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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue ScientistTue, Jun 28, 2016 13 min read

10 Reasons Why Your Inbound Marketing Agency Won't Generate Leads In Month One

Just Because You Want Or Need Leads Doesn’t Mean You’re Going To Get Them — No Matter What Anyone Says

Inbound Marketing 30 Day Lead GenerationPut points on the board early! Get me leads and then we’ll talk! I need leads this week! I know I only have 200 people coming to my website, but if you’re so good at inbound, get me 50 leads this month.

I could fill up this article with sayings from prospects and clients like these above. If I’m being positive, these people are trying to challenge us to see what we can do. If I’m being realistic, they’re being unreasonable.

Some inbound marketing agencies are telling clients they can get them leads in the first month. In some cases, that’s a reasonable and responsible promise to make. In other cases, it’s a sales promise that won’t be delivered. It's not because the agency didn’t try hard and it's not because they didn’t know what they’re doing — they didn’t get the leads because inbound isn’t automatic.

Marketing is incredibly complex and inbound marketing is no different. I could make the argument that it’s even more complex than traditional marketing because it has many more moving parts and is so data-driven it requires constant care and feeding. So when people say they can generate leads in 30 days, I’m skeptical.

Mostly because I know what goes into solid, repeatable, scalable and predictable lead generation, and it’s very difficult to get all those elements in place in just 30 days. To really generate leads out of the gate you need to be doing a lot right already.

Here are 10 legitimate reasons why you might not get all the leads you expected in the first month.

Reason 1 – Your website isn’t very good. You might have thousands of people visiting your website each month, but does your site provide a mediocre to poor experience? If it’s not responsive, if it takes too long to load, if it looks like it’s from 1999 or even if it has too many pages, people are going to leave without you ever knowing it.

Obviously this can be fixed, but it usually takes us at least a month to make a reasonable set of appropriate website changes or get a new website up to replace the old, ineffective one. So generating leads with a poor website is very difficult.

Reason 2 – Your marketing message isn’t compelling. When I land on your site, can I tell what you do in 10 seconds? Is it crystal clear? Is the message emotional? Does it tell a story and is your prospect the hero of that story? If the answer is "no," then it’s very unlikely that you're going to get close to the leads you need unless you change this message and these stories.

Again, message creation, story workshops and creating emotional connections with prospects is something we do and do well, but this take a couple of weeks. Most of what has to get done during this time is workshops and discussions with you, the client. We could come up with new messaging in an afternoon, but you have to sign off, it has to resonate with you and you have to make sure it gets out to the entire company. This takes time.

Reason 3 – You don’t have offers for the top, middle and bottom of the funnel. Offers on your site generate leads. The more you have, the more leads you’ll get. The more diversity in the types of offers, the more leads you’ll get. If you don’t have compelling bottom of the funnel offers, you won’t get any sales-ready leads.

In a month, most agencies can get you one offer, but not all three. If you have educational content on your site, these can be used and potentially upgraded. However, if you’ve been using offers and they’re not generating leads, you probably need new or different offers.

Reason 4 – You don’t have enough visitors coming to your website. Leads are directly proportionate to the number of visitors you have coming to your site. Typically, it’s about 1%, but for many sites it can be dramatically less if the site is outdated or ineffective at telling your story.

If you have fewer than 1,000 visitors a month to your site, it’s going to be very difficult to generate any reasonable amount of leads in a short time frame. Instead, you should work on building up the visitor traffic to your site at the same time you’re trying to convert those visitors into leads.

Reason 5 – Your marketing budget is too low as compared to your expectations. Matching your marketing budget to your sales expectations is important. If you want to grow from $10 million a year to $20 million a year and you have $3,000 a month budgeted for marketing, you’re going to be disappointed.

Marketing people, even inbound marketing people, are not miracle workers. If you’re not planning or prepared to invest enough in marketing to hit your business goals, then you must be prepared to lower your business goals.

Reason 6 – You look and sound like all your competitors. I know, there’s something safe in looking and sounding like your biggest competitor. If they’re doing it, it must be right. Right? Wrong. If your website looks like your competitor’s site or if your message sounds like your competitor's messaging, how are your prospects going to know who they want to do business with?

If your business isn’t the OBVIOUS choice to do business with because you’re saying, doing and providing something no one else is, it’s going to be difficult to convince your prospects of that no matter what marketing we do — inbound, outbound, rebound or unbound. It’s probably not going to work.

Reason 7 – You haven’t disrupted their status quo. Since we all sell and market to other human beings, we need to understand how they think. Unfortunately, we’re all excellent at talking ourselves out of needing to change. It’s possible that you’re not generating the leads you expect because you’re not disrupting your prospects' status quo enough to force them to consider options.

Here’s an example we use to disrupt our clients when it comes to the status quo. The Harvard Business Review recently published results from a study that says 90% of decision-makers reported they won’t respond to any type of cold outreach like calls, emails, mail or advertisements. If you’re using cold calling as your primary source of new business, this should get you to sit up and take notice.

Reason 8 – You’re targeting the wrong people. It doesn’t matter how many people are coming to your website if they’re the wrong people. If I’m promising to get you leads in the first month, you want leads that look like your best customers, right? Of course you do. This might take some adjustments on your part and those adjustments might take time to gain traction, further delaying any delivery of leads.

Reason 9 – You lack the proper social proof. As we mentioned above, we’re dealing with other people, and people need proof. They won’t believe you, your marketing claims or anything your salespeople say. Your prospective customers want proof that you did what you say you’re going to do for them. If you don’t have testimonials, case studies, success stories, videos, references, quotes and logos on your website, your prospects are going to get nervous and not hire you.

In addition, our world today makes your business 100% transparent. Your prospects are searching for reviews on your business and they’re finding them. If you don’t know what your online reputation looks like, you’re in jeopardy of losing leads. Make sure you know and make sure you keep this updated weekly.

Reason 10 – There’s something wrong with your product or service offering. This one might be hard to swallow but we see it every day. You can have the best marketing on the planet and never sell anything if your product is too expensive, if it’s not what people want or if you won’t be flexible enough to change it so that more people want it. You can blame marketing if you want, but sometimes it’s the product or service.

If no one wants what you’re selling, you won’t get any leads. If you’re not willing to change what you’re offering to better fit what people want, you won’t get any leads. No level of marketing, no budget and no type of marketing is going to fix this fundamental issue. We see this more than you would think. Marketing is not a cure-all, quick fix, nor is it the answer to a poor product or a service no one needs.

So many companies are promising so much from inbound marketing, and more and more businesses are buying into these promises and having less-than-stellar experiences. Today, you have to be wary of agencies promising you leads in a short time frame. Only the best and the brightest have the experience, methodology, skills and the people to pull it off.

Furthermore, you’re going to get what you pay for. The cheapest agency is going to produce the cheapest experience. You’re not getting a deal. Would you pick the cheapest doctor, least expensive attorney or discount accountant? I wouldn’t either. Don’t select your inbound marketing agency based on price.

Start Today Tip – If any of the reasons above resonate with you, proceed with caution when starting down the path with inbound marketing. Make sure your expectations are realistic and rooted in your own reality. Every single client program performs differently with no consistencies from company to company, so we always get nervous when other agencies promise performance company to company. Service packages like "fast, faster, fastest" don’t work because every company is different. Find an agency that wants to work with you the way you want to work with them. Develop goals and expectations together. Partners are better than vendors with inbound, and there are too many vendor agencies and not enough partner agencies.

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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist

Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.