You realize the old school days of the outbound marketing are over and reaching out to customers and clients through intrusive ads and commercials no longer works. And you are out there, making your way in the e-world. But are you among the big players yet?
Nowadays you have to make your prospects knocking on your door. And if your inbound marketing strategy is effective, they will ask for more. More of your product, more of your service and more of you.
And here is the way to do it. I give you clear and practical, step-by-step guide on how to create your inbound marketing strategy, also called inbound marketing funnel or sales funnel (very similar). Of course, if you already got one, you can still use this blueprint to test it, analyze and patch up where necessary.
Your no. 1 task is to assess how much time and money you have at your disposal, to spend on people, tools and other resources. What marketing aspects do you already have in place? Of course, your website is the anchor point of your inbound marketing strategy. You won’t get very far without first-rate core base for your content, products or services offers, brand, customer service and many other features of modern websites. And you should consider your social media marketing strategy as the engine of your boat. Without a good one, you’re stuck.
Next, when you consider your budget, your employees or partners and their possibilities, determine your long term ROI goals. What are you trying to accomplish and in what time?
How well you plan the strategy, allocate the resources and execute the plans will determine how well you do. But don’t worry, read on and every aspect of the strategy will become crystal clear.
5 main elements of the inbound marketing strategy
Building the best possible relationship with your audience is your primary goal and the stages it goes through make the key elements of your inbound marketing strategy.
1. Attracting prospects
Your future customers and clients don’t know you yet. They have never clicked on your site or heard of you. Where will they find you?
Once you understand who your target audience is, what their specific needs and pain points are, you won half the battle. When you know what kind of people will benefit from your product or service the most, where on social media they hang out, what kind of questions they ask, then you recognize what kind of content would help them the most.
This is the time you roll up your sleeves and dig in. Research. Use tools like Google KeyWord Planner, join Facebook and LinkedIn groups and check out their questions, complaints. Visit and study your competitors’ web content people enjoy and share the most. Find out who these people are.
The outcome of this stage is your target audience persona.
Outstanding content is the cornerstone of your inbound marketing strategy. It’s also the key that unlocks your prospect’s heart and eventually their wallet. The one and only way to unlock it is to create content that will engage them, provide useful and valuable information and make them come back for more.
And how do you manage just that? The golden rule of the inbound marketing is: give value to gain value. There is no way around it. Remember, your goal is to build a good quality relationship with your prospects, earn their trust and make them love you and come back for more. And if you manage to do it while giving them a few laughs on the way, you hit the home run.
As the time passes and you get to know your actual audience, you will adjust your persona and personalize the content you provide them.
The other aspect of the great content, which plays a huge part in successful inbound marketing strategy is effective SEO. Both on-site and off-site
Also, think about what social media will do you best, channeling your message to the right people. Because, what’s the point of great content if no one can find it. And that’s where the crucial element of inbound marketing strategy kicks in – social media marketing strategy.
Then, there’s the visual. If you fail to present your content using an engaging and dynamic package of colors, infographics and videos, it will not work. No more.
This is the time to go back to the assess stage, consult your budget and resources and then decide if you can afford to hire a professional content writer, web designer, SEO expert and/or a social media manager.
You want experienced people who all together create remarkable content and have significant reach on the web.
2. Converting visitors to leads
Now your visitors know you and even recognize your brand. Some of them have most certainly subscribed not to miss out on the helpful and informative content you supply them with, on a regular basis. But what’s your plan to turn even more visitors into leads?
It’s time to go back to your drawing board and take a good look at your buyer persona. Again, you have to offer them something of value in exchange for their e-mail address.
Your inbound marketing strategy should include giving them e-books, free courses or tip sheets, otherwise known as lead magnets, or even organize giveaways in return for their contact information. This is also the place where you need a good CTA on your pages.
3. Closing the deal
You’re on the right track.
Your visitors have become the leads and now there’s a good chance they will be ready to learn more about and love your service and/or product and spend some money.
But how exactly do you make that happen?
Well, assuming they are interested because your service or product matches their needs, this is the point where the effective content does the unlocking. How? Usually, it’s the e-mail marketing that does the trick.
Well-crafted emails to your potential customers should include strong and effective CTA links. They are to take them to the landing and sales pages, along with the relevant and entertaining information.
Pay extra special attention to the CTA buttons. Your prospect should feel the impulse to click on them.
Make sure your email marketing campaign includes welcoming email, introduction (reminder) email, set expectations email, valuable content emails and, of course, new product/service information emails.
CRM (Client Relationship Management) systems are incredibly useful, even if you run a small business.
Use CRM to custom tailor your offer and approach to your specific target audience.
CRM systems also have a key role in analyzing your interactions with your prospects and may significantly influence future efforts to accommodate your buyers’ needs.
A lot of businesses abandon their leads when closing the deal. Just don’t.
Remember, the core value of the inbound marketing strategy is building and maintaining a solid relationship with your clients.
Happy clients and customers will make valuable “organic” ambassadors of your brand. They will share your content and buy more products or services. Hugely important, they will also refer you to their friends and colleagues.
So, stay in touch. Include this phase in your social media marketing strategy. Email them too, (don’t forget to send thank you email when they make the buy) and ask them how they like your service or product. Let them know you think about them.
It’s worthwhile mentioning that you can do a lot of communication with your clients through automated marketing tools.
Here we are. The final stage of your inbound marketing strategy. That is unless you count in the fact that you have to go back and go through the whole process all over again. And again, and again and again.
So, are you happy with the results?
Do not neglect this stage. Valuable insights of what components of your inbound marketing strategy worked well, and what not so much will help you do better. Refine and adjust your plan, your steps, actions and approaches and aim for even greater results and ROI.
Also, including a few emails to leads and customers into your analyzing process is a win-win. Design surveys, ask your customers for feedback and give them a chance to make suggestions.
Is it easy to sit down, think it through, consult, assess and make the inbound marketing strategy for your business venture? Hm, not really. But is it worth it? Yes. No dilemma. Big time.
Now you have all you need to start, so turn off your procrastination button and get on with it.