The top five challenges that marketers of all sizes say they face in today’s saturated media environment are: 1) Proving ROI (return on investment) of marketing activities; 2) Securing enough budget; 3) Managing our website; 4) Identifying the right technologies for my needs; and 5) Training our team.
Looking at the top two challenges, it seems a bit like the old “what comes first, the chicken or the egg” question. Marketers need a significant budget to make an impact, but without clear indicators that their messages are heard by the right target audiences, or without allocating enough time (and repetition) to ensure those messages sink in, budgets can be reduced or even killed altogether – often before any real measurement of results is undertaken.
So what is a marketer to do?
In its “2015 State of Inbound Report,” Hubspot presented marketing solutions to these and other tough problems. Considering ROI, Hubspot declares, “Proving ROI often goes hand-in-hand with making an argument to increase budget: No ROI tracking, no demonstrable ROI. No ROI, no budget.”
Hubspot reported that time and resources must be allocated to establish links between marketing activities and sales results. It is only by using marketing software and a CRM platform, and tying them together, that marketers can see exactly how well their marketing works. The most successful marketers are those who check their marketing analytics three or more times per week.
The Hubspot study found that the most important factor in driving higher inbound marketing budgets was past success. But the study also found that for even those who considered their inbound marketing a failure, an overwhelming majority (81%) increased their marketing budget anyway.
Hubspot reports, “This means that top marketers realize that inbound marketing is a long game. If you get off to a slow start, you shouldn’t back off — in fact, you might consider doubling down.”
The best inbound marketing strategy in the world will not be successful without a great website. “It’s an asset that works around the clock to draw in visitors, convert them, and help you hit your goals.” But writing and optimizing the content and designing beautiful yet functional web pages is a pain in the neck for many and an overwhelming and expensive task for others.
Hubspot’s research team suggests hiring freelancers and agency partners . To find them, the company suggests that marketers tap into their social media networks (LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.) and browse Zerys and Contently for writers and Behance and Elance for designers. Commit to blogging regularly to ensure that content is fresh and engaging.
Every successful website inserts CTAs (calls to action) prominently on several pages to engage customers and give them a reason to call. It’s tough to do it right, but it’s not rocket science. The idea is to take slow, methodical steps. One thing at a time, all things in succession; that which grows slowly endures.