Whether it’s indiscriminate advertising or cold calls, the B2B buyer’s benumbed senses are experts at shutting down the noise created by traditional outbound marketing practices. Today, the internet offers B2B buyers a wealth of information on topics they want to explore. Hence, customer journeys begin before a company knows.
This is why marketers need a unified strategy that can offer value and create exceptional experiences for customers before they interact with the brand.
That’s what B2B inbound marketing is about – creating stellar content that educates prospects in a non-intrusive manner. The goal is to educate and lure prospects, not to sell (at least not directly!).
A HubSpot 2021 report reveals that 82% of B2B companies globally leverage inbound tactics like content marketing and SEO to attract and convert leads.
Yet, even the biggest B2B brands struggle with inbound tactics and make some serious mistakes.
If you are planning to invest resources into inbound marketing, you can learn from these mistakes. We have compiled a list of common inbound marketing mistakes and offered solutions to avoid them.
1. Failing to Build a High-Converting B2B Marketing Funnel
The role of a high-conversion marketing funnel is to pique customer interest, build trust, and encourage them to take an action. The B2B marketing funnel stages, when crafted correctly, can generate an unlimited number of highly qualified leads that move up the value ladder.
However, most businesses overlook this methodical and well-organized approach to engaging prospects and converting them into paying customers. Thus, they risk losing qualified leads who often find purchase steps confusing.
Your marketing funnel should be clearly mapped out to make the purchase process quick and frictionless. This will boost funnel conversion. Here are a few tips to consider:
Make it Easy for Customers to Buy
Does your website form have too many fields? Are the CTAs clearly stating what the customer should do next? How would you rate your site’s usability?
Ask these questions when creating a seamless experience for your customers.
Pay Attention to Responsive Buyers
If you have hyper buyers in your funnel, it’s important to focus on them because they can help you double your business in no time.
In his book, 80/20 Sales & Marketing, Perry Marshall shares that 20% of a business’s target audience is willing to spend four times their existing spend.
Leverage storytelling to attract leads and direct them lower into your funnel. Use storytelling formats like infographics, videos, and interactive web pages to address the customer pain points and achieve the goals of a specific buyer persona.
This infographic by WordStream summarizes all the information their audience needs on advertising strategies to outsmart their competition. It is a perfect content format to attract customers into the marketing funnel.
Use heat maps when designing your website to identify areas hurting your funnel conversion and generating more sales.
2. Not Encouraging Users to Sign Up to Your Email List
Emails are an effective tool for reaching and nurturing customers. They offer an astounding ROI of 4200%, making it one of the most profitable channels for marketers. Yet, most marketers either miss leveraging this channel or use the traditional interruptive methods to share their message.
The inbound marketing method works differently. It attracts potential users to the website (inbound traffic) and leverages opt-in email forms that pop up on your website. This encourages contacts to join your email list. Moreover, you have engaged customers and improved lead conversion rate and revenue.
Here’s how you can use email to your advantage:
- Build a receptive audience. Share clearly what your subscribers will receive when they sign up with you.
- Create targeted and relevant content. Leverage personalization (consider their past behavior and interests) to craft customer-specific emails.
- Add value through your content. Don’t simply ask for a sale. Create emails that your audience will find interesting, useful, and entertaining.
- Include an opt-out option. Make sure you offer your customers a way to indicate that they no longer want to receive your emails.
3. Neglecting to Track / Analyze B2B Buyer Data
Data hygiene is of primary importance in B2B inbound marketing. Yet, most marketers neglect to collect, track, and analyze customer data.
Failure to track and analyze buyer data is a serious mistake that can negatively affect your bottom line. How can you determine whether all the time, money, and effort invested in a campaign are paying off? How will you decide if your strategy needs a change? Are you tracking the right KPIs?
Fortunately, marketers can track everything from website traffic to conversions. Tools like Google Analytics, conversion tracking software, and behavior analytics platforms can help track how a customer interacts with your site’s content and ads. These tools offer real-time data that allow marketers to attribute conversions across their marketing stack.
Besides, it is important to make sure that the customer data is accurate and updated across all touch points.
Guess Working through the Buyer Persona
Creating a clear B2B buyer persona helps marketers get a better understanding of their customers and their habits, behaviors, attitudes, and concerns. Thus, they can tailor their marketing efforts to attract qualified leads. Thus, personas make lead acquisition and nurturing more effective.
The best way to build an accurate buyer persona is to interview real people (prospects or customers) and understand their pain points and buying behavior. But what do most marketers do instead? Rather than investing in market research, they make calculated guesses on who their ideal customer is.
Such personas are nothing more than a collection of assumptions. They lead marketers down false trails and can be disastrous for a company’s marketing funnel.
The solution? Talk to your ideal customer. Meet them and learn about their business needs, challenges, and goals. Besides, involve your customer-facing team to offer insights on the type of customers they interact with.
Here are a few questions that can get you started:
- Who in their company got in touch with you?
- Are they the decision-makers? Or do they have a supervisor who makes most of the decisions?
- What does their job profile look like? Are they the primary point of contact? What is their role at work? Do they manage people or processes?
- What does their personal life look like? What’s their age bracket? Do they have hobbies?
Underestimating the Power of B2B Social
Social media marketing is not the first thing that comes to mind when we talk of B2B inbound. That’s exactly why marketers often underestimate what social can do for their business.
In this era of digital transformation, sales meetings, conferences, and most business decisions happen online. Social plays a critical role in building meaningful relationships that could bring in lucrative contracts.
So, if your team doesn’t have B2B social media strategy, you are missing out on a huge opportunity to build your audience.
Before creating a social strategy for your business, ask yourself these questions:
- Who is your target audience? Who is your ideal customer? What are their interests and social media consumption habits?
- What social goals are you trying to achieve? Decide on your goals – a clear definition of what success looks like. Besides, decide how you will measure success to make adjustments in your strategy if needed.
- What content will you share, and on which channel?
- What type of content is your audience likely to appreciate? Do they prefer educational, informational, or humorous content? B2B audience doesn’t necessarily prefer ‘boring’ content. Conversational content, like starting a debate on topical industry issues, works well when engaging audiences.
Check out this post from Dropbox, a popular digital content sharing and hosting platform. The brand uses its LinkedIn page to not just share information about its product but also light, engaging content that its audience can relate to.
- Which channels are best suited for your business? In a 2021 Statista survey of B2B marketers, 79% of respondents stated that LinkedIn produced the best results for their business, followed by Facebook and YouTube. Determine what channel works best for business but make sure you don’t stretch yourself too thin, trying to build a presence everywhere.
- When will you share the content?
- Your social content calendar should be well-planned, ensuring consistent outreach across all channels.
- What social metrics will you track?
To get the most out of your social campaigns, it’s important to measure their success through social metrics that matter. The most common metrics tracked by inbound marketers are reach, impressions, referrals, engagement, virality rate, video views, and more.
Missing Out on CTAs
CTAs are indispensable inbound marketing tools when it comes to getting visitors to act. This secret weapon plays a big role in boosting traffic, conversions, leads, and revenue.
Yet, it’s one of the most underrated tactics used by B2B marketers. In fact, research shows that 70% of B2B small business websites fail to display a clear CTA, causing them to lose out on critical conversion opportunities.
A clear, concise, and compelling CTA is a must to persuade visitors to consume your content and take action.
When creating strong CTAs, consider these three important points:
- Pay attention to the copy. The copy of your CTA should capture your reader’s attention within seconds of landing on your page. Moreover, it should spark curiosity.
- Check out how Crazy Egg shares interesting copy that keeps their visitors reading the entire page till they reach the CTA that is straightforward and focuses on customer benefits.
- Keep it short, simple, and actionable. For instance, a simple CTA like “Register Here for the Webinar” or “Call Us Now” can work in various situations.
- Use bold colors to highlight the CTA and clearly state the end benefit the visitor will derive from clicking on it. For instance, “Download the Free Report” is better than “Download Now.”
No business intends to commit the mistakes shared above, especially when they can cost them their bottom line. Yet, over the years, most B2B companies struggle to avoid these mistakes, either because they ignore the marketing best practices or adopt superficial tactics.
We are sure you will learn from the common mistakes we’ve shared above and eliminate them from your inbound marketing efforts.
Lucy Manole is a creative content writer and strategist at Marketing Digest. She specializes in writing about digital marketing, technology, entrepreneurship, and education. When she is not writing or editing, she spends time reading books, cooking and traveling.