Over the past decade, Inbound Marketing has skyrocketed in popularity. According to Hubspot’s State of Inbound Report 2016, 74% of companies reported that their primary approach to marketing is Inbound. It seems as if everyone is doing inbound these days, so you might think your startup should get an inbound strategy in place too. But should you? Not so fast.Don’t get me wrong, inbound works. It works for startups, and most likely, it could work for you too. However, there are certain realities that define the success of an inbound program. It’s important for your startup to confront these realities head-on before implementing inbound or any other marketing strategy.
Signs that Inbound Marketing Isn't for Your Company (Just Yet)
#1: You have no marketing budget.
Inbound marketing is one of the most inexpensive options and one of the best for generating a high ROI. However, there are still costs associated with executing an inbound strategy. It takes a great deal of talent and skill to create high-value content that produces results, which requires an investment on your part.
#2: You’re not able to be consistent.
The success of an inbound marketing campaign is strictly dependent on your ability to be consistent, so you can create a series of positive results over an extended period of time. The most successful inbound marketing programs execute on deliverables consistently, day-after-day, week-after-week, month-after-month. The cumulative impact of this work will allow your company to reach levels of traffic and leads that will deliver on your pipeline goals.
#3: You’re looking for a quick fix.
Of course, more and faster pipeline activity is always the best. However, when implementing an inbound strategy, it is important to focus on the long-term (yes, even for high-growth startups). It typically takes 6-12 months just to begin to see results from your inbound strategy (when delivered consistently throughout the course of those months). You will not get overnight results, so don't expect them. However, when you do start to generate results from your inbound program, you can look forward to a lower cost-per-lead than other lead generation approaches and more qualified sales-ready contacts to pass along to the sales team.
#4: Your sales and marketing efforts aren’t aligned.
This is the challenge of the moment in marketing and sales organizations. When you’re doing inbound marketing, but not inbound sales, it’s difficult (at best) to generate revenue from your inbound marketing leads. This also creates two different experiences for prospects, which might feel duped if the approach of your sales and marketing is not consistent. Be sure that you have a plan to align your sales and marketing effort if you are implementing an inbound campaign. Old school sales tactics will not have success selling to inbound leads.
#5: You don't have specific goals.
Your company's goals need to be clearly defined and SMART. Your inbound marketing strategy should be based on your revenue goals for the year and all marketing and sales should contribute directly to reaching the goals that you have set.
#6: You don't know your customer.
You cannot possibly create content that resonates with your buyers if you don’t know them - and I mean really know them! As part of your inbound marketing program, you will need to create detailed buyer personas that clearly depict the needs and challenges of your prospects. Without a basic understanding of who you sell to, it’s impossible to create an inbound program that delivers results (hint: the answer can’t be “everyone!”).
Are you considering implementing inbound marketing at your startup? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.