit down with internal marketing teams who have been heads down on the inbound strategy for months, but struggling to see the successes they were hoping for when they first set out on their inbound marketing journey. After digging through their strategies, workflows and campaigns, we often come to the same conclusions as to what piece (or pieces) are missing:
SMART goals matter
When companies decide to take on inbound marketing strategies internally, they often overlook the first step: creating SMART goals. Inbound campaigns are most successful when organizations identify their long-term marketing goals using the SMART goal framework:
Specific - Your goal should communicate what is expected, why it is important, who's involved, where it is going to happen and which constraints are in place
Measurable - Your goal should have concrete criteria for measuring progress and reaching the goal
Attainable - Your goal should be realistic and possible for your team to reach
Relevant - Your goal should matter to your business and address a core initiative
Timely - You should have an expected date that you will reach the goal
With that in mind, saying, "Our search engine optimization needs to improve!" or "We need to send more emails to our contacts!" doesn't properly examine existing assets, looking for areas to improve, or allow you the opportunity to align your lead generation with measurable goals to make an impact with metrics that matter.
You dove in too quickly
Most businesses who come to us for help with their existing inbound marketing strategy call us around the six to 12 month mark. Their marketing team (or person) has been in the trenches of their inbound campaign, but nothing seems to be getting the results they expected. Often, we'll take a look into their marketing software suite and the answer is pretty clear: things are messy. It's totally okay, we don't judge what we see. Inbound marketing software can be complicated, and it's very easy to weave a web that is hard to untangle, especially when you are first starting out. But with that tangled web, you won't have the right attributions and reporting in place, which makes it difficult to scale and truly understand which efforts are producing the best results and deserve the most attention.
You don't have the right person for the job
I want to be clear here, I am not saying that your marketing person isn't doing a good job, in fact, I'm sure he or she is doing an amazing job given the amount of items they are trying to juggle at once. So, while you have someone who is trying their best to handle your complete inbound marketing strategy internally, it can quickly become very overwhelming. Between trying to get up to speed with the right software, direct content strategy and creation, create and implement nurture strategies that convert contacts, and, and, and... On top of that, are they overseeing your outbound strategies, too? With all this on their plates, it can be difficult to get results and maintain the right level of buy-in from leadership. It's a lot of pressure.
When you task one person or small and unprepared team to take your organization inbound, the rush to do more and do it now leads to the proper steps being forgotten. And when you are new to the world of strategic digital marketing, identifying and correcting your pitfalls is difficult and can feel impossible.
Ultimately, it takes more than just your internal marketing team to identify the problem. Ask your customer service, sales and leadership teams to voice their concerns and get on the same page when it comes to the goals of your inbound marketing efforts. Then, to help you step back and re-evaluate, don't be afraid to bring in the experts to guide you in what you are missing and how you can get the results you've been working toward.