We here at Eustace Consulting often tout the power of inbound marketing, but that doesn’t mean we never have problems with it. Sometimes the tactics we preach appear to be slow, time-consuming, and even expensive. It is easy to get frustrated with inbound marketing in the short term, but it’s important to remember that it’s a long-term game. To help ease your frustration and make the most out of your inbound strategy, here are some of the top complaints we hear from our clients about their content marketing, and how we advise to fix them:
1. SEO is a slow and sometimes frustrating process: Improving your site’s SEO is often a daunting task, and it takes a long time to see the results of your labor. It can also be somewhat arbitrary, as there are no hard rules for increasing rankings.
Solution: SEO does, unfortunately take time. The best thing to do is keep up with best practices and be patient, remembering that your SEO-strategy needs to include all facets, including link building, keyword optimization, and content creation. In the end, the best content will win over; it may just take longer than you had hoped.
2. Inbound works best in big markets: Content marketing is all about putting yourself above your online competitors, but in small markets it can seem like this advantage is irrelevant.
Solution: This is a common myth, but we certainly don’t see it that way. Inbound marketing allows smaller businesses or those in smaller markets to expand their horizons, reaching potential customers that they never would have had access to previously. Using inbound marketing techniques in small markets is a fairly easy way to ensure you stay ahead of existing (and future) competition–use them as a supplement to traditional techniques to get your toes wet without overspending or over-committing.
3. Inbound marketing is not actually “free”: We’ve all heard that inbound marketing is free, but that’s not entirely true. True, starting social media accounts and publishing blog posts online is free, but paying someone to manage those accounts and write those blog posts is not. Additionally, since this content needs to be extraordinary, writers are often highly specialized or upper management, which makes it costly.
Solution: Treat inbound marketing activities as a marketing activity, adhering to strict budgets. Only task blog posts and content to qualified, comfortable writers–if the CEO you would like to author a blog post is not comfortable with doing so, a lot of time will be wasted. Consider hiring an outside agency to ghost write, or use the Hubspot blogging tool for personalized tips before you publish.
4. Inbound marketing is hard to sell to investors or management: Explaining the value of a social media relationship with a customer to management or “number person” is nearly impossible. Although there are ways to measure online ROI and get hard figures, these new methods will cost you.
Solution: If ROI reporting is crucial to your management, allot marketing funding for an analytics software, such as Hubspot or some Google tools. Additionally, check out these research reports about inbound marketing efficacy to lend credibility to your content evangelism.
5. The success of inbound marketing is hard to test: It’s easy to perform tests with paid advertisements, and if that is not your area of expertise you can always outsource the task. But with inbound marketing such as content, it’s difficult to measure success–for example, it would be strange to publish 50 different versions of a blog post.
Solution: It’s true that you don’t want 50 versions of a blog post, but it is possible t A/B test for more specific elements, such as topic or structure. This type of testing is also applicable to email newsletters, calls-to-action, landing pages, and social media strategy. This site gives a good model for starting to inbound A/B test.
Did these tips help you? What are your inbound marketing problems? Tell us in the comments!