“To be successful and grow your business and revenues, you must match the way you market your products with the way your prospects learn about and shop for your products.” – Brian Halligan, HubSpot CEO
Brian Halligan stated this in regards to the effect that inbound marketing has on consumers versus the traditional ways of outbound marketing. Inbound marketing works to bring consumers in, rather than going out and finding them. In today’s digital age, this is done through effective thought leadership, or educational content, that consumers find during a web search. Think about it. When you have a problem, what is the first thing you do? I am quite sure many of you answered with one simple word–Google.
Google provides us with tons of information to help us solve our problems. So when your consumers are searching for solutions to their problems, how will you get found in their search results? It all comes down to inbound marketing.
So buckle up and get ready to implement your own inbound marketing program and start attracting, retaining and delighting your website visitors. We have provided you with a quick start guide to help you get your inbound marketing program started today.
Step 1: Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals
You can’t implement a strategy without having a clearly defined direction to the process. Define your business goals based on where your organization is currently at and where you want to go. Your goals should be S.M.A.R.T. goals, or in other words, objectives that are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely. Define your S.M.A.R.T. goals using these strategies:
- Discovery session: Meet with your team to identify your ideal customers and discuss your key metrics, revenue goals and your sales process.
- Create buyer personas: Having a deep understanding of your target audience will allow you to create relatable and valuable content. Create buyer personas that represent who your buyers are, what they want to accomplish, what their pain points are, and how they make buying decisions.
- Conduct industry research: Understand who your competitors are and how you distinguish your organization from your competition. Your Brand distinction will help guide your inbound marketing efforts.
Step 2: Get Found Online
Your inbound marketing strategy will be of no use to your organization if it is not bringing visitors in. Get found online with these simple elements:
- Keyword research: Find out how consumers are searching for content through keyword research. You can determine their global and local search volume, ranking difficulty and predict the cost of running paid campaigns. Once you determine effective keywords, integrate them into your content in order to attract your target audience.
- Search engine optimization (SEO): Optimize every page that is created on your website by including appropriate keywords, page properties and image tags to increase your rankings in search engines.
- Build an editorial calendar: Building an editorial calendar ensures that you are publishing and promoting content on a regular basis. Schedule content, build on relevant topics and stay organized by crafting an editorial calendar based on your buyer personas.
- Blogging: A blog brings traffic to your site through relevant and fresh articles. Build your blog based on your buyer personas and their pain points to get your website found online.
- Social media marketing: Allow your content to be shared on social media platforms. It is an effective way to reach your target audience and increase interaction.
Step 3: Generate Leads
Converting visitors into leads is an important step in the buyer’s journey. Your visitor has raised their hand and stated they are interested in a specific product or service you specialize in. Grab your visitors’ attention and convert them into leads with these tools:
- Thought leadership content: These are offers that contain unique information specific to your target audience’s interests. Visitors will be willing to fill out a form with their contact information in exchange for this content.
- Landing Pages: Landing pages are what visitors will land on when they are interested in your thought leadership content. Your landing page should inform visitors and direct them to fill out your form to receive your offer.
- Calls-to-action (CTAs): CTAs direct your website visitors to a specific landing page with thought leadership content. Its design and copy should grab the visitors’ attention and compel them to learn more about your offer.
Step 4: Acquire New Customers
We all know that acquiring new customers is the key to sustainability. Because if you aren’t trying to grow your business and you are not selling to customers, how do you stay afloat? Acquire new customers through inbound marketing with these key strategies:
- Integrate the buyer’s journey: Integrating the sales funnel into your inbound marketing campaigns will allow you to tailor your content and strategies to your target audience. Segment leads based on who they are, how much they’ve interacted with you, what kind of content they want to receive, and what part of the sales funnel you want them to receive it in.
- Build automated workflows: Nurture your leads through automated workflows to help move them through your sales funnel. Automating the process helps you track the results and ensures you are targeting your efforts to the right consumers.
- Closed-loop marketing: This allows the sales team to report what happened to the leads that marketing provided. With closed-loop marketing, you can plan more strategically on your future marketing efforts.
Step 5: Retain Current Customers
Retaining customers is just (if not more) important as acquiring new ones. Don’t forget about the people who have already found an interest in your product or service. Give them more information on the topics they have shown interest in with these tools:
- Educational content: Retain your current customers by continuing to offer them educational pieces on the topics they are interested in. There may even be an opportunity to cross-sell, but your customer may not be aware of it. Using content to speak to your current customers will allow you to stay on top of their minds.
- Segmented customer newsletters: Send segmented customer newsletters so current customers can see your organization as an expert in the industry.
Step 6: Analyze Your Results
Marketing is an ongoing process. The industry is always changing, and what is working today may not be working tomorrow. Always analyze the results of your inbound marketing campaigns to ensure your strategies are producing effective results. You can do this through:
- Benchmarks: Measure marketing benchmarks to determine how your organization is performing, and apply those results to future campaigns to increase their effectiveness.
- On and offsite analysis: Always analyze your strategies, both on and off your website. How did your campaign perform? Did you reach your goals? Did you gain a positive ROI?
- Monthly reporting: Monthly reporting will help organize your results to see how your campaigns are performing overall. Track key performance indicators so you can customize your goals based on your previous performances.
Implementing a strategic inbound marketing campaign will allow you to not only retain existing customers, but also nurture prospects and convert them from leads to customers. Before you know it, you will have a contact database full of Brand loyal customers. Learn more about inbound marketing in our eBook, Tools of the Trade: 7 Fundamentals of an Effective Inbound Marketing Campaign. We walk you through the 7 tools that will help get your marketing campaign on the fast track to success.
Get your inbound marketing program started with these simple steps. Let's touch base and I will put the Hult Team’s experience to work for you. We can connect at 309-673-8191 or firstname.lastname@example.org, and together, we can create a better focus on your Brand.