4 Steps to Failing with an Inbound Marketing Agency

Failing with an Inbound Marketing AgencyThere is a big ugly secret in the inbound marketing agency world; many (if not most) companies that start with inbound marketing fail. They try to sort out all their digital marketing internally and don’t have the necessary time and expertise to get it right. This is fairly predictable.

There is an even bigger secret in the inbound marketing agency world, though; many (if not most) companies that hire an inbound marketing agency fail. This fact is demoralizing. Shouldn’t an agency with inbound marketing expertise be able to turn a company’s marketing around 100% of the time?The inbound marketing process can be derailed even in the most experienced of hands. Here’s a four step process to make sure it will fail:

Step 1: Have a bad product

A turd is a turd, whether you polish it or not. Marketing, even inbound marketing, cannot save a bad product. It doesn’t matter what marketing you do when you are selling something that doesn’t work. Or when you have a product that doesn’t make a specific person's life better in some way. Oh, or when your customer support is crappy, your service is poor, and your employees are unfocused.

Step 2: Build a website with a terrible user experience

Great content is useless if you have a confusing mess of a website. Expecting people to deal with a poor experience is a path to failure. There's too much good content out there for people to deal with your incompetence. Visitors aren't going to stick around your site trying to decide which of the 15 different navigation options to choose; they're going to go to your competitors' better organized site. This step also includes having a poor mobile experience.

Step 3: Ignore SEO fundamentals

When you are trying inbound marketing without first building on a good SEO foundation, you are swimming upstream. Even if you have temporary success, Google will eventually kick your ass down the SERPs for not following their rules.

Step 4: Only dabbling in digital marketing

Do you want to give inbound marketing, content marketing or any digital marketing a test run? Do you want to see what the ROI of a small inbound marketing project is before committing to a bigger one? Let me stop you from wasting your time. On a small scale, you are unlikely to see a ROI from a digital marketing test run. Besides that, you are missing the point. The internet is not a fad. It is not going away anytime soon. For it to work you need to commit. This will be an increasingly important part of your company over the next decade.

Unfortunately this process is way too easy to fall into and digital marketing is too important to ignore. Making sure you understand these pitfalls when you start online marketing can help prevent you from wasting a ton of time and money.

Before starting with an inbound marketing agency it is important to have the right foundation. To make sure you are on the right path:

  • Think long and hard about what makes your product valuable. How is it helping your customer?
  • Educate yourself (and other key stakeholders) about the basics of digital marketing by reading great industry blogs and eBooks from companies like HubSpot and Moz.
  • Decide (and get buy in) on a big picture strategy for your digital marketing efforts. Avanish Kaushik wrote one of my favorite articles on developing a digital marketing process from the ground up.
  • Ask a digital marketing expert you trust whether you are really ready for inbound marketing. 
  • Commit to 1000 days. Your digital marketing will not see ROI overnight. Commit the proper time and budget to give your digital marketing a real shot to succeed.

Inbound marketing will yield incredible results if it is implemented correctly. Yet it has become common to see inbound marketing programs fail. Inbound marketing is not magic. It will not solve all the worlds’ business problems, but when done properly it can improve your company’s marketing results.

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