97430245Inbound marketing-- the philosophy of attracting visitors to your business-- is a learned skill. The strategies and tactics have to be honed, practiced, and developed over time.

In this blog post we’ll look at four common pitfalls that inbound marketing rookies often fall into, and how to avoid making these same mistakes.

1) Writing Inauthentic Content

Inbound marketing at it’s most basic level is content marketing. Inbound centers about creating educational blog posts, informative videos, websites, landing pages, industry e-books, guides and customer case studies.

These marketing assets help you move prospects through the stages of the sales funnel in an efficient and effective manner. Additionally, these resources can dramatically increase your monthly lead flow, increase your search engine rank, and decrease your sales cycle times.

So where is the potential pitfall for inbound marketing rookies when creating content for their business? Inbound marketing rookies often fall into the trap of writing inauthentic content. Inauthentic content is when a marketer writes content like an industry ebook or best practice guide that is filled with product pitch messaging. Nothing will alienate prospects faster than an elaborate sales pitch that is masquerading as an industry resource.

So if you do decide to write and industry resource make sure that you are not plugging your companies products and services on every page. Make the resource helpful, and give genuine tips and best practices that will help the reader advance their goals. This will help you build credibility in the eyes of the prospects that you are trying to convert to customers.

2) Only Producing One Type of Content

Another rookie mistake when developing inbound marketing content is creating only one type of content. When developing marketing assets for your business you really need three different types of content:

Top-of-the-funnel content: Your top of the funnel content is your ebooks and whitepapers. This type of content helps you to attract strangers from search engines, social media networks, and blogs.

Middle-of-the-funnel-content: The middle of the funnel content is content like recorded webinars, and best practices guides. This type of content helps you deepen the relationship with the prospect and move them further into the sales funnel.

Bottom-of-the-funnel-content: The bottom of the funnel content is comparison guides, sales collateral, and product specification sheets. This content helps the prospect deeply understand the product or service your organization is offering. Additionally, it helps prospects position your organization against other competing solutions in the marketplace.

Rookies only create one type of content and it ultimately hurts the inbound marketing process. For example, I have seen marketers only produce top-of-the-funnel content for their business. The result was a large number of leads as they were attracting prospects from all over the internet.

However, they didn’t produce the supporting middle-of-the-funnel and bottom-of-the-funnel content, so moving prospects through the stages of the sales funnel became problematic. Don’t just produce one type of content. Instead think through the stages of the sales cycle and then product content for the top, middle and bottom of the funnel.

3) Not Properly Gating Content

The ultimate goal of content production is lead generation for your organization. Conceptually, everyone knows this, however oftentimes rookie marketers will forget to put important content behind a “digital gate” or lead form.

In addition, as video starts to play a more significant role in marketing, organizations should be switching to platforms that allow you to either “gate’ video content, or allow for a lead generation opportunity at the end of the video.

Not properly gating marketing assets is a rookie mistake that can lead to thousands of lost leads and missed sales opportunities. To prevent this, evaluate your marketing assets like videos, ebooks, and whitepapers.

Additionally, also look for non-traditional assets like return on investment calculators and other types of self diagnostic tools, and make sure that content of value is behind a lead form. This will ensure that you are maximizing your lead flow at every stage of the sales cycle.

4) Inconsistent Design

Another common mistake that I see inbound marketing rookies make when creating digital content assets is an inconsistent design. When creating ebooks, whitepapers, and videos make sure that the following components are consistent across every piece of collateral:

Typography: Make sure that you are using the same typeface, type weight, size, and line height on your website, landing pages, print collateral and video assets.

Color Palette: Ensure that the color palette is the same on every asset that you develop.

Photography style: If your organization uses photography in your marketing materials make sure that the style is consistent. Additionally, be careful of using stock photography websites because these images have been used and overused by thousands of other companies. This imagery can cheapen< even the most beautifully designed marketing assets.

Design plays a huge role in marketing and influences how our prospects perceive our organizations. So be vigilant about keeping your content consistent with the look, feel and style of the rest of your marketing materials. Develop a style guide for your organization if you don’t already have one, it will help elevate your professionalism and credibility in the marketplace.

Become a Pro

Becoming an inbound marketing pro doesn’t happen overnight-- it takes a lot of time, effort, and practice. However, by avoiding some of the pitfalls mentioned above you will be well on you way to becoming an inbound marketing expert.

Take some time this week to evaluate your marketing assets. Make sure that all your collateral is gated properly, that the design is consistent, and you don’t have product messages strewn throughout your industry resources.

Additionally, make sure and that you have top, middle, and bottom of the funnel content for your prospects. Avoiding these mistakes will ensure professionalism, maximum lead flow, and brand consistency. So start developing great assets today, you will be amazed at the impact it has on your bottom line.

What other characteristics separate inbound marketing rookies from the pros?

This post originally appeared on the Creatrix Marketing blog. Creatrix Marketing is a Hubspot Partner located in Exton, PA.

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Originally published Aug 20, 2014 5:00:00 PM, updated January 18 2023