Now that Inbound Marketing is becoming more popular among small and medium sized businesses, I get a lot of questions about whether or not a company should use the Inbound Methodology. While I would love to whole heartedly say “YES!” to each person, the truth is that it might not be for you.
Marketers are notorious for forcing each engagement to work from the beginning. LAIRE’s philosophy is, in fact, the opposite. We’d like you to see why it might not work before you sign on the dotted line. Doing this prevents hard feelings and confusion months down the road. I believe that it takes a certain team, perspective and commitment in order to be successful with Inbound Marketing. Before I pitch Inbound to anyone, it’s critical to realize it isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach.
LAIRE’s focus is long term relationships with each of our clients and we can’t stick to that focus without educating and carefully selecting our Inbound Marketing prospects. Don’t pull the trigger just yet, and consider these six things.
Absence of Inbound Goals
One of the first questions we ask our potential clients is “What are your goals?” Sure, every good business owner has an idea of where they see their organization in the future. The problem here is that we’re not asking for your aspirations - we’re asking for your SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely) goals. Inbound Marketing optimizes your success based on realistic metrics you set within your company. SMART goals allow us to match up our rich data against your benchmarks so we know we’re on the right track. Starting the Inbound process out without a standard, or worse - impractical ideas, can make for an unhappy ending.
Little Commitment or Effort
In our world of instantaneous gratification through digital communication, it can be hard to step out of that mentality. Inbound Marketing is by no means a “get rich quick” scheme, rather a “get richer over time” plan. It takes a certain amount of patience from all parties involved to get the most out of an Inbound strategy. We don’t start posting to your Twitter account one day and the next day a million-dollar client walks through your door. Inbound campaigns touch your website, email marketing, blog and social media. Each piece of your Inbound Marketing is the result of a strategic team effort. We’d like to think that every business owner wants to give input and educate us on the ins and outs of their industry. However, if you’re not one to commit to a 12 month (and perhaps a 24 month) plan of action, Inbound Marketing might not be for you.
Unable to Scale for Demand
We love businesses where we know everyone’s name and are able to form a valuable, long term relationship. Often times we see companies that aren’t able to handle a heavy influx of leads. Realistically, those who are considering Inbound Marketing should have a plan for future growth. Continual expansion is one of the most common goals for startups and young companies, but you need to be in a position where that can become a quick reality. Our goal, and the methodology behind Inbound Marketing is to both increase your leads and better qualify them as they go through your marketing funnel and onto your sales pipeline. A number of businesses just aren’t ready for an increased work load. I tell entrepreneurs to take a critical look at their goals and plans and determine if they’re ready to scale for demand. Paying for marketing that generates new business you’re not equipped for is not what Inbound Marketing is all about.
Our Inbound Marketing software, HubSpot, is loaded with features, benefits and advanced functionality and some companies view as not that inexpensive either. I am often asked how the prices are determined, followed by some mild sticker-shock. My response is that you get what you pay for. Many businesses are considering retaining an in-house marketing team or director, which would typically cost more than Inbound Marketing services and software. Taking the discount route in marketing is asking for a mystery, with hard to prove or no ROI to attach to those expenditures. I love the quote "If you think it's expensive to hire a professional to do the job, wait until you hire an amateur."
Inbound packages come in at varying levels of monetary commitment, but at each price point you get an entire team working for you. Rather than paying a team each individual salaries, you can get an entire team for just the one. As a business owner who uses HubSpot for sales, I say this is a no-brainer.
Our kick-off process is intensive and at times, uncomfortable. Having another set of eyes filter through your company’s processes and tactics is a tough pill to swallow. It takes a special kind of client who is willing to give up on old school tactics and take calculated risks with Inbound Marketing.
A comprehensive marketing plan includes evaluation of all of the tools you’re using as well as your messaging. You might learn something new that negates an old way of thinking and opens your eyes. As exciting as this sounds, sometimes it can wear down on the client. The metaphorical microscope we hold over your marketing can uncover mishaps and errors from previous efforts. Every way you communicate with prospects and leads matters, and it could be that the tone or voice doesn’t align with what you should be saying.
Throughout the past year I’ve seen professionals who simply do not want to give up their tagline, website layout or direct mailers. Committing to Inbound Marketing means that you need to determine what truly represents the remarkable aspects of your business. If you’re unwilling to edit, alter or scrap elements of your outward appearance then Inbound may not be right for you.
Unrealistic Marketing Expectations
Time and time again I see businesses looking exclusively for overnight results. I would love to provide this type of magical service, but it just doesn’t exist in marketing. Beware of marketers that make lofty promises. Some of our current prospects are evidence of those bait and switch tactics. They were promised a crazy amount of sales and ranking on Google but once a retainer was signed, the quality of work and expectations plummeted. As good as HubSpot, Inbound Marketing and my team are, we still can’t provide you with world shattering results in a few months. As with anything that is good and going to last, it takes time. We want to build the right foundation so as not to waste time correcting errors during a campaign. Our strategy doesn’t involve buying followers, keyword stuffing or insane guarantees. If you’re looking for any of these, Inbound Marketing can’t satisfy your needs.
Have any comments or experiences you would like to share? Please do so in the comments below!