What time is it? Your heart’s racing and beads of sweat are rolling down the sides of your temples.
You’re gridlocked. A slip-up now is bad news, but failing to make a decision might be even worse.
No one wants to make a mistake. Only, nothing could be more human than making mistakes, yet we’re in constant fear of falling victim. Whether you’re new to inbound marketing or transitioning from outbound tactics, mistakes are all too common and can carry a heavy price tag.
Inbound transforms the way you market and sell to be more human, helpful, and empathic. It’s about attracting customers to you, not shouting at them. But sometimes, inbound marketers (new and old) make mistakes in their approach.
Here are five common inbound marketing mistakes I see and how you can avoid them:
1. Trying To Do Too Much
If there’s one thing I caution inbound marketers on most, it’s this: Resist the urge to take on too much right out the gate.
You could easily drown in optimizing past blog posts, writing truckloads of new ones, engaging audiences on social platforms, nailing down buyer personas, segmenting email lists, and so much more.
Successful inbound marketing takes patience and planning. Focus on today before thinking about tomorrow. For instance, maybe you’re already generating enough leads for you sales team. Then maybe you might want to focus on spending your calories in building a stronger brand.
Know where your greatest needs are before you start tackling every aspect of inbound marketing at once.
2. Blogging Is Not Optional
Do you cast a leery eye on your website’s blog? Maybe writing doesn’t come naturally to you, or maybe you’re unsure of the blog’s potential. Either way, inbound marketing means everyone at your company writes – including you.
The brainpower walking through your halls is your greatest asset, and the articles they write will help turn your brand into a thought-leader. New audiences will then see that great content and share it across their social channels. But it all starts with a blog.
It’s important to remember that blogging is also a long-tail play. Think of it like your DVR: When everything is set up properly, it’ll work exactly the way you need it to without your having to touch anything.
Creating high-quality content that’s optimized for SEO attracts the kinds of traffic that brings in more qualified leads and ultimately improves your chances of converting people into customers.
3. Customers Are Your Best Advocates
Your greatest salespeople are not the ones on the phones in your office. They’re the people who use your product every day.
Why is it, then, that so many customer testimonials are dry, impersonal pieces of content? Contrived testimonials aren’t fooling anyone. Your customers don’t need to be insulted by having you think they would fall for fake sentiments.
It’s a common mistake for new inbound marketers (and even the most veteran) to not feature real people with genuine stories. Sometimes that means warts and all, but your transparency will be met with trust from your future customers.
4. Measuring Your Results
Inbound marketing will throw a bunch of data at you, data you would never get from traditional outbound tactics – like billboards or television advertisements. And trust me, this influx of new metrics can be overwhelming at first. But digesting it all takes much needed time and attention.
One of the biggest mistakes I see inbound marketers make is not using data to inform decisions moving forward. At HubSpot, we constantly use data to manage weekly and monthly meetings, determine our ongoing experiments, and update our service level agreements (SLAs) – just to name a few.
Results from blog posts, for instance, can show which topics are resonating with customers, but not converting. You can then think about experimenting with calls to action or social platform pay per click campaigns.
By looking to constantly iterate and continuously make small progress, you can build significant advances over time and avoid the plateaus and pitfalls of neglecting the data.
5. Forgetting The Human Element
At the heart of inbound is the idea of empathy. Whether you’re a software startup or a pharmaceutical enterprise, at the other end of your product is another human being.
Isn’t it high time, then, we took their needs to heart? Outbound marketing tactics provide very little value and plenty of aggravation. A common mistake is forgetting the value in the interactions that help meet your customer’s needs.
With inbound marketing, you help customers find the valuable content they’re already searching for. You build stronger relationships and make the buying experience one that puts the human element back into business.
Maybe the best way to think about inbound marketing is like a gym. If you keep working at it, through the missteps and even more successes, you’ll see results you might have never imagined possible in the first place.