Having a "set it and forget it" mentality isn't one that effective inbound marketers are familiar with. The inbound marketers who do it right understand the time and effort required to maintain a successful inbound marketing strategy, and they use every tool and resource at their disposal to make sure their hard work is actually paying off.
Unfortunately, a lot of marketers out there aren't leveraging all the opportunities inbound marketing offers to generate the best results. And if you're putting the time and effort it takes to do inbound marketing, don't you want to be generating the best results you possibly can? Make sure you're not putting your inbound marketing to waste in the following ways...
1. Not Optimizing Content for Search Engines
One of the most valuable benefits of content creation is the ability to rank better in search engines. Because every blog post or landing page is another SEO opportunity, inbound marketers must make sure they're taking the most advantage of every piece of content they create. If you're not taking the necessary steps to actually optimize your content for the keywords you want to get found for in search engines, you're being very wasteful. Conduct keyword research to understand which keywords to use in SEO, and make sure you're using them in each piece of content you create. Go ahead -- squeeze that content lemon for every last ounce of SEO juice you can get!
2. Not Promoting Your Content in Social Media
Say you've become a dedicated business blogger and are regularly creating content. And if you understand its application to SEO, it's probably not wasting away in search engines. But that's only one piece of the puzzle. In addition to the organic traffic you're generating to your content, you could be getting even more eyeballs on it if you were actively promoting it elsewhere. Are you leveraging every possibly opportunity to get your content out there? Are you sharing it in relevant social networks like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+? Make sure to add social sharing buttons (e.g. "Tweet This," "Share on Facebook," "+1", etc.) to all of your content. Consider also hooking up your blog to your social media accounts so articles you publish automatically get tweeted and shared with your networks. Social media is a powerful promotional vehicle for content because of its opportunity to get shared not just with your direct network, but with the friends and followers of those people as well. Don't let it go to waste.
3. Spending Time on Useless Social Networks
In inbound marketing, time is money. This is why it's extremely important to make sure you're spending every minute of your time wisely. While participation in social media can be valuable to engage with prospects, fans, and customers; promote content; and generate leads (to name a few), don't waste your precious time on social networks that aren't relevant to your business. While Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ are some of the most popular social networks out there, there may be others that your target audience populates even more. To make sure you're spending your time most effectively, measure the ROI of the social networks you're participating in. If you're not generating leads and customers from one channel but are generating tons from another, it might make sense to focus on that channel more instead.
4. Not Effectively Leveraging Lead Gen Opportunities
While one big benefit of content creation is SEO juice, another major one is leads. Failing to leverage every opportunity you have to generate leads is a huge waste in inbound marketing. Don't let it happen to you. Every single page on your website should include some kind of call-to-action (CTA) for a lead gen offer, whether it's top-of-the-funnel content like an ebook or a webinar or a more middle-of-the-funnel offer like a free trial or consultation. Furthermore, every blog post or piece of content you create also needs to include a CTA (or multiple CTAs). You should also be using social media effectively for lead generation by tweeting and sharing links directly to lead gen offers like the ones just mentioned.
5. Not Leveraging Email Marketing and Lead Nurturing
Email marketing offers a very powerful way to promote the content you create and generate new leads. But remember, inbound marketing doesn't stop at lead generation. Leads aren't too useful if they don't turn into customers, which is why lead management is such a pivotal part of inbound marketing. Get the most out your leads and prevent them from going to waste by implementing lead nurturing campaigns that use email to follow up with existing leads and send targeted content offers based on what they're interested in. This will push them further down the sales funnel and closer to customer status.
6. Not Measuring Your Marketing
As I hinted at earlier when discussing social media, analytics are a marketer's best friend. By analyzing what's working (and what isn't) in your marketing, you can gain a better understanding of what's worth your time and thus eliminate the waste that's not worth your time. Use analytics to your advantage, but be careful not to waste your precious time on useless metrics.
In what other ways can you put your inbound marketing to waste? (Hint: Avoid them at all costs!)
Photo Credit: Jeffrey Beall