In 2014, More Inbound Marketers Should Be Asking 'Why?'

In 2014, More Inbound Marketers Should Be Asking 'Why?'

By John McTigueDec 23 /2013

why do inbound marketers need to ask whyAs we enter a New Year, evaluate 2013 and look forward, many inbound marketers are rethinking their strategies. There are big challenges out there preventing us from improving on previous years' performance and achieving our business goals. The good news is that most of us are becoming experts at understanding our customers, publishing relevant content and reaching buyers where they hang out. The bad news is that everyone else is doing this too! We're reaching more people, but our lead conversion rates are falling off. The question we should all be asking in 2014 is "why?"

Why Are We Getting Fewer Leads Than Last Month, Last Year?

There are lots of possibilities, and each should be investigated. Most likely:

  1. We don't have enough opportunities to convert. We have too few CTAs throughout the website, CTAs aren't visible or compelling, not enough targeted demand generation campaigns, not enough promotion via blogs and social media.
  2. Our CTAs, emails, social media and PPC ads aren't compelling. They don't accurately describe the content itself, they aren't relevant to buyers' needs and they don't communicate the value of the content.
  3. Our content isn't perceived to be valuable. Our content doesn't present new ideas or data that sheds light on our buyers' problems, or the content itself isn't professionally written and designed. Everything we publish needs to be created with the idea in mind of stimulating the imagination of our buyers.
  4. There's too much competition for eyeballs. Our competitors are out-publishing us with blogs and eBooks covering the same territory. We need to find new ways to reach them and original, thought-provoking content to make us stand out from the crowd. Yes, it's easy to say, harder to do...

Why Aren't We Hitting Our Revenue Goals for This Quarter, This Year?

Again, there are quite a few possible issues. Among the most common:

  1. Our leads aren't qualified. We haven't identified and targeted likely buyers with content that will attract and nurture them through their individual buyer journey.
  2. We aren't communicating our value. Our messaging isn't addressing our buyers' needs with unique solutions at a fair price.
  3. Our lead management process is broken. We aren't monitoring our leads' progress through the buyer journey and communicating with them at the right time.
  4. Our sales and marketing teams aren't aligned. We don't have a coherent strategy for knowing when and how to reach out to potential buyers and help them to reach their goals.

Why Are We Losing Ground on Google?

We used to be on top of the search engine results pages for keywords that matter in our industry. What happened? There's a good chance:

  1. Our competitors are creating more fresh, helpful content. They're consistently publishing blog posts that are getting read, commented upon and shared by subscribers. Google loves this.
  2. We aren't doing the fundamentals right. We aren't consistently optimizing for keywords relevant and focused upon the content of each page or blog post using Google's published best practices.
  3. We are trying to optimize for high-volume, highly competitive keyword phrases. So are our competitors, and they're winning.
  4. We are still using old-school, black-hat tactics. We are still using link-building schemes, keyword stuffing and blog post comment spam to try to get Google's attention. Google is paying attention with its Penguin, Panda and Hummingbird updates—and penalizing us for it!

Why Aren't People Opening and Clicking More of Our Emails and Ads?

You have to ask yourself an important question: "Would I open that email or click that ad?" In other words, "What's in it for me?" Chances are, not much because:

  1. Recipients get 100 emails and ads a day just like ours. We have to make ours really interesting, unique and valuable to get their attention.
  2. We aren't personalizing our emails, CTA's and ads. They seem robotic and canned, because they are. If we're going to automate, we need to carefully segment our leads and create emails and ads that appeal to each group specifically.
  3. We aren't testing and learning from our mistakes. We should be testing email subject lines, PPC ads, calls to action and landing pages to find out which messages and styles convert at the highest rates.

Why Can't Inbound Marketing Be a Profit Center For Us?

It can be, but not without expertise, planning and commitment of resources. Once those things are in place, you can build a sustainable program that meets your business objectives and continues to attract the best talent, but no process or program is ever perfect. You need to constantly ask yourself "why?" and seek new directions and means for continuous improvement.

Photo credit: infomatique

john mctigue blog photoWith over 30 years of business and marketing experience, John loves to blog about ideas and trends that challenge inbound marketers and sales and marketing executives. John has a unique way of blending truth with sarcasm and passion with wit. Connect with John via TwitterLinkedIn or Google Plus.

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The Author

John McTigue

With over 30 years of business and marketing experience, John loves to blog about ideas and trends that challenge inbound marketers and sales and marketing executives. John has a unique way of blending truth with sarcasm and passion with wit. You can connect with John via LinkedIn and Twitter.