Building a successful Inbound Marketing campaign is a process which involves many different elements. Setting goals, reaching your audience, converting leads and analysing your data, are all part of this process. However, the most important link in the chain is the initial inbound marketing strategy phase, which lays the foundation for the rest of the campaign to be built upon. Building a successful strategy will put you in good stead to launch a thriving campaign, generate qualified leads and start growing your business!
To get you going, we have put together the 5 key steps to build a successful Inbound Marketing strategy.
1). Creating Your Perfect Buyer Personas
The first step in your inbound marketing strategy is to define exactly who your target customers are. This doesn’t necessarily mean who your current customers are, but rather who you want your customers to be. This stage really is crucial to the success of your campaign. Your personas are what will lead you in your efforts of blog creation, content offers, email marketing, even down to the language you use. It is well worth spending the time to get this stage right.
So how do you get started on this? The best place to start is by looking at your existing customers. Which customers do you love working with? Which customers are happy to take your advice on board? Which customers spend the most money with you? (of course this is important too!). By analysing your customer-base you will start to see trends and can begin to put together a profile of your perfect customer. This will also help you to identify who is not your perfect customer, and from this you can develop negative buyer personas – people who ring alarm bells and you do not want to work with.
A good place to start is Hubspot’s Free Make My Personas Tool. From here you can get a picture of your perfect buyer personas, right down to age, demographics, gender, job type. The further you can drill down, the better. Give your persona a name and make sure everyone in your company knows who they are and what they stand for.
2). Create Killer Content and Enticing Offers
Once you know who your ideal customer is, identified their pain points and what problems they are trying to solve, you need to put together a content strategy that will draw them in. Have a brainstorming session to identify possible search terms your audience will use when looking for solutions to their problem. After brainstorming, use keyword search tools to get real data on search volume and competition. This will help form your decision on what blog posts to include in your content strategy. Your blog posts will need to resonate with your audience, acknowledge their problem and provide possible solutions.
Your audience will be no doubt be grateful for your expertise and may even share your blog post and tell their friends. Obviously this is great, but without the opportunity to capture their details it will fall short of a successful campaign. This is where “content offers” come into play.
A content offer is a helpful resource with the potential to convert a reader into a lead. If a user is already on your blog post because it is providing them with useful information, your content offer should entice them further by expanding on the blog post. It could be anything from an eBook, checklist, or white-paper, to a podcast, webinar or a software demo. Exactly what the best form of content offer is will depend on your business, which industry you are in, and what stage in the buyer’s journey your audience is at.
3). Maximise Your Lead Conversion Paths
Once you have decided on your content offers, you need to make sure your audience can find them and easily download them. This process will include a call-to-action (CTA) which can be a button, hotspot or simple text link, a landing page and a form. The CTA needs to stand out sufficiently for the user to notice it, have a strong call-to-action message, and be placed in a relevant position on the page.
Clicking on the CTA will take the user to your landing page, where they can find out more about your content offer and how it will benefit them. In return for providing your users with helpful and timely content, it is fair to ask them to leave their details with you for future communication. This is where your form comes in, and is somewhat of a balancing act… You don’t want to ask for too many details and risk putting them off. But by the same token, the more details you have, the better you can prepare for future conversations.
The secret here is to balance the usefulness of your offer against the potential aggravation of leaving their details. If you’re unsure, start with just a name and email field and analyse the results. You can always change this up and add more fields until you hit the sweet-spot.
To find out more about landing page design, check out our Web Design Tips: How to design the perfect landing page.
4). Promote, Promote and Promote Your Campaign
Your blog, content offer and campaign are no good to anyone if they can’t be found. And making sure they can be found (and found by the right people) is a major part of your Inbound Marketing strategy.
So how do you so it?
The first step is to ensure that your blog posts are fully optimised for SEO. Ensure that your page title and description tags are optimised and targeted, and that your blog content is utilising its headings, key phrases, and inbound and outbound links effectively. This will set your blog post in good stead to be indexed by the search engines and start driving traffic… But, this on its own is not enough. You also need to actively promote your blog posts.
Social media is a great place to start promoting your content, so make sure you include this in your strategy. And don’t just include it as an afterthought, put time into curating your social media posts to make them catchy and enticing. Different social networks will work better for different business and industries. During your buyer persona creation you should have identified where they are most likely to ‘hang out’, so take advantage of this research. Also trial different social media platforms and different days and times, in order to find the most effective method.
Get ‘social’ and use social media to build relationships with industry leaders and influencers. By engaging with them and commenting on their posts, they are more likely to reciprocate. It is important to select profiles with high traffic, but also ensure that their followers are similar to your own buyer personas.
Don’t forget email! It’s still one of the most popular communication methods, and should definitely be utilised to reach out to your customers and potential customers. Send out regular newsletters and email-shots to your mailing list with your latest blog posts and content offers included.
5). Implement a Nurturing Strategy to Convert Leads into Sales
Nurturing your leads during each stage of their journey is an essential part of your campaign. The first step is attracting them to your blog post and content offer, but don’t stop there. Creating a follow-up email sequence is a great way to build on the communication and keep your prospects interested. By providing links to additional, relevant blog posts, content offers and resources, you can strengthen your relationship and move them along the sales funnel.
Email is just one method and it does have its own problems. For example, email open rates are fairly low with four out of five marketers saying their email open rates don’t exceed 20%. To counter this it makes sense to use multi-channel lead nurturing strategies, including social media, marketing automation, paid re-targeting, dynamic website content and direct sales outreach. By aligning your marketing and sales team processes, these strategies can be very effective in helping to optimise your conversion rates.
Following these 5 steps when creating your Inbound Marketing Strategy will help ensure you deliver the right message, to the right people, at the right time. Your campaign requires a solid foundation to build upon to deliver qualified leads, higher conversions and more customers for your business!
To find out more about Inbound Marketing, get in touch with our team for a friendly, no obligation chat.