Are you balancing too many tasks in an effort to follow up on leads? Are your sales down and clients dropping off your list like the proverbial dominoes? It could be a sign you should take notice of.
If you own a brick and mortar business, then you probably know that the physical location of your building is critical to success (in most cases.) Foot traffic is key to the success of many brick and mortar businesses. That hasn’t changed, even in our digital age.
What has changed, however, is that brick and mortar is no longer the only type of business out there. Click-and-mortar and online-only businesses have joined their older counterparts, and while foot traffic may still be important for some of them, it’s often online traffic that is more important.
Before we look at how inbound marketing can help bring more, targeted traffic to our virtual doorsteps, let’s consider a few facts:
- It’s a fact that modern consumers don’t focus on a single medium of entertainment at a time. Gone are the days when the entire family would crowd around the television to be force-fed Mr. Ed and commercials! These days, 57% or more of Americans admit that they use their phones, tablets or other devices while watching TV. That means that your TV ads are little more than background noise for their browsing – according to this study by eMarketer (@eMarketer)
- Print media is not doing much better, either. In fact, as Borrell Associates (@borrellassoc) reports, print media companies have experienced revenue declines of between $25 Million and $1.7 Billion US Dollars between 2012 and 2013.
That’s not necessarily bad news though. All it really means is that marketers need to be smarter to reach their target markets, rather than just casting a wide net and hoping to reach a few interested parties.
Here are 10 signs your business should be investing in inbound marketing.
You’re Getting All the Wrong Leads
Let’s go back to the example of the store in a great location. Let’s say you sell cars. You get lots of foot traffic, so you decide to create a spectacular display in your window. It draws crowds like crazy, but while your store is full all weekend, it doesn’t influence sales – rather, sales fall slightly.
The reason is probably that you created a display that is bringing you the wrong kinds of leads. Rather than attracting people looking for cars, you’re getting throngs of elementary school boys who won’t be driving for at least a decade.
The same thing happens when you’re marketing online. If you’re just creating content to get traffic, without a thought to your buyer personas and what your prospective customers might be interested in, you’re getting the wrong leads because you’re not going after the right leads.
Good content, after all, is the stuff of love affairs – at least according to Tom Webber (@webby2001) of Edison Research. Love affairs take chemistry, and they bring together like-minded individuals. Make sure that your content has plenty in common with your market, and use a service like Alexa or Google Analytics to make sure that you’re reaching the right demographic.
Your Traffic Is a Trickle
One of the single biggest signs that your inbound marketing strategies are not working at their full potential is that you’re not getting enough traffic.
Someone once said, when talking about online marketing, that the simple solution is to be the best answer. Tom Fishburne (@tomfishburne) said it even better when he said that the best content doesn’t feel like content (and he should know, since he’s the guy behind Marketoonist!)
What they mean, and what good inbound marketing is, is that you need to figure out what your ideal customers want to know, and then share that information with them. You need to stop selling to sell more.
Crazy, but true!
Your Visitors Don’t Love Your Content
Even if you’re getting enough traffic from people who might potentially become customers at some point, if you’re not creating content that turns them into fans more than customers, your inbound marketing strategy needs work.
Stop thinking about getting more people on your site, and start thinking about how you can make them fall in love with your content, your brand and your company. Consider adding a rating system to articles so you can gauge what your visitors think.
You Get Traffic, But Not Enough Sales
You have traffic. You have fans, who follow on social media and respond to your tweets. You’re doing everything right, but you’re still not making sales. You’re not converting potential customers and visitors into genuine leads, which you can continue to engage with over time.
There’s one simple reason why this happens: you don’t ask for the order.
The Internet has created a generation of people with short attention spans. If you don’t capture their attention (and their information), you might lose them to the next shiny attraction. Make sure that every page on your site has a clear call to action – even if it’s just to sign up for your newsletter.
You Have Visitors and Leads, but You Lose Them Along the Way
Inbound marketing is a funnel that has many stages. First, you create content that gets the right people to your site. Then you amuse, entertain and educate them. Then you convince them (using offers) to sign up to your list. Then you spend time nurturing those leads, until they’re ready to make a buying decision.
Hubspot (@hubspot) has a great free guide to lead nurturing that explains how it all works. Download it here to get in-depth information. Make sure that you capture contact information early in the sales cycle so you can bring stragglers back into the fold.
People Don’t Welcome Your Sales Offers
If you are marketing to the right people (your ideal buyer personas), and if you are giving them the right information and content, and if you are spending enough time to make sure they need what you are selling, you shouldn’t be getting many (if any) objections to your sales offers.
In this article about lead nurturing, Pardot (@pardot), explains this in more detail. By nurturing your leads, and giving them what they need to make a buying decision before you ask for the sale, your marketing becomes a welcome addition to their inbox. It’s best to wait until later on in the sales cycle before you start selling.
Your Leads Aren’t Convinced That You’re Their Guy (or Girl)
You have the right customers. They’re open to your message, and they open your emails – but they’re still not buying. It may just be that they aren’t convinced that you’re the right person or company to give them what they need.
If this is the case, then your inbound marketing needs to make a subtle shift from sharing information to establishing credibility and expert status. Forbes (@Forbes) has a great beginners guide to establishing your reputation as an expert. Work on developing social proof. Get mentioned on prominent blogs in your industry, or use press releases or services like HARO to reach the main stream media.
Your Lead Management and Automation Need Work
Even if you are doing everything right with your inbound marketing, you still need to make sure that you manage leads and automate your marketing, if you want your sales funnel to be a well-oiled machine.
If you haven’t already read it, it’s worth looking at Salesforce’s (@SalesForce) guide to marketing automation for newbies here. It’s written for people who don’t know much about automation, but it’s worth a read even if you just need a reminder. Marketing automation means finding a pattern of contact that works, and automating it so that it happens when you’re asleep or on vacation.
Your Leads Aren’t Sticking Around
If you are going through all the right motions, but you’re still getting a high percentage of unsubscribes and unopened emails, then you probably want to improve on your inbound marketing strategy.
It takes time, trial and error to perfect your inbound marketing strategy and practice, before you can get and keep leads engaged, but it’s always worth the effort. Pay close attention to your site visitors. You want more returning visitors thank unique visitors. You can keep people coming back time after time by keeping content fresh and interesting.
Your Focus Is Not What You Would Consider “Laser”
If you’re using inbound marketing strategies, but you’re all over the place, bouncing around from idea to idea, then there’s a chance that you need to take a step back, identify problems, and narrow the process down.
Inbound marketing sounds easy, and in some ways it is according to software company Marketing Profs (@MarketingProfs). There are steps to follow, results to measure and methods to use. However, what they don’t mention is that there are many steps, and that it can take a while to get dialed in.
You’ll need to try various things, conduct A/B tests, and find out what works for your ideal customers. It’s a process for everyone, and it’s normal to be a little scattered at the beginning.
Inbound marketing is, without a doubt, the future of marketing. Seth Godin (@ThisIsSethsBlog) says that content marketing is the only marketing that’s left, and he’s right.
It’s easy to get lost along the way. If your inbound marketing is less effective than you would like to be, go back to basics. Make sure you’re reaching the right demographic with the right message. Make sure you are capturing their attention and their information. Ensure that you have automated your marketing to reach out to them multiple times and keep them in your sales funnel. Save the selling till later on, and make sure that they’re sure you’re the right company to meet their needs.
Are you ready to invest in inbound marketing? Call us today and let’s chat.