from Digital Marketing

You Can’t Dabble In Inbound Marketing

By Erin Durham
October 3, 2017 - read

You Can't Dabble in Inbound Marketing

Waypost Marketing has been in our industry for almost 15 years, watching it grow from the all-you-need-is-a-website stage all the way to today's competitive-on-every-imaginable-platform phase.

We have a level of perspective and experience that many other digital marketing companies just don't have, giving us a unique ability to follow the current trajectory and see where digital marketing is headed from here.

If you've read our blogs in the past, you'll likely already be familiar with the ZMOT (if you're not, you should be!). You'll understand what we mean when we talk about the New Buyer Mentality, and the way that old-school sales tactics just don't work any longer.

Your strategy must be authentic, your selling process organic, and you must be participating in the Buyer's Journey from the beginning of the research process until long after your prospects have made their decision.

Inbound Marketing is the only option.

From time to time, we run across people who are skeptical of digital marketing, Inbound Marketing, and marketing automation. They feel like they tried all of that and it didn't work for them. They gave it a go, wrote a few blogs, tweeted a little, and they couldn’t point to any demonstrable success.

Maybe you feel the same. Maybe you’re reading this piece, and you’re asking yourself…

“Why did I fail at Inbound Marketing?”

Well, first of all, you haven’t failed yet. The odds are good that you’ve simply bitten off more than you can chew.

You’re not alone! Maybe you figured throwing a blog post up on your site every now and then would be all you needed to do to keep "fresh content" showing up and keep The Google happy. Maybe you posted a few pictures on Facebook several months ago.

Maybe you even purchased a marketing automation software like HubSpot, figuring it would do all the work for you, simplifying your life — only to discover that its features are overwhelming, and you almost don’t know where to start.

We get it. You thought that digital marketing would be easy, quick, and launch you into explosive growth without too much effort. Maybe you even scoffed at companies like ours when you found out how much we charge. 

You can't dabble in Inbound Marketing, though, and here's why:

Inbound Marketing is a big machine to operate.

You have to start with a road map to success, which means you have to know exactly what counts as success in your industry. You have to establish where you’re trying to go, set SMART goals, and put together an action plan for how to get there.

When you're putting that plan together, you have to keep a few things in mind... 

There are a lot of pieces.

Inbound Marketing is defined as a set of tactics. It's not just one thing or even three, but a series of actions that all go together to create a successful marketing strategy. You need to know which steps you need to take — and you’d be surprised at how often people are wrong about this! — and how they integrate with each other.

Not only that, you have to know the best practices for each tactic.

  • Do you know how often you should be posting a new blog?
  • How often should each blog's link be tweeted, and what times of day have the best engagement rates on Twitter?
  • How do you determine your content topics?
  • Are you consulting your keyword rankings?
  • Are you answering the questions your market is actually asking?
  • Do you know where your potential prospects get their information from?
  • How can you please both the search engines and the humans who engage with your brand?

You have to be able to produce a lot of content.

What sort of content should you produce on your company's behalf?

There are a lot of options for content marketing: social media posting and sharing, email marketing, e-books, white papers, infographics, interactive PDFs, and videos — not to mention blog articles that are relevant to your keyword targeting and helpful for your readers.

All of this content has to be well researched. After all, well-written, relevant, and informative content helps to establish you as an industry expert and aids your prospects in seeing you as the right person to solve their particular problem. 

Pushing out mediocre, half-researched, and uninformative content will only hurt you rather than help in the long run. Focus on providing content that is helpful, accurate, authoritative, and unique.

Producing content at this level is resource intensive — it takes time, and it takes several people with different skill sets.

If you’re cutting corners on content, your inbound marketing results are going to tank. It’s that simple.

You have to analyze and adjust.

Even when you have the most solid foundational knowledge imaginable, there is always going to be some element of trial and error when it comes to a rapidly-changing industry like marketing. The best way to minimize unnecessary expense is to be able to analyze and adjust with some frequency.

It often takes about 12 months to really ramp up Inbound Marketing efforts and start seeing measurable results, but that doesn't mean you should sit back and wait.

At Waypost Marketing, we analyze our data on a monthly basis, and are constantly looking for ways to tweak and improve.

If you’re only spending a couple of hours a month on inbound marketing, it’s unlikely that you’ve been taking the time required to look back at your efforts and take a hard look at what’s working and what isn’t. 

It’s even less likely that you’ve been willing to be brutally honest with yourself if your market simply isn’t responding to the content you’ve put your blood, sweat, and tears into.

Marketing Automation Software Take A Long Time To Become Proficient With

Any time you start learning a new software platform, there is a learning curve. Usually, the more robust a platform’s features are, the more overwhelming it is in the beginning.

Marketing automation software is no exception, and to some degree can be especially overwhelming — there is just so much that this software can do, and the different platforms tend to vary widely from each other. I once saw someone using Salesfusion and it was the most confusing thing I’ve ever seen — and I was HubSpot certified!

(We rescued them eventually, and this company is now a delighted HubSpot customer.)

The point is, learning this kind of software takes awhile, no matter what your background is. We found HubSpot to be the most user-friendly (and it definitely has the best support!) but even so, it took us a couple of certification courses and many months of daily use to reach the level of proficiency we were striving for. In addition, HubSpot is so committed to delighting their users that they are continually rolling out new features and upgraded functionality… which we then have to learn.

It’s not that you can’t use marketing automation software; it’s simply that you may not have the manpower and time to spend really leveraging the power it offers.

Everything Changes Constantly. Stay Ahead of the Game With Waypost.

The Hubspot platform continues to evolve. New social media platforms continue to emerge and become suddenly popular and "must-have" platforms for businesses, while others fade away.

Google's algorithm continues to change multiple times per year, testing our knowledge of SEO best practices and requiring adaptation to keep up with it. 

Technology is constantly in flux, so if you’re marketing technologically (which you should be, because your clients are purchasing technologically!), then your marketing efforts have to always be in flux to stay ahead of your competitors.

If you’re serious about growing your business, about reaching more of your target market in significant ways that create meaningful relationships, then Inbound Marketing is your only option, and you have to go all in.

Yes, it’s scary. It requires a significant investment, a lot of patience, and an enormous amount of trust in your Inbound Marketing partner. Fortunately, we’ve had many companies take a risk with us, and at this point, we can demonstrate concrete, measurable success and great relationships with delighted clients.

If you’re ready to go All In, give Waypost a call.

Download the Marketers Guide to Inbound Marketing Ebook

Tags: Digital Marketing