Marketing has been around for centuries, but the term as we presently know it has only been around since the 19th century. During that time it has transformed into the innovative and fast-paced practice it is today, evolving from a basic buying-selling strategy into a variety of strategies— 52 in fact. Thanks to the emergence of the Internet and social media, one of the most prevalent strategies in the digital marketing era is inbound marketing. Inbound marketing refers to the technique of drawing customers to products and services via content marketing, social media marketing, and search engine optimization. Unfortunately, this digital-based strategy has been matched with widespread marketing myths that need to be debunked. Let’s begin.
1) My website doesn’t need to be mobile-friendly
This myth is one of if not the, most common marketing myths of the 21st century. However, did you know that 77% of Americans own a smartphone? Or that 60% of searches occur on mobile devices? The numbers don’t lie; mobile is here to stay. Additionally, inbound marketing encompasses content marketing, SEO, and social media marketing; all of which are mobile-based strategies. Furthermore, your company’s inbound marketing strategy should aim to earn people’s interest— if prospective consumers can’t access your website on their cellphone, then your marketing efforts are practically pointless.
A common misconception with the growing demand to be mobile-friendly is that desktop is virtually obsolete, but that is not the case. Rather than abandoning web-based strategies to focus solely on mobile, you should instead aim for a seamless website experience on all devices—and the best way to do that is with a responsive web-design. Responsiveness allows your website to function properly across different devices, resulting in an efficient use of resources for you and an effortless user experience for your consumers.
2) You can’t prove ROI of inbound or content marketing
With inbound marketing you can prove ROI, just in a less traditional way. Rather than seeing a dollar value return on investment, you can instead see how well the published content is doing (based on the pre-determined goals of your marketing strategy) in order to determine the return. However if you prefer determining ROI as a dollar amount there are some websites, like this one, that allow you to calculate it based on different factors.
Remember: inbound marketing aims to get buyers’ attention by aligning content with their interests. It’s a digital based marketing strategy, which allows for tracking ROI that much easier, thanks to analytic tools and websites like Cyfe, OnlyPult, or Facebook Business Manager. Through these websites you can look at data regarding analytics such as reach, engagement and frequency, and you can even optimize your posts to get the most ROI possible.
3) My content doesn’t need to include images or video
This myth is more common in certain industries, but it is not true for any. Content that incorporates relevant pictures are 43% more persuasive than content without images. One of the objectives of inbound marketing is to bring in consumers— if consumers are more likely to be persuaded via images, then including them in the content is both beneficial and effective. Not only do pictures increase the persuasiveness of your content, they also help boost your search engine optimization (SEO). To best optimize the image for search engines, be sure to do the following: ensure your images are responsive across all devices; include a description of the picture in both the caption and alt text; scale images to SEO standards to make sure their loading time isn’t past 3 seconds.
On a more practical note, people simply prefer pictures. Our brains process images 60,000 times faster than text and in a recent study done by The Nielsen Group, they found that users only read about 28% of text displayed. So no matter the industry, including a picture when describing a product or service your company offers can help potential consumers understand and visualize what they are about to purchase, making it real and therefore more persuasive. When done properly, including images can make your content visually captivating and overall more interesting.
4) I only need to post on social media
We have spent most of this article focusing on how important social media is— and it is! However, marketing requires a balance of efforts. Depending on your target audience and overall bottom line, the frequency of your social media posts might differ from other companies. For example, if your products often need in-depth explanations then you might need to post more blogs than statuses. Or if your bottom line is to increase your audience by ‘x’ amount, then you might need to send out more emails than twitter updates. As long as you’re posting on every platform at least once a day, your optimization should fare well. Keeping your business relevant is important, and while social media is a useful tool it is not the only tool to do so.
5) I don’t need to post on social media
Ah, the contrast. Social media might seem like the place where businesses and consumers alike upload posts that are flashy, irrelevant, or a combination of the two; however, the elements of social media can be applied to any industry. Elements like the desire to increase brand awareness, reach more people, gain feedback, and maintain a relevant voice are applicable to all trades. It’s also important to remember that social media is more than just Instagram and Facebook. For example, business-to-business companies can utilize platforms like YouTube, LinkedIn and Google+ to set themselves apart from the competition, while simultaneously garnering a range of audiences.
If you’re not convinced yet, let’s go over some statistics. Over 81% of the United States’ population uses any form of social media— that’s over 258 million people potentially viewing your product or service. Average user ages range anywhere from 7 to 70, which guarantees your target demographic is actively using social media, too. Furthermore, 81% of people do online research before making big purchases. When your content is linked with social media, search engines understand that this is more credible and therefore your product or service is likely to rank higher under search results.
6) I only need to do SEO once
Seeing that little blurb on Google that reads “38,000,000 results” is overwhelming, no matter how big or small your business is. The Internet is a fast-paced, fluctuating environment where search engines continuously change their algorithms. In order for your company’s website to get and stay on top you must maintain effective SEO by continually updating your website, checking on page links, getting rid of outdated or irrelevant content, and adjusting keywords.
That last one—key words— is an essential component of SEO. Keywords are, literally, key words that make it possible for people to find your website via search engines and they need to be updated frequently. When determining the right keywords to use, make sure they are relevant, continually updated, high in volume, and specific. Furthermore, the words you choose should be in the title of the page, in image files, in meta-tags, in the actual content, and in the URL. If you still need some help, this website has a helpful tool in determining the best keywords based on what you’re looking for.
7) My inbound marketing plan doesn’t need a call-to-action
On the contrary, you should aim for engagement with every post, update, email, etc. A call-to-action is just that— engagement. It’s what you want people to do next. A common misinterpretation of calls to action is that it you should use it to urge people to purchase a product right here, right now. While that is a CTA tactic, most are less urgent than that; “sign up here”, “like us on Facebook!” and “subscribe to our emails” are just a few examples of more common call-to-action techniques.
Because calls to action are often specifically related to certain content and are influenced by a company’s bottom line, they vary from business to business. The above examples are more common for those whose bottom line is to expand their audience, but other companies might urge viewers to watch a certain video or download a form. Again, your call to action is based on the goal of your marketing plan and is both a useful and necessary tool in achieving that goal.