Even though inbound marketing has been a huge success within so many different industries, there are still some companies that are shackled with misconceptions about whether it will work for them. In fact, we have identified 23 myths about inbound marketing that some people may think are true.
Time to bust these myths!
1) “Content creation is inbound marketing.”
There’s a common misconception that “creating more content is all we need to do.” Don’t get us wrong. We emphasize the importance of creating content to give your buyers the information they are looking for, while simultaneously establishing you as the “expert” on the subject matter they are searching for, resulting in building trust in the process.
But content is only one piece of the puzzle. The inbound strategy also consists of marketing automation software integration, website design, SEO, social media, email marketing, and lead nurturing, among others.
2) "Inbound Marketing is an Internet ‘fad’ that will pass.”
Even though inbound marketing is becoming widely known and used among many industries, some skeptics still think it is just an Internet “fad.” Fortunately, that leaves a clear runway for the firms who desire to be the leaders in their industries by taking advantage of the huge opportunities afforded through inbound marketing.
In fact, according to HubSpot’s “State of Inbound 2015” report, “3 out of 4 marketers across the globe prioritize an inbound approach to marketing.” And trust us, once one firm gains the advantages of inbound marketing in your industry, the others will want to follow. Just try not to be the last one to get to bat.
3) "It’s hard to determine the ROI of inbound marketing.”
Somewhere along the way the myth was created that it’s difficult to measure ROI with inbound marketing. Fortunately, this myth couldn’t be more wrong. With the right marketing automation platform, such as HubSpot, it’s easy to track prospects from their initial interaction to a sale.
According to the “State of Inbound 2015” report, marketers who saw a higher marketing ROI in 2014 were more likely to have used marketing automation software. This software allows you to easily check your analytics to see what is working and not working. Respondents to the marketing survey whose teams checked marketing metrics three or more times a week were over 20% more likely to see an increased ROI in 2015.
4) “Digital marketing is a cost, not a revenue generator.”
This myth is actually backwards. The truth is digital marketing is a revenue generator, not a cost. When you think about it, digital marketing has an infinite shelf life. It provides higher return-on-investments over a longer period of time. Outbound marketing, on the other hand, has a shorter shelf life, with unpredictable and lower ROI’s.
According to HubSpot’s “State of Inbound 2015” report, “inbound efforts achieve higher ROI than outbound regardless of company size or total marketing spend.” In fact, every company they surveyed, regardless of marketing spend, “was three times as likely to see higher ROI on inbound marketing campaigns than on outbound.” There’s a time for sprints, and there is a time for marathons. Shoot for the marathon. The reward is higher and the distance reached is farther.
5) “Having a website is good enough.”
No more of this “if you build it, they will come” mentality. You have to put yourself out there for people to notice you. Hundreds, maybe thousands of companies are competing with you on the web for your ideal client’s business.
If you are not putting yourself in front of them on that digital screen with valuable information that catches their eye and helps answer their questions, you most likely will not be discovered. And you definitely will not be able to use the most effective and valuable tool to grow your business - the Internet. We no longer live in a world where you can simply have a website and that’s good enough.
6) “My website does not need to be mobile enabled.”
In 2015 Google made this myth so very false. In fact, if your site is not mobile-enabled, your company’s search engine ranking is severely penalized. Google will not even show your website in their mobile search results if your site is not mobile-enabled. And when we say mobile, we mean smartphones, iPads, tablets, Surface Pro’s, and anything that is literally not an actual desktop or laptop. Don’t get fooled by this myth.
7) “A website redesign is all that’s needed to increase sales.”
While a pretty website with all the bells and whistles may be nice to have, if you can’t get traffic to your website, then it means nothing. The digital world outside your website is just as important as the world inside your website. So if you think that by just getting a website redesign your sales will dramatically change, think again.
The first thing you need to determine is what the root problem is that makes you think you need a website redesign. You may find that it’s much more than simply your website that needs an overhaul.
8) “Word of mouth is all we need to make our sales.”
Many companies, and even entire industries, still rely heavily on word of mouth for their marketing and sales. We like to refer to this as the “old school method.” For many “old-school” industries, word of mouth and referrals have been their marketing bread and butter.
While we do not believe you should stop this well-established method, we just know that in today’s world it can no longer be the only method for winning more contracts. In order to advance your firm above your competition, you need to adapt and embrace the digital world’s “word of mouth” methodology.
9) “Marketing is not needed in an RFP-driven industry.”
Relying on RFP-driven sales can be discouraging. Many think that there’s no point in marketing for RFP’s if the process is set. But there’s the catch. If you get your firm ahead of the RFP process, before your “buyers” are filtering whether you meet the qualifications to make it to the “short list,” that’s when you see the shift. Inbound marketing creates that shift and helps you beat the RFP-driven process.
10) "I just need some SEO to get my website found.”
When we conduct a competitive analysis for clients that compares them to their top competitors on all areas of marketing effectiveness, SEO is just 1 of 30 analytical components we look at.
Why? Because SEO is only one factor that affects your company’s visibility and exposure to your audience. This is not to say that SEO is not important. It is very important. It is to say that SEO alone is simply not enough in today’s competitive digital presence to grow your company.
11) “I don’t need a case study to prove my work.”
When a buyer is assessing your products or services, they will likely want to look at examples in which you have performed similar work. Prospects want to know the bottom-line effectiveness of your work. If you give them hard numbers, a detailed description, along with testimonials from past work as a case study, you leave very little room for them to wonder if you are right for that job.
12) “A photo and brief paragraph effectively depicts our work.”
Many companies have a website that feature pictures of their work, with very little substantial information about the actual work that was done. There are a couple of problems with this that immediately jump to mind. Less content typically results in less SEO. Google will not have much information to pull from in order to get your company on the first page of the search results.
Another problem is that when you don’t have enough content, case studies, a compelling value proposition, or specific information of your company’s work, a potential client will not know what you bring to the table that is different from other firms. Why should they choose you? Can you solve whatever problem they are having? What makes you so unique that they wouldn’t consider using another firm? A picture and a brief paragraph barely scratches the surface to answer these questions.
13) “We don’t have the internal resources for marketing.”
Good news! You do not have to be a marketing expert in order to market your company successfully! In fact, some people in highly technical fields are experts in their specialization but are intimidated by the idea of marketing, so they just don’t put much effort towards it. But that’s the worst thing you can do.
The solution? Engage a marketing team to help you. More specifically, retain a marketing agency that specializes in inbound marketing. That way, you know your team will learn your business and market it knowledgably and correctly. So you can do your job, and your inbound marketing team will do theirs. What a wonderful collaboration.
14) “Writing a few posts on social media is enough to get exposure.”
Social media is a powerful tool to expand your company’s online presence. But how you decide what to post is the kicker. What you post matters to those you are trying to reach. And how do you guarantee that your post will reach the right people? Specialized industries have very specific buyer personas they are trying to reach. It is essential to identify who the company’s ideal buyer is and how you will target and reach this buyer on social media with the information that they are interested in and that will get their attention.
15) "Writing something is more important than what you say.”
We’ve all heard the “quality over quantity” advice for some aspect of our life. This couldn’t be truer than in the case of your marketing articles. It’s disappointing when you go as far as clicking on an article because you think they have the answer to your problem, only to find that the article was shallow and pretty much wasted five minutes of your time. Impress your audience by your wealth of knowledge. Impress them and they will come back looking for more.
16) “I have a steady client base already, therefore, I don’t need to invest in marketing.”
We have yet to find a company that has said they would prefer to stay as is instead of growing and gaining more business. That is not to say that there are no companies like that out there. But if you are still reading this article, then we’re pretty certain you are more than interested in growing your company.
If you have a technical firm with highly specialized products, then you may find it difficult to justify investing in a top-notch marketing strategy for such a specialized product or service. But the more you invest in your company’s marketing, the more return on investment you will see. And the more return on investment you see, the more your company grows. Growth comes from actively putting your company in front of your ideal clients and continuously reinforcing your company as the thought-leader in your industry.
17) “Social media is not intended for my industry.”
This myth is the reason why some industries have gained the stereotype of being the “social media wallflower.” What does social media and engagement have to do with getting more projects?
Social media helps position your company at the forefront of your ideal buyer’s mind throughout every stage of the bidding process, even for projects that haven’t been opened for bidding yet. In fact, 97% of buyers use online media when researching products and services in their local area.
18) “Inbound marketing is only for very large businesses.”
Inbound marketing is not exclusive to any size business because it produces growth and expansion for all sizes. All companies have room to grow. Especially smaller businesses. The Internet provides smaller businesses with the opportunity to blast past their competition to become the experts and thought-leaders in their industry. To be the trusted provider of information can help transform any size firm into a thriving, prosperous business.
19) “Every lead is a good lead when you’re trying to get sales.”
Now hold on a second. Would you think the same thing when it came to other relationships in your life including your husband, wife, significant other or close friend? We would hope not.
There are qualities you are looking for in them that are compatible with you. In inbound marketing, you’re building a relationship and trust between you and your potential clients. But make sure they are the right fit for you before you invest your time and resources into this potential client relationship.
20) “My industry does not market through the Internet.”
To not market your company through the Internet is a huge disservice to your company’s growth. But many companies believe their clients do not search online and therefore, they do not need to put much effort into marketing their firm online.
Yet 81% of buyers conduct research online before making a buying decision. If you aren’t marketing online, then you just missed out on 4 out of 5 buyers. The odds at that point are not in your favor.
21) “Social media is only for kids and personal use.”
If this myth resonates with you, then you are missing one of the best and most effective marketing tools for your company. In fact, according to the Google ZMOT report, 84% of buyers engage in online information consumption and education before buying.
You might think that number doesn’t apply to you, but let’s look at a few statistics on specific industries. According to the CMO Council Report & Forbes.com, 1 out of 4 buyers use social media to discuss or communicate a recent purchase experience. The same report stated that 84% of all automotive shoppers are on Facebook – with 24% using the site as a resource for purchasing their last vehicle. Even 42.3% of engineers use social media to read articles related to work.
Social media is one of the many online resources people go to in order to find information on work-related topics. The power of social media has exponentially surpassed its original purpose when it really was just for kids. Times have changed.
22) “No one is going to read long pages on my website.”
If you are providing quality content with some useful resources related to what your ideal buyer persona wants to read, the length of the web page matters less to them. Many companies write the bare minimum about the services they provide, leaving their potential client with less than ideal information about the firm.
This is especially ironic because long content is also what Google and the search engines want to see in order to rank your page higher in the search results. Make sure your content is meaty, interesting and worth reading, and your visitors and the search engine spiders will love you for it.
23) “I already know what my clients want.”
To know exactly what your buyers want is to have hard data, analytics, tracking and feedback from your clients themselves. If you have that, then you are probably already implementing the inbound marketing and automation methodology. It is easy to think that you know what is important to your clients and what they want to read and see.
But, truth is, sometimes you need to take a step back and ask, listen and watch. Integrating a marketing automation system enables you to see the exact data and numbers that prove what is actually attracting and keeping your clients. Analytics is a powerful tool and a blessing to the marketing community. Tailor your content to what your clients say they want. Not the other way around.
Don't Get Left Behind!
Busting these inbound marketing myths is just the start. In order to really benefit from inbound marketing you have to decide to make a change and get started.
- 84% of small businesses are using inbound marketing
- Companies are 3X more likely to see higher ROI with inbound marketing campaigns compared to outbound marketing
Gain insight into how your digital marketing plan is really performing against your competitors. We will show you the good, the bad and the ugly. But don’t worry, you will also be leaving with more insight and knowledge about your digital marketing performance, along with a structured, tangible plan to turn that knowledge into fruition. Stop marketing in the dark! It’s time to get a jump on your competition.
 HubSpot “State of Inbound 2015”
 BIA Kelsey
 State of Inbound 2015
 State of Inbound 2015
Originally published Jun 28, 2016 1:30:00 PM, updated June 28 2016