The Top 5 Inbound Marketing Mistakes and How to Avoid Them  

Mistake #1: Seeing Inbound and Outbound Marketing as Separate  

Most business owners are familiar with traditional, outbound marketing tactics: television, radio, print and outdoor advertising, for example, and are still including some forms of it in their marketing mix with much success. Being as Inbound marketing may be a new concept to many businesses, they see it as different and separate. They see inbound marketing as a way to involve their potential customer base, to educate them, interest them, and, to collect “likes” and “followers” on social media. They get caught up targeting the wrong goals and measuring the wrong metrics. They end up with inbound marketing activities that don’t reinforce real business metrics like growing revenue.  

How to Avoid Inbound Marketing Mistake #1  

Integrate your outbound and inbound marketing into one comprehensive strategy, ensuring that each tactic serves to reinforce the others. Doing so will result in more exposure and generate the greatest results. While Inbound marketing serves to attract, involve, and educate your customers, it should also:  

  • Serve as a customer support outreach: that continually reinforces your customers’ purchasing decisions, giving them a reason to remain loyal to your brand and enticing them to return to you to buy more. 
  • Open up the lines of communication with your customers: so that you can glean insight on what you can do better to keep your customers happy and buying from you instead of from your competitors.  
  • Be that friendly reminder in the background: don’t worry too much about your open-rates; your emails landing in your customers’ inboxes serve as friendly reminders that you’re there for them when they need you again. This helps build top-of-mind awareness with your customers.

Mistake #2: Having the Wrong Strategy or No Strategy  

Another major inbound marketing mistake that many business owners make is to proceed without a well-defined strategy. Vague goals such as “getting our name out there,” aren’t going to move the needle in a way that results in increased revenue. A truly great strategy involves specific, well-defined steps that each department must consistently carry out, measure and tweak as needed.   

How to Avoid Inbound Marketing Mistake #2  

Know the purpose that your inbound marketing initiatives will serve, for example:  

  • To build a relationship with new customers by keeping in touch with them, offering them valuable information that helps them make best use of the products they already purchased from you.
  • To establish yourself as being a helpful product or category specialist that your customers can trust when they come in need for your products and/or services.
  • To build customer loyalty by reinforcing your customers’ recent purchases and offering them additional product recommendations and loyalty perks that encourage them to continue doing business with you. 

And then developing your inbound marketing activities around customer activities, business objectives and a content calendar that ensures every point of contact your company has with your customers is well-timed, intentional and relevant.  

Mistake #3: Neglecting In-Depth Customer Research  

One of the most lethal inbound marketing mistakes business owners make is not investing enough energy in really understanding who their target customers are and why they buy. Even if you think your products or services are suitable for everyone, in-depth customer research will reveal otherwise. If you don’t really know who you’re targeting–their typical lives, challenges, goals, wants, needs, fear and objections–you aren’t going to effectively appeal to them. 

How to Avoid Inbound Marketing Mistake #3  

Get clear on who your ideal customers are. While you may see a lot of different people buying from you, see if you can identify trends in the customers who buy from you most.  

Many businesses have two or three customer segments, with one representing their most predominant buyers. One way to start getting clear about your own customer segments is to develop your own Buyer Personas. Once you’ve developed your own Buyer Personas, you can use the insight acquired to develop content and calls-to-action that specifically appeal to each of your customer segments, helping to capture their interest and convert them into loyal customers. 

Mistake #4: Focusing Solely on New Customer Acquisition  

Many business owners fail to place just as much emphasis on customer retention as they do on attracting new customers. While always topping up your funnel with new customers to offset attrition is important, your efforts will be futile if you don’t give your customers a reason to continue doing business with you.  

How to Avoid Inbound Marketing Mistake #4:  

Make customer retention just as important as new customer acquisition. Use email marketing, segmenting your subscribers list so that each customer receives new content and promotions that are pertinent to their past purchases and expressed interests. A customer retention email campaign can look something like this:  

  • Following new customers first purchase: Hey Susan! Thank you for choosing Sparkle Dentistry. It was great seeing you today. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us…. and please let us know what you loved about your service, or what we could do even better next time we see you.  
  • 24/48 hours following customer’s first visit: Hi Susan!  Just as a reminder, here’s a list of our dentist approved toothpastes and brushes plus expert tips on how you can keep your teeth feeling sparkling clean between now and your next visit…. And did you know we offer take home whitening kits too?  
  • 2 weeks prior to next appointment: Hi Susan, this is just a friendly reminder that you’re next appointment with us in Tuesday, May 8th at 10:00am. If you have any questions, give us a ring. We look forward to seeing you!  

And so on…   

Mistake #5: Poor Implementation

In the course of running a business, many business owners hit-a-wall when it comes to their marketing. Gone are the days of “set it and forget it” advertising. Now you’re expected to maintain a blog and social media presence, engage with customers in real-time, and track and adjust the infinite details of your SEO and search engine marketing strategy so everything runs together like one big well-oiled machine. How are you going to manage? Signs that it’s time to hire outside help and expertise include:  

  • Your blog content is out of date.
  • You thought you had a grasp of SEO and social media, but things have since changed and you’re not sure whether or not your website and content is well optimized.  
  • You want to be on the first page of Google search results, but have no idea how to get there. 
  • You’re not growing you customer email list. 
  • You don’t currently have an email strategy that launches every time you acquire a new customer.
  • You spend more time thinking of what you could be doing, but never find a long enough stretch of time to put it all into action. 
  • Your hands are already full with running your business. You need to stay at the helm, not be mired in more busy work.

How to Avoid Inbound Marketing Mistake #5  

It’s more than a one-person job, and unless you have the means to hire an entire in-house marketing department, your best next step is to contract a nimble team of experts that can manage your inbound marketing for you, without the high salaries and overhead of hiring each expert separately.  

You need marketing help that’s effective, organized, flexible, responsive and that respects your finite marketing budget. You need a team that lets you be as involved in the process as you want to be, while taking the lead and initiative to keep things rolling while you’re focused on running your business.  

McAllister Marketing knows the challenges most business owners face and we’ve developed our services to address them. We tailor our services to your specific business objectives, making the most of your current resources and budget, and serving as a “plug-in” extension of your own in-house team. We bring you our collective expertise in everything marketing, without the overhead of hiring your own in-house team of seasoned experts. 

To learn more about what we do to help you attract, convert and retain more customers, and to arrange for a free marketing audit and a no-obligation quote, give us a call today.  

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