As a backlash from the disappointment with their inbound marketing, some business owners have reverted back to outbound marketing practices; but the top inbound marketing companies know that inbound marketing strategies work... and when it's not working for you, there's an explanation.
My Inbound Marketing Is Not Working
Here are the 3 most common scenarios we have observed in which a company's inbound marketing is not working as well as it should.
#1: Your potential customers can't find your content... Or you for that matter.
This is the most common problem we have observed. Which means:
- You aren't focusing enough on SEO. It's important to balance writing for people and for search engines. Your valuable content needs to be written in such a way that your persona finds it practical and useful, but Google has to be able to find it too. Don't forget that search engines are changing and evolving, and your search engine optimization strategy has to change with it. Need some SEO advice? Check out these 17 SEO Myths or learn about the greatest SEO mistake.
- You aren't promoting it enough on social media. How long did it take you to write that amazing piece of content? Take that time and multiply it by 2. That's how long you should spend, at a minimum, promoting it. Consider the channels where you are promoting as well. It's important to have a presence on various social media channels, but be more intentional by experimenting with your posts and trying out new websites, forums and other social media platforms. Use the HubSpot Reporting section of your dashboard to find out which sources are guiding the most traffic and concentrate your efforts there.
- You aren't running paid traffic to it. Keep in mind that SEO is a marathon and digital advertising or pay-per-click (PPC) is a sprint. If you want immediate results, look into running some AdWords. With Facebook's recent algorithm changes, fewer of your social media posts are being viewed organically. Investing $5 or $10 into a social media sponsored post can go a long way.
How do you fix these issues?
1. Spend more time on SEO:
- Do keyword research.
- Add keywords to your blog.
- Define a link building strategy.
2. Spend more time promoting your content.
- Allocate time & budget for social media promotion.
- Experiment with other social media platforms and different types of posts.
- Use reporting tools & analytics to find out where you're getting the best results from.
3. Add in some digital advertising for immediate results.
#2: Your persona can find your content... but doesn't find your content appealing.
A good SEO expert can have quite an impact on your company blog's visibility. You see: your content may be extremely valuable, showing the true signs of thought leadership... but it's not enough. Design is half the battle. And don't forget about user experience!
If your analytics are showing that you are ranking, but you have little traffic, then:
- Your blogs' headlines and the meta need some work. Don't go for "clickbait" titles ("What you read next will amaze you!!!"), but do make them sound attractive and interesting, like headlines out of a newspaper or magazine.
If your analytics are showing rankings and traffic, but you have few contacts to show for it (less than 2% visits to contacts ratio) and a high bounce rate (over 70%), then:
- Your writing may go over your persona's head. We're sorry to give you the bad news, but your content is not practical or easy to read. When you work in your own industry day in and day out it's easy to assume everyone else knows what you're talking about, but it's called expertise for a reason. However, you don't want to talk down to your readers either! Be wary of sounding like a textbook just spitting out definitions and re-sharing industry news verbatim from your vendors or a trade publication. Have a single goal for each blog post. Keep it simple, but enticing.
- Your website may have some design flaws. If your site takes more than 3 seconds to load, you could lose valuable traffic. Once your website loads, the website visitor will determine if there is congruency between the text on the link they clicked and the page they are viewing. Does it answer the question they were asking quickly and easily? Is the website visually pleasing? Is there a logical next step to get more information?
How do you fix these issues?
1. Review your analytics. Find out what your conversion rate is (visits to contacts) and what your bounce rate is.
2. Do a content audit. Find out which pages and blogs are generating the most traffic and why. Repurpose and repackage the best content you have.
2. Do some research. Review your competitor's website and make notes. Review your website and make notes. Get opinions on your website's design from strangers (not family and friends).
#3: Your persona can find your content, finds it appealing, but your sales funnel is incomplete... and leaking.
Once you've cleared #1 and #2, you'd hope that step #3 would be easy, but #3 is actually where all of the magic happens. After you've attracted a website visitor and converted them to a contact, it's time to catch that lead and nurture them through the sales funnel or buyer's journey. If you're seeing traffic and contacts, but no sales, then that means:
- You have not set up lead nurturing workflows. Even if someone converts from a visitor to a contact, the relationship ends there. Just because a website visitor found your content valuable and gave you their information - so they can receive more information at a later date,- that doesn't mean they are ready to talk to a salesperson. In fact, 66% of buyers indicate that "consistent and relevant communication provided by both sales and marketing organizations" is a key influence in choosing a solution/provider for their needs. Lead nurturing is important to establish thought leadership and trust with leads. For sales and marketing, it's vital to identify pain points and interests.
- You have a TOFU or MOFU or BOFU offer but not (at least) one for every stage of the buyer's journey. For example, you have case studies that are sent in your lead nurturing workflow, but unfortunately that's a bottom of the funnel (BOFU) offer. A new website lead needs to be nurtured and a top of the funnel (TOFU) "This Is How You Get Your Money's Worth on the Product My Company Offers" is better. The buyer's journey is a process, and you should have valuable content designed for every stage.
- You don't have a dedicated salesperson or sales team to follow up with leads. In a small business, owners and marketing managers often wear many hats. Sales and marketing is an investment into steady and sustainable growth for your business.
How do you fix a leaky sales funnel?
Call a plumber... or a roofer.
1. Review your current sales process with your sales and marketing teams. Integrate your sales and marketing teams to share leads and knowledge gained in the sales process. Use the shared "smarketing" team to identify future leaks in your sales funnel.
2. Define a lead nurturing process and develop content for each stage of the buyer's journey.
Ashley Quintana, M.S., B.A.
Ashley Quintana is a co-founder of BridgeRev. In her role, she develops, leads, and executes digital marketing strategies for the company’s growing client base, including a Fortune 500 subsidiary and an NBA basketball team. Ashley’s work can be found in the Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Science, and she is an OKC.biz 40 Under 40 honoree for her leadership in business and community. She frequently speaks at universities, churches, and conferences on marketing, diversity, and business.