People tend to be skeptical of trends that build up enough steam to become buzzwords (NFT and Metaverse, anyone?). This too shall pass… they think. For years, inbound marketing has generated significant buzz – despite the facts, figures, statistics and studies, some doubt lingers among some brands and decision-makers. There is still that level of skepticism.
Have misconceptions about inbound marketing been holding you back? Now’s the time to clear them up so you can charge forward.
7 Misconceptions About Inbound Marketing
We’ll start by clearing up one essential misconception about inbound marketing: that it is, in fact, a buzzword. It is not a trend; it is a proven method by which you pull customers to you by creating valuable content that is customized to their needs. You provide solutions to their problems; you scratch whatever itch they have – and they trust you because of this. This is in contrast to traditional push marketing, where you reach out and initiate contact.
There’s no “better or worse,” – but by implementing inbound marketing best practices, you are ahead of the game when it comes to building relationships and trust, credibility and authority, and experiences that generate higher quality leads and more effective conversion.
That said, back to other misconceptions. Let’s bust some myths.
- We’re Already Doing It
Some brands post a few blogs here and there and post whitepapers or downloads for email capture. “There, we’re doing inbound marketing!” We hate to break it to them… but no, you’re not. Publishing is a piece of the inbound puzzle, but to put together the full picture, you need strategies around SEO, content, social media, testing, metrics, and analytics, design and usability, CRM integration, lead scoring….
As great as those whitepapers are, they are not an inbound marketing strategy. Ensure your content assets work as hard, and as smart, as possible by integrating them into a holistic strategy.
- Inbound Marketing Isn’t Right for My Industry
Why not? Because you work in a “boring” field? (Not that we think any industry is boring – but there are some that are more, shall we say, dry, than others.) But an estate attorney is not dull when someone is struggling to plan for the future; an accountant is not dull when they’re trying to manage their finances. Regardless of your speciality, there are people looking for answers from you. Inbound marketing techniques help you reach them by delivering value and solutions that resonate with them.
So, yes, it is right for you.
2B. Inbound Marketing Is Right for My Business
Unless it’s not. While inbound is effective for virtually every industry, it is not right for every business. The reality is that it takes a significant investment in time and resources, and as such, it is better geared towards businesses that sell products or services at higher price points. These companies can realize a return on their investment after just a few sales. On the other hand, a local cafe or store with $12 latte/muffin deals and $25 t-shirts is not going to see that same ROI.
- It’s Just SEO
Just like it’s not a few whitepapers or blog posts, inbound marketing is not SEO wrapped up in a buzzy new name. SEO is a critical part of inbound marketing; it is the art and science of drawing visitors to your website through organic search. To say it is synonymous with inbound marketing is like saying pineapple is the same as fruit salad if you will. No, it is a part of it.
- Results Are Immediate
Digital = immediate. As consumers, we have developed a taste for instant gratification. While you can publish a blog or post to social media in seconds, effective digital marketing is built on sound strategy. This takes time to develop and implement correctly - and in a way that will provide the most favorable return on your investment.
Think about it like this: inbound is not advertising. It is a long-term strategy. That puzzle we spoke about takes time for all the pieces to come together and create a full picture of trust, brand loyalty, and long-lasting relationships.
- Anyone Can Do It
“Anyone” is usually your poor marketing director (or if your business is small… you!). We see this all the time: someone has a great personal presence on Facebook, Instagram, etc., and all of a sudden, they’re in charge of your social media platforms. This approach can, and will, backfire on you when it comes to inbound marketing. This is a discipline that requires specific skills and proficiency in aspects ranging from quality content creation to SEO to strategy development. One of the most important inbound marketing best practices is to engage with a partner who owns those skills and has the capacity to deliver results for your brand.
- Quantity Over Quality - viral
Post, post, post… It doesn’t matter what. I need to get some content out there! No. Please don’t. Always – always – prioritize quality over quantity. Here’s why:
- Your audience demands it. They’re not looking for fluff. They want real, actionable information. They want to be educated. They want to be entertained. They expect that you will add value - in whatever way - to their day.
- Search engines demand it. Google wants to deliver the most relevant results to searchers. When you offer rich, original content, it makes them look better! They’ll rank your site more prominently.
By the same token, don’t worry about going viral (speaking of buzzwords, we’re all over!). Believe it or not, this is not the key to success. Going viral is essentially a one-hit-wonder. It’s nice, sure, but then it’s over.
Better to have a long career! Your goal should be to reach, educate, engage, and interact with your audience. For example, having 10,000,000 people view a video doesn’t mean you’ll see even the smallest increase in conversion rates. Engaging 100 people with quality content and thought leadership can.
- Set It and Forget It
Content isn’t “set it and forget it.” It’s not enough to create content and publish it. If left to languish on your website, content is not going to provide a return on investment. Promote it. Talk it up, link to it via social media, include relevant links in your newsletters, and take it offline. For example, if you’re in a sales presentation or client meeting, you can point prospects to your content so they can learn and engage more.
Inbound marketing is not just content marketing; content is an essential component. But it cannot live and thrive without other elements of a sound strategy, from SEO and social media to pay-per-click and email marketing. Nurture your content – and you’ll nurture leads into customers.
Now that we’ve cleared up some common misconceptions about inbound marketing, are you ready to turn its potential into powerful results?