Busting the Biggest Digital Marketing Myths
Inbound marketing is growing faster than ever! In an era where 90% of consumers use search engines to conduct product research, implementing an integrated digital marketing strategy can allow your business to get found, convert leads, and close sales. Due to this emerging discipline's meteoric growth over the past 5 years, there's plenty of rumors swirling around. Today, we've opted to de-bunk 14 of the ones we hear most often:
1. It Takes Too Much Time
I'm not going to lie to you. Inbound marketing is a highly time-consuming discipline, if you're doing it right. For brands who are still working to establish their online presence, or startups, it can be downright overwhelming to build an optimized website, social media following, or email list from the ground up. However, as your boss knows, time isn't the most important metric. Your return on investment for the resources you put into your marketing program is a much better success measure - and the scales are pretty heavily tipped in the favor of inbound. In fact, HubSpot's Juliette Kopecky reports that the ROI of inbound is 96 times higher than direct mail!
2. You Can't Measure ROI
In one of the most depressing pieces of marketing news to cross my desk in recent memory, the Fournaise group found that 69% of CEOs have basically given up on assigning key performance indicators (KPIs) for their marketing programs. Why? Well, it's because marketers traditionally have had a great deal of difficulty tracking results.
It's pretty difficult to measure the exact ROI of a billboard, but it's downright easy to determine the exact dollar value of your inbound marketing campaign. With the help of a handy tactic called closed loop analytics, you can literally track which clicks from your email outreach or social media posts eventually convert into customers. It sounds complicated, but with the help of a content optimization system like HubSpot, it's incredibly easy.
3. Social Media is an Inexact Science
The world's best social media managers are actually undercover data nerds. With HubSpot's Social Inbox, and tools like Facebook Insights or Sprout Social, it's easy to determine exactly what times of day, types of posts, and networks are driving the best results for your business.
4. Inbound Marketing Doesn't Work for Everyone
Okay, you might be right. Inbound marketing won't drive results for your business if you're not selling products or services. However, if you've got something to sell that meets a need of a market segment, implementing digital marketing will drive results. Some companies and industries may have to work a little harder to build buzz around their offerings, but it's totally possible - General Electric has one of the smartest and most effective Facebook pages we've encountered online. Microsoft recently hit a content marketing homerun with an original, epic story. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to digital marketing that's guaranteed to work for your organization, but taking your business online is definitely the way of the future.
5. Inbound Doesn't Close Customers
Throughout most of history, sales and marketing teams have basically been mortal enemies. Sales complains that marketing generates low-quality leads, while marketing protests that sales doesn't bother to even try and close the contacts they've generated.
A mature inbound marketing program will include some seriously helpful tools to create peace between these two departments, and help your business close more customers. With the help of progressive profiling, lead scoring, and mature lead management practices like email nurturing campaigns, your marketing department will be able to hand over better leads. Forrester Research has found that companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50% more sales-ready leads at a 33% lower cost!
6. You'll See Results Overnight
Unfortunately, you won't see results overnight. There are a few effective tactics to instantly boost your website traffic, lead generation, and blog subscribers, but you'll likely struggle to instantaneously transform your company into an epic inbound brand. The most effective way to increase your site authority, social media following, email list and leads is by creating really high-quality content - the kind that answers your customers questions. Inbound marketing works, but nothing remarkable occurs overnight.
7. SEO is Dead
One of the biggest business myths to hit the internet in the last year was the idea that "SEO is Dead." The conversation around this concept got lots of attention, even gaining coverage in major publications like Forbes. The truth is, Google's Hummingbird Algorithm did change everything. The search giant is now a lot more effective at parsing the meaning behind questions and queries, not whether your web page has an exact match for the keyword.
The era of keyword-stuffing, cloaking, building links through low-quality guest posts or link farms is definitely dead. It's nigh impossible to pull anything over on Google anymore. However, today's SEO experts advocate creating a positive user-experience (including mobile optimization), ensuring your pages are adequately optimized, and improving your site in response to metrics. Those concepts definitely aren't going anywhere quickly!
8. My Buyer Persona isn't Online
This may have been true a few years ago, but it probably isn't the case any longer. 78.6% of people in North America have internet access. Over half of American adults own a smartphone. Technology utilization is growing across all age groups; and there's a remarkably good chance that your baby boomer customers are researching your industry online. As mobile utilization continues to explode, internet usage is only becoming more and more ubiquitous.
9. My Industry is Too Boring to Blog About
One of the best-known inbound marketing case studies is Marcus Sheridan, a HubSpot customer-turned-partner. The entrepreneur successfully increased his organic search traffic 120% in just three months by creating content that answered his customer's most frequently-asked questions. Did I mention that his company definitely didn't sell a glamorous product - in-ground swimming pools?
Even if your product isn't "sexy", you can drive remarkable results and create content that people love. You may have to work a little harder to spice up your content calendar, but it's totally possible.
10. Pay-Per-Click is Way Better
Um, have you seen the statistics on pay-per-click (PPC) and other forms of paid search advertising? Unbounce's Oli Gardner reports that 98% of paid ads are "a colossal waste of money." Today's consumers are more wary of paid advertising than ever, and an estimated 70-80% of search users ignore paid advertising completely in favor of "earned media" (organic search results). It is possible to drive results through PPC, but it's tough - and your success rate will depend on factors like the unit economics of your business and how effectively you're able to target your outreach.
11. Social Media Leads Don't Buy
71% of today's consumers are more likely to purchase from a brand they follow on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or another network. And before you say "well, maybe social media works for SOME industries," consider the following: 50% of IT decision makers are influenced by social media. There's a good chance that regardless of what industry you're in, there's going to be at least one social media network that's wildly popular among your buyer personas. Social media allows you to build relationships with your fans and followers, and remain top-of-mind when they're ready to make a purchase decision.
12. Email Marketing is Spammy
It's absolutely true that email marketing can be incredibly spammy. Major email platforms have drastically tightened their spam filters in response to people who abuse the system. However, email is still a highly-effective form of inbound marketing, provided you're able to deliver relevant and targeted information to your contacts. By segmenting your email list according to demographics, stage in the buying cycle and other factors, you can create highly-personalized messages that people love.
13. There's No Proof Inbound Even Works
Inbound marketing may be relatively new, but it's certainly not so new that it's unproven. If you're hesitant, we recommend checking out HubSpot's case studies that detail some of their inbound marketing success for over 10,000 companies. Not only does inbound really work, it's cheap - inbound leads cost 61% less on average than leads from outbound marketing methods like billboards, direct mail, or radio advertisements.
14. None of the Big Companies are Doing it!
False. Inbound marketing is absolutely everywhere. Almost all of the big brands are doing it! 77% of Fortune 500 companies are using social media for business. An additional 1/3 have a blog. Inbound marketing is increasingly becoming a common choice for brands of all sizes, including enterprises.
What are some of the most surprising or strange inbound marketing myths you encounter?
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