What are inbound marketers’ top goals for the coming year? Improving the quality of leads they get and increasing their conversion rates top the list, says a recent report from Ascend2. According to the poll of marketing professionals who use inbound marketing, increasing sales revenue, getting more leads, growing brand awareness and increasing website traffic are also top goals for the coming year.
So what inbound marketing strategies do the survey respondents find most effective? Content marketing leads the list, cited by 59 percent of respondents, while 54 percent say SEO works well. Social media is somewhat less effective, cited by 38 percent of respondents.
However, even though content creation is a top inbound marketing tactic, marketers admit it’s hard to execute well. More than half (54 percent) of marketers say content marketing is difficult for them, compared to just 30 percent who say SEO is hard to execute and 26 percent who struggle to optimize their website design.
In general, the least effective inbound marketing tactics—including guest blogging, public relations and mobile marketing—were among the easiest to execute well.
Overall, just 23 percent of marketers in the survey feel their inbound marketing efforts are very successful. About seven in 10 feel their marketing is “somewhat successful.”
Asked what’s holding them back from greater success, 46 percent of respondents say it’s the lack of an effective inbound marketing strategy, 41 percent say they have problems with content creation, and 33 percent say they don’t have an adequate budget to achieve their goals.
What can you learn from the survey?
- Developing a strategy matters. Figure out how your inbound marketing efforts will tie in with the rest of your marketing to channel prospects through the sales funnel. Always ask yourself how a marketing tactic ties in to your overall strategy.
- Know your goals and your priorities. Is it more important to generate more leads, generate better leads or convert more leads to customers? All of these can be goals, but you need to prioritize so you know where to put your time, effort and budget.
- Know what works. Use analytics to track what inbound marketing tactics work best, and focus on those.
- Get help when you need it. Acknowledge your weaknesses and improve or work around them. For example, if SEO is important for your business, but you lack in-house expertise, consider outsourcing to professionals.
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Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at email@example.com, follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva, and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.