Here are some critical components that make up a successful inbound marketing:
1) No one is assigned to manage your marketing automation software and they have not been trained
Not having a dedicated headcount to manage your efforts will result in several people handling pieces of the various functions - or not at all. Inbound marketing takes approximately 15 to 20 hours per week at a minimum. Moreover, if you’ve invested in inbound marketing software then it is imperative to have someone fully trained on the platform. Hubspot certification and training is the ideal place to start.
2) You do not outsource content creation
Internal content development is incredibly hard. To sustain the volume of content to create a positive ROI for inbound marketing you need to outsource to a trusted writer(s). Many companies feel that outside writers could never produce the content for their particular industry. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are fantastic B2B writers available for any industry. In fact, the most successful B2B marketing companies outsource content creation (Source: Curata: Secrets to Business Blogging). Outsourcing content and using your internal subject matter experts to inform the content is the most effective way to keep the content humming.
3) You are not lead scoring
If you invested in marketing automation software this is a huge opportunity to understand your users. Lead scoring allows you to apply values to the different interactions on your site. Not many people take advantage of this feature since it is difficult to create the right criteria. Here’s a good place to start your lead scoring. Once in place, you can sort and market accordingly. Also, create alerts for your sales team to immediately be notified when someone passes a threshold.
4) You don’t have a sales funnel
A sales funnel qualifies your leads. You need to align content to each stage of your buyer’s journey. This means top, middle and bottom of the funnel content. Once the buyer passes through the various stages of your sales funnel they can be assigned different lifecycle stages. These stages allows your marketing automation software to serve the content and offers at the right time. As leads progress to the bottom of the funnel and are designated “sales qualified” they are handed to sales as the most qualified.
5) You’ve created your buyer persona in a vacuum
You sat around discussing your buyer persona. Probably gave them cute names and different habits. However, this can be a deeply flawed process. The best buyer personas are created when you interview existing clients. These are the closest you can get to actual future buyers. Your clients went through the exact buying journey to your product/service and have valuable insights. Pro tip: When you interview existing buyers be sure to give them a $50 Amazon Gift Card for their time.
6) You do not have a monthly email newsletter
If you are blogging consistently, then you need to distribute these posts to your leads each month. Better to do it once a week if you have the content. Also, be sure to pick the same day to distribute your posts.
7) You are not sharing to Linkedin Groups
Sharing blog posts to Linkedin is a great way to connect with targeted buyers. But here’s a pro tip: Choose an existing customer and look at their Linkedin profile to see which groups he/she has joined. Chances are you've found another very similar group of potential buyers for your services. Join these groups. However, be sure to check the group’s posting guidelines. Oftentimes, it is best to contribute to the group first (answer and ask questions) and establish credibility before directly sharing content.