Note: This blog was originally published on January 19, 2018. It has been updated for relevance and accuracy.
Inbound is quickly becoming the marketing method of choice for many businesses—and for good reason! Marketers love it because it brings good-fit prospects right to their door. Consumers love it because it doesn’t rely on interrupting them. Everyone’s happy! Right? Maybe not.
While many marketers have found success with inbound, many others are still struggling. If you are facing difficulties with inbound, you’re not alone. Inbound marketing problems are more common than you think, but there are ways you can solve them. What are some of the biggest challenges marketers face (and what can you do about them)?
The Top 5 Challenges Marketers Face
1. Generating (Quality) Traffic
Solid lead generation is pivotal to inbound marketing success. Why? Because once you’ve generated leads, inbound allows you to nurture them through the buyer’s journey by providing helpful information and to guide them toward a purchase decision.
Inbound marketing is about creating valuable content that answers your prospects’ questions. When people think you have something to offer them, they will be more likely to provide you with their contact information. Now you have a lead that’s definitely interested in what you have to offer. Your job is to nurture this lead by providing helpful information until they’re ready to make a decision.
The problem here is that many businesses struggle with lead generation in the first place. Without generating leads, it’s impossible to nurture them!
In HubSpot’s State of Inbound 2018, 61% of marketers reported that generating traffic and leads is a top challenge. Without reaching new prospects and attracting new customers, it can be difficult to sustain growth. After all, if no one is visiting your website, your sales funnel will be empty.
To solve this problem, you should:
Revisit your buyer personas. The first question you should ask yourself is: are you targeting the right people? Give your buyer personas enough detail so you know exactly who you are targeting. Ultimately, this will allow you to create content that truly speaks to them.
Reconsider your content. What type of content does your audience want? Some people like reading blogs, while others prefer an entertaining video. Find the right medium for your prospects and use it to create interesting and relevant content.
Optimize. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the key to being found on search engines such as Google, Bing, and Yahoo. More visibility on search engine pages means more customers coming to your website.
Invest in paid search. SEO is the best way to up your organic search engine rankings, but paid search is a fast and easy way to get noticed by your audience. It complements your SEO and fills in any gaps by directing your prospects to the right landing pages.
Bring visitors back to your site with retargeting. Have you ever visited a website, only to see their ads all around the internet over the next few days? That’s retargeting. These ads reintroduce your brand or products to your prospects so you stay top-of-mind.
2. Information Overload
The popularity of inbound marketing means that there’s a lot of information already out there in many industries. Google’s current count of indexed pages is approaching fifty billion pages. It can be hard to break through the clutter and have your voice heard if you don’t have something new to add.
To overcome this challenge, start by taking a deep look into the problems your customers are having. What is getting in the way of their success and how can you help? Even if there is already abundant content about common solutions, you may be able to offer a different perspective, an easier explanation, or a fresh approach.
You should also explore new ways to engage with or present information to your audience. When you have a clear understanding of who your audience is and where they are hanging out online (think: social media, forums, etc.), you can begin to have meaningful conversations with real people. Once you have their attention, you can gently nudge prospects over to your other digital assets.
3. Tools and Technology
Without the right tools, it’s unlikely you’ll see success from your inbound efforts. To smoothly execute your inbound strategy, invest in scalable resources that let you do more in less time.
With the abundance of tools available, it can be a challenge for marketers to sort through their options and find the most suitable technology for their campaign. In fact, HubSpot’s State of Inbound report found that 24% of marketers struggle in identifying the right tools and technologies for their needs. How, then, do you pick the ones that add value to your marketing?
As a HubSpot Platinum Certified Agency Partner, we recommend learning about and using HubSpot tools; even the free tools can add lots of value. Regardless of whether you use HubSpot, here are some other tools that you should have in your arsenal:
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software. Keep track of, organize, and learn more about your contacts. This helps you get to know your customers better, so you know how to sell your business to them. Social Media Publisher. This should integrate a calendar, scheduling tools, and monitoring capabilities for easy social media management.
Marketing Automation Tool. Inbound is about nurturing your leads. A marketing automation tool helps you guide your leads to a purchase decision and prevent them from falling through the cracks.
Analytics Tools. How do you track the actions people take on your website? Explore available analytics tools. Google Analytics is a great option—are there others that suit your needs?
Pick the right tools by looking at what your business truly needs. To benefit from your investment, go for software or technology that is simple enough for the whole team to learn and use.
4. Overwhelming Data
Inbound marketing provides you with an extraordinary amount of data. Many marketers struggle with what to focus on. From determining your buyer persona to choosing the most effective method of tracking your ROI, the amount of information that you need to understand and process is seemingly endless.
But when done right, it’s possible to track all of this new information.
Take some time to research the data options that are available to you. You’ll likely be confronted by a sea of options, from consumer trends to complex calculations based only on eye movement. The key to preventing information overload is zeroing in on data that will be most useful to you.
Pare it down to the essentials by asking yourself: What’s important to me? Which metrics will measure whether I’m achieving my goals?
Much of the data available to you will be interesting, but if it doesn’t inform your decisions, don’t take on the additional struggle. Only add in new figures that are critical to your success.
5. Securing Enough Resources
You’ve already formulated effective strategies—the only problem is putting them into motion. Many marketers see it as a challenge to get enough hands on deck and secure sufficient budget without having to pull the plug before they see results.
Impressing people in big offices is usually the way to secure a bigger budget. This becomes easier if you’re able to prove the return for every marketing dollar.
If you’ve been wondering how to solve your marketing problems given your lean budget, it could help to show the decision-makers the direct link between your marketing activities and sales results. Your marketing efforts should collect leads and track them from start to finish, instead of simply passing those leads on to sales. Regardless whether the lead ends up being rejected by sales or turning into a repeat customer, you can tie your leads back to your marketing activities. That way, your organization’s decision-makers have enough data to appreciate the benefits of increasing your budget.
To secure resources, you must also be able to measure and prove your return on investment. Without ROI tracking, it could be difficult to prove ROI, and without ROI, there would be no budget.
The problem is, proving the ROI of every single marketing activity is no walk in the park. This is especially true if a two-way communication between your marketing and sales teams does not exist.
To overcome tracking and proving ROI-related challenges marketers face, you should:
Determine your goals. What do you want your marketing to accomplish? Do you want to generate leads? Expand your reach? Establish your status as a thought leader? Clearly defined goals help you determine what needs to be measured.
Determine KPIs. How will you know whether you’ve reached your goals? You can’t measure ROI without measuring progress toward your goals, so make sure your team is aligned on what key performance metrics you’ll be measuring.
Invest in tools. How you’re going to measure your ROI is just as important as knowing your goals. If you want to see whether blogging has generated more leads, onboard Google Analytics. If you want to prove that your social media campaign is working, utilize tools like Twitter Analytics or BuzzSumo.
Align your marketing and sales. Proving ROI involves making a strong case for dedicating resources and time as well as establishing links between your marketing activities and sales results. Create a service-level agreement (SLA) to close the gap between your marketing and sales efforts. Then, use a marketing software and a CRM solution to see how many leads your marketing activities have generated.
Overcome Inbound Marketing Roadblocks
The solutions to challenges marketers face range from quick fixes to complex resolutions. You may need to thoroughly evaluate your current marketing strategy and its performance or do some restructuring from top to bottom. The good news is, you’re not alone. As an inbound marketing agency with a solid track record in helping businesses succeed with inbound, New Perspective can help you overcome these roadblocks. Contact New Perspective today to get started.