A 5-Step Successful Inbound Marketing Plan
Last updated October 7, 2017 - Frank Ramey
If you want to get away from the “red ocean” strategy of “outbound marketing” (pay-per-click advertising, traditional advertising, cold calling, etc) then you’re likely ready to establish an “inbound marketing” strategy. The core idea behind inbound marketing is that prospects are pulled to you automatically and without direct involvement from you.
Most of inbound marketing pivots around creating and distributing valuable content. From helpful “how-to” YouTube videos to academic white papers to engaging on social media, you help users discover your brand. To get you started on this journey here’s a 5-step process to create an inbound marketing plan that works.
1. Establish your target audience.
The main objective with inbound marketing is to pull visitors to your site. However, before you can start talking to these users, you have to know who they are and what they need.
Narrowing your focus on a very specific target customer is key to creating a successful inbound marketing program. By focusing in on a select group, you’re able to create and tailor content that hits their exact pain points.
If you’re not quite sure what your customer looks like or what their pain points are, you’ve got a couple of options.
One is to look at and analyze the demographics data you’ve already got access to from your current customers. If you check your analytics and see your overall most profitable customers come from Instagram and are 18-24 years-old women in the Southeastern U.S. then you’ve got a good starting point.
The other option to figuring out who your customers are is to actually talk to them. Yep, they’re real people, not just a bunch of ones and zeros. If you provide a niche product or have a fairly new product, then odds are your current customers are “early adopters” and would be head-over-heels to talk with you about what you’re offering.
2. Set your goal
Once you know who you’re talking to and creating content for, decide what action you want them to take after they digest your content.
What is your call to action (CTA)?
Want the user to sign up for a newsletter so that you can build rapport with them? Give them a way to sign up!
Want your reader to buy your ebook? Provide them with a link to a quick and easy checkout.
Whatever your goal is, have one before you start creating content out of the blue. It will help focus your efforts and make sure your campaign is a successful one.
3. Create your content
This is where the rubber starts hitting the road. Now that you know your audience and what content they want, start producing it!
From videos to infographics to long-form articles, you’ve got to make sure what you’re producing is wanted and that it adds value to your target audience.
4. Start your outreach
The audience is known, the goal is in mind, and the content is created. Now it’s time to distribute your content.
Contrary to the belief of the masses, not all social channels are the same. You have to know where your target audience is and where they consume content. If they’re a young crowd who thinks Facebook is for old people so they only use Instagram, then your efforts to engage with them will fail if you only post on Facebook.
Be on the lookout for influencers for your target user base. While not quite the powerhouse it once was, bloggers can still hold quite a bit of sway with introducing new users to what you’re offering. This is where relationship management can really start setting businesses apart.
Engage and add value to your select communities. Sites like reddit (and its subreddits) can take a very long time to establish respect and credibility before users take you and your content seriously. You just need to weigh the cost/benefit the best you can when trying to figure out where to place your efforts.
5. Measure. Measure. Measure.
You need to be measuring all of your marketing efforts. Just like the CEO of a Fortune 500 company, you need to make sure you’re allocating resources in order to maximize long-term returns. If you’re not measuring your efforts (i.e. how much traffic is it driving and how is that traffic converting) then you won’t know what is a waste of time (and should be ended) versus what is killing it and should have more resources dumped in to it (assuming there will be an incremental return on the investment).
While this may seem like a lot, a profitable inbound marketing machine is within your grasp. You just have to have a goal and measure your efforts towards that goal.
As always, if you need some additional help/advice on creating and implementing an inbound marketing program, that’s what we do at enotto; just drop us a line with what you need and we’ll be happy to chat with you about some possible solutions.