As content marketing becomes more and more critical to the success of any business, traditional marketing plans that rely solely on paid media and sales calls to drive growth aren’t enough. The most successful brands are balancing those strategies with thoughtful inbound marketing strategies. Not sure where to start? Here are six simple steps you can take to develop your inbound marketing strategy today.
1. Identify a Goal
Before you craft any strategy, you should first establish a realistic goal. This might be a targeted number of demos completed each month, a 10 percent increase in landing page visits, or another conversion that’s meaningful in your customer journey. Keep this goal top-of-mind as you move through the next five steps.
2. Identify Your Target Audience
You shouldn’t just be able to identify your target market, you should also know them inside and out. If you don’t, developing buyer personas can help you better understand your customer.
A buyer persona overviews demographics information (such as gender, age, socioeconomic status and location) and emotional needs (what problems do they have, what do they care about, what need does this product fulfill and so on). They help you get into the minds of your consumer and understand why they want or need your product, which helps you position your solution accordingly.
Rather than guessing, be sure to do your research. Analyze existing customer data, interview your top customers and review third-party research to fully flesh out your buyer personas.
3. Identify Your Marketing Channels
Now that you know who you’re targeting, find out where they’re spending their time. These channels could include any number of social media sites (Pinterest, LinkedIn, Instagram), review sites (Yelp, Angie’s List, Amazon), and general blogs they navigate to based on search engine results. If you’re not sure where to start, ask yourself a few questions:
- What kind of content do our buyers consume? Where are they finding that content?
- When making buying decisions, where are they going to find answers to questions?
- Where are your competitors publishing content? What are they doing well? What opportunities are they missing?
4. Develop Content
After you’ve identified who you’re targeting and where, the next challenge is to determine what kinds of content they value. This could include very specific articles (how to’s, for example) and broad topics that may not directly relate to your business (for example, an RV dealership might write about a road trip). Either way, be sure your content adds real value to your consumer and isn’t too sales-ey. Consider the following tips as well:
- Develop a list of SEO keywords and regularly incorporate them into content
- Use a consistent voice across all channels
- Promote the same content across multiple channels, and tweak your language accordingly to fit the outlet
- Develop content for all stages in the buyer funnel (education, consideration, purchase)
- Balance your mix of paid, earned, owned and shared media to amplify your reach
- Boost your content reach with PPC and SEM
- Create a content calendar that maps out content throughout the next two to four quarters
5. Analyze Your UX
Your content should be sending users to a specific web page, such as a campaign landing page where they can sign up for a demo, a data entry form, and so forth. Is that location setup for users to easily complete the conversion you’re asking them to?
Leverage your marketing agency or in-house UX resources to ensure the place where you’re landing users is optimized and ready for interaction.
6. Track Your Results
Perhaps the most important piece of any campaign is success measurement. Track your results using your preferred analytics platform to measure incoming traffic and conversions, and learn how and where your content is converting the most users.
Not sure where to start on your inbound strategy? Partner with an experienced inbound marketing agency or online marketing agency like Mashy Marketing to get started on the right track.