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6 Signs Your Business Isn't Ready for Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is the new standard: as inbound is increasing in its effectiveness, traditional interruptive marketing methods are becoming increasingly less effective and increasingly more expensive.

Many businesses equate inbound marketing with plug-and-play: you set up a blog, write an eBook, put yourself on Facebook and Twitter, and all of a sudden you can’t keep up with all the new business coming your way.

But that’s not how inbound works.

Most of the companies we see want the benefits of inbound marketing without totally buying in and doing what's necessary to make it work.

Inbound requires a company-wide attitude change, a paradigm shift that pulls everyone from tradition and sets them up to succeed in the 21st century. 

Inbound isn't something you “plug in"; it’s a company culture. (tweet this)

Is your business ready for inbound marketing?

SIGNS YOU’RE NOT READY FOR INBOUND MARKETING:


1. YOU STILL BELIEVE HIGH-PRESSURE SALES METHODS PERFORM BEST.

Inbound isn't about stuffing a product down someone’s throat; it’s about helping customers come to the right buying decision. Inbound marketing gives you a competitive edge: it provides an opportunity to show that your company views customers as people who deserve high-quality service rather than seeing them as fodder for your sales figures.

If abandoning high-pressure sales tactics sounds painful, consider the following: your current sales methods are probably hurting your business.

When customers feel as if they've been slammed by a marketing bulldozer every time they encounter your brand, they may become skeptical about your product. If it’s so great, why do you have to be pushy to sell it?

The well-known maxim applies: people don’t care about how much you know until they know how much you care. When consumers feel all you care about is making a sale (which is how paid advertising and high-pressure sales methods come across), it’s unlikely you’ll secure their brand loyalty.

2. YOU HAVE NO CLUE WHAT CUSTOMERS THINK OF YOUR PRODUCT/SERVICE.

Again, the basis of inbound marketing is helping and educating customers. You can’t help them if you don’t know who they are and what their pain points are. Make an honest effort to get your customers’ opinions.

Find out what it is about your company that draws people -- or what you can start doing to draw them from this point forward. When you know what your customers love and hate, you can highlight the positives and work on the negatives. Make this an opportunity to gain an advantage over your competitors.

A significant aspect of inbound marketing is providing value to your customer. If you don’t know what they need -- if you don’t know what they think about you or your service -- you won’t be equipped to enrich their experience with your business.

3. YOU CAN'T QUICKLY NAME 10 OF YOUR CUSTOMERS' COMMON SALES AND SUPPORT QUESTIONS.

This ties in with #2: for successful inbound marketing, you must know your customers -- who they are, what they buy, and why they buy it. You must know what you need to do to help them understand that forming a relationship with your brand is a wise choice that will make their lives better in some way.

If you don’t know your customers’ questions, you don’t know which areas of your business need special attention. You can’t create valuable content or design a website with a specific buyer persona in mind.

Do your homework: uncover the questions; then offer compelling answers. If you don’t know how you can help your clients, inbound marketing won’t work.

4. YOU DON'T HAVE THE BUDGET TO DO CONTENT CREATION AND PAID ADVERTISING -- AND YOU CAN'T POSSIBLY SCALE BACK PAID ADVERTISING.

Paid advertising is becoming more expensive and less effective. (tweet this

The question isn't whether or not you should work your budget to include inbound marketing, it’s “what is your business going to look like in five years if you don’t?”

Consumers are hit with over 2,000 unsolicited marketing messages a day. They've learned to tune them out. Technology has revolutionized marketing, and old methods no longer work.

It’s a waste of valuable time and money to force your message on an audience that is ignoring you. Inbound marketing skips the fruitless methods and sells to those who are already interested in what you have to offer.

In our Internet-based world, clinging to paid advertising is like lugging around a rotary phone when you could carry a smartphone in your pocket. Marketing is work, but don’t make it harder than it has to be!

5. YOUR WEBSITE'S USER EXPERIENCE IS HORRIBLE, AND YOU DON'T HAVE THE RESOURCES TO CHANGE IT.

Does your website look (and run) like it was built in 1994? If so, that’s a problem. Your website needs to be simple, visual, and geared toward your ideal buyer persona.

Inbound marketing methods are 100% about providing a stellar user experience. If your website doesn't do that, rethink its design before you try to drive results with inbound.

Evaluate your current website. Who do you want it to reach? How comprehensible are its layout and navigation? Are you willing to keep an eye on new trends? Does your website design match your brand’s style? 

One of the most important questions is, is it compatible with all mobile devices? If not, you're already setup for failure. Check out our eBook on Why Responsive Web Design to learn more.

If it’s absolutely impossible for you to optimize your website user experience, you’re not ready for inbound marketing.

6. YOU'RE NOT 100% SOLD ON THE IDEA OF INBOUND.

We see tons of people get excited about inbound marketing thinking it's a fix-all commodity they can buy; they think it will yield instant results just because they decided to spend money on it.

The truth is, results take time. Solutions that guarantee overnight success are usually fickle and belong in the stories with Cinderella.

It takes time to develop a strategy, build your audience, and compile and analyze data. However, studies show the effort is well worth the time as RIO increases significantly the longer a company commits to inbound marketing.

Inbound is for those who want the best in the long haul, those who are willing to wait months and years -- if that’s what it takes -- to have a thriving business with lifelong customers. 

Where traditional marketing like paid advertising or pay per click ads are a one-off investment. When you stop spending the money, the effectiveness goes away immediately. You'll never get a longer life than you're willing to pay for. Inbound, however, is exactly the opposite. What you invest in today can bring ongoing benefits for years. 

Implemented correctly, inbound marketing imparts a compounding interest on marketing ROI. (Tweet This)

The more you do it and the longer you do it, the more powerful your inbound marketing engine becomes.

CONCLUSION

Many have said, “Inbound isn't a sprint, it’s a marathon.”

I disagree.

Inbound isn't a sprint or a marathon, it is a way of life. (Tweet This)

You do it every day -- not with a finish line in mind, but with the mindset that you’re committed to what’s best for your company and its customers. Inbound marketing is an ongoing method of doing business and getting better, every day, for years to come.

Written by Jason Thomas / October 20, 2014

Jason Thomas has been helping launch and develop start ups for 10 years. Jason's passion is working with motivated entrepreneurs to validate and implement ideas that grow their business.

Jason is a husband, father, and homesteader in training. In his spare time he's generally outside working with his hands and getting dirty.

Articles by Jason Thomas