Inbound Marketing Plans
So you’ve crafted marketing strategy based on your business goals and even hired a web designer to make your site responsive. Unfortunately, your landing pages and online ads still don’t convert leads. And your company’s new Pinterest and YouTube accounts don’t generate enough leads for conversion.
If you don’t have an Inbound Marketing plan yet, chances are it’s the piece you need to complete your marketing puzzle. Inbound marketing is the yeast that makes your marketing dough rise. Failing to add it, you’ll end up with a flat and tasteless bread.
What is Inbound Marketing, anyway? Marketers don’t agree on a single definition. Seth Godin coined a synonymous term, permission marketing. Others use the term interchangeably with content marketing. So what is it really? Put simply, inbound marketing is a three-phase process:
- Phase One: Attracting visitors via content creation. Your goal here is to attract leads and nurture prospects through engaging and compelling content.
- Phase Two: Conversion of your website visitors to Leads. Here you collect data, track qualified or good leads and seamlessly pass them to your sales team.
- Phase Three: Analysis of data for onsite conversion improvements and to re-market to Leads that became Customers. This is where you put success metrics to work, analyze results, and make smarter marketing decisions. That’s money in the bank.
Connecting Inbound With Your Marketing Plan
Unlike traditional or outbound marketing, Inbound is all about helping your potential customers find your company and value your product through search engines, social media, blogs and other content-based channels.
Many marketers pit Inbound against outbound. The good news is, Inbound Marketing Strategy can work well with your old marketing strategy. You don’t necessarily need to abandon completely your native advertising strategies. With Inbound Marketing, you may consider re-allocating some of your budget to content creation for organic traffic. And you can still launch online paid search through Google Adwords in tandem with paid dynamic banner campaigns.
Here’s a brief outline on how to craft an Inbound strategy that naturally becomes part of your overall marketing plan:
- Hire an Inbound Marketing Consultant or inbound ad agency. Established businesses often have in-house marketers who do a bulk of traditional marketing work. While they know digital channels exist, it’s better to have an individual or team of experts manage and look at your inbound marketing strategy with fresh eyes. The same approach works for starting businesses.
- Inbound strategies should serve business goals. Make them actionable and measurable. It’s actionable if it triggers a behavior from your potential customers. It’s measurable if you can track and analyze it according to a set of pre-set standards. That’s why generating page views isn’t a strategy. Blogging to nurture leads and prepare them down the path of purchase is a strategy.
- Beware of a cut-and-paste inbound marketing strategy. Since “Inbound” became the buzzword in the marketing world, a lot of agencies and businesses began to promote their strategies as foolproof. The truth is, what works for them might not work you.
Testing Your Inbound Marketing Strategy
Once you have an Inbound plan laid out and implemented, it’s time to test how your marketing efforts are working. How’s your conversion rate for each content channel? Which channel accounts for your biggest lead generation rate? Don’t you think you should spend time nurturing leads in this channel? (this is where an expert can really help).
More importantly, test your inbound marketing strategy against your overall marketing plan goals & objectives. This will help you know which areas to prioritize and which ones to ignore. It may even change the way you think about marketing.
It’s obvious why a plan without Inbound marketing strategies is doomed to fail in this hyper-connected age. We all know that new sales leads are the life blood of your business. Inbound Marketing, when done right, can guarantee you exactly that–a steady flow of leads.