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11 things you’re probably asking yourself about inbound marketing

November 10, 2015

By Tom Radford, Director of Innovation

Okay, let’s get into this argument. There’s a lot of hogwash out there about inbound marketing being this or that. The problem with any new methodology is that it is disruptive and a little bit threatening to existing powers-that-be. So it gets derided and attacked, which is perfectly understandable.

After all it was Socrates who said that ‘The unexamined life is not worth living’ and by the same measure, all new ideas must be thoroughly examined and their claims tested.

But nothing can be properly criticized if it has not been properly executed, and those demanding a magic bullet are often the ones whose patience runs out or who’s approach is not thorough. If you’re serious about inbound marketing, then follow the rules and it will work. And in order to get you fired up for the challenge, here’s a few questions answered and myths mothballed!

1) Inbound marketing competes with SEO

You need both – Inbound is about understanding your customer, SEO is about using the correct key words. If you want to get someone’s attention, or be found by them; speak their language. SEO is integral to inbound marketing and complements it perfectly.

For more information: What is the Difference Between SEO and Inbound Marketing?” by West Designs

2) It’s difficult to prove the ROI of Inbound Marketing

There’s a lot of data out there, the reason people think it can’t be measured is because they’re not using it effectively. Less than half of marketers say they can effectively measure inbound. The rest just aren’t doing it right. Use all the analytics tools at your disposal. The best ones like Google Analytics and Hubspot are FREE for goodness sake!

3) Inbound marketing and traditional marketing clash

There is some truth in this; after all they are very different approaches. Traditional marketing is interruptive and inbound marketing is organic and it qualifies its leads based on the customer’s pain points and ‘wants’. The stats don’t lie, it’s got a better conversion rate than it’s traditional friend. But let’s not go around upsetting the marketing fraternity. The truth is, you need both. After all, what is a marketing campaign without all the pizzazz and creativity of Mad Men?

For more information: Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing” by Vital.

4) Inbound marketing is a passing fad

I’d like to think Justin Bieber is a passing fad, but not inbound marketing. Think of it more as an evolution. It’s no more a fad than electric windows on cars. There was a time when some had them and some didn’t but now we all do! Understanding your customer is just common sense, thinking about what they want instead of what you think they want is obviously going to work. Inbound just gives you a way of doing it that is cost effective and a bit less ‘trial and error’ than previous methods.

5) Nobody will consume the content

It’s not just what you make, it’s where you put it. If it answers a pain point that has been properly researched and it is positioned in the same Internet ecosystem as your target buyer, in a format that they are already proven to consume…believe me, they’ll see it! And the wrong audience won’t see it! If I put a poster about gardening in your garden you’ll see it when you’re thinking about gardening. If I put the same poster in the pub… well you get my drift.

6) Blogging is a waste of time

Only if you don’t do your homework and tweak your output in accordance with how it is received. Content output is a living thing, you have to feed it and nurture it. Be ready to clip its nails and plait it’s hair, and give it a bath once in a while! It will be a good and helpful addition to your household!

7) Always fire out your content at the same time every day/week

It’s not a bad idea if you’re posting a blog that is your own personal take on your industry. A ‘regular spot’ helps insightful writing and editorial together with EDMS etc. In just the same way as TV programs used to be (before the catch-up TV, Game-of-Thrones bingeing generation).

But targeted inbound content works passively. It is based on keywords and carefully researched customer insights and therefore it can be found at any time. So, don’t worry too much if the initial spike of interest drops off the day after you’ve published. If you’ve used a proper inbound methodology it will keep working and start to gain ground over time.

8) Unique landing pages don’t work

Yes they do, because they’re carefully worded, targeted and constructed to maximise engagement. It’s good to have numerous Landing pages out there. Did you know that companies with forty or more landing pages generate up to twelve times as many leads? That’s not to say that it’s quantity over quality… you just have to make sure they’re laid out correctly and give the right message.

For more information: The Sweet Science of Landing Page Practices And Why They Work” by Unbounce

9) Don’t waste content on existing customers

Wrong! Absolutely the opposite is true. What are you CRAZY? Did you know it costs around seven times more to attract a customer than keep an existing one? Once you’ve got em, keep em! Delight your customers with useful information based on insights you have discovered through working with them. And they will see how well you understand them and be dazzled by your ability to second guess their needs.

For more information: Apparently, Acquiring New Customers is 6 Times More Costly Than Retaining One” by Business 2 Community

10) You can’t tell when a lead is ready to buy

Well, you can’t on instinct unless you’ve got a pretty special gift. However you can if you use a tool like Hubspot which looks at lead behaviour holistically and is able to monitor a customer’s journey down the sales funnel and give you real-time updates with which to make informed decisions about how they are viewing and considering your brand.

11) Personalized content is like stalking

Put quite simply; yes it is if it’s done wrong. However, when faced with an avalanche of unsolicited emails, one that comes from a source you have already clicked on and read, that begins with your name and addresses a specific pain point of yours is actually quite refreshing!

And remember, despite the fact that email is apparently dead, 66% of consumers say they have made a purchase based upon a direct marketing email.

For more information: The Influence of Email Marketing Messages” by Direct Marketing Association (DMA)

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