Everybody uses google to find some relevant information about something they need at a given time. Where to go on vacation? How to lose weight fast? What kind of nutrition does my child need? And the topics are endless. But with so much information available on the web about practically everything, how do you know what to believe?
Sadly, this is also true regarding Inbound Marketing. If you are new to the Inbound ways of doing business, bad advice can be easy to fall for, since it might make sense to you at first, but will actually hurt your reputation and instead of gaining more business, you are going to lose a chunk of it.
With the constant changes in the google algorithm and buyer preferences/decisions, it can be a real challenge to stay up to date and understand what you are doing.
As a good marketer, it is your responsibility to differentiate a good piece of advice from the complete garbage that the web is overflowed with today. To help you get on the right track, here are 7 tips that if you are ever told by somebody, means you have to get away from that guy ASAP.
1. Don’t be on a social media network if your customers aren’t there
People usually make this assumption (and this can be nothing more than an assumption, since if you go deeper, you will see how wrong it is) because they think narrow and justify it with arguments like saving time, resources and potential investment in something they consider useless. When it comes to a new social network decision, one of the following is true: either your customers are already there and that’s where you should be as well or your customers aren’t there yet, but lots of potential clients are and you should be as well.
Be careful not to confuse this with the statement (which is, by the way, wrong too) that you should be active on ALL the social media networks. It’s of course important to be reachable on as may channels as possible, but let’s not forget that all things are good in moderation.
First of all, it’s not only costly, but also useless to be active on EVERY social media network available, since it will consume too much effort, energy and resources.
Secondly, you aren’t going to benefit from a social media account that your (potential) customers aren’t using.
Researching your buyer personas thoroughly is the key step to take to understand what social media platforms are/can be useful for your business. Trust the research, it is there to help you make decisions and not miss out opportunities.
2. Use as many hashtags as you can to increase your reach and followers
#Well #guess #what #this #looks #like #complete #spam #and #doesn’t #engage #me #a #tiny #bit
Lots of social media marketers state that the best way to get more likes, retweets and followers is to use as many hashtags as possible in your tweet. These people forget something essential about inbound marketing: Tweets are meant for people, not robotic machines that press “like” or “follow” based on the number of hashtags used. Even you reach out to more people with tons of hashtags, they won’t even bother reading your message, let alone click, like, retweet or follow.
This doesn’t mean that hashtags aren’t important. A report by Salesforce revealed that tweets with 1 or 2 hashtags receive 21% more engagement than tweets using 3 or 4. Don’t forget that whatever you post is first of all meant for people. Craft your message for your audience and back it up with hashtags, not the other way around.
3. ALL social media messages should be automatized
This will save you time, effort and energy and you can utilize that free time for more important things. WRONG!
Backing up the point mentioned above, if you automate all your messages, they are going to become some general claims and eventually, people will scroll over them, without even thinking of taking a look. Automated messages are very easy to spot, doesn’t take a genius to figure it out, and believe me, this is the worst thing you can do to your followers.
Day after day, week after week, less and less engagement will come your way and your buyer personas will stop thinking about your brand as something they want to be a part of their everyday life. Post for people, not machines.
4. When you think about Inbound, you want to be as personal as possible
This is a statement that has some truth at its core. Being personal with your messaging and content is a sure way to engage and grab the attention of your users. However, if taken too far, this can actually scare people away. Let’s consider an example:
“Hello Jim, I hope you are having a wonderful vacation in Latvia! Are you satisfied with our hotel’s service? We would love to hear your comments!”
This is a pretty nailed personal message. It speaks to the person named Jim, telling him that you know he is on vacation and want to make it even better: wonderful. Let’s make it more personal:
“Hello Jim W. Smith! I hope you are having a great 2 week vacation with your wife Wendy, your eleven year old daughter Emily and the newborn Justin in Latvia! Are you and your family satisfied with our hotel’s service? Do the kids want more care to eat for breakfast, they get only 2 portions a day. Is your wife satisfied with the cleanliness of the bathroom when she takes a bath at 7 p.m.? We would love to hear your comments!”
This sounds more like a message from a maniac who is stalking you 24/7 and most probably plans to kill you in your sleep.
Even if you have detailed contacts about clients at your disposal, don’t scare them away by getting too personal. Instead, use the information available to generate offers they can’t resist.
5. Forms should always be short
This is a debatable statement based on what you actually want to get. Short forms and long forms both have their ups and downs and it’s up to you to figure out which length is the best for your customers.
Short forms appear smaller, so it’s easier to fill them out and get the offer, but shorter forms will bring lower quality leads, meaning that they are probably not your best customers if they don’t want to go through the trouble of answering a few simple questions.
Longer forms on the contrary, take longer to fill out, but will bring you more quality leads, since if they are really willing to take the time to fill out the form, they probably really want your offer.
To put it simple, short forms bring more leads with lower quality and long forms bring less leads with higher quality. Ideally, you want to tailor the length of the form to the specific buyer’s journey stage that your content is designed for.
6. If you don’t use the specific keyword X times in your text, google won’t count it.
The days of exact keyword usage are long gone. With the constantly upgrading algorithm of google search engine, your content gets found on a number of other criteria apart from the specific keywords. What you want to do, is find trendy topics that your audience is interested in and write content regarding those topics. Create valuable content for your buyer personas and the smart algorithm will know what keywords or phrases you should be ranking for.
7. Mobile optimized website is nice to have, but isn't necessary
This is one of the worst phrases you can ever come by. Mobile internet usage surpassed desktop PC usage at the end of 2014. This statement alone should be enough to convince you that mobile optimization for your website is a TOP priority. Remember the last time you visited a website that was not mobile friendly. What was your first and last reaction? Get out of here ASAP, because you can’t understand anything and don’t want to be on that page for a second longer. Yep, that’s what people actually do, they leave and most of them, do not return.
Someone visiting your website probably wants to find out more about your company/services, read your blog, download an offer or make a purchase. So why not give them the opportunity? Especially when more people are using mobile than PC starting from 2014.
Bad advice is very easy to accept as good, especially when you are new to the inbound methodology. Don’t fall for it. It’s twice as hard to set things right when they go wrong at first, than do everything correctly from the beginning.