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Inbound marketing is one of the most common practices for generating awareness and new customers. It’s the methodology that suggests you should attract customers through valuable content and experiences rather than disrupting them with advertising, sales, and the like.
According to Hubspot56% of marketers who use blogging say it is effective, and 10% say it generates the greatest return on investment.
However, if you’ve ever launched a blog for your business, you know that inbound marketing isn’t as easy as we’re led to believe.
As a fractional CMO for early-stage startups, I’ve seen all the strategies founders think they should be doing, but ultimately stop them from reaching their full potential. Here are three inbound marketing and the actions you as a business owner can take to combat them.
Related: Inbound Marketing — What is it and why is it important?
1. Your market is not saturated.
But it is. Inbound marketing worked well when there were fewer businesses online and digital marketing was a new concept. More and more companies are flooding the online landscape, and it’s not easy to stand out when they’re all trying to provide value to the exact audience that you are.
According to Digitalcommerce360.comIn 2007, e-commerce sales made up 5.1% of total U.S. retail sales. As of 2019, e-commerce made up 16% of retail sales. By 2022, the number had risen to 21%.
The sheer amount of content now available online can be overwhelming. People are just as inundated with valuable online content as they are with other marketing tools – and as a result, they’re trained to ignore it.
What can you do about a saturated market: Look for partnerships with other companies that have synergy with yours, but are not in direct competition. You can run contests and giveaways together on social media, cross-promote in each other’s email newsletters, or even bundle your items and make theirs to create unique product offerings on your websites.
Creating solid partnerships with relevant companies is an ideal way to gain brand awareness and new customers without developing a ton of content.
Related: How Can an ukbusinessupdates.com Enter a Saturated Market?
2. Offer value and the right customers will find you.
No amount of search engine optimization will help someone find your solution if they’re not looking for answers.
Take Bird’s e-scooters as an example. Before Bird, no one Googled places to rent electric scooters in a city. But in 2017, the company left their scooters and instructions on how to use them on the streets of Santa Monica, CA. With that one act, they set a new course for the future of transportation.
There’s no amount of podcast interviews or blog posts that could have created the buzz and level of customer acquisition that this one moment of disruption did.
If you have an innovative product that addresses problems people don’t think about, there’s no point in relying on inbound marketing, no matter how unique your product is.
What you can do if your business concept is new: Take it out on the street. Start by manually acquiring your first clients, actively soliciting feedback and referrals. If you can play a power game through advertising or outbound sales, do it. Don’t be afraid to be disruptive.
Related: Looking for a new business idea? Here’s how to identify what people really need.
3. Inbound marketing strategies are free and easy.
SEO-optimized 2000 word articles don’t write themselves. It’s not likely that your business will be able to generate strong recurring revenue from one viral Instagram post alone.
Do you know how long it takes to convert a TikTok subscriber?
These strategies require a lot of energy and consistency. They also need money and other resources if you can’t do them yourself. In addition, it can take many months — and sometimes even longer — for inbound marketing strategies to pay off.
Most startups have 12 to 18 months runway before they run out of money. Small businesses are likely to have less time to turn a profit before they can no longer operate.
Most small businesses and startups don’t have the time or capital to wait for it.
What you can do instead of free inbound strategies: Make sure your messages directly address your ideal customer’s pain points and show where they spend their time. If necessary, offer your speaking services in networking groups, host webinars, or reach out to potential clients for sales calls.
It takes more than a winning idea for a business to succeed. You can have the biggest and most innovative company in the world, but if you don’t reach your target market and get out among the people, it doesn’t matter. Your brand is pretty much non-existent if you don’t have an audience to advertise to, and it’s not the consumer’s responsibility to find you – it’s your job to find the consumers.
Companies need to become profitable as soon as possible by generating strong leads with proactive marketing efforts and not being afraid to be disruptive.