By now, you’ve probably heard that inbound marketing costs an average of 62% less per lead than outbound marketing. If you’re excited to hop on board and seize these new opportunities for increased ROI, we’re here to make it happen with you. Here are some quick steps to kick-start your inbound marketing strategy in just 90 days.
Step 1. Learn about inbound
Take advantage of the incredible amount of information out there to start learning independently. If you’re looking for a quick read, browse industry blogs for information related to all things inbound – including our own blog and free resources – and gather as much information as you can about inbound marketing before you start creating your strategy. The most effective way to learn, of course, is from the masters, so check out Hubspot’s free Inbound Certification, which provides 4.5 hours of training spread 12 classes that will help you learn everything you need to know to get started.
Step 2. Establish your inbound team
A proper inbound strategy requires a solid commitment to work. In order to see results from your new marketing initiative, the whole team needs to be on board and understand their role in your content ecosystem. Create a dedicated team of marketing strategists, copywriters, designers, web developers, and marketing coordinators ready to create, share and optimize your inbound content. If adding five new members doesn’t seem doable right now, consider training existing team members in the inbound methodology, or partner with an agency that has a deep content specialty.
Working with a well-known, trusted inbound marketing agency (like us – Flying Saucer Studio!) will help you streamline the process without weighing down your team, and will make it easy to fill all of those dedicated inbound seats with skilled, experienced professionals for a fraction of the cost.
Step 3. Analyze your current marketing ecosystem
Before you start implementing new initiatives and solutions, you’ll need to assess the state of your marketing efforts as they currently stand. How is your website performing? What campaigns are you working on now? What marketing assets do you have to work with? What’s your budget? If you’ve been online for a while, you’ll want to start analyzing the data and conversion metrics on your site by looking at elements like keywords, page analytics, traffic, CRM performance, and social media presence. Based on your evaluation of your current situation, you’ll be able to identify the strengths and weaknesses of your current marketing strategy, and start carving out achievable goals for your company’s new approach.
Step 4. Define your marketing goals
Now it’s time to ask yourself: where do we want to be headed? What level of performance do you need from your inbound marketing strategy? These goals should be aligned with your business goals, so that you know your entire marketing team is working towards the same outcome. For example, if your company wants to increase revenues, how many new clients do you need? Based on your current conversion rate, how many leads do you need to guarantee that number of clients? How much traffic do you need to reach that number of leads?
Your goals should not only be clear, but SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. These simple principles ensure that your goals are setting your team up for success, and that you’ll all know how to recognize it when you get there.
Step 5. Clearly define buyer personas & journeys
Once your marketing goals are set, it’s time to define your audience. Who’s buying your product, and how can you speak to them in a way that connects? To figure this out, develop buyer personas by drawing up the stereotypical profile of an average user. The elements you include in your profiles may range from the practical (i.e. What industry do they work in? What is their job title?) to the personal (How old are they? How do they get new information daily? What is their background?) But most importantly, they’ll provide the human touch and nuance you need to properly direct your content and messaging.
Step 6. Build your marketing plan
With your goals and audiences in mind, you can start building a tangible strategy. Which inbound marketing tools will be most effective for you? Here are three essential elements to consider when developing your marketing plan: content strategy, conversion paths, and technology – but that’s just the beginning. We talk about each of these elements in more depth in our Inbound Marketing Resource. It’s available free for download on our site, but in the meantime, here’s a quick summary of the top three.
- Content strategy refers to the messaging and content you’ll be creating and the ways you’ll be communicating with your audiences.
- Conversion paths refer to your plan for generating leads and moving them through the sales funnel.
- Technology refers to the software and tools you’ll need to use, and how much these tools will cost.
Step 7. Create your launchpad website
A website is a large and very important project, and it takes time to build correctly, but inbound marketing is time-sensitive, and it’s important to get started as soon as possible. That’s why we always start off with a smaller site, what we call a launchpad website. A launchpad website allows you to start collecting conversion data and tested insights from your customers using just a few carefully crafted webpages. The most important things you need to keep in mind when building your first launchpad website are: a professional design, ease of navigation, SEO, mobile responsiveness, lead generation optimization, cross-browser compatibility, and a blog or resources page that will allow you to publish content. When you’re choosing a partner or assembling a team for the project, we recommend you make sure to have all these bases covered before you start working.
Step 8. Create and publish content
Once you’ve got that site up and running, it’s time to start populating it with rich and – most importantly – targeted content. In order to establish yourself as an industry leader or authority, use blogging, social media, premium content, and external content creation to get the word out about your specific expertise. In our Inbound Marketing Guide, we talk more extensively about how to use each of these pathways to build trust and interest in your brand, all the while creating useful content that highlights the benefits without falling into aggressive self-promotion.
Step 9. Promote your new content
If your content is strong enough, you may be lucky enough to see it spread organically within your industry or your community. But no matter what, you’re going to have to find a way to boost viewership to really make that content work for you. We recommend using a combination of social media, industry forums and communities, PPC or paid advertising, and email marketing to directly connect your audiences with the targeted content you’ve carefully created just for them. There are many more ways to promote content, but whatever strategy you choose, make sure that you’re reaching out with a helpful hand, not spamming audiences with unwanted bragging.
Step 10. Test and optimize user experience
As you’re creating your new launchpad website and populating it with content, it’s important to have all of your analytics tools set up and gathering data. In order to promote the content and get new users on your site, that early data will prove to be a real goldmine for your first frays into inbound marketing. Using these analytics, you can start A/B testing your content, design, and outreach strategies to narrow down your best approach. This is the information that you’ll use to build your fully loaded and optimized website, so that you know it’ll be effective at every touchpoint. Luckily there are plenty of tools on the market to help you access the data you need, and companies like Hubspot, Usertesting, Hotjar, and Google Analytics provide broad access and simple training tools to help you make the most of these high-powered analytics tools.
So what’s next?
If you think your organization needs help implementing this process and creating stellar content that connects, Flying Saucer Studio would like to help.
Schedule a time to chat about your business and it’s goals, and we’ll help you uncover some great stories and content ideas that will take you one step closer to the company you want to be.