A lot has been made about inbound marketing over the past five years, and for good reason since it can have many beneficial impacts to a business. From higher search engine rankings to lead capture to greater revenue, inbound marketing forms the backbone of many companies’ marketing strategy.

But implementing a successful inbound marketing strategy can be challenging for companies with the best intentions. A variety of factors can actually prevent some companies from developing and running a seamless inbound marketing program. Say, for example, a white paper drives a crazy number of hits to your website. How can you be sure the website experience is frictionless, you capture the necessary contact information (without asking for too much!) and you have a drip marketing program in place to follow-up on new leads?

In this post, we look at how to tell when inbound is leaving you out of bounds when it comes to attracting and satisfying prospects throughout the marketing cycle.

  1. Stale content: there it is, impossible to ignore, a lack of good fresh content that is the hallmark of every good inbound marketing strategy. Without a steady stream of quality content targeting your prospects how else are you going to get results? A lack of good content turns off visitors to your website; a lack of fresh content turns off customers and prospects you are nurturing.
  2. Poor search engine ranking: another goal of content marketing is to reach the top three positions in organic search for keywords relevant to your business. For search engines to rank you higher, it helps to have content with embedded URLs (backlinks) pointing to your website – both internal links and ones from reputable websites. For example, getting your business mentioned in TechCrunch, Mashable, CNNMoney or a popular industry trade blog would not only get you in front of thousands of readers but also give you a solid backlink from a high-traffic, relevant website.
  3. Anemic social media: you can have a lots of quality content on your website and blog but if you don’t share it with the world you’re missing out on a huge opportunity. The more shares you get, the more clicks you’ll receive. The more clicks you receive, the higher your website traffic and resulting organic search engine ranking.
  4. Non-existent contact list: another goal of inbound marketing is to provide prospects an excuse to leave their contact information. One of the best ways to do that is to have ample possibilities on your website (both on the homepage and with every single blog post) through which people can sign up for valuable content such as a newsletter, a white paper or webinar series. Of course you will want to ask the right questions when people opt in: the more contextual information you have on your prospects and clients the better you will be able to tailor content to them as they descend into your sales funnel.
  5. No website optimization: if a website is the equivalent of a digital billboard for your business then not having it optimized for search engines is like putting the billboard in the middle of a forest with no highway in sight. Failing to optimize your website for keywords in this day and age is an unpardonable oversight. Failing to optimize it for the right kind of keywords is a strategic lapse, one that can cost you dearly in brand awareness and leads.
  6. Crash landing: most inbound marketing programs these days offer free content such as white papers, eBooks and shareable infographics to harvest contact information. To facilitate the collection of contact information it helps to create unique landing pages with campaign specific messaging, a sign-in form and Google Analytics. Failing to create a landing page and instead pointing a call-to-action to the homepage makes it harder to separate organic website traffic from your free content campaign.

To ensure you have prospects in all levels of the lead generation cycle, it pays to have your inbound marketing house in order. Otherwise, with a half-built home, how will you attract visitors to pay a visit? By making inbound marketing a priority and integrating more of your disparate marketing activities, you will soon have more leads than you’ll know what to do with.

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