By Aaron Riddle
Since the inception of Inbound Marketing, more and more companies are beginning to see the benefits. Whether it’s in brand image, increasing leads and customers or increasing traffic to your website, the Inbound Methodology is an excellent way to improve your current marketing strategy.
If you’re just getting started or have recently started with your Inbound Marketing initiatives, put these 10 tactics into place first:
1. Define (or Re-Define) Your GoalsIn order to begin your Inbound Marketing initiatives, you need marketing goals to reach your business objectives. These goals will help keep your team on track, identify gaps in the process and align your overall strategy to your company goals. A great place to start is by following the SMART goals format.
Whether your focus is on increased visits, leads or customers, align these efforts to your business objectives and goals for a better customer experience.
2. Identify your Target AudienceYou now have your goals clearly defined, so now what? Let’s begin to identify your target audience. These are your ideal customers, fitting your business objectives and could benefit from your products or services the most.
A great way to identify this is to do an overview of your current customer base. Who are the one’s at the end of the day providing the best ROI to your organization? Start there, identify trends in your customer’s (contract length, # of products/services purchased, biggest upside potential) to give yourself a baseline.
3. Research Where Your Target Audience ResidesOnce the target audience has been identified, now it’s time to research where your target audience is having conversations. Every industry absorbs information in different ways whether it’s through a specific social media channel (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook), industry-specific research articles . Identify those channels by asking your current customers where they get their industry information from on an everyday basis. Check on industry leaders and see who they are following or sharing articles from to give you a head start.
4. Develop Your Buyer PersonasYour target audience is identified and researched, now it’s time to take it a step further and identify buyer personas for your marketing efforts. By putting buyer personas at the forefront of your Inbound Marketing strategy, you are thinking about their pain points, questions and concerns in all of your marketing decisions, keeping your content and offers focused on the right people for your organization.
Some common persona topics considerations to get you started include:
- Background - Role, Education, Years of Experience
- Demographics - Age, Marital Status, Income, Children, Gender
- Identifiers - Real Quotes, Typical Pushback, Buzzwords, Personality
5. Create a Content Strategy and Map It Out!Your personas are now taking shape and now it’s time to develop a content strategy to engage and bring them down your sales funnel.
A great place to start is to do an existing inventory of your current marketing efforts. Identify what you have and locate the gaps you are missing. Maybe you have a lot of Top of Funnel (TOFU) content, but are lacking specific Bottom of Funnel (BOFU) offers to turn your visitors and contacts into customers. Find those gaps and start there with your initial content offers.
6. Evaluate (and Optimize) Your Current Marketing and Sales StrategySomething not to overlook once you move into Inbound Marketing is your current Marketing and Sales Strategy. Inbound focuses on the process of facilitating the buying process with our audience, not pushing down their throats at our convenience. By walking through your current processes, you can identify gaps in your content strategy, solidify your follow-up to your new and existing leads and put together company-wide criteria for your Marketing Qualified (MQL) and Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs) . Keeping this in mind will keep the machine running and help to align your marketing and sales teams more effectively.
7. Review Your Current List of ContactsOver the years, you’ve had to have accumulated a list of prospects and customers at some point (otherwise you wouldn’t be in business right?). Take a look at this list and take an overview of where these people are in your sales funnel. Find ones that fit your persona and take inventory to what they’ve done with you in the past (website visits, purchased products/services, etc…) for a great start on content ideas and future offers and promotions.
8. Perform a Website and Blog AnalysisWith moving to a Inbound Marketing strategy, your website and blog need to be optimized for all these visitors!
Here are some things to consider:
- Do you have optimized H1/H2 Tags at the top of your website?
- Do you have room for Calls to Action (CTAs) in the appropriate locations?
- Is your website and blog optimized with your top performing keywords?
- Is your website and blog responsive to all different modes of web viewing (Smartphone, Tablets, Desktop)?
9. Identify Top Keywords For Your BusinessRemember those keywords we talked about earlier? Everyone out in the web is putting these into their favorite search engine (Google, Bing, Ask, DuckDuckGo) to find out an issue to their problem or to gather more information. Do you have a list of keywords you are looking to rank for in searches?
Get a list of these keywords and check first if anyone is searching for these terms. Google Keyword Planner is a great place to analyze monthly searches and gather new ideas for new keywords. Make sure these keywords are within your pages and URLs for better relevancy and increased search volume.
10. Consider Implementing an Inbound Marketing ToolWhile performing all of these tactics can be done on your own, it’s best for you (and your sanity) to have all of your processes, data and content all in one tool for ease of use and reporting. There are great tools out there to help, with many different features (Email Marketing, Landing Pages, Page Performance, CRM Integration Capabilities) to keep you moving forward with your objectives
There you have it, 10 Inbound Marketing tactics to get you started. With these, you will be on the right track with your marketing objectives. This can in turn pay great dividends to your overall business goals and objectives, setting you and your organization up for success.
What other Inbound Marketing Tactics did you see helpful in the beginning?