Create an inbound marketing strategy
1. With your team, discuss your brand’s current marketing methodology and your vision for switching to the inbound methodology.
Explain that inbound marketing is about attracting customers by providing them with valuable, relevant, and tailored content and experiences that solve problems they were already looking for the answers to. Get everyone on the same page by discussing: Broad goals for inbound marketing, like building brand reputation through providing valuable content or turning customers into brand ambassadors. What changes will be made when switching to inbound methodology, like replacing cold emails with informational email newsletters for your newsletter subscribers. Any questions you may have about this methodology. HubSpot is a popular resource for understanding the inbound methodology and has a free certification course if your team wants to learn more.
2. Define your buyer personas through customer interviews, surveys, sales team feedback, and collected data.
A buyer persona is a semi-fictional profile that represents part of your customer base. Buyer personas help you understand who you are marketing to, what problems they have, how they look for solutions, and how they communicate so that you can develop the right messaging and provide it to them at the right time. Use information from your contact database, form fields on your website, email surveys, sales team feedback, consumer insights, and customer and prospect interviews to define your different buyer personas. Consider: Demographics: Job, age, gender, and location. Personal characteristics: Values, motivations, pain points, and goals. Behaviors: Marketing triggers that make them start looking for a product, where they look for information, how they like to interact with vendors, preferred communication channels, social media behavior, and preferred shopping location.
3. Outline your marketing triggers by mapping out the buyer’s journey and reviewing your buyer persona’s pain points and motivations.
Marketing triggers will help you create the right messaging to deliver at the right time. Map out your buyer’s journey using a buyer’s journey template that includes what your personas are thinking in each stage, where they go for information, actions they take to get to the next stage, and their pain points and motivations along the way. At each touchpoint or potential touchpoint on the buyer’s journey, place a marketing trigger and call to action. For example, when someone opens your website for the first time, have a chatbot open and ask how it can help that person. If your persona looks for solutions by searching for how-to content, create an optimized blog post on this topic that answers this question.
4. Set specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely (SMART) goals based on business objectives and benchmarks.
This step may first require a content audit to see how much content you already have available and how it has performed, and an SEO audit to gauge benchmarks for your search engine rankings. Consider specific metrics, like visits, contacts, and conversions, as well as your buyer personas and business objectives, when creating SMART goals. For example: Increase website visits by 5% in six weeks through SEO improvements. Our marketing team will publish 5 blog posts this month by working with a freelance writer.
5. Create a list of keywords to target through keyword research.
Keyword research helps you understand what words people use to research products, services, and content. How to perform keyword research: Brainstorm a list of possible words and topics that people might look up when searching for what you offer. Enter words from your brainstormed list into a keyword research tool, like SEMrush, Ahrefs, or Moz, to find similar relevant terms and metrics for each keyword. Analyze keywords by search volume, clicks, keyword difficulty, cost-per-click, and traffic potential. Narrow your list to about five keywords to start focusing on. Map out where keywords could fit on the buyer’s journey and define their search intent. Choose one or two keywords at a time to use as a content topic.
6. Outline your content marketing strategy to assist with all stages of the buyer's journey.
The buyer’s journey includes the awareness, consideration, and decision stages that each benefit from different types of content: Awareness Stage: Informational blog posts, ebooks, social media posts, white papers, infographics, and how-to videos that help people identify their problem Consideration Stage: Educational webinars, emails, and social media posts that help people find available solutions to their problem. Decision Stage: Specific and informational case studies, promotional content, free trials and demos, customer stories, and offers that show people your company’s specific solution to their problem. Delight Stage – After Purchase: Continue to provide valuable email newsletters, blog posts, videos, webinars, social media posts, and customer surveys to delight customers and turn them into brand promoters. Start by prioritizing one or two pieces of content to create per stage. Use researched keywords as topics.
7. Develop an interdepartmental infrastructure and choose a customer relationship management system (CRM) to align inbound efforts across your company.
Choose a CRM system that offers integration, collaboration between teams, data collection, lead tracking, automation, and a user-friendly interface. Some examples are Salesforce Sales Cloud, HubSpot, Pipedrive, and Zendesk. Schedule a meeting between marketing, sales, and customer service teams to discuss individual and interdepartmental goals for your inbound marketing strategy. Determine a communication channel, like Slack, to keep all teams connected.
8. Design your lead-nurturing process for marketing and sales teams.
Each phase of the flywheel requires different tools and strategies, such as automated chatbots on your website for the engage stage or an email marketing strategy throughout the engage and delight stages. To design your lead-nurturing process: Meet with your sales team to create this process together. Look at your mapped buyer’s journey and your defined marketing triggers as the outline. Create calls to action for each trigger to guide buyer’s down the funnel. Choose which channels of communication to use and prioritize, including email, paid ads, content, website, and social media, based off your buyer persona’s preferences. Use your chosen CRM to set up a customer database. Discuss your lead scoring process and criteria for categories like demographics, budget, interests, and buying stage. Create an email marketing strategy with automated emails for lead nurturing.
9. Develop a plan to improve your SEO by creating optimized content, a link building strategy, and optimized website content using your keyword research and content strategy.
Improving SEO helps your target audience find your website and gives them a better user experience. Optimized websites: Have well-written content with keywords. Have many internal links and external links to show connection between pages. Are linked to by other websites with domain authority, this requires a link building strategy. Contain keyword optimized and useful content like relevant blog posts. Have a logical navigation structure. Are mobile-friendly and responsive. This step may require creating a website, updating and rewriting a website, or adding elements like a blog and pillar pages. Web developers can help properly structure your website for SEO best practices.