PF Blog

5 Reasons Why Your Inbound Marketing Isn’t Working

18. April 2013

By Dayna Rothman
Content Marketing Manager
Marketo, Inc.

Here is a scenario that resonates with many marketers using inbound marketing as part of their marketing mix. You create your blog, social accounts, maybe a couple of ebooks, and invest in marketing automation software. At first, things are going great. You see more blog subscribers, a huge increase in website traffic, and your social media followers are way up. You continue down the right path – spending time on social, creating even more content, and following all of the inbound marketing best practices. But, as the year comes to a close, your inbound growth has slowed. Traffic from this channel has subsided, you aren’t closing as many deals. So what went wrong?

It can be common for organizations that implement an inbound marketing strategy to see an early lift. However, while early results are strong, the leads can dwindle to a trickle. Even if you’re seeing a consistent, steady stream of leads filling the funnel from inbound sources, you may be struggling to convert those leads into sales. Why? Because there’s a misconception that inbound marketing is enough, that it’s the silver bullet to success. There are many ways to be successful with inbound marketing. For more information on creating your strategy check out our ebook Amplify your Impact: How to Multiply the Effects of Your Inbound Marketing Program.

Here are some reasons why your inbound strategy may not be working and ways that you can really amp up the volume:

  1. Your Aim is Too Wide
    Inbound works by canvasing the internet with content in the hopes people will find you. When confronted with too many low-level leads, many marketers scramble to run more of these same broad-reach campaigns, and then wonder why they don’t produce better results. To connect with prospective buyers – and move them along the path to purchase – you need to switch from tactics that reach a very general audience and focus on highly targeted programs that break through the clutter. This means delivering high-quality content to the right people in an engaging way – and doing so across multiple channels including direct mail, email, and phone.
  2. Some Prospects May Find You, but Many Don’t Know You Exist
    Some people don’t realize they should or could seek you out. Think about it: If you don’t know about something, you can’t search for it. You also may not be sharing the right type of content or sharing it in the right place for your prospect to find it. For example, you might create ebooks and host webinars about your product, but if prospects are searching on terms related to their problems and you only talk about your solution, potential buyers probably won’t find your content. Or perhaps you’re only posting content to your site and prospects early in the research phases mainly turn to YouTube for information. You may never cross paths.

    The key takeaway here: content developed for inbound marketing should be more focused on your prospects’ problems and concerns than on your product or solution. After all, those in the early stages of the buying cycle are looking for educational (i.e., non-promotional) information.
  3. You Aren’t Reaching the Decision Makers
    We have found that often leads generated through inbound marketing are not the final decision makers for B2B products. Why? It’s unlikely that the C-suite is going to spend time on blogs and social looking for solution recommendations and doing a ton of research. It’s far more likely that they assign this exercise to someone working for them. If you are putting too much emphasis on these inbound leads without fully qualifying them – and if your competitors ARE reaching the decisions makers – your inbound marketing efforts may be wasted.
  4. Sometimes You Can’t Break Through the Noise
    Many companies pour a lot of effort into their inbound marketing efforts at big events such as trade shows. Unfortunately, that is the hardest time to get noticed. For many large conferences, it is difficult to be heard above the noise. Often hundreds and thousands of tweets are posted in a matter of minutes. And most of those tweets probably go unnoticed. It becomes a situation of “you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all.” The same goes for jumping on the bandwagon with Facebook, LinkedIn groups, a blog, or other social channels.

    The solution to too much noise is not to make more noise, but to sound different! And there are plenty of ways to stand out from the crowd. Create content that is unique, with a fresh point of view. Or, commit to trying a different format from the rest, so while everyone else is blogging, you create a movie that gets the attention of your audience.
  5. Sometimes There Isn’t Any Noise
    Other times you may find there isn’t enough noise to even create a sound. This happens when companies sell into verticals that are not as receptive to inbound marketing, such as those concerned with privacy or industry regulations, or those who are just slow to adopt online channels. Regardless of the reason, if there are few or no people to consume your content, you should focus on other outbound marketing channels for distribution.

Need more information?
Dayna Rothman
Content Marketing Manager
Marketo, Inc.
9 Mariners Island Boulevard
Suite 200
San Mateo, CA 94404
Fax: 650-376-2331

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