Your marketing strategy does several things for your business.
It helps outline the steps you plan to take to reach and communicate with consumers and build relationships with them. However, in today’s business world, successful businesses are customer-centric, which means you may need to adjust your strategy to include new tactics that focus on the consumer’s experience, such as inbound marketing.
If you’ve ever asked yourself the question, “is inbound marketing right for my business?” you’re not alone. Deciding to implement new marketing strategies can be a difficult decision, but luckily we’ll help you answer that question. YES, inbound marketing is right for every business. You just need to find the right combination of tactics for your business and consumers.
Start by looking at your marketing priorities and goals, and think of what your business wants to accomplish in the next twelve months. In HubSpot’s 2017 State of Inbound Report, they found that 70 percent of respondents consider converting contacts/leads into customers as one of their top marketing priorities, followed by increasing website traffic (55 percent).
Luckily, a well-tailored inbound marketing strategy can help you achieve both of these goals. So where do you get started developing your inbound plan?
One of the best things about inbound marketing is that it requires you to get to know your business and understand how the most important people–your consumers–view you. The first step of any marketing plan should be reaffirming your business’ persona, values and goals.
Establish how you want consumers to view your business and if their current view is a positive one. Think about what your business stands for and why that appeals to your consumers. Then decide what your priorities are, meaning what you want to see your business get done over a period of time.
Next look at your consumers. How well do you really know them? Your target market keeps your business afloat, so it’s vital that you provide them with the goods and services they need. To do this, you’ll need to dive into their minds and understand what makes them tick by creating buyer personas. You know that not all of your customers are the same. Luckily, buyer personas help identify the major players in your target market, along with their likes, interests and habits, so you can tailor content and marketing messages to appeal to them.
Like most business ventures, when it comes to creating inbound marketing content, hard work upfront pays off in the long run. Once you sit down and think about your business and consumers, content creation becomes less of a daunting task. With your buyer personas in hand, you understand what your target consumers are looking for and questions they may have.
Perhaps one of the most useful inbound marketing tools you can utilize is a blog. Blogs are one of the best ways to increase your website traffic, and they also help improve your search engine optimization (SEO) rankings. With higher search engine rankings, more consumers will see your content online and end up on your website.
Don’t fear the blog. Yes, blogs do require upkeep and a steady flow of content, but your individual posts don’t need to be essays. Rather, the best blogs are those that are optimized for SEO, filled with the answers to consumers questions and display your industry expertise in an easy-to-understand format.
Another type of content to consider is premium content. Premium content is gated, meaning consumers must fill out a form with their contact information before downloading or accessing it on your website. Premium content can be anything from whitepapers, to ebooks, to even podcasts. Again, these don’t need to be overly lengthy productions as long as they answer your personas’ questions.
One of the biggest issues businesses face when gaining new leads is determining which leads to go after and which to let fizzle out. In fact, 79 percent of leads never convert into sales, which means it’s even more important to identify and use your resources towards the 21 percent who are willing to convert.
In order to combat this, many businesses align their marketing and sales teams using lead scoring. Lead scoring helps your marketing team determine which leads are ready to be directly contacted by a sales rep and which need additional nurturing. You can easily do this by assigning “points” to certain consumer actions or behaviors. If a consumer likes your page on Facebook or clicks a link in an email, assign them points to increase their lead score. The higher a lead’s score, the more likely they are to convert.
Looking at your buyer personas and lead scores, you can then categorize both leads and consumers into groups based on their behaviors and interactions with your business. This will help you determine what content to send to each customer. The first item on your list should be email, but it should also consider other channels.
Your buyer personas will tell you what mediums your target market uses most frequently. Then you can develop a multi-channel approach with a mix of media using email, social media, dynamic website content and direct sales outreach.
By aligning your sales and marketing teams, you create a cooperative lead nurturing effort. Be sure to establish each team’s individual and shared responsibilities. Have your marketing team work to gain new leads and nurture them until they’re ready to speak with a sales rep. Then let the sales team take over and nurture them through the sale and after.
A strong business requires a well-designed marketing plan to effectively reach consumers. The content you share with consumers helps your business by doing much more than gaining new leads. With aligned sales and marketing teams, it also helps to nurture leads through the sales funnel as well as growing relationships with current consumers. So the next time you find yourself asking, “is inbound marketing right for by business?” say “YES!” and dive into developing your inbound marketing plan!