How To Build An Inbound Marketing Army

by Gregg Crystal May 26, 2016

Organizations come to us when they are looking for help, and this usually starts with a story.  

The story starts out with what a business was hoping to accomplish, what steps they took to achieve their goal, and a list of reasons why it's not working.

I love hearing these stories for a number of reasons.  I can feel the owner's passion and conviction about their business and it's potential, their commitment to growth, and because more often than not, we can help.

The reason that I'm so confident that we can help is because this story is usually a version of the same song; the 1,4,5 chords of marketing mistakes.  

These mistakes are repairable and avoidable but it requires the right working model and a realistic set of goals and expectations that serve as the blueprint for future growth.

First let's look at the mistakes as we see them:

1. Setting Unreasonable Goals

Reasonable goals are achievable and measurable.  All other goals are unreasonable.  We find too many companies that are willing to make decisions based upon goals that are poorly defined, and as such businesses wouldn't even know if they actually did achieve them.  

These types of goals prohibit the organization from focusing, and cause all types of waste.  Wasted resources, wasted deliverables, wasted time, and wasted money.

2. Using Faulty Assumptions

New world tools don't work with old world tactics, kind of like this:

Companies seem to have this idea that these marketing tools were invented, and prospects just decided to read their blogs, open their emails, like company facebook pages, etc..  It's the other way around. 

Consumer behavior has changed, and as a result of this monumental shift in the way users engage online, marketing software has been created to help companies cope with the change.

Applying thinking and models from the past won't work.  Many companies think that they can hire a digital marketer to solve their problems but that marketer, no matter how good, can't get everything done.

Inbound marketing is a company-wide shift in thinking and behavior.

3. Half-committing 

Half committing is like paying tuition, buying books and then never attending a class.  Half-committing is one of the most dangerous mistakes because it takes a tremendous toll on our resources without producing anything of value.

Many times we see companies who have "dipped their toe" into inbound marketing, and write it off because it didn't work. 

This is what happens when you half-commmit:

Inbound marketing success requires a full commitment. When we see an organization adopt the inbound marketing methodology completely, they very seldom lack results.  The process works, but you have to follow it.

As I mentioned above, these mistakes are fixable, and they are fairly easy to avoid for those that are willing to change.  

Here's how to address these mistakes:

1. Assemble An Army

Recognize that the businesses who have been successful with inbound marketing have not done it alone (or with a single resource).  

What you need is an inbound marketing army. You can build one internally, or you can hire a team to fight for you, but the list of activities, attributes and deliverables requires a diverse set of skills and specialists that thrive in this environment.

2. Set Short Term Goals

Annual goals get lost in the chaos of doing business. You need to set monthly growth goals aimed to achieve measurable results.  

An example would be increasing web traffic growth, increasing the visitor:lead conversion ratio by x % and reducing the bounce rate by x %.  

Businesses dramatically overestimate what they can accomplish in a day, and underestimate what they can accomplish over the course of a year.  Setting specific monthly goals helps to set a cadence towards dramatic growth.

3. Be Willing To Live & Die By Your Metrics

We find that some businesses get attached to various marketing tactics and assets for illogical reasons.  The beauty of online marketing is that data can provide a single source of truth. Be willing to change tactics away from things that you "like" if the data proves poor performance. 

We often pivot in these instances, taking elements and paradigms of specific campaigns and re-purposing them for campaigns that perform much better.

Digital marketing is an iterative process and the desired results are a moving target.  You must be willing to make changes based upon what the data shows.

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