Few years ago, businesses published regular blog content & were rewarded by Google for their content marketing prowess. Marketers followed a defined SEO strategy & were idolised for it. Today, these (and many more) activities fall effortlessly into Inbound Marketing.
An inbound marketing campaign can help your company grow by using digital channels in an organized and measurable way. Usually the goals for inbound campaigns involve certain marketing goals, like increased visits, improved conversion rates, defined marketing qualified leads, and (of course) increased total customers.
Your website serves as the foundation for all inbound marketing activities. Inbound marketing not only produces a steady stream of business through your website, but does so at a much cheaper cost than outbound marketing. To build this kind of plan, you need to know how each piece of the puzzle works together to attract potential clients to your business and ultimately convert their attention into sales.
Good news is you’ve identified that your buyers are more likely to convert when they are actively seeking the services you offer. This little blackbook today will help you to break down the key steps that will effectively work together to build one consistent online strategy.
Step 1: Create & Target Personas
The first step is to clearly define your buyer personas. Your first inbound campaign should target your primary persona —the person who will most likely become a future customer. This will help you tailor your messaging and create a focused campaign across all channels.
Let’s say you are a shoe manufacturer, making both running shoes and high heels, but you want to increase the number of leads wanting heels. This has a huge impact on the kind of website you will create because its content will be aimed at women who want shoes for work or events, not for running at the track. This messaging should stay consistent in your emails, PPC ads, social media posts, and other inbound campaign tactics.
Step 2: Pick intent-driven keywords
A strategy is arguably the most important element of any inbound marketing program. Not all keywords are created the same. The right keywords can create a difference between 100 vs 1,000+ organic visitors per month.
Therefore, before building your first campaign through various channels, you need to find strong keywords. You need keywords that concur with the search intent (purpose or objective) at every stage in your campaign.
Now that you have targeted your personas, ask yourself these questions:
- What keywords are my personas typing into search engines?
- Are these keywords achievable on my website?
- How can I use these keywords in my inbound marketing efforts?”
If your keywords are intent-driven, targets the right persona, has an appropriate search volume (e.g., 250) per month, and have a difficulty of 30 or less then you are definitely on the right track.
Step 3: Create Shareable Blog Posts
Use your new long-tail keywords to create enticing blog posts that educate your target prospects on topics related to your offer.
Unfortunately, a ‘build it and they will come’ approach isn’t viable in inbound marketing, the purpose of content marketing is to provide worth or value. These may come in the form of guides, whitepapers, video, blog post, case study, podcast, webinar, and more.
Stay away from posts that sell the reader and focus more on educating and providing real value. Make sure the bottom of the blog post includes a clear CTA to engage your visitor and hopefully, converts them into a lead.
But if you have a video that you are promoting, you can actually cross-promote this on your blog. For your blog article, you could write a concise preface to the video, and give some teasers to your audience about it. This helps to get the search engine optimization component behind your video while directing people to the landing page to watch it. No matter what industry your business operates in, you can create amazing blog posts with some creativity and scheduling.
Step 4: Create an Effective Conversion Path
Holistic inbound marketing campaign addresses each stage of the buyer journey, with a combination of relevant content assets and premium offers. A conversion path consists of a landing page with a form, a call-to-action (CTA), a thank-you page, and corresponding thank-you email. This pathway lets people interact with your content while also giving you information about themselves and their interests or goals.
Each stage of the buyer journey is addressed with a gated content offer to capture leads and supporting content to direct visitors to that offer. Once someone enters your conversion path to access a piece of content, that person generally becomes a lead. This is mandatory to the success of inbound campaigns; you can’t give content away without knowing where it will land because then you can’t capture leads, nurture people, or understand the impact and success of each campaign.
PRO TIP: Follow the three B’s when building landing pages:
- Brief — stick to the point!
- Bullet Point Benefits — tell them why it is valuable?
- Blink Test—check if you can find the value of this page within 7 seconds?
Step 5: Segment Leads & Build Email Workflows
Now that you have leads, it’s time to follow up in a valuable way. This nurturing process is typically done through email, so people still have control over their time but can easily find your content when they are ready, sending emails at the right time in the right way with personalised campaigns & automation.
By creating the right lists, you can target the right people at the right time in their individual buyer’s journey. Lists are typically broken down to align with both personas and the different stages of your buyer’s journey and can be easily created and managed in HubSpot. Inbound campaigns are also fascinating because you can track how a customer first came to your website and understand the steps they took— which is a huge boost to ROI.
PRO TIP: Suppose a lead downloads your e-book on the best high-heeled shoes for prom. Next, you can send them an email that follows up with some tips on how to dance in heels. Next, you might send an email that pairs heels with different prom dresses, showing your product and including an offer to save 15%.
Step 6: Analyze & Adjust For Every Campaign
After all your channelized efforts, make sure that you record the development and analyze it. The reward from the planning will overshadow all the investment in regards to time and money required to reach your goals. Only good and careful planning will get you the preferred rewards and smoother execution.
Inbound marketing may sound difficult, but a good team can make it work for you by customizing a plan that perfectly fits your needs.
Not every strategy works for every business. You need to shape up your own strategy for inbound. If your performance is not up to your original expectations, that just means there is room for improvement with the next campaign. Change up your strategy, the types of offers you are making, your messaging and the look and feel of your CTAs.
Step 7: Promote Content on Social Media Channels
As mentioned previously, sharing your content on social media is very influential. It can be used to connect with your customers, provide information to leads, and of course, promote new inbound marketing campaigns. When promoting your offer, choose the social media channels where your personas get the most engaged. You can promote the landing page of the offer, blog posts, and other campaign assets.
PRO TIP: Use Twitter to post the same content more than once. By varying messages and trying different times of the day, you can reach more customers. Twitter feeds move so quickly that it is safe to do this without being spammy, unlike with LinkedIn and Facebook.
Inbound marketing is a truly diverse practice, but one with incredible revenue opportunities for so many businesses, developing a strong and successful inbound marketing campaign is both an art and science.
The art comes in as you are learning about your buyers, crafting your messaging, and writing your content to articulate with your audience.
The science is to know what to do, following the steps to building an inbound campaign and using data to inform and influence your decision making throughout the process.
Obviously not all inbound marketing campaigns are alike, even ones targeting the same buyer persona. To implement it effectively, organisations need skilled team members, supportive systems and the strategic expertise to analyse and improve regularly.