Inbound Marketing: Tools that Help Versus Those Which Hurt
Inbound marketing can be thought of as the lynchpin of any successful online business. Its primary purpose is to increase brand awareness and to engage with a specific target audience. There are a number of methods which can address such goals and these directly correlate with the sheer variety of tools within the marketplace today. Still, some content tools are better than others. A handful is a cut above the rest and there are even some which may actually hinder an ongoing campaign. The key is knowing the difference between either end of the spectrum. Let’s take a look at some must-have tools are well as a handful of instruments which can negatively affect what would have otherwise been a sound strategy.
Helpful Inbound Marketing Tools
Marketing automation software is the first platform that should be adopted. As the name hints, this architecture will enable a business to keep track of all of its most important metrics within a real-time scenario. This is even more pivotal when addressing a relatively large demographic. Some of the variables that marketing automation software can measure include:
- Keyword performance
- The number of inbound hits per page
- Upcoming events
- The details of competitors
Companies such as HubSpot provide a number of different products to choose from. Their ultimate intention is to offer the insight and clarity required to make the most informed choices.
In terms of effective SEO, possessing Keyword Planner is another essential component of success. This product has been developed by Google and it can be directly accessed through an existing AdWords account. The main intention of Keyword Planner is to provide a more in-depth understanding of which words and phrases are the most appropriate for a specific campaign. Not only is it a thorough keyword search engine, but it offers other proprietary benefits such as the ability to combine several different lists together to uncover terms that may have otherwise gone unnoticed. Users can even choose the most relevant budget for an upcoming inbound marketing campaign.
Of what purpose is an inbound marketing strategy if the responses of the customers are not taken into account? Without the proper CRM software, encountering success is akin to sailing a ship in the dark without a compass. Let’s never forget that generating leads is only half of the battle. It is the ability to nurture these leads that will ultimately determine the performance of a business. From managing ongoing relationships to addressing the needs of a disgruntled customer, these packages are absolutely essential. Other benefits of CRM packages include:
- Detailed pipeline management.
- The ability to segment customers according to their buying habits.
- Automated email production.
- Real-time event scheduling (such as webinars or conference calls).
There are numerous bundles to choose from. Many believe that Pipedrive and Salesforce offer the most comprehensive options.
Form builders represent yet another spoke within the wheel of content tools. After all, the humble contact form still has a place within the digital domain. Whether referring to a request for additional information or a question in regards to a product, online forms represent one of the lifelines between the client and the company. Although using WordPress widgets is an option, there are other third-party providers which supply a host of amenities. The majority offer free trials in order to determine which one may be the most appropriate.
Tools That are More Harmful Than Worthwhile
There are always a few bad apples present during any harvest. This same principle holds true within the realm of inbound marketing. While we do not wish to name names or slander any particular organisation, it is still a good idea to look at a few generic approaches that are no longer considered viable.
First and foremost, any inbound marketing tool that does not support mobile interfaces should be scrapped in favour of a more modernised version. There are two reasons for this observation. The first involves the inability of a company to target a demographic increasingly dependant upon remote networking. Secondly, pages or forms which do not display correctly will cast a dim light on the company itself.
“Cookie-cutter” website designs are another approach to avoid. Although free website providers can save money from a short-term perspective, these tools often do more harm than good. The main problem with web design freeware is that the number of tools is quite limited. This same observation holds true in regards to templates, widgets and online storage. The majority of visitors will see through these limitations and in turn, they can reflect negatively upon the product or service that is being offered. It is much better to obtain a proper domain name through a paid service. What good is inbound marketing if it employs sites and strategies that were more relevant a decade ago?
Link farming was another inbound marketing tactic which first surfaced nearly a decade ago. The ultimate intention of this method was to gain more hits via major search engines such as Google. Unfortunately, this was generally achieved through the creation of fake websites that would link back to the main page. Not only was this a clumsy approach at the time, but link farming will now incur severe penalties from Google.
On a final note, there can be some pitfalls with employing certain cloud-based content management systems. One main drawback is the outdated assumption that a post must be between 350 and 500 words. Simply stated, visitors have higher expectations than a handful of years ago. A post of only 500 words may be insufficient to get a point across; specifically, if the topic is a bit complicated (such as this one). CMS systems which provide strict limitations in regards to word counts are best to be avoided.
Separating the Wheat from the Chaff
In truth, it is unlikely that you will encounter the “perfect” inbound marketing bundle within a single package. Some of the most successful strategies will espouse more of a mix-and-match approach to fill in any gaps along the way. Also recall that as your business grows, your needs are subject to change. The primary takeaway point is that turnkey marketing solutions tend to correlate with the tools that you employ. What might have been a great option yesterday could very well be irrelevant today. Choosing the most effective packages will enable you to exceed where others have failed.