By Carly Ries

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The idea that you need a large marketing team to be successful with inbound marketing is a myth, provided you have your priorities straight. You want to make sure you aren't wasting any time and are only focusing on tactics that will bring you results. Whether you are a one-man show or the size of a starting basketball team, here are six inbound priorities you should be focusing on.

1. Create SMART Goals

When it comes to inbound marketing it is imperative you not only set goals for yourself, but SMART goals. SMART is an acronym which stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. Developing these types of goals will help your team stay focused and on track. For example, instead of having the goal of "I want to increase sales," say "I want to increase sales by 60% by the end of Q4." Now you know when you want to reach the goal by, and by how much.

2. Define Buyer Personas

Buyer personas are one of the most critical pieces to the inbound marketing puzzle. buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. Without a clear understanding of your personas' pain points and desires, it's impossible to take a targeted and educated approach to your marketing efforts.

3. Focus on Good Content

Develop a blog that you post to frequently as well as premium content your audience can download for lead generation.Your content should be educational and should solve your buyer personas' pain points. Use your website to promote your company and brand, not your blog and premium content pieces. Those pieces of content should be all about your audience. The more you post about topics they care about, the more they'll see you as an industry expert, and the more likely they'll be to trust you and eventually buy from you. Additionally, the better the content, the more likely people will be to consume it and share it, which will contribute to increasing your SEO results.

4. Promote Your Content

"If you build it, they will come." That may have worked for Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams, but when it comes to marketing, the only way people will see your content is if you promote it.

  • CTAs: Create a strategic CTA strategy on your blog and website that will help move people through the marketing funnel. CTAs should offer clear direction your personas should take to get what they want. Be sure to A/B test copy, design, and so on to ensure you're only publishing CTAs that work for your audience.
  • Email: Email is a fantastic way to promote your content. For higher conversion rates, make sure you have a scrubbed email list. Additionally, ensure all of your recipients have opted in to receive emails. Sending emails to people who did not opt in to receive these promos is a big no no.
  • Social Media: Social media probably deserves a section on its own because of how important it is to inbound marketing efforts. Below are some helpful tips:
    • Discover where your audience is hanging out in the social media world and only promote your content to those platforms. No need to post in places where your buyer personas won't even see it.
    • Schedule your social promotions ahead of time. See which times to post work best for each platform, which hashtags work, etc.
    • In addition to promoting your content, it's important to interact with the social channels you are posting to as well. Like other posts, respond to comments, start conversations, etc. The more you engage with your audience, the more likely they'll be to engage with you.
  • News Releases: Depending on the size of your marketing budget, distributing news releases that announce your content can be great ways to promote your content as well, but if your budget and bandwidth are limited, don't make this a priority above the other promotional tactics.

5. Implement Automated Workflows

A small marketing team comes with limited bandwidth, so it's imperative you set up automated worklows that can help take some of the workload off of you. You don't need to set up a lot of them, but just enough to make your life a little easier. It's a great way to get people through the marketing funnel with little effort on your part.

6. Analyze the Results

To ensure you are getting the most out of your marketing efforts, it is imperative that you are monitoring and analyzing your results to see what is working best. Don't analyze your results on a daily basis however, it'll drive you crazy. Focus on trends that you see over a few weeks or even a month. Based off your findings, tweak your marketing strategy where needed and move forward from there. You should always be testing. You can always be improving your marketing efforts. Just because you have amazing results in Month #1, doesn't mean it'll be that way for Month #2. Always be adapting and willing to change your marketing plan based off the results your seeing. A/B test continuously. Continue with what's working, and drop what's not.

You may not have the largest marketing team in the world, but follow the steps above and the size of your team won't matter. What other priorities would you add to this list?

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Carly Ries

About the author

Carly Ries Carly was formerly a Senior Inbound Marketing Consultant for SmartBug Media. With over 7 years of marketing and account management experience, Carly helps clients develop and implement inbound marketing strategies to grow leads, conversion, and revenue. Read more articles by Carly Ries.

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