Whether you're new-ish to inbound marketing or are a HubSpot veteran, you might find yourself running into a few bumps in the road when trying to get your campaigns off the ground. Here are the top three mistakes we've seen tech companies make when creating inbound marketing campaigns.
(And yes, we'll tell you what to do instead!)
1. Underestimating the workload
It’s really easy to become overzealous when you’ve got a new initiative with the potential to grow business. But before you decide to go all in—pumping out blog post after blog post—consider the time and resources you can realistically put toward your marketing efforts over the long haul. The last thing you want to do is run out of steam and be left with a half-completed campaign that isn’t performing the way you planned.
What to do instead
Instead of working on all the things that eventually need to be done, focus on those that will drive the most value. As a tech company, you're probably familiar with the MVP (minimum viable product) concept. The same applies to marketing: it's better to launch a small, but solid, campaign than to cram too many tasks into phase #1.
To narrow down your to-do list, focus on your most important marketing metric. For example, if you're trying to improve your cost-per-lead in Google AdWords, use your time performing A/B split tests on ad copy vs. adding alt. text to the images on your websites for organic SEO benefits. Both are important to do, but one will have a more immediate impact on your business based on the chosen KPI.
With a little bit of planning, you’ll know exactly where you should be spending your time, energy and budget. Save all the “nice-to-haves” until after tackling your most important priorities.
2. Being too sales-y
Traditional outbound sales is about getting your company/product/service in front of as many people as possible, regardless of if they might be interested or not. This sort of approach doesn't work in today's digital world because inbound marketing is all about providing value to your user through educational and entertaining content.
Yes, of course the goal of inbound marketing is to eventually make a sale. But, if you don’t first gain the trust of your audience, you run the risk of turning off a would-be prospect. If your marketing is only used to promote yourself, not help your prospect, they will quickly tune you out.
What to do instead
People don't buy products, they buy solutions. So stop being pushy and start solving your customers' problems.
Instead of using marketing to promote yourself, use your brand platform to educate your audience about your areas of expertise. For example, don't talk about the specific product features of your company's ERP solution, but rather write about the must-have features to look for when choosing any ERP solution (all of which, of course, your solution provides!).
After all, unless your reader is already at the decision stage of the buyer's journey, self-promotional content may just turn them off and send them elsewhere.
3. Forgetting to set clear goals
A lot of tech marketers are guilty of jumping right into content creation and skipping strategy. But without establishing clear, measurable goals for your marketing campaign, you won’t be able to accurately track progress over time and know what is working for you (and what isn’t!).
What to do instead
When creating your inbound plan, set up SMART goals to hold yourself accountable. What’s a SMART goal, you ask? SMART stands for:
- Specific: avoid being too vague
- Bad: Write more content.
- Good: Write one blog post every week.
- Measureable: associate a metric against which you can track progress
- Bad: Get better leads for less money.
- Good: Reduce our CPQL by 5% each quarter.
- Attainable: be careful not to set the bar unrealistically high
- Bad: Triple the size of our email newsletter list by the end of the month.
- Good: Grow our email newsletter list from 500 to 600 subscribers by the end of the quarter.
- Relevant: set goals that will actually impact your business in a positive way
- Bad: Increase likes on our annual Hallowen costume Instagram post by 35% over last year.
- Good: Increase traffic to our "request a consultation" page by 15% next month.
- Timely: pick a date and stick to it!
- Bad: Convert 15 leads to SQLs.
- Good: Convert 15 leads to SQL by the end of Q1.
Ready to rock your company’s inbound marketing?
Be honest: how many of these inbound marketing mistakes have you made at your own software/technology organization? One? Two? All three?
The past is in the past, so just make this pledge going forward:
I, [insert name here], a smart tech marketer, do herby promise to set myself up for inbound marketing success by setting realistic expectations of what I can accomplish, writing content that informs, not sells, and establishing SMART goals to help measure campaign success.