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How To Plan Your Inbound Marketing Strategy

Courtesy Of HubSpot Software Graphic By HubSpot Software - http://www.hubspot.com/inbound-marketing

Trying to plan your inbound marketing strategy may seem like a daunting task if you don't know where to start. You don't want to do it "wrong" and waste time and money. You have a learning curve in front of you, as a small business, and you most likely don't have a dedicated marketing person. That being said, you do want your business to succeed, right? If you didn't say yes, stop reading. Of course you want to succeed and grow. That's the underlying goal for any business.

So, how can you make planning your inbound marketing strategy less painful, and seem like less of a chore? Simple, step back and look at the overall process you want to achieve so you have primary areas of focus, then break those down into mini-projects and tasks. Here are the 4 top level areas of focus for any Inbound Marketing Strategy:

Attract Quality Traffic To Your Website

Notice the word QUALITY. We don't want just any old person to visit your website. We want the right people to visit your website. Ask yourself this question. Would you rather have 5,000 visitors per month that have no interest in you offering or 1,000 visitors a month that are highly interested in your offering? If you said 5,000 with no interest, YOU ARE WRONG. You should definitely want the 1,000 that have interest in your offering.

This raises a few questions that you need to answer:

  1. Who is your ideal buyer and why?
    1. Define your Buyer Personas
    2. Define the stages in their buying journey
  2. What real problems do your solutions solve?
    1. Define your ideal buyers' actual problems?
    2. Not what are your products and services, but what are their true problems?
  3. What tactics should be employed to attract these ideal buyers?
    1. SEO - We know they will search for solutions
      1. Know what keywords your ideal buyer uses to find solutions you provide
      2. Know who you are competing against in SEO
      3. Generate quality content that answers your ideal buyers' questions
      4. Know what SEO metrics you want to measure and what success looks like, realistically
    2. Sponsored Advertising - Again, we know they will search for solutions
      1. Know what keywords present a longer term challenge for organic seo
      2. Know your margin so you know what ROI looks like with PPC
      3. Know what metrics you want to measure and what success looks like, realistically
    3. Content Marketing - Help your ideal buyer by writing to solve their problems
      1. Who at your organization would be great to help produce content ideas?
      2. What content formats should you use?
      3. What content will require an opt-in to receive?
      4. Know what metrics you want to measure and what success looks like, realistically
    4. Others...
      1. Social media
      2. Display advertising, etc...

Convert Website Visitors Into Leads

Getting quality traffic to your website is only part of planning your inbound marketing strategy. You want those visitors to become leads as well. This allows you to start targeting your message to them and helps to move them from the early stages of their buyer's journey to the latter. So we need a strategy to generate leads from the traffic we attract. How do we do that?

Remember how we touched on Content Marketing above? Some of your content is more useful and powerful than others. This content warrants getting something in return, like a visitor's email address and name. Thus, you've generated a lead. There are certainly other ways to generate leads online, such as sample requests, catalog requests, etc... but providing someone with content that will help them is less of a sales pitch that they can deflect and more of a no-brainer.

That's not it though. We need to flesh out how to attract visitors to our content or offer. We need to decide what our calls to action will look like. We need to decide how we will follow up with these leads to move them closer to making a buying decision. This involves scoring the leads for quality and deciding when they have become a marketing qualified lead that we should pursue in sales.

Close The Deal

This step is what we as business people are all working for. Generating new business. It doesn't just happen though. We need to have a clear understanding of how we're going to close leads generated through your website. These new leads may dovetail right into your standard sales process. They may also need a distinct process. If so, you need to know and understand it from the beginning.

Preparing for closing the deal may require you to iron our workflows of how and who will follow up with these leads. It may require you to have email campaigns to keep them hot on the deal. The bottom line is, you need to plan out your approach.

Delight Your New Clients

Don't make this an afterthought or nicety. This is a must. What will you do to ensure your new client is not only satisfied but becomes a raving fan of your company? Have a plan for following up after the sale is complete. Not just to say hello, but to add value and see if you can help.