by Lisa Kirschner
We’ve been leading inbound marketing projects and campaigns for our clients for more than four years, and we’ve found that most inbound marketers don’t have a formal strategy or plan in place…and those that do aren’t really sure if they’re headed down the right path. Also, we’ve noticed that most inbound marketers tend to make the same mistakes, regardless of role, industry or level of experience with inbound marketing.
Our team of content strategists and inbound marketers has identified a list of the top five mistakes that we’ve seen inbound marketers make over and over and over again, and we’re sharing it with you so you can save yourself a lot of time, money and headaches. Trust us when we say that taking shortcuts now will cost you more later.
So without further ado, here’s our list of the five mistakes that you shoud avoid when creating your 2017 inbound marketing strategic plan:
Mistake #1 – Not having a plan at all
Okay, this seems obvious, but we’ve seen a TON of marketers–even very experienced ones–decide to wing it and skip the critical step of creating an inbound marketing plan in the first place. There are several reasons that this is a bad idea. First, if you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there? Second, working without a plan is extremely inefficient. You’ll find yourself and your team wasting countless hours on ineffective tactics and marketing offers that won’t resonate with your core audience or that don’t align with your strategic goals. Save yourself and your team a lot of time and stress, and create a solid plan that will allow you all to shine and create great results.
Mistake #2 – Not defining your ideal target audience
You can’t market to everyone. Let me repeat that…YOU CAN’T MARKET TO EVERYONE. Sure, your product or service might seem like it’s relevant to every single person on the planet, and maybe it is. (Toilet paper manufacturers, I’m looking at you.) But–and this is the really important part–YOU CANNOT AFFORD TO MARKET TO EVERYONE. I don’t care how big your budget is and how many sales and marketing dollars you’ve set aside to get traffic, acquire leads, nurture leads and close deals. If you market to everyone and your sales team talks to everyone, eventually you will run out of money. Even worse, you’ll be left scratching your head and trying to figure out which of those thousands and thousands of leads on your list are the most valuable or most likely to buy. It’s much better to have a list of 10,000 highly engaged leads than 100,000 who aren’t really a good fit for your brand.
Mistake #3 – Not understanding the online Buyer’s Journey
People just don’t buy the same way they did ten years ago. Gone are the days when someone would spend time talking to a salesperson upfront to learn about a product or service that they may or may not purchase. These days, that prospect has probably already done a Google search, reviewed three or four companies’ web sites to learn about their offerings, checked out a few social media platforms to find out what others are saying about those companies or read Amazon or Yelp reviews. There’s a very clear path that users take to learn about products and services these days, and you need to understand this journey in order to reach them at the right place at the right time. It’s a different world, bucko…adapt to how modern buyers buy or you’ll get left behind.
Mistake #4 – Not using a formal process to create effective marketing offers and campaigns
If you don’t have a formal process in place, you’re wasting time and money reinventing the wheel over and over again every time you create a new marketing offer or launch a new campaign. Everyone on your team should be crystal clear about what needs to happen when you create a new ebook, webinar, white paper, video, free giveaway, demo or other offer. Define a process and stick to it every single time!
Mistake #5 – Not having enough resources in place
If you’re planning to create five massive marketing campaigns next month and you only have one person who handles your marketing, you’re setting yourself up to fail. Create a marketing plan that’s realistic given your available resources or pull in additional resources such as freelancers when necessary. Most importantly, ensure that your plan is tied to your company’s overall strategic goals…if what you’re doing is critical to filling your sales pipeline and getting new customers, it won’t be as difficult to justify bringing new resources on board.