It’s easy to feel suspicious when every digital marketing agency is saying that inbound marketing is the perfect magic tool that we’ve all been waiting for all our lives. It might seem too good to be true. So, can inbound marketing fail?
The truth is, yes, it can. But whenever you analyze an inbound marketing fail, there are some pretty clear reasons that led to the failure. In order to understand what makes a campaign fail, it's important to understand what inbound relies on for success. The key factors for inbound marketing are:
- High-quality content tailored specifically to your ideal buyers
- Alignment between marketing and sales teams
- Tracking the right metrics and using that to inform your future content strategy.
3 Ways to Fail at Inbound Marketing
Let’s break down how the key factors can affect the failure of an inbound marketing strategy.
1. High-Quality Content Tailored to Your Ideal Buyer
There are three parts to this factor. Your ideal buyer, content creation, and tailoring.
Developing great content starts with the development of detailed buyer personas. But detailed is not the only requirement. Personas need to be realistic, and should include strategies for sales and marketing to carry that person through each stage of the buyer's journey. If your buyer personas are haphazard, unbelievable, or unrealistic, you won’t be able to create content for them.
The next step is creating the content. Content needs to be high quality and relevant, which means it needs to be reviewed by subject matter experts. Great content should be informative and helpful, well-written and understandable, and free from spelling and grammar errors. It also needs to be relevant to your industry. Hiring a digital marketing agency, or inbound team is a great place to start, but you also need to ensure it's accurate and relevant for your industry.
The final step is tailoring your content to your buyer. Generic content, while it may be relevant to your industry, is not going to bring in many leads. In order for content to reach your ideal buyer, and bring them in, it needs to answer a specific question they have, or solve a problem in their life.
Weak personas plus generic un-tailored content that may contain errors can cause your inbound marketing strategy to fail.
2. Marketing and Sales Team Alignment
The point of inbound marketing is to deliver qualified leads to your sales team. Ideally, your sales team will follow up on new leads as quickly as possible. They will provide feedback to marketing about what they hear from leads, and this will help marketing refine their efforts. It’s a reciprocal partnership. Ideally, alignment of sales and marketing should make life easier for your sales team.
So, if your sales and marketing team (this includes internal marketing and an external firm if you’ve hired one) are not on the same page, are not communicating, or don’t believe in each other, your inbound strategy is likely to fail.
3. Tracking the Right Metrics and Adapting Your Strategy
Tracking metrics is an important way to make sure your content creation strategy is on the right track. Tracking the right metrics will help you further tailor content to the topics and ideas that are most relevant to your ideal customers.
If the metrics you’re tracking can’t be interpreted to help you - or your content creation team - develop better content, then your inbound marketing strategy will fail.
How To Run a Successful Marketing Campaign
The bottom line is this: what you get out of an inbound marketing strategy is what you put into it (like most things in business).
Whether you outsource your content creation, or have it done by a marketing team in house, it’s important to establish accountability systems to ensure everyone can do their best work possible. Without review from industry experts, content can’t be guaranteed to be relevant to your industry, or targeted to your detailed personas. If sales staff are not connecting with qualified leads in time, there’s nothing marketing can do about it. Without ideas and feedback from sales, creators can’t tailor their content better and won’t be able to deliver as many warm and qualified leads. And if metrics are not being tracked, no one will know if any of the new strategies are working at all. In other words, a great sales and marketing team communicates well, supports each other, and celebrate successes together.
Here is how to run a successful marketing campaign: develop accountability checks, and make sure the whole sales and marketing team is onboard and aligned to put in the effort to make your campaign a success.
So, how do you build a team that communicates well, respects each other, and pulls their share of the weight? It all comes down to fun. A team that laughs together as often as they work hard together is a team that trusts each other. A team built on fun and trust is more likely to make sure your inbound marketing strategy doesn’t fail.