5 Signs That Your Inbound Marketing Strategy is Sinking
By Carly Stec
Consumers couldn't care less about interruptive marketing, and they're behaving much differently than they used to. They're thirsty for knowledge, they're Googling everything, and they've taken the liberty of raising the bar in terms of expectations.
As a result, many savvy businesses have put inbound marketing strategies in place to ensure smooth sailing.
Through inbound they can be sure that they're positioning their business in the most favorable light while not only meeting but exceeding their customer's needs.
While a strong strategy will help you move forward with confidence, a flawed strategy will put you at risk of taking on water.
Before you're forced to issue an SOS, check out these 5 warning signs to help you identify glitches in your inbound marketing strategy before they set you back.
You Don't Know Where Your Audience Hangs Out
While factors like gender, age, location, job title, and education play an important role in the research that comes with the creation of buyer personas, there's much more to a person than male or female.
If you want to create personas that can be used to drive your marketing efforts, you have to think of them in terms of layers. On the surface they might be 25-45 year old content marketing managers living in Boston, but what about their interests? Their challenges? How are they consuming information?
If you are yet to uncover the behavior of your audience, you still have a lot of work to do. The goal is to get to know these people on more than just a A/S/L basis so that you can uncover their motives and create content that lends itself well to their preferences.
The more aligned your content is with the behavior of your buyer personas, the better chance you have to capture their attention and keep them coming back for more.
Your SEO Efforts Are So Pre-Hummingbird
Holding on to traditional SEO is like holding on to cake that has gone bad. Just because you like it, and it tasted really good at one point, doesn't make it any less moldy now.
Drop the fork. Put the cake down. Walk away.
Google released the Hummingbird update in September, which means that we've all had more than enough time to get acclimated and start moving things along in a new direction. If you're SEO strategy is still relying on old tricks, it's time to admit that you have a problem.
The new SEO is only as scary as you make it out to be. Perhaps one of the biggest things to take into consideration is the way in which the update shifted the focus away from specific keywords and placed a stronger emphasis on consumer behavior, conversational search, and meaning.
Now rather than focus on the word "cake", focus on content that appeals to conversational queries like "where is the closest place to buy a cake?" or "how to bake a cake"
What's Your Purpose Again?
The reason why goals, quotas, and deadlines are so effective is because they serve as a motivating force; the propulsion you need to work towards completing a task in timely manner. But something much greater than meeting or exceeding your monthly quota is defining your purpose.
What are you doing and why are you doing it? I'd argue that this is a question that everyone should ask themselves.
I recently explored a SlideShare by Doug Kessler called "The Search for Meaning in B2B Marketing" that really shook me. It was a good shake.
While a summary doesn't do the piece justice, Doug opens up about his personal struggle to find meaning in his work and proceeds to define 7 sources from which he can create a sense of purpose. It's these 7 things that help him guide critical decision making processes on a daily basis.
Point being, if you have a positive mojo and a sense of purpose, you'll find that it's easier to pour energy and enthusiasm into your work. The more you water your business with energy and enthusiasm, the quicker it will grow and blossom into something remarkable, so get gardening.
You Think All Metrics Are Created Equal
How are you going to keep your marketing strategy a float if you don't know where the leaks are?
One of the main principles behind inbound marketing is that all of your business and marketing goals should be measurable. Monitoring metrics will help you to assess your current efforts, highlight your successes, and identify areas that may need extra attention.
There are a ton of metrics that can come into play, however if you try to get a handle on every single one of them, you won't have time to do anything other than analysis.
If you're looking to improve your lead nurturing efforts, you'll want to look at conversion rates in order to pin point the premium content that is performing really well, as well as the content that you'll want to revamp.
When it comes time to explore a new marketing initiative, attach a metric to it. Knowing which metrics align with which marketing efforts will make it much easier for you to keep track of your numbers and place your focus where it needs to be.
You're Not Concerned With Mobile
According to a 2013 report by Forrester Research, 89 percent of consumers use a search engine on their mobile device. (Source: Huffington Post) If they're using that search engine to look for answers to the questions that your business can answer, your content better be mobile-friendly.
While inbound marketers have beat this topic to a pulp as of late, there's no denying the importance. If you're not implementing a responsive design or making it a point to ensure that your website is optimized for mobile usage, you're not falling behind, you're already behind.
When people are waiting in line at the DMV or they're sitting in the pick up line at their children's school, it's likely that they are turning to their smartphone to pass the time, not their laptop. To that point, it's important to keep in mind that one of the goals of inbound marketing is improve your businesses ability to get found by prospects. If your content isn't mobile-friendly, those bored DMV visitors and patient soccer mom's might find you, but if your website isn't easy to use, they won't hesitate to turn to your one of your competitors.
Wondering where to begin?