3 Critical Mistakes Startups Make with Inbound Marketing

August 10, 2017

6:30 pm

Marketing a startup is significantly tougher today than it used to be. There are several reasons: Brands are working on much smaller budgets. During the dotcom era, startups had little trouble securing financing. Many of my friends that worked for startups in the late 1990s and early 2000s still remember the days of limitless cash. That is no longer the case today. They need to make every penny count, especially when it comes to marketing.

Another reason is that traditional marketing channels are no longer available. Few customers read offline publications and banner advertisements are underperforming.

Fortunately, there are some great ways for new startups to reach customers on a limited budget and achieve a solid ROI from their campaigns. Brands that use inbound marketing consistently will find that their lead acquisition costs will fall 80% after five months. Unfortunately, startups often make a number of inbound marketing mistakes that compromise their success.

Here are some of the most common inbound marketing mistakes that you should try to avoid as much as possible.

Optimizing the Entire Channel at Once

Rome wasn’t built in a day. Neither are inbound marketing funnels.

When you first build your funnel, you are going to discover that there are many elements that are not working as well as you’d like. Don’t get discouraged, because that is the case for almost every inbound marketer, even those with years of experience. There is no way to know what will work without extensive testing.

It is easier to become overwhelmed if you try to revamp the entire system at once. It is better to identify the stages that need the most attention.

Is your click through rate on your ads very low? Then your top priority needs to be improving them. Without engaging ads, the rest of your funnel is irrelevant. The average CTR of an ad in the top spot is 34.36 percent. You should keep optimizing if it is lower than 25 percent.

You will notice massive improvements by fixing two or three of the biggest problems with your funnels. Take care of them first and worry about tweaking the other elements later.

Using Obscure Call-to-Actions in Your Content Marketing

Content marketing is a crucial part of many B2B content marketing campaigns. However, it is ineffective without a strong call-to-action. Here are some things that you need to keep in mind to create a CTA that converts well:

  • Your CTA must stand out from the rest of the page. The colors should contrast with the background and other images. It must also be large enough to stand out.
  • Don’t only include a CTA on your landing pages. You should also incorporate them at the end of every blog post. You will be missing a lot of valuable opportunities to close leads if you don’t try to convert blog readers.
  • Split-test different button styles. You can’t be sure which ones will stand out the best.

Your call-to-action is by far one of the most important parts of your B2B lead marketing campaign. It is also one of the most overlooked, so test it carefully.

An Inconsistent Message

Your funnel needs to flow seamlessly from one stage to the next. Keep in mind that you are setting expectations every time your visitors engage with you and set up a relevant landing page. Your users expect your landing page to discuss the details of your product.

Another common mistake is failing to set expectations for the next stage of the funnel. With inbound marketing, you probably don’t expect to have your visitors make a purchase immediately after clicking your first ad. Of course, there are exceptions for brands that sell low-ticket items and try to upsell the customers later.

If your landing page conversion goal is to get a customer to opt in to your mailing list, then you need to make that clear in your ad. Instead of focusing on the benefits of the product itself, let customers know that they can download a free white paper in exchange for joining your list.

The same goes for all future communications in your funnel. When you send emails to your customers, be very candid about what you expect. If you are sending them to a sales page, you need to make that clear, disclose your biases and emphasize the price and benefits.

Sitting clear, consistent and transparent expectations is one of the most important aspects of any inbound marketing campaign.

HubSpot has a great post on creating consistent brand messages for your inbound marketing campaigns.

Setting Clear Performance and Progress Goals

Helping a successful inbound marketing campaign can take months. It is easy to fall behind if you procrastinate. It is also easy to get discouraged if you aren’t seeing measurable improvements. You need to set two types of goals:

  • What do you want to accomplish with your inbound marketing funnel? How many leads do you want to generate every week? How many of them do you hope to convert into sales? You need to set clear expectations so you have something to work towards. It is a good idea to use industry averages as benchmarks and try to surpass them.
  • Before you can even try to accomplish anything with your funnel, you obviously need to build it. Constructing your final alone can take a long time. Set some progress goals, which may include writing three blog posts a week and creating two new landing pages by the end of the month.

Make sure your goals are aggressive, while also being realistic. Being too timid or too ambitious can ruin your chances of creating a successful funnel.

Read more tips on marketing strategies at TechCo

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