Want to Fail Your Inbound Clients? Do This One Thing
The one guaranteed way to fail your inbound clients is …
To start your relationship with Inbound Campaigns first and foremost.
Inbound Tactics are Sexy
The easiest items to focus on in an inbound partnership are the tactics. It's what we see the most of. It's the social media, the blog posts, the eBooks, and the landing pages. It's everything we analyze on a granular level, and it's what our clients so often point to during conversation.
Inbound tactics are sexy, and it's tempting to kick off an inbound partnership with them.
But here's the truth—if you start with these tactics first, you're going to be wandering out into the wilderness without a full plan. The worst part is that you're leading your clients into that wilderness to fall flat.
Starting with Inbound Campaigns Will Lead to Failure
This season, we've been talking a lot about the journey that successful partnerships follow. That journey is:
- Inbound GamePlan
- Building the Engine
- Tweaking/Redesigning the Website
- Inbound Campaigns
As you can see, Inbound Campaigns are last on the list. There is so much ground work that needs established before we can start cranking the thing that everyone loves the most.
Here are three reason why starting with Inbound Campaigns will put you on the fast track to failure.
Reason 1: You Don't Have the Research and Context Necessary to Win
If you jump into inbound campaigns first, you missed out on fully understanding your client, the state of affairs of that client, on creating buy-in early and understanding their Buyer Personas
Inbound Campaigns Have to Be Fueled by the Questions of Buyer Personas
In order to harness the power of inbound marketing, you need to understand what questions each target persona has at each stage in the Buyer’s Journey. Seek to discover these questions and outline them before building out your set of tactics. Without this, you’re not going to be able to effectively develop a content map that will educate each persona through the Buyer’s Journey.
Keywords Are Important, but Are Worthless If They're Not Rooted by Questions
Too often agencies try to create content surrounding only keywords. This might help you rank high for a few terms, but at the end of the day, it won’t guide prospective customers through the Buyer’s Journey.
What we do as inbound professionals is educate people. It’s our job to give them the information they crave on their journey’s towards buying a product or service. Without research and context, you won’t know what that journey is and your content will miss the mark every single time.
Instead, Start with an Inbound GamePlan
Instead of starting with Inbound Campaigns, start with Inbound GamePlans.
The Inbound GamePlan is a strategic plan to unite an organization to the mission of systematically sharing answers to prospect’s and customer’s questions through helpful online content.
It's more than just a process to give you context to win—it's a vital step to building a strong partnership. Through the process, you're working side by side with your new client. This period of time helps you build trust and gain buy-in that will give your partnership longevity.
Reason 2: You Don’t Have an Effective Automation System in Place
Gathering the information about Buyer Personas, their journeys, and content outlines to guide them from strangers to customers is just the beginning. At the end of a day, a strategy is just a strategy. The pieces that make it work have to still be established.
If you jump right into Inbound Campaigns, you're missing out on a crucial step—building the lead-nurturing machine.
Every Conversion Shouldn't Be Towards Sales
A common mistake agencies make is to drive every conversion towards sales. This is the tell-tale sign of starting with Inbound Campaigns and not taking the time to build an automation system.
The truth is that not every lead is ready to talk to sales. Some may come in just looking to do research. If you drive them to sales then they're not ready.
You need to be able to capture a lead at every stage in the journey and to nurture them to a state where they're ready to talk to sales.
You Need to Build the Engine
A car can't go unless it has an engine.
Before we can create and promote content, we need to make sure that there's a strong marketing automation system standing behind it. Once content scores attention, it should drive people into your system. Once in the system, strangers are on the journey towards becoming customers.
Reason 3: Often Times, a Client's Website Isn't Optimized for Inbound
You can create all the content you want, but if the site that houses it looks horrible, people aren’t going to take you seriously.
Also, if that content doesn’t have a fighting chance because the site isn’t built with the latest SEO practices then it’s going to die on the vine. All too often a client’s website is outdated, not optimized, and is built incorrectly.
Expertly Crafted Websites Is As Much Inbound As Campaigns
For inbound marketing to work, we need to empower our content campaigns with superhero-level websites that are built with the latest user experience practices, search-engine-optimized practices, and are equipped to drive people into your marketing funnels.
We live in a world where website design and development practices are just—if not more—important than content strategy. Website design is inbound and cannot be ignored.
Before Launching a Content Campaign, Tweak/Redesign the Website
This might delay your growth campaign a bit, but it's necessary if you want to lead your clients to long-term success.
Before diving into that Inbound Campaign, take a fine, hard look at your client's website. Analyze the conversion points, the design, and the back end. Is it in position to convert leads? Is it in position to make a strong first impression?
There You Have It!
The next time you feel the temptation to launch into an Inbound Campaign, pump the brakes and take it back to square one.
Otherwise, you're campaigning in vain.