Conventional marketing efforts have been losing their effectiveness in helping businesses grow their marketing campaigns. This is why many companies have begun incorporating an inbound marketing strategy to generate new leads, customers, and revenue.
Unlike conventional marketing, inbound marketing requires you to become an expert in dozens of specific skills — content writing, search engine optimization, website design, social media, email marketing, etc. As a result, when creating an inbound marketing strategy it is important to create a game plan that focuses on prioritizing what to do, what not to do, and what works best for your specific business model.
A good inbound marketing campaign should be based on a deliberate and carefully planned strategy. Once that strategy is put into place, a funnel is formed that helps attract new leads and guides them through each phase of the buyer’s journey. The ultimate goal of a successful inbound marketing strategy is to make sales without having to use a sales pitch. This means your potential customers should feel like they have made a good decision to go with your company on their own, rather than feeling like they have been pressured into it.
To take advantage of inbound marketing and create an effective strategy, you must first have a solid understanding of:
• Your ideal client
• What makes your business different from its competition
• How your business uniquely solves a problem or helps fulfill a need
• How to price and package your business to provide the best value to your customers
With a solid understanding of these four things, creating an effective, cohesive inbound marketing strategy isn’t difficult if you can follow these five basic steps:
1. Identify Your Audience
The most vital part of creating an inbound marketing strategy is identifying who you want your target audience to be. While doing this, it is important that you avoid generalizations and remain as specific as possible.
For example, if your business is selling women’s T-shirts, you want to avoid saying “women looking for a new T-shirt” and instead have a more specific target such as “women over 30, who work in a business-casual office, looking for comfy yet stylish T-shirts to wear to work.”
After you do this, it is important that you gather as many details about your target audience as possible, and think about what type of content will provide the most value to them.
2. Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals
Just like identifying your audience requires you to avoid generalization, it is also vital to set specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely (S.M.A.R.T.) goals while creating your inbound strategy.
Specific: Your goals should be able to communicate exactly who, what, when, where, and why.
Measurable: Your goals should include ways for you to measure your progress (analytics, data-driven) in order to see what is needed to reach your overall goal.
Attainable: Your goals should remain realistic and possible for your business to reach.
Relevant: Your goals should matter to your business and help to address a core initiative.
Timely: You should have an expected date you would like to reach your goal by.
Once your team has these set, you can begin creating other inbound marketing goals by analyzing your website’s current ability to attract traffic, convert leads, and close business.
3. Create Great Content
Providing the content your audience wants and needs helps to increase your credibility and generate new leads. If you focus your content on the topics that will interest your target audience, your content will be naturally optimized. As you are considering what kind of content you are going to create, it is important to keep two things in mind:
• What are the problems and pain points your target-audience has?
If they are trying to solve a problem, can you create content that offers them tips and tricks on your blog or in an e-book? If they are interested in learning about a new topic, can you offer webinars, podcasts, or self-study courses on your website to help educate them?
• Which content channels are best suited for your business?
It is important to decide what channel will be most effective in generating leads and producing business. If your company feels that your target audience is more visual, then maybe creating video content will be more effective.
4. Develop an On-Site Content Marketing Strategy
Your website is critical in helping to form a foundation for your Inbound Strategy. The end goal for everything you produce should be to drive the traffic back to your website, where you can then work on converting them into new customers. When building and developing your website, it is important to keep these four things in mind:
• Your site should be intuitive and easy to navigate.
• Make sure you have real and educational material to provide value on your site.
• Make sure your site doesn’t remain static by regularly posting content.
• Make sure your content provides information for all stages of the buyer’s journey.
5. Be Social
As you identify your target audience, you should also determine which social media channels your audience are most likely to use. For example, if you are targeting an older generation, than Facebook may be the best platform to use. On the other hand, if you are targeting business professionals, then it may be a better idea to use LinkedIn to reach your audience.
It is important to focus your efforts on only two or three platforms. You don’t want to spread yourself too thin, and it is better to have two or three solid social media campaigns than five or six poorly executed ones.
6. Create an Email Marketing Campaign
Email is still seen as one of the most effective ways of digital marketing. Because conversion rates are generally higher with email marketing, creating an email list with your target audience should be a top priority.
Most people who visit your site for the first time will more than likely not become sales. You can, however, convert a non-buyer into an email subscriber by placing a call-to-action or contact form on your site asking for their email address. If you can convince someone to subscribe to your email list, then you are that much closer to convincing them to buy your product or service.
7. Recruit an Inbound Expert
Like I mentioned before, Inbound Marketing requires you to master many different skills that can often be overwhelming for certain companies. If your budget allows for it, recruiting an expert who specializes in these skillsets can help to alleviate your workload as well as help direct your business in the right direction by providing skills such as:
• Email Marketing
• Web Design and Development
• Data Analysis
• Social Media and Project Management
• Search Engine Optimization
• Pay-per-click Marketing
Making the switch from Conventional Marketing to an Inbound Marketing approach can feel like a risk, but the benefits are undeniable. The sooner you begin implementing an inbound marketing strategy, the sooner you can start generating more leads, at a lower cost.
We hope these tips help you begin planning and implementing an inbound marketing strategy. For more insight, schedule a free marketing consultation with our team.