4 Tricky Inbound Marketing Mistakes to Watch Out For

Inbound gets results. 68 percent of inbound marketers believe their organization’s strategy is effective. On the other hand, more than half of outbound-heavy marketers feel their strategy isn’t working.

Still, about one-third of those who use inbound are not getting the full impact they want. This could be because there are so many potential mistakes marketers can make that may sabotage the overall inbound strategy.

Whether you’ve been using inbound marketing for several years already or are just getting started, you want to avoid these common inbound marketing mistakes. A lot of marketers start out with a nice boost to their KPIs after implementing inbound techniques but then have trouble keeping up the positive movement. If you have a fatal flaw in your inbound strategy, it is going to challenge your ability to grow. Watch out for these mistakes to see if you are missing a key to inbound success.

Not Having a Long-Term Strategy

You may be using a number of inbound marketing techniques, and may even have enjoyed a nice boost to your website traffic, conversion numbers and sales. But, unless you are stringing all your inbound tactics together into one cohesive, well-thought out strategy, you’re not going to see the sustainable benefits your inbound strategy should be giving you.

Focusing on the trees but missing the forest is an easy mistake to make. You may launch a killer brand blog to increase website traffic or host an industry event to build brand awareness. These are short-term solutions for short-term goals. And so, they yield either short-term or short-sighted results.

Not only should each piece of your marketing fit into the rest but everything should be collaborating together to achieve both short-term and long-term, big-picture goals. For example, your blog posts should be intended to increase web traffic and to encourage customers to sign up to your newsletter and to eventually register for your event. Your email messaging and social content should be promoting what’s going on with your other channels. Your event should later be repurposed for your written and visual content on your website’s blog and social sites. And everything, from social, to email, to website to in-person content should be drawing people in to your landing pages.

Not Listening to Your Customers

Inbound marketing is all about attracting leads and customers to you. Your brand becomes the magnet, drawing attention and motivating engagement and action through genuinely improving the lives of your audience, both through your product or service and your content. But how can you give them what they want if you’re not listening to what that may be?

But let’s take a step back. Before you even start listening to or interacting with them, you need to make sure you’re not annoying or interrupting them. This is where permission marketing comes in.

Inbound marketing, more so than outbound, is about the relationship between brand and customer. It’s about offering what your audience is interested in and addressing their pain points so they will be interested in and engaged with your brand.

Here are ways you can listen:

  • Read up on case studies to learn about other stories in your industry
  • Pay attention to what customers are saying on industry forums, thought-leader blog comments and social media channels – you’ll find the most authentic information within these platforms
  • Use both small and large-scale customer feedback surveys – and compare the results that you get from different groups, such as long-term customers and general target market questionnaires
  • Pay attention to who is interacting with your brand, when and how through website analytics and your own social sites

The more you know about your target customers’ needs and wants, the better you can tailor your inbound strategy to answer their needs.

Making Decisions Without Concrete Objectives

What is the goal of your inbound marketing strategy? Is it to increase revenue? Get better quality leads? Are you a new business just trying to build brand awareness?

You need clearly defined marketing objectives with goal posts marked out along the way. For example, most organizations want to increase the number of quality leads they attract. How many each month? How much do you want this number to increase every quarter? What qualifies a high-quality lead for your brand?

When the goal is brand awareness, how are you measuring it and what are your goals in the short and long-term? You can use changes to your social engagement metrics, more website traffic, more people signing up to your email list or subscribing to your brand’s podcast. What is your goal for this month – an increase of 10, 20, 200? What do you want your numbers to look like a year from now? What components of your inbound strategy are being used to make those numbers attainable?

By clearly laying out your objectives, it’s a lot easier to create and optimize your strategy to get results. You’ll also be able to shift your strategy along the way when you see where you are achieving your objectives, getting close, or losing ground.

Lacking Meaning

You may have finally mastered your automation software, have found your stride with a dynamic content schedule, regularly spark conversations on social media with your thought-provoking, funny and helpful posts – but your marketing is still falling flat.

Your inbound mistake this time? Your brand’s purpose isn’t apparent in the action of your content. It may be clearly stated, but if it’s not demonstrated, it becomes meaningless.

What’s the underlying purpose of your brand? Are your core values evident in your strategy? For example, if your brand is all about educating the consumer on the benefits of XYZ so they can be more empowered in their personal life or business, why aren’t you:

  • Running an educational webinar series
  • Organizing an industry conference
  • Building an online library
  • Creating an app or other digital tool to help your customers learn more?

Listing your intention on your company About Us page or posting a few educational links on Facebook doesn’t go far enough in demonstrating the driving force behind your brand. Those core values should be the foundation of your inbound marketing strategy. Pushing the boundaries of innovation. Promote awareness. Make life easier, safer, cleaner. Enable businesses to succeed. Without a clear meaning through the actions of your marketing strategy, your customers will view your organization as just one more software/health food/retail/consulting company.

Examine your strategy and look for the mistakes. Could you learn more about your customers? Are you staying on top of short and long-term objectives and making adjustments in order to achieve those goals? Is your marketing strategic or just a bunch of short spurts to meet this month’s goals? Every time you slip up, use it to improve. Effective inbound marketing is what is helping today’s businesses thrive and live up to ever-evolving customer expectations. If it’s not helping yours, check for these common mistakes and see where you can improve.

Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner  is a Top CMO, Content Marketing and Digital Marketing Influencer, an international keynote speaker, author of "Mean People Suck" and "The Content Formula" and he is the CEO and Founder of Marketing Insider Group, a leading Content Marketing Agency . He has worked in leadership positions in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as for thriving startups. Today, Michael helps build successful content marketing programs for leading brands and startups alike. Subscribe here for regular updates.