Inbound marketing strategy was rarely discussed on the internet or in marketing circles until a few years ago. Today exceptional online success requires an inbound marketing strategy. The shift to attracting new clients & customers through inbound versus outbound is real. Millions of marketing budget dollars are being shifted from traditional outbound to inbound.
Go ahead and re-allocate the budgeted funds, but before you jump into inbound, invest in an inbound marketing strategy. There are 4 steps to creating a great inbound marketing strategy.
Following these steps sets the stage for attraction of new clients/customers through inbound marketing. Following the plan will help you attract Visitors to your website, convert Visitors to Leads and turn Leads into Customers and Repeat Customers.
Step 1: Identify Your Goals, Objectives and Target Customer Personas
Establish high-level goals and measurable objectives for your Inbound Marketing. You’ll do this by balancing your company revenue and profit needs with your target customers’ needs.
You may already understand customer types your business is adept at attracting. Formalize those customers into groups, segmenting them by demographics, lifestyle, title/position similarities and shared purchasing habits. These are called “Customer Personas.”
Is your first point of contact with prospects at the product research phase? Do you know that your best customers are women 25-29 who have 2 kids and drive a domestic mini-van? Understand your target customer and their needs. Structure your online goals & objectives with these needs in mind.
If you don’t set goals & objectives at the beginning, you’ll have no way of measuring success.
Step 2: Develop an Attraction Plan
Good inbound marketing strategy starts with knowing your product/service offerings and the motivations for purchase. You can then design easy access to purchase.
Create customer attraction through SEO and SEM best practices outside of your website. By understanding your prospects’ needs and their place in the purchase cycle, you’ll direct prospects to the appropriate content on your website based on the words prospects use in their search queries.
Of course, this requires you to create onsite content that fulfills the need of your prospects at their point of entry to your website. Well designed landing pages will facilitate ease of entry to your website. This is Content Strategy in action.
A Call-To-Action (CTA) map delivers your website content. Once these visitors are at your site, you need to figure out how best to get something from them, anything from an email address to an order. Your target audience has found you and you’ve given them something; now you need to get something back from them.
Step 3: Establish Online Analytics
What’s your current customer worth in dollars & cents? What’s your average sales transaction? What percentage of your business is repeat business?
Know the answers to these questions before you begin looking at Google analytics. Why? Because it’s not only about numbers. Prospects and customers create these numbers. Success comes from satisfying customers. Positive numbers based on consumer behavior on your site will demonstrate this satisfaction.
When you visit your own website, interact with it as if you’re the prospect. Note possible navigation and sales barriers. Look for dead ends. Only now should you look at your numbers.
In addition to Google, you’re going to want to invest in inbound software like Hubspot or something similar, because now you’re ready to track online behavior from Visitors, track conversions of Visitors to Leads, as well as, track online and offline sales.
A professionally written inbound marketing strategy will define baseline analytics for you based on the above criteria and the goals and objectives outlined in the earlier part of the plan.
Step 4: Opportunity Analysis
Once you have traffic coming in you will want to keep it incoming. Now it’s time to attract more Visitors and discover and break down barriers to entry and sales. Your Visitor, Lead and Customer habits provide numbers that expose gaps in performance. Fine-tuning content, CTA maps, site design, paid search and landing pages is dictated by gaps that are preventing you from achieving your goals & objectives.
Developing an inbound marketing strategy can be daunting, but there are inbound marketing companies who can help your company convert to attraction marketing from interruption marketing.
Outbound marketing certainly has a place in any business. Creating and implementing an inbound marketing strategy in tandem with your outbound efforts creates efficiency in your marketing budget. This results in better ROI when measured dollar-for-dollar invested. Your marketing message will reach internet shoppers who have never heard your traditional marketing message.