What's the worst advice you've come across about inbound marketing?
Per HubSpot, the number of marketers using inbound went up 25% between 2013 and 2014. Furthermore, inbound marketing can generate twice as many leads as outbound.
With more businesses recognizing inbound as an effective methodology for generating leads, it's no wonder that there's bad advice circulating.
In the spirit of addressing that bad inbound advice head-on, I'm detailing the four worst offenders and what to do instead.
Beware These Four Bad Pieces of Inbound Advice!
1. “It doesn’t matter what you blog about, just blog as often as possible for new traffic.”
This bad advice has two issues: quality and consistency.
Although blogging often is a good idea for inbound marketing, if what you publish is lousy, it won't help your business get found online. You need to think intensely about your buyer persona and how your blog topic is relevant to him or her. Be remarkable about communicating your knowledge and passion in each article you publish. Overly-general blog articles tend not to contain the relevant information that your prospects need. Instead, think how each individual article relates to the expertise your business provides. Target your blog posts towards your specific buyer persona or personas and where they are in the buying process.
Although publishing high quality blog content more frequently is effective, you need to do so in a way that is consistent and sustainable over time. Better to publish consistently once or twice per week than to have a manic burst of 6 articles in one day and never publish again for a month. At a minimum, plan on publishing on your blog once per week every week.
>>To address both quality and consistency, develop a content strategy; ensure your blog posts are relevant to different readers and plan out a regular publication schedule. Be deliberate about your choice of focus keywords and include a call-to-action in each article. Monitor to learn which blog articles resonate most with your personas and help guide future content.
2. “The more often you post on social media, the better your results will be.”
This bad inbound advice focuses on quantity over quality. It also has more to do with blasting your social networks with information (i.e., an outbound marketing strategy) than with building a community of prospects, customers and promoters who can help amplify your content.
Each social media network has its own personality. If you post too much on social media with the wrong kind of content, you can be guaranteed that you will drive off fans and followers - unless those are the results you are aiming for.
As with any social situation, building relationships takes listening, acknowledging and sharing content of value to the network, rather than content dumps.
Decide which social network is best for your company, based on where your buyer personas hang out. Figure out the most relevant type of content to share based on the characteristics of the network. For example, content shared on LinkedIn will be more professional in nature than what you might share of Facebook. If you plan to post on Pinterest, you need to have visual content whereas on Twitter, a text-based update works.
Then, consider the timing of your posts so that they get a sufficient amount of views. For example, did you know that Facebook posts between 1 PM and 4 PM have the highest average click through rate? On Twitter, you may want to repost an update at different times over several days to coincide with when different personas may be checking Twitter.
Another consideration is how large your social following is. If you have 5 Twitter followers and you clog their Twitter feed with 50 updates in one day, you will not be welcome.
Finally, don't forget to consider the inbound results you are trying to achieve with your social media publishing. This will affect the content you share, the frequency as well as the interactions you have.
>>For best inbound results, expand your content strategy to include social media. This will ensure you integrate personas, keywords, content, calls-to-action while publishing content your social followers will welcome.
3. “All of your marketing content should be targeted towards one kind of buyer, to keep it consistent.”
I applaud consistency. However, there's real danger in assuming that every single visitor to your website (and business) is ready to buy - not to mention represent exactly the same buyer persona. (Although it's possible your business is focused on one similar type of prospect and customer who face similar constraints, most businesses have more (e.g, residential vs. commercial or new vs. repeat).)
Even so, some website visitors will be ready to engage you immediately while others may yet have a few months before being ready to do so. They aren't all at the same point in the buying process. At different stages of the buyer's puchase process, marketing content addresses distinct questions and concerns. Having consistent one-buyer-focused information can mean losing visitors who fall outside the assumptions you've made for your marketing content.
>>For best inbound results, identify your buyer personas, map out their purchase process stages and detail the kind of content most relevant based on the each stage.
4. “As long as you are getting new traffic, your inbound marketing campaign is working.”
This advice has more to do with traditional marketing than with inbound because it focuses on traffic volume rather than quality and desired results
As lovely as increased traffic is, if it's the wrong traffic is does your business no good. Rather than assume that more traffic is better, examine your traffic. Is it taking the actions you want it to? Is it downloading your offers, subscribing to your newsletter, completing a 'contact us' form? Is it spending quality time on your site, or is it bouncing off immediately? If not, you need to rethink your inbound campaign.
>>Better yet, before launching your inbound campaign, detail your goals for visitors and leads. Identify the ideal offer, consider next steps including how to follow up once the campaign is over. Then make sure to monitor and analyze so you can learn and improve for the next campaign.
What Bad Inbound Advice Have You Encountered?
I'm sure you've encountered bad inbound marketing advice. How did you counteract it?
If you come across these four cases of worst-ever advice, I hope you'll give my recommendations a try and successfully transform your inbound efforts into a powerful magnet that brings qualified buyers to you!