Simply dabbling in inbound marketing is not really effective. It takes a buy-in from your entire team and a well-organized plan to show real results. It is also important to note that inbound is a long-term strategy. It can take up to six months to start showing a return on investment, but once you do, inbound strategies can feed your pipeline consistently for years to come. Here’s how to get started.
Inbound Marketing Assessment
Running a thorough assessment on your current inbound activities will give you insights on where you need to focus your resources. Including a competitive analysis will allow you to see how you stack up with the competition and what other successful companies in your space are doing. These assessments should take a detailed look into your website, social media pages, content and SEO.
Inbound Marketing Plan
“Whether you’re launching a new startup company or looking for quick ways to revamp your enterprise marketing activities, a solid plan can make the difference between treading water and achieving exponential growth.” As with any aspect of business, it’s a good idea to have a solid plan to start with. While tweaks may be made throughout the life of your plan, a well-thought-out inbound marketing plan will lay the foundation for successful campaigns. Everything found in this blog, and more, should be a part of your plan.
Buyer Persona Development
“A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. When creating your buyer persona(s), consider including customer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals. The more detailed you are, the better.” In order for inbound marketing to work, you need to know how to reach your audience, what content will resonate with them and what makes them tick. Buyer personas provide you with the tools you need to create compelling content that speaks directly to your target audience.
“Keyword research provides you with specific search data that can help you answer questions like: What are people searching for?, How many people are searching for it?, In what format do they want that information?” Although search engines are now more focused on topic clusters than individual or long tailed keywords, they still play a major role in building the SEO of your website. Keyword research allows you to craft content and topic clusters that resonate with your audience and improve your rankings.
“B2B companies that blogged 11+ times per month had almost 3X more traffic than those blogging 0 - 1 times per month. Companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got about 4.5X more leads than companies that published between 0 - 4 monthly posts.” Blogging is perhaps the most important aspect of inbound marketing. Consistent blogging efforts help to improve SEO, gives you a ton of social media content that directs visitors to your website and allows you to promote the premium offers that will convert visitors to leads. Creating a blog calendar will help your team stay organized and on time with content development. Despite the opinions of critics, both volume and quality are equally important.
Premium Content Creation
“Premium or gated assets are typically longer form, and/or more time-intensive pieces that don't exist on a blog. They might be used to generate leads or contacts, or for brand-building purposes.” Premium offers are what allow you to turn your website into a lead generation tool. Having a variety of offers that range from eBooks, white papers and case studies to videos and surveys will keep your offers fresh and help you to determine the pain points and stage of the buyer’s journey of your prospects.
Search Engine Optimization
“Search engine rankings are determined by hundreds of different factors. Crawl accessibility, compelling content, keyword optimization, user experience, shareworthy content, title, URL and description as well as snippets are all essential elements in improving your rankings.” The technical aspects of SEO such as title, URL and description should be taken care of early in your process. The creation of high-quality content that is optimized for search engines will be the most important thing you do for SEO. Developing topic clusters and having a plan for obtaining backlinks will also play an integral role.
Website optimization is all about creating a user-friendly experience and generating leads. Calls to action that link to landing pages with premium offers should be placed on every static page as well as every blog post. Each offer should be relevant to the page it is housed on. Menus should be clear and functional. Sufficient whitespace should be left to make your content easily digestible. Links to your social pages should be included to encourage shares and followers. High quality images and consistent branding with make your site easily identifiable and help to leave a good impression on your visitors.
Social Media Strategy
Social media play an integral role in the success of your inbound marketing strategy. Distributing blogs through your social pages and industry relevant discussion groups is an essential piece of content distribution. Your pages should provide educational and entertainment value. A social media posting calendar will help keep your pages fresh and active. Visual content is a must. Videos, infographics and memes are some of the most shared content online. Profiles should be optimized with proper descriptions and contact information. Social media tends to be the first place a prospect will visit once they’ve become familiar with your company. Aside from an avenue to generate leads, social media is irreplaceable when it comes to building your brand.