6 Keys to Planning an Inbound Marketing Strategy

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Without a solid strategy you’re setting yourself up failure. It’s easy to want to jump right in and start executing marketing activities. But if they aren’t aligned and working towards a common purpose, your work will be in vain. In the video below, I highlight 6 keys to planning an inbound marketing strategy.

Video Transcript:

One of the things that we do or talk about often here is inbound marketing. How inbound works. We’ve discussed what inbound is and the difference between inbound and outbound, but for a brief overview, inbound marketing is any kind of marketing that pulls users towards you, invites them into that conversation with you. Examples of this would be blogging, search engine optimization. These are the actions where the user opts in to hear from you.

And this allows for you to have a much higher ROI and response because they have opted in to hear from you, you didn’t interrupt their lives by buying advertising, placing that in front of them. So inbound is a very popular strategy. There’s a lot of businesses and companies using it. It’s nothing new. It’s been around for quite a while. I’m more into talking about how we can do that effectively and what the six keys to inbound are.

The economy has changed, right? People are now doing things a lot different. Today’s consumers, they’re doing their own research. In fact they’re going to do, if you have 57% of their own research before they ever make a purchasing decision, they’re going to go online and go to read reviews. They’re going to read blogs, they’re going to really educate themselves on the different needs that they have. Sales has changed too, so people aren’t just starting the sales conversation off and having to educate them from there. Most of the people coming in to the sales conversation already have an idea of what’s going on. So what would it mean to your business if you connected with your customers earlier in their decision making stage? What would it mean if you could become that authoritative figure in the conversation and already educate them before they’re ever making that purchasing decision?

Seth Godin is a marketer and maybe you’ve read some of his books. He’s pretty famous in a lot of regards from the tech industry or into the marketing industry as well. Here’s a really great quote from Seth that says, “Don’t find customers from your products, find products for your customers.” A lot of times you hear people talk about making minimal viable products or just kind of testing products and the reason they’re doing that is they’re trying to figure out what people like the best instead of dictating what people need. People have needs. And if we can find out what those needs are, we can find products to fit those needs for them.

Instead, sort of trying to shove something down somebody’s throat that they don’t want, there’s been a lot of great products that honestly just people didn’t have a use for, a need for and that’s why they fail. But if you create things that people want, it’s going to be much easier to sell it to them, market it to them, and educate them because it’s a product that they’ve already raised their hands and said, “Yes, I need this. I have a need that needs to be filled.”

How can you be in the driver’s seat instead of just letting your business happen? And instead of letting customers steer your ship fully or really dictate whether or not they’re going to come to your shop. How do you make sure that you are doing the best that you can to influence their decisions but also create relationships with them early in the process? So that you’re not guessing about your growth, but instead you’re generating growth for your company. So each of these following six areas we are going to talk about, they hold a ton of potential for your company. And if you align them and add them together and build strategy around them, you can have very, very good success.

All right, so these are the six keys to claiming an inbound marketing strategy where you start with buyer personas, this is understanding who your ideal customer is and then we’ve got to talk about attracting new leads. How are people going to find you? Who are the people that are searching for you and then how are you going to convert them into leads? In of attracting visitors to your site. You want them to convert and then how do you build out automated nurturing this way people are being followed up with and engaged with over time and you’re not having to wonder if you have the right cadence or talk to people. Then we have to talk about customer delight.  How do we overwhelm our customers with good feelings about our brand, about our company so that they are so delighted in what we’re bringing that they’re going to tell other people and they’re going to become repeat buyers and continue to need to help us grow our business.

Again, you’ve maybe heard that saying that it’s a lot cheaper to maintain current customers than it is to go out and always look for acquiring new customers. And lastly, scaling for growth is essential. It’s a key when you’re talking about business growth is building a sustainable system that can grow with you overtime.

Who are you trying to reach? Buyers, personas. These are an overview of your ideal customer. This is you looking at who you want to sell to and you want to start with things like demographics. Just a basic understanding of who they are. Are they males? Are they females? What’s their job like? This is just getting an idea of who these people are.

When you use real data, it’s going to help give you a better picture of who your potential customers are, who your potential clients are. Those people who want to grow with you, you want to write a background, give them a background story, makes them real, understand their core functions and their roles within their own organization and how they’re supposed to interact with you and then when you’re also building a buyer persona understand the common questions that they have.

What are the questions that they’re asking day in and day out to solve the problems that they’re faced with? Problems that you can solve, but also problems that may not be fully related to what you can solve. That when you’re understanding what they’re doing and how they’re interacting day to day and understanding really who they are as an individual and the problems that they’re  having. This is going to help when it comes to content.

Content is extremely important in talking about inbound and when you have those questions, indirect content around those questions to answer those questions specifically. Next, we want to attract people to our site. Now there’s lots of ways to do this from organic search. This is things like SEO when it comes to optimizing your site to make sure that you’re found in the search engines. This is direct traffic. So these are people who know who we are. This is making sure that you rank for branding names and making sure that you have your URL and it’s accessible and it’s easy to use it and find it.

There’s a lot of companies that try to get cute with their URLs. They make it very hard for people to remember those URLs, makes it hard for them to visit your site and understand or know where to go to find more value, referral sites and guest blogging.

Getting your content on other sites and building rapport with other bloggers and other people online with reputation. That’s helped SEO with backlinks to show how valuable your business is in the community and the authority that you have. And this referral traffic can be very targeted because it can be from thought leaders and people in that industry that you’re already working with and serving. We talked about email marketing, so these are people, maybe you’ve gotten a bunch of emails from potential clients where you can reach out to them and really direct them back to your site.

This are social media sites. Make sure that you’re posting, adding relevant information. And again, you’re not only overly promoting yourself, but you’re also adding value to those followers. And then you can do some paid traffic.

This is where Google PPC could come in or Facebook ads where yes, you’re paying to drive people to your site, but then you’re paying to show value as well. So we’re getting down their sites and we’re having links or ads that are highly relevant to the queries that the people are putting into the search engines or typing into their browsers. And this can also help drive people in an inbound sense is when you are answering questions that they are looking for answers specifically for, once you get them to your site, then you need to convert them.

And so this is making sure that you have a conversion path and that you don’t just have maybe one random contact list button that you don’t know anything else about the prospect or you’re having them, they’ll contact you. Well by creating premium content offers like eBooks or slide decks or videos where you can give a ton of value but attract people to your site and help them raise your hands so you can ask them things like their name, their email, but also a little bit about who they are as a person.

Give them an opportunity to give you their information and give them something of really high value back to them. Maybe it’s something like six steps to building an inbound marketing strategy or something else along that line. And again, in order to do this, you want to make sure that you have a call to action, these are CTAs. These are buttons. If you’ve been on our blog before, you might have seen these at the bottom of the blog where we talk about something and then we offer a premium piece of content at the end, which then directs you to a landing page.

This is where you deliver that offer and you allow them to fill out a form. This space can be customized, but you want to optimize it and make it very clear what your delivering, make sure that they know right away this is an eBook and you’re going to exchange some information with us and we’re going to give you some really valuable content in exchange we might contact you to learn more about a business or we can solve your problems, make it simple, make it optimized for search, but also make it optimized for the user that they clearly know what they are going to get.

Now, once you have emails, which is extremely powerful, and this is, I think, the bread and butter and the juice behind inbound is building your list and the reason your list is so important is you own your list.

Google could go out one day, Facebook could disappear one day. But I highly doubt that all of email will go away and disappear. By building your own email list, you have a way to engage. You have a way to contact those potential buyers from your current buyers to continue to build that relationship with them. When you’re nurturing your leads and you want to get their email, maybe they’ve downloaded what we call an awareness stage piece of content. This is recognizing their pain, but they’re your prospects. They’re not fully aware of the solutions available to them yet. You’re introducing them to how the problems could be solved.

And your job in nurturing is to move them from awareness to decision. The decision is where they begin to make a decision about what they’re going to buy and what that next step is going to be for them. You want to create different offers to each layer or level of the funnel awareness, consideration, decision, and then you want to use an automated email nurturing to move them off when you’re educating them at each stage of the funnel where you’re sending them good blog content, you’re sending them good articles, you’re sending them other pieces of premium content that you’ve created.

You’re connecting them with your software partners or other partners in the industry depending on the industries you serve. Can you walk them through the stages? When you build out this list and you nurture this list, it begins to be extremely powerful for driving people through the funnel and driving people into a place where they can make a decision to connect with your business.

Now, automation is great tool for this because you can set it, you can look at the metrics, you can watch people how they move and adjust there, but you’re not having to remind yourself all the time to send out emails and follow up with people. I highly recommend investing, we use HubSpot, we’re a HubSpot partner here, but there’s a number of other automation tools as well. And if you have any questions about those, please comment below whether you want to get an introduction to the HubSpot or maybe some of the other tools you might be using. But automation is extremely powerful, whether you’re a small business, a medium sized business or a large business, it just allows you to do so much more and relying on the power of technology to help deliver your message in a timely manner.

Now, once you’ve done this and maybe you’ve closed them into a customer, your next thing you need to do is the light that this is how you get customers to buy from you over and over and repeat customers, those customers that have longer lifetime value are the ones that are going to deliver you more and more revenue and really help your company grow because the initial purchase, it took some time to acquire them as a customer. It took some monetary expenses to acquire them as a customer. But once in the beginning make repeat purchases over time, that’s just revenue and that revenue is not costing you as much if anything anymore. So this is why it’s important that when a customer has a good experience with your brand and you allow them to engage with you in a positive way and you’ve got to go over and above and supporting them and educating them and making sure that the entire process is really awesome.

They’re more likely to not only buy from you again, but they’re more likely to refer you to a friend. And that’s the best form of marketing, honestly, is customer referrals because happy customers will send you other people who are more likely than not like them as well.

People tend to hang out with similar people so you can almost bet that the customers, your best customers are going to refer you to, are going to be awesome as well. So make sure that you really, you take the time to engage with your customers and delight them and don’t just stop marketing to them. Don’t stop sharing stories with them. Don’t stop engaging with them after they’ve bought, make sure that you continue to put yourself out in front so that they can drive up not only a customer lifetime value, but are so delighted that they’re also sharing your story with others.

This is where relationship building comes in and why it’s so important to not forget about taking the time to engage with your buyers, engage with these people over and over again. Lastly, you want to make sure that your marketing efforts are sustainable. What happens a lot of times is businesses begin to market and begin to grow and then they run out of time to market themselves because they’re so busy serving clients who are making new products or selling that they don’t have a repeatable process. And that stops then from marketing and what happens is they nose dive and then they begin to find problems and are not generating leads anymore.

I mean leads are not closing new business and there’s some up and down wave. If you want to have sustained growth over time, you need to build a repeatable system, a system that’s not extremely difficult, a system that doesn’t have all of these variables in that you could hand off as a business owner and allow yourself to build and build and build, it happens over time.

Your growth not only goes up, but you can build… Kind of works like it’s the stock market, right? It’s just compounding interest and the more you invest upfront and the longer you invest and you build a process that’s going to repeat itself, it’s going to build over time. So inbound is a powerful way to engage. Let’s go back a couple slides here.

Again, making sure that we look at these six keys one last time. You having buyer persona and knowing who you’re targeting, having a way to attract people to your site, have a way to convert them, have a way to automate them and delight them and then scale your business for growth. These are six powerful keys to having effective inbound strategy. And when you put them together and you synchronize them, this is where the rubber hits the road, right?

This is where you separate the pros from the Joe’s and if you take time to invest in these areas and you take time to set them up, a lot of people are so worried about going and going and going and getting things done fast, but they forget to do the things that are essential to ensure that they have growth.

And this is early where you take time in the beginning to slow down, set your campaign up right, to set your marketing strategy up right and then you can reap the benefits along the way. These are foundational and without a good foundation, without building your foundation on stone, it’s going to crumble. It’s going to fall apart and you’re going to be frustrated. If  you have any questions about inbound building, a strategy, or any of these six areas please comment below. We’d love to continue the conversation and until next time, Happy Marketing.

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