Markets are different, and most importantly, audiences in these markets have different behavioral trends. Nonetheless, one thing remains constant: the customer journey and the decision-making process.
Customer journey is only as effective as the types of content used in the process. If you're wondering what this is, it's where inbound marketing comes in handy. But what is it, you ask?
Inbound marketing attracts customers through relevant and helpful content and adds value at every stage of the customer journey. However, though the approach can be effective, it can also flop for several reasons such as:
- Content saturation
- Changing buyer behavior
- The website isn't pulling its weight
- When it's the only marketing strategy
- When there's a disconnect between sales and marketing
In the rest of this post, we'll cover why inbound marketing fails during the first three stages of the customer journey. So, let's get to it!
Customer Journey and Decision Making Process
Before getting to why inbound doesn't work, let's delve into the customer journey and decision-making process and how it influences sales.
Unaware to Contemplating
At this stage, your focus should be on creating awareness by making yourself known while also identifying the problem. An unaware prospect most likely doesn't know about you, or if they do, they likely have no idea you can help solve their problem (s).
In addition, some prospects in this stage aren't aware they've got a problem, to begin with. Therefore, your role as a marketing specialist is to enlighten your prospects about their potential problem (s) and how your company can help.
By sharing this information, you're helping your prospects to move from the unaware stage to the contemplating stage.
Contemplating to Planning
At the contemplating stage, the prospect is fully informed and knows there's a need for change. In addition, they also know you can help them get rid of the problem. So, what is left for them is to take action.
To influence quick and rational decision-making, you should aim to arouse the desire for the particular solution you offer. Otherwise, your prospect will be stuck and lacking a solid reason to take you up on your solution (s).
Lastly, this stage is more about showing and proving what you claim you do. Therefore, it should be full of product demos, case studies, customer stories, and product reviews.
Examples of Marketing Tools to use in the Initial Stages of the Customer Journey
Moving your prospects from one stage of the sales process to another can only be successful if you use the right content type and techniques. Below are the proven marketing tools to leverage at this point of the customer journey.
- Social media
- Trade shows
- Public relations
- CTA offers
- Case writing
- Web presence
- Needs assessment
- ROI/Before and after
- Web product offering
- Detailed process-based case study
The truth is, there are myriad other tools that you can use. However, what we've listed above will suffice for today.
Why Inbound Doesn't Work
Like we already hinted in the beginning, inbound marketing may not work for you for several reasons. Below we'll dive into each one of them in detail.
1. Content Saturation
A decade ago, content was king. Don't get us wrong here. Content is still king today. However, the only problem is that there's an oversaturation of it. More content means the competition is stiffening, so new content sits for long without yielding expected results.
2. Changing Buyer Behavior
Change is inevitable, and so is buyers' behavior over time. For example, what's working today may not work in the next five or ten years. Unfortunately, trying to force things up may not mean well for your business. So, it's recommended to study your audience to learn what's working for them.
If the market is shifting to video content and social media marketing, it's best to move with the trend. This is because sticking to what worked several years ago may only earn you untold losses.
3. Website Isn't Pulling its Weight
Having a business website isn't enough. If you want to move the needle with your website, you got to be a little extra. By this we mean, you should blend a mix of content, including landing pages, product pages, category pages, and informational pages.
Most importantly, it would help if you were converting all your website visitors using relevant and proven call to action techniques. If you're getting traction but not converting your leads to subscribers, customers, and repeat buyers, then you're leaving a lot of money on the table.
4. When it's the Only Marketing Strategy
Relying on inbound marketing as the only marketing strategy is a recipe for failure. The markets are dynamic and sophisticated, and so is your target audience. By all means, you should blend different types of marketing approaches in your overall outreach strategy.
In marketing, no side fits all, so trying a couple of strategies to find out what your audience responds to would not harm. For the record, it'll save you tons of money while still helping to generate more sales for your business.
5. When there's a disconnect between Sales and Marketing
The sales process is a journey, starting from creating awareness to turning leads to advocates and promoters of your business. Unfortunately, when there's a disconnect between your sales and marketing teams, it can take forever to realize this kind of success.
When does disconnect occur, you ask? Many times it's as a result of miscommunication between the marketing and sales teams. Thus, this means the marketing team brings in leads, but the sales team fails to convert them.
How to make Inbound Marketing to Work for You: Wrapping Up
Inbound marketing is bound to fail because of so many reasons that we've already looked at. However, that shouldn't be the end of your story and your brand's. Behold, you can make a turnaround in your marketing strategy and realize remarkable sales.
Below are the recommendations for making inbound marketing work for you:
- Position your business and content by targeting the correct audience
- Know your target audience comprehensively
- Optimize your business website
- Lead with an integrated marketing approach
- Constantly try out new strategies and implement what is working
- Be patient with yourself
- Have a committed sales team
If you're looking to implement an integrated marketing approach that involves inbound marketing, don't hesitate to contact us!