The Five Worst Inbound Marketing Mistakes
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To capitalize on the “search economy” like many other advisors, use inbound marketing.
While the marketing principles of providing useful content and “giving before you get” go back more than 100 years, the term “inbound marketing” is relatively new, coined in 2005.
Inbound marketing is a coordinated strategy that includes content marketing, social media promotion and search engine optimization and can add web content management and marketing automation to the process.
Many financial advisors have asked me these questions: How can I get started with inbound marketing? What can I do to avoid wasting my time?
Gain rapid acceleration by avoiding these five common inbound marketing mistakes.
- Starting your inbound initiatives without a content strategy
Strategy before tactics . . . always a sound marketing guidepost.
Yet, too often advisors start their inbound marketing journey without the guiding principles set forth by an informed content strategy.
A content strategy will help you answer vital questions such as these:
- Who are the key audiences for my content?
- What content will be geared towards prospects? What content will primarily target existing clients? What content will reach out to COIs?
- Which key communications channels will I call on?
- Which formats of my content will be most effective for each channel?
For example, the home page on your website –by far the most popular page on your site – should display the best of the best copy and images and link to gated content (See the next inbound marketing mistake).
- Failing to employ “gated content” through customized landing pages
Let’s pause here to quickly define “gated content.” The user must fill out a form to access your online content, which could be a special report, an article, a video, or something else.
When you go to the typical advisor website, you will often see a “consultation” or “contact us” web form. Frequently, these are the only options for prospective clients to interact with the firm.
What’s wrong here?
Those choices are fine for those relatively few who are ready to move forward with you now.
The majority of website visitor, though, will likely be in the education phase. Simply, they want to find out on their terms more about your practice and services and exactly how you can solve their financial problems.
They do not want to worry about being “buttonholed” by someone who will push a sales presentation on them.
In their nascent inbound marketing efforts, many advisors will offer a piece of content on their site – freely available as a PDF for viewing. This could be a fine first step except …
It creates a problem
You will never know who is interested enough to consume your information. You will never find out when they requested it.
When a registration is required, the prospect must “give to get.” Often, they are asked to provide their name and an email address in exchange for immediate access to the content promoted on the site.
There is an easy route: Gating content can be done easily through an adaptation of a “Contact-Us” form without the need for a customizable landing page.
- Working without the foundation of a website content management system and marketing automation
The average advisor website is not ready for prime-time inbound marketing.
It may have been updated recently and looks “nice.” What’s more, it may be responsive to mobile and other devices. (This step is critical because the majority of searches today are from mobile devices.)
However, these qualities produce only a shaky foundation.
What makes a solid foundation?
One example is combining a WordPress website for web content management with a tool like Infusionsoft for marketing automation. The two systems will link through plugins which basically pass data from the website to the marketing automation system.
A second example is an all-in-one tool like HubSpot which can connect the website’s content management system with marketing automation.
- Failing to employ a winning combination of custom and third-0arty content
Many advisors will settle for third-party content alone.
Third-party content can be a part of your content strategy, especially valuable when adding new content to your blog or placing timely information in front of your clients.
Be Aware: In almost all cases it is not tailored specifically to your practice nor does it prompt prospects to contact you.
On the other hand, custom marketing content requires extra effort and/or money for its creation.
Here’s a combination that became a winner for some advisors: At times, present your unique custom content; at other times, provide solid information consistent with your practice through third-party content.
- Failing to recognize that inbound marketing is not a quick fix or short-term destination
If you are looking for a quick fix to your growth problems–one that will likely lead to only a temporary increase in new prospect flow – then inbound marketing is not for you.
There are plenty of other choices for one-off marketing campaigns that can provide a short-term bump in prospects. Many of these fall into the category of outbound marketing. Proactive referral campaigns, seminars, and joint events with COIs are examples of outbound marketing.
In contrast, if you make the investment in inbound marketing now, you can see a return on investment for years to come.
Consider this power duo
When inbound and outbound strategies work together, you can rev up:
- a steady stream of desired new prospects and
- an efficient client acquisition engine.
You’ll see greater control over the number of new clients you draw in each and every month.
One of my clients adopted this combination 24 months ago and increased fees by 45% in 2017 alone.
Those advisors who start on their inbound marketing journey today will become the thriving, top-growing practices of tomorrow.
Bob Hanson is an independent marketing consultant serving financial advisors. Get his free report, 7 Simple Marketing Steps for Financial Advisors to Gain an Advantage in Volatile Markets, here.