Inbound Marketing System – 10 Steps to Get Started in Three Months
There’s a widely held misconception regarding inbound marketing, and that’s the idea that it takes a long time to get any effective inbound marketing campaign off the ground. While it’s true that inbound marketing is a building process that takes time to see concrete results, it is very possible to plan, strategize, and implement an effective campaign in a three-month window.
How to Launch an Inbound Marketing Campaign in Three Months
A Step-by-Step Guide to Effectively and Efficiently Starting Your Inbound Marketing Efforts
1. Create a core brand positioning strategy and message.
The first thing you want to do is create your brand positioning strategy. This statement identifies who you are, positions you within your market, and conveys your specific value within that market.
A good brand positioning statement clearly aligns your marketing and sales teams toward common goals and heavily informs your strategic, targeted content creation.
2. Determine if you’re going to outsource or tackle your inbound marketing campaign in-house.
Once you have your foundational brand positioning statement, the next step is to figure out who in your company will be doing what for the inbound marketing campaign. Some positions to consider include the following:
- Inbound marketing strategists (including SEO strategists).
- Web developers.
- Internal account managers.
- Paid ad specialists (to drive demand generation).
If you don’t have the right people in-house for every aspect, don’t worry. You can use a third party for none, some, or all of this process. Those third parties can be inbound marketing agencies or consultants, freelancers, or even individuals with relevant skillsets.
However you choose to divvy the work, you want to ensure you have the right people to deliver on your strategy. That means excelling at the individual task but also having a big-picture mind-set in order to ensure your work properly aligns sales and marketing and pushes the whole team toward common goals.
3. Define your projected goals and what you want your inbound marketing efforts to achieve.
If you don’t have explicitly created goals, you have no way of gauging how effective your inbound marketing efforts have been. Therefore, it’s important to understand and define both your goals and business objectives (as they relate to inbound marketing). Also remember to create short-term goals as well as long-term goals.
For the greatest chance at success, make sure to only choose SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely.
When you’re in the process of creating these goals, it’s imperative you have the input of both your sales and marketing teams. These goals should be shared and beneficial to everyone on the team, so you need that valuable input from all sides of the company. A service-level agreement (SLA) should be created between marketing and sales to facilitate the creation of these shared goals.
4. Define your industry verticals and your buyer personas.
A crucial aspect of inbound strategy is identifying what industry (or industries) you will be targeting and what specific buyer personas relevant to that industry you will be creating content for.
If you are a small or even medium business, be extremely targeted with your initial inbound marketing efforts—especially if you want to be as effective as possible in that first three-month window. That means focusing on no more than three verticals with your inbound efforts, as diverting your time and resources in too many directions can dilute your results.
Once you’ve identified the vertical or verticals you want to target, identify the relevant buyer personas. (A buyer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer. It can include information such as age, gender, income, geographic area, and so on.)
Your content should be created around these buyer personas and every stage they go through on the buyer’s journey. In this way, you have targeted, relevant content to answer questions, provide information, and address concerns of your buyer personas at the top, middle, and bottom of the sales funnel.
Don’t forget, you might be dealing with different personas at different stages of the sales cycle. For example, maybe a manager will be making decisions at the middle of the sales funnel, but a C-level executive will be making the final call at the bottom of the sales funnel. If that’s the case in your vertical, your buyer persona strategy and associated content should reflect that.
5. Assess your current website and content for its alignment with your inbound marketing strategy.
More than likely, your existing website copy and content will not perfectly align with your newly defined brand positioning statement and marketing strategy. Therefore, you’ll have to determine what content you can repurpose to target those buyer personas (at each stage of the buyer’s journey) and what pieces you’ll need to create from scratch.
6. Build your inbound marketing and inbound sales strategy.
With all the groundwork laid, it’s time to put your concrete strategy together.
Once again, for content, you want to assess what you already have and then repurpose or create from scratch content that targets your buyer personas throughout the buyers journey. (This strategy will include SEO tactics, such as keyword research.) You will want markeitng and sales involved in the content development process. Markeitng will drive the content development process for marketing and sale collateral. Sales should be involved in input for the content creation process, with their detailed knowledge of prospects challenges, needs and desires.
From there, you want to put together your conversion paths for both markeitng and sales. This includes how you plan to generate leads and then nurture those leads through the sales cycle, aided by tools such as calls to action, landing pages, thank you pages, e-mails, and so on.
Once those elements are in place, you’ll then assess what technology you require to effectively and efficiently implement that strategy. This can include everything from customer relationship management (CRM) tools and marketing automation software to a shared content catalog and analytical tracking software. Integration of technology is a crucial piece because it allows you to more efficiently utilize and maximize your strategically created content.
7. Ensure you promote strong conversion through your website.
Your website is arguably one of your most powerful marketing and selling tools.
To be maximally effective, it should contain the following elements:
- Aesthetically pleasing, clean pages.
- To-the-point content and graphics.
- Easy-to-navigate structure.
- Sound SEO strategy within the pages as well as optimized content.
- Calls to action that lead to landing pages for specific pieces of content.
- An educational blog that promotes nurturing a lead through the sales cycle.
Strong conversion architecture doesn’t happen without planning and forethought. Make sure your site is consciously designed to align with and promote your inbound strategy, lead generation efforts, and lead conversion.
8. Publish optimized, strategic content at least twice a week.
Content can mean a variety of things, such as the following:
- Blog posts.
- Premium content, such as e-books or whitepapers.
- Case studies.
- Interactive tools, such as calculators..
Especially in this first three months, when your SEO rankings are more likely to be low, don’t forget paid advertising is one way to garner leads before you start organically earning visitors to your site.
9. Promote your published content through a variety of channels.
Your content can be as strategic and optimized as possible, but if you don’t then promote it, fewer people are going to be interacting with that content. Therefore, you should focus on the following:
- Build your social media channels in order to promote your content.
- Participate in relevant forums.
- Make a subscription option for your blog.
- Utilize the power of e-mail campaigns.
- Promote your business through paid advertising.
10 Review your site, blog, and content analytics weekly.
You want to constantly evaluate and assess how your various tools and individual pieces of content are performing. By doing this careful analysis and data examination, you can ascertain what needs to be changed versus what’s garnering success, and you can use those cues to inform your subsequent content creation.
See What Your Inbound Marketing Can Accomplish in Three Months
While a steady supply of leads and site traffic is often the result of your inbound marketing efforts over time, that doesn’t mean you can’t strategize and implement the solid foundation of your inbound marketing campaign in a much shorter window.
As long as you’re deliberate and methodical about the ten steps listed, you can be on your way to sustainable lead generation and lead conversion in a few short months.
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