Let me start by saying this isn’t going to be yet another of those standard, “why inbound marketing is the best thing ever” posts. I’m not going to rehash a bunch of old, worn out stats to try and convince you to stop paying for Yellow Pages ads and start blogging.
The fact is, if you’re reading this blog, you already know all that and you don’t need to hear it again.
So what’s with the “pros and cons of inbound marketing” title? Here’s what I mean:
What’s a con?
In this case, I’m talking about cons in the sense of a con-man, a con-artist or maybe even a convict!
Think about it: what does a conman do?
He slyly gains his victim’s confidence through smooth talk and deceptive reasoning, then convinces them to hand over something of value in exchange for something worthless. Inbound Marketing “cons” do the same thing.
Inbound marketing cons
These are supposed inbound marketing "gurus" who are still trying to convince unwary businesspeople that artificially catapulting your website to Google’s first page for a day or two is all you need to bring in an unstoppable supply of qualified leads. Or that the key to marketing success in 2016 is more Twitter followers.
It’s not just individual “consultants” who get caught pulling this con. Sometimes even ("digital," "seo" or "online") marketing agencies with a roster of happy client logos and tons of experience try to use the same line when convincing prospects to hire them.
Why do they do it? The same reason any conman runs a con: it’s quick, easy, and effective.
Why the con works
You see, vanity metrics like the number of followers you have on a certain social network or the number of likes your blog posts receive are sexy. They look great and they make you feel good. They offer nearly instant results that anyone can look at to nod their head and convince themselves progress is being made.
But in reality, what are they worth? Of course, they’re not completely valueless. But they’re certainly not worth the $30,000 a year you’re paying an inbound marketing agency to give them to you if the metrics aren't tied into business goals.
So don’t get sucked in by inbound marketing cons. Instead, look to one of the many real inbound pros that are out there.
What’s a pro?
As you’ve probably guessed, in this case I’m referring to professionals. The real deal. Experts who have their clients’ best interests at heart and the experience and knowledge necessary to provide real, honest results.
Who would you trust more with your brand new car: your neighbor who used to work part time changing tires at the racetrack when he was a kid, or the professional mechanic who works at the dealership where you bought it?
That’s a no-brainer.
Don’t trust your marketing program to anything less.
Inbound marketing pros
Inbound marketing pros aren’t going to try to pull the wool over your eyes by claiming that all you need to succeed is 1000 Twitter followers and two blog posts a week. They’re not going to come in with a cookie-cutter strategy “that’s worked for every one of our delighted clients before” because they know you’re not like all their other clients. Your circumstances and needs are unique, and need to be treated as such.
They’re also not going to try to win your business by promising X, Y, and Z vanity metrics. Instead, they’re going to listen to your goals and shape an inbound strategy that’s going to lead to real world results that match your definition of success.
How the pros work
The kind of inbound marketing pros you want to work with have the ability and desire to make your business succeed, and that comes through right from the very first conversation you have. They have a streamlined, efficient process in place to guide you to the best combination of tactics and tools to achieve fast, measurable success. And, they have the flexibility to custom fit the very best strategy to your personnel and budgetary needs.
Here at Sprout Content, we hold everything to do to our Performance Content criteria.
To meet the high standards we set for our inbound marketing clients, content we produce must meet all of the following criteria:
- In-House – not outsourced to the lowest bidder or content mill.
- Original – not part of a cookie-cutter plan.
- Strategic – not based on the writer’s current mood.
- Purposeful – not fluff pieces that waste your audience’s time.
- Helpful – not overtly commercial or salesy.
- Planned – not thrown together haphazardly just to get it done.
- Actionable – not designed to be consumed and forgotten.
- Measurable – not interested in vanity metrics, but tied to real world success.
Don’t get caught falling for one of those inbound marketing cons. Only deal with one of the pros who are going to help you succeed.