Here at Leap Clixx, we constantly hear from businesses — who are often represented by their besieged marketing executives — who feel a sense of betrayal when it comes to inbound marketing.
No, it’s not that inbound marketing isn’t generating positive results (at least to some extent). Rather, it’s that nobody warned them of how much bandwidth inbound marketing would take! Instead of allocating a few hours a week, they find themselves spending dozens of hours — and still facing backlogs that get longer…and longer. Indeed, just like passengers who board a flight and could not care less about the laws of aerodynamics, the “simple, easy and fast” aspect of inbound marketing is 100% on the customer-facing side. The back end is a different story, because it’s A LOT of work.
With this being said, there are some smart ways to streamline inbound marketing operations, so that the process is less time consuming; but without, of course, compromising quality standards or production values (which should never happen, since doing so undermines results and ROI).
Here are 5 tips to help the overworked and under-appreciated marketing executives (et al) get their inbound marketing train back on-track:
Use a Real Inbound Marketing Platform
A real inbound marketing platform is one that has been exclusively designed to develop, execute, monitor, track, optimize — and most importantly as far as efficiency is concerned, automate — various inbound marketing campaigns. There are a handful of top-tier platforms in the marketplace, such as those offered by HubSpot.
An “unreal” inbound marketing platform isn’t a platform at all. It’s an ad hoc mix of disparate tools, like documents, spreadsheets, home grown databases, free online tools (that usually make things worse), and so on.
Use Project Management Software
Many businesses that think they’re using project management software to run their inbound marketing program…well, they aren’t. At least not fully.
Yes, they’re usually leveraging certain project management tools, such as schedules and task lists. However, these usually live in separate apps, and keeping track of who’s doing what and when is tedious and error-prone.
Professional project management software is surprisingly affordable — especially SaaS solutions. At Leap Clixx, we currently use Teamwork for our internal project management. It gives us a constantly updated picture of what we’ve done, what we’re doing, and what we’re going to do next.
Workflows do more than streamline processes; they also confirm that those processes are the right ones. For example, many businesses fall behind on their blog post schedule due to a bottleneck during the internal review process. Instead of taking a day or two to review and provide feedback, decision-makers take weeks, months — or sometimes, forget/neglect to do it entirely.
A clearly defined workflow (and there are many software options for depicting this) reveals where the flows and clogs are. No, this in itself won’t solve the problem. But it does help start the high-level conversation that can lead to practical solutions.
Get the Right People Doing the Right Things
Graphic designers aren’t writers, because they don’t write for a living. Similarly, marketing coordinators aren’t analytics experts, and web designers aren’t account executives. This doesn’t mean they can’t (when appropriate) lean across the area of specialization and add some value. But it certainly does mean that assuming these people are interchangeable simply because “everyone works on the inbound marketing stuff” is a bad idea. It would be like walking into a hospital and assuming that everyone who works there is trained to take an X-Ray or use the EKG.
If the required inbound marketing experts aren’t available in-house, then businesses have two options: start hiring, or partner with an agency. There is no other way to do this. It’s impossible to reap the potential ROI of inbound marketing without the right and/or enough “I”.
Set SMART Goals
SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. But there is another aspect to this process that many businesses overlook: for inbound marketing, SMART goals must also include micro-conversions, because the buyer’s journey is a process and not a transaction.
For example, let’s say that a lead searches Google about a relevant issue, clicks on a business’s blog post, and after reading it decides to download an ebook or watch a demo video. Even though this lead hasn’t bought anything (yet), they are nevertheless taking desirable actions that are typically part of the purchase process. In other words: they have successfully micro-converted, and should be categorized and engaged accordingly.
To learn more about this critically important aspect of tracking and optimizing inbound marketing campaigns, read our discussion here.
The Bottom Line
For more insight on how to dramatically streamline your inbound marketing efforts — and turn it from a challenging ordeal into an efficient system — contact the Leap Clixx team today. Your consultation with us is free.
For more information on inbound marketing best practices, download our FREE eBook: