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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue ScientistTue, Oct 7, 2014 8 min read

Inbound Marketing: You Might Be The Reason You're Not Getting Results

Man In MirrorMany people ask us if we guarantee results from inbound marketing.

It’s a fair question. If we’re so good at inbound, why wouldn’t we be able to guarantee results?

You might not be happy with the answer, though. Honestly, the reason we sometimes struggle to get clients amazing results is actually ... you!

That’s right. More often than not, it’s not what we do or don’t do that impacts the results from inbound marketing and inbound sales programs. It’s what you do.

Here are some of the ways you’ve managed to sabotage your own inbound results.

You're uncomfortable with change.

For years, you did marketing a certain way. You’re comfortable with those tools and that strategy. But, you’re trying something different for a reason: The old way doesn’t work anymore. You’re going to feel uncomfortable. As human beings, we always feel uncomfortable when trying something for the first time. The same is true here. Stick with it until it becomes more familiar. You’ll be rewarded accordingly.

You have someone on your team who wants it to fail.

We see this from time to time. If you have a marketing person in house, he or she might not feel great about having a company do your marketing. This person might be uncomfortable or may not fully understand the inbound marketing methodology. He or she might even say things like, “I don’t think it’s going to work, but I’ll give it my best.” This thinking is all it takes to ruin an inbound effort. If you don’t think it’s going to work, don’t even start.

You don’t follow our advice.

This is one of the most common mistakes that clients make. Consider the situation: We’ve created, implemented and optimized hundreds of inbound programs, and our clients are usually working on their first one, yet they seem to think they know more about how to get the inbound effort to drive results. Sounds silly, right? We don’t promise to know your business better than you do, but we do know inbound. The clients who take our advice get better results than those who start driving the engagement. Resist the urge to tell inbound experts how to do inbound.

You listen to people who don’t know how to do inbound.

Our team is working hard to educate you on inbound facts and figures. We move you out of your comfort zone, get you feeling good and work hard to educate you. Then, you leave our meeting and start talking to other people who might not know much about inbound: your colleagues, your family, your friend who also does marketing but doesn’t do inbound marketing. While we successfully move you out of your comfort zone, everyone else pushes you back in. Stick to your plan and don’t second-guess your strategy.

You ignore strategy.

Speaking of marketing strategy, don’t forget the hard work you did before you even got started blogging, emailing and creating cool content. You put in a lot of the hard work up front. You considered your target prospects' personas, you collected all their questions, you found out what makes your company remarkable and you planned your inbound program. Don’t deviate. Yes, you should optimize based on data and make adjustments midstream, but don’t give up on what made sense just a few short months ago. Unless your business changes or there is a seismic shift in your industry, stick to your agreed-upon strategy.

You lose track of the key metric: leads.

One of the major advantages of inbound is that it’s quantitative. Everything is measurable, so to lose track of that is a mistake. Don’t guess at what’s working. Don’t assume it’s not working. Look at the data. If you're realizing increased visitors to your website, your program is working. If it’s not converting them into leads, work on that part. Don’t just dismiss the entire effort as a failure. Each part of an inbound marketing program can be broken down and evaluated. Adjustments can be implemented, and the companies that see their program with this lens realize monumental improvements in their ability to drive their revenue goals.

You think you’re getting bad leads.

There are NO BAD LEADS. Not every lead is a sales opportunity, but every lead is a good lead. Let’s look at this a little deeper. You’re not offering iPads, iPhones or tee shirts in exchange for a prospect’s email address. You are offering educational content. The chance that someone is downloading something for fun is very small. Of course, there are people applying for jobs and the occasional searchbot indexing your pages, but for the most part, anyone filling out any form on your website is a lead and needs to be treated that way.

You give up too early.

Inbound is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s going to take almost 12 months to get your inbound program to really start producing. If you’ve decided to underinvest in the program, it might take even longer. You should be able to connect your level of investment directly to the number of leads you expect from the program. If you want more leads, plan on investing more in your effort. The faster you want the leads, the greater your investment should be. Keep in mind that once you stop, you should expect your results to fall off a cliff. Once you start, you must be committed long term.

In all fairness, we’re poking some fun at what can be a very complicated and challenging process. But, if you see some of you in the scenarios above, you might want to consider taking a different approach to your inbound efforts.

Start Today Tip  Take a long look in the mirror. Are you really ready for an inbound program? Go down the list. Do you see any of these characteristics in your behavior? In order for the program to work, you have to be all in. Your prospects won’t wake up tomorrow and look forward to your cold calls, direct mail and advertising. You’re going to need to find a new way to get their attention. Embrace inbound today or continue to wonder why your marketing doesn’t work like it used to.


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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.