Inbound Marketing has been at the forefront of a lot of business’ marketing efforts in recent times. It offers you the ability to engage with your target consumer on a deeper level without the need for cold connections.
But like every marketing platform or avenue, it has its drawbacks. From long wait times to see results, to the pricing of connected marketing platforms, we’ve listed our top 10 things we hate about Inbound Marketing.
1. No quick turnaround
Many businesses start out getting into inbound marketing the wrong way: they think it’s a quick ‘n’ easy fix to boost their
lead generation and increase profits right away. They couldn’t be further from the truth. If done properly, inbound can take a few months to fully reap the marketing benefits from your audience. The best thing about inbound marketing is that it forces you to make relationships and engage with your customers, but if you choose to ignore it and not work towards your inbound goals, then there’s no point.
2. It isn’t perfect
Like many things in life, inbound marketing isn’t perfect. While it can do an awful lot like grow your web traffic, build relationships using automated emails, grow a social media presence, along with a plethora of other benefits, it’s not going to tell you that what you’ve written isn’t interesting or that Dave Jenkins from that company upstairs is trolling your data by signing up for every content offer. It’s also not going to show results for every business. Inbound marketing is best suited to companies with a long sales cycle, where the buyer requires a lot of education and nurturing before choosing a vendor.
3. Narrow Personas
Inbound marketing can help shift your contact data into a few funnels, or ‘personas’. These personas are an avatar of your ideal customer. They can be as simple as “Female, 18-29, likes cats” – but they really should be complex, in-depth analysis that is drawn out from your marketing research. If you take the time out to carefully craft and talk about your target personas, you’ll understand the customers that you’re targeting as well as what they’re thinking and why. This will in turn help your content creation process.
4. Inbound programs aren’t for the faint of heart
Inbound will force you to work hard. You’re not going to want to sit at your desk for an hour or two and let it ‘do its thing’. Like a needy pet, you need to pay attention and take care of your inbound marketing tactics. You’ll also start learning new things that you thought you wouldn’t even need – this isn’t necessarily a bad thing though, just be prepared to work hard!
5. Relationships are hard work
Using the previous point, inbound is just a relationship – it’s hard, it can seem pointless, but in the end, you’ve got something that will work with you and give you what you need. Take care of your inbound campaigns, show your customers love and you’ll continue to reap the benefits for years to come.
6. You can’t ignore your customers
The amount of ‘get rich quick’ marketing schemes out there is shocking. The promise of “100x Lead Generation” with “No Effort!” is absolutely false. If you want more customers to purchase more of your products, then there’s no magic bullet. You cannot do less – you need to do more! Start connecting with potential customers by using inbound marketing and you’ll start to see, in a few months, just how great inbound is when you pay attention to those who want to engage with your business.
7. It isn’t cheap
While inbound can be quite inexpensive in terms of aspects like keyword research, content creation, email campaigns, design, SEO, etc., utilising a piece of CRM and automation software (we’re using HubSpot for this example) can be a significant investment for many small businesses. At around $1000/mo, integrated inbound marketing platforms offer everything you could ever desire when it comes to your campaigns (as well as helpful assistance from your software provider when conducting business with your clients!), however, this means $12,000 annually that will only be worth something if you put in the work, too.
8. It won’t tell you that your content sucks
Content is a crucial piece of the inbound marketing puzzle. What inbound generally won’t tell you is just how bad your content might be. If your personas are listed to target small business owners who are interested in golf, investments and luxurious items, you’re not going to want to blog about family holidays or “5 Reasons Golf isn’t a Sport”. It’s up to you to keep on top of your inbound initiatives and always make sure they’re in line with your personas and target market.
9. Variation is(n’t) key
Like all marketing campaigns, variation is the key. No marketer will tell you they only market their product on one medium; they’ll instead show you how amazing they are and how they can get 10,000 consumers to purchase their product within 1 week of launch (we’re a fickle breed that likes to show off). Inbound marketing strategies are exactly the same. You’re not just going to use content marketing to engage with audiences, you’re going to use a blend (of not just online, either) of marketing tactics and techniques that will best suit your audience and make them listen to you.
10. It’ll keep you awake at night
I’ll be honest, I’ve lost sleep over inbound marketing. “Does my customer really want that offer?”. “Do they even care about my brand?”. “Should I just start a new business?”. Probably, yes and no, are the answers to the above. Don’t wrack your brains for ages figuring out the good, bad and ugly aspects of your campaign. While you should put 100% effort into your inbound strategy, settle down and see what works, what doesn’t, why they do/don’t perform well and then re-energise your next campaign using valuable information from your previous one.
If I hate Inbound, should I still consider using it as a part of my marketing strategy?
In short, YES. While these 10 aspects could potentially create several barriers to entry for a business, the pros outweigh the cons, significantly. Inbound marketing offers you greater tools to connect with your target consumer in their own buying process and should definitely be used in some form for your business’ marketing strategies.