4 inbound marketing mistakes that tank lead generation results (and what to do instead)

Read these four all-too-common inbound marketing mistakes and learn how to fix them!
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Written by Jon Searle

September 1, 2020

“We’re spending the same amount on inbound ads, but we’re getting less and less leads every year.” 

Sound familiar? According to Hubspot, 63% of B2B companies say driving traffic and leads is their top marketing challenge. So, what’s the root cause of higher ad costs and lower lead results? 

Here’s the short answer – traditional marketing strategies no longer work in inbound marketing. B2B companies who don’t evolve will continue to see inbound results plummet year over year. 

To hit lead generation goals, B2B companies must implement a multi-channel inbound strategy. 

In inbound advertising, a multi-channel strategy will leverage multiple campaigns and two or more channels, such as Google and LinkedIn. When implemented correctly, this approach allows you to get the right message to the right person at the right time, and ultimately, drive more leads at a lower cost. 

Here’s what you’ll learn in this blog post: 

  • The four most common inbound marketing mistakes that are driving up lead costs and tanking results
  • What you should be doing instead to achieve lead generation goals 
  • Why your campaigns need to be multi-channel 

So, let’s get started:

Mistake #1 – Your content and customer experience isn’t focused on the customer 

Traditional inbound marketing used to go something like this…

  1. Create a Google Search Text ad with a compelling headline that positions the content to solve a problem.
  2. Drive cold traffic – someone who has likely never engaged with your business – to a gated form page. To get the content, the visitor must become a lead. 

That strategy is designed solely around your business, not the customer. In this digital world chock-full of content at our fingertips, customers have become accustomed to receiving value first – through a blog or a video – before exchanging their email addresses. 

Just do a quick Google search on the topic of your gated forms. Are there blogs and videos on that exact topic available to your audience… for free? Your lead generation results are going to continue the downward spiral. 

The old model of driving cold traffic directly to a gated form is no longer converting like it used to, and that trend is here to stay. 

What you should do instead: 

Design your inbound strategy to create an experience that will engage customers through their journey AND drive bottom-line results. Start by breaking your inbound campaigns into four categories based on engagement with your business: 

  • Cold (likely a first-time visitor to your website)
  • Cool (have visited the website, like a blog post or an opt-in page, but aren’t yet a lead)
  • Warm (have opted in on a minimal form)
  • Hot (have opted in for a higher commitment free offer, like an assessment or a webinar)
These are inbound marketing funnel stages to know and what kind of content people have interacted with

For cold traffic, instead of driving them directly to a gated form, drive them to watch a quick video or read a blog post that helps them overcome a top challenge or answers common questions. Then, incorporate gated content at the cool, warm, and hot level. 

This is a customer-focused multi-channel strategy that will not only get leads at a lower cost but it will also result in higher-quality leads because you’re driving traffic to a gated form after they’ve interacted with another piece of content. 

Related: Get a multi-channel campaign assessment from our team!

Mistake #2 – You’re not implementing remarketing by audience traffic type 

If you’re dumping your full inbound budget into driving traffic to gated form pages, you’re banking on one of two scenarios:

  • The website visitor will convert to a lead immediately on their first visit OR…
  • That website visitor comes back to the gated form page on their own

More often than not, on inbound marketing audits, we see that it takes six visits or more for a lead to convert on an opt-in form.

If you’re not engaging opt-in page visitors with remarketing, your inbound strategy is like filling a bucket that has a hole in the bottom. You paid to drive traffic to the opt-in page, but you’re relying on those visitors to continue their customer journey on their own. And, many won’t. 

What you should do instead: 

Plug that hole (i.e. set-up remarketing). Run ads that will engage people who have visited opt-in forms but haven’t yet become leads. Do this and you’ll be getting a lot more bang for your inbound advertising buck. 

If you’re wary about setting up remarketing throughout your funnel because you think having multiple campaigns might increase your ad costs – think again. It’s much cheaper to target a narrow warm audience, like opt-in page visitors, than it is to target a broader audience. 

Even though you’re using multiple campaigns, your ad costs are much lower because you’re reaching more targeted audiences with more targeted messages. 

Mistake #3 – You’re not customizing content based on the channel 

One massive (but common) inbound marketing mistake? Serving the wrong type of content on the wrong channel ... or at the wrong time!

Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are the big four when it comes to B2B inbound advertising. Even when using a multi-channel strategy, the common mistake is to use the same content across every channel.

The customer’s mindset shifts based on where they are in their journey … but it also varies based on the channel they’re using.

Think about it – when you’re skimming through Facebook or Twitter, are you looking for a white paper, ebook, or webinar to opt-in for? Or, are you surfing around looking for posts that pique your interest? 

In general, Facebook/Twitter users are more likely to watch a short video or click a link to a blog post than they are to opt-in on a form. And, the way your audience engages on Facebook or Twitter is likely different than LinkedIn and Google. 

What you should do instead: 

If you don’t aim to engage the customer how they want to engage on that channel, you’ll be adding to the noise not cutting through it. Consider the lifecycle of your customer and use channels strategically to engage and nurture them through their journey.

For example:

  • Facebook and Twitter ads might be a part of your lead generation multi-channel strategy, but these ads might only drive to blog posts.
  • Then, you might use LinkedIn or Google to retarget those blog visitors and drive them to a gated form. 

Mistake #4 – You’re not properly attributing results to content and ads 

We do hundreds of inbound assessments for corporate and enterprise brands. In about 50% of those assessments, we find they’re not properly tracking attribution from any of their ads or content. They’re solely looking at data in their Marketing Automation Platform or CRM, like Marketo or Salesforce.

There are two main issues with this: 

  • Some data isn’t setup to pass through from the platform (i.e. Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook) to the Marketing Automation Platform or CRM. So, the data they’re viewing isn’t holistically accurate.
  • If their Marketing Automation Platform or CRM is not collecting the right data, these platforms will only include broad, end-goal data. But, you can’t make optimizations and get the most ROI from campaigns without accounting for Google Analytics and top-of-funnel data.

What you should do instead: 

To optimize ad campaigns to get the lowest costs, you must be tracking KPIs correctly in Google Analytics. 

With a multi-channel strategy, you’re segmenting campaigns based on the buying process – cold, cool, warm, and hot – to get the lowest ad costs on each channel in each phase. Because you’re segmenting campaigns based on the buying process, you also need to measure segmented results. 

Start with these three steps to accurately track and attribute results: 

  1. Set KPIs for cold, cool, warm, and hot campaigns
  2. Track those KPIs in Google Analytics 
  3. Report on KPIs for cold, cool, warm, and hot campaigns and optimize ads to get the lowest costs in each phase 

Are you making any of these four mistakes? 

If you’re considering a multi-channel inbound strategy to get lead generation back on track, we’re here to help. Learn more about our proven inbound process and book a call with us here

Have a quick question about this blog post? Ask us now!

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