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Foundations for Successful Inbound Marketing

By December 3, 2015May 13th, 2019

Take a look at your website. What does it offer for engagement? What’s the value proposition for your products? What sets you apart from the competition?

What is inbound marketing?

Inbound marketing is a perfect fit for management companies that are looking to market their product more effectively. Inbound Marketing is marketing focused on getting found by customers.

In traditional marketing (outbound marketing) companies focus on finding customers. They use techniques that are poorly targeted and that interrupt people. They use cold-calling, print advertising, T.V. advertising, junk mail, spam, and trade shows.

Technology is making these techniques less effective and more expensive. Caller ID blocks cold calls, TiVo makes T.V. advertising less effective, spam filters block mass emails, and tools like RSS are making print and display advertising less effective. It’s still possible to get a message out via these channels, but it costs more.

Inbound Marketers flip outbound marketing on its head. Instead of interrupting people with television ads, they create videos that potential customers want to see. Instead of buying display ads in print publications, they create their own blog that people subscribe to and look forward to reading. Instead of cold calling, they create useful content and tools so that people call them looking for more information.

Instead of driving their message into a crowd over and over again like a sledgehammer, they attract highly qualified customers to their business like a magnet.

For long-term success, make sure the foundations of inbound marketing are in place

The initial phase of inbound marketing is about planning, thinking, and starting the work required to get all the foundational elements in place so the program helps your business get found, get leads, and grow sales. Without doing this work, you run the risk of implementing marketing tactics that don’t speak directly to your target prospect, are disconnected from each other, and are ineffective at generating leads.

For instance, do you want to grow your business? If you want to grow from $7 million to $12 million in 3 years, that’s a very different inbound marketing program than growing from $7 million to $8 million in 3 years.

Here are the questions you need to ask to lay a strong foundation for successful inbound marketing. If you ask these questions now, it will be much easier to make tactical decisions in the early phase of your marketing plans.

Inbound marketing: Questions about baseline metrics

Establish a baseline for your business today.

  • How many people visit your website each month?
  • How many of these convert into leads?
  • How many leads are actual sales opportunities?
  • How many of these sales opportunities do you close?
  • What is the average revenue from each of these new clients?
  • How many clients do you lose each month?
  • How many email addresses do you have in your database?
  • How many Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest fans, followers or connections do you have?

Inbound marketing: Questions about your target market

  • Who do you want to target with your marketing?
  • What does your best customer look like?
  • Why do people choose you over your competition?
  • What makes you special, remarkable, different?

Creating a buyer persona brings focus to all your content creation and the sales process.

Inbound marketing: Questions about search

  • What keywords are people using to find businesses like yours?
  • Do you want to be found for those keywords?
  • What other keywords are you optimizing for?
  • Are these selected keywords reflected on your website?
  • What percentage of your web traffic comes from mobile?
  • What does your website look like on a mobile device?

Inbound marketing: Questions about content assets

  • What content assets do you already have, digital or otherwise?

Look at every brochure, flyer, handout, article, press release, newspaper article, video, mailer, training manual, etc., and see what can be re-purposed.

Inbound marketing: Questions about content creation

  • What is your editorial calendar going to look like?
  • How often are you going to blog, email, create new content?
  • Who are you going to target?
  • When do you want to launch your campaigns and how long will they run?
  • Do you have budget for inbound marketing, along with related expenses like software, PPC, press releases or video production?

The more you think through and plan out your inbound marketing program, the easier it will be to implement. Plan out you next three months of blog posts, offers, emails, and webinars to drive you results with campaigns, instead of having to come up with this stuff every day.

Come up with some goals to measure your performance over time. Consider establishing goals for website traffic, lead generation, conversions rates and close rates. These kinds of goals will focus your marketing tactics on the proper things.

Creating goals and thinking through the answers to these questions will help you create an inbound marketing program that is perfectly aligned with your business goals, current marketing situation, and future business direction.

Quick wins with inbound marketing

Once you’ve done your planning, you probably want to see some quick wins. Keep in mind this is a short-term action to help get your marketing program some up-front buy-in. This is NOT an option to replace the development of a solid marketing strategy and plan.

Here’s an idea for jump-starting your inbound marketing program in the first few weeks:

  1. Re-purpose a piece of existing content into a downloadable item. This could be a checklist you go through with a new client, or a piece of your training manual that would be useful to your target audience. Just make sure the content is valuable to your prospects  at some point in their buying cycle, and not a brochure about you or your company.
  2. Create a call-to-action graphic that draws your website visitors to your newly created educational material. Put this graphic on your website and blog, and link it to the landing page (item #3).
  3. Create a landing page that showcases the value and benefits the visitor will receive from your new content, and gets the visitor’s name and email address before they download the item.
  4. Send an email to your existing database that brings them to this new landing page and encourages then to download your new educational piece of content.
  5. Integrate this into your sales process by encouraging your sales team to  promote this new material to their prospects. This will help you collect new email addresses as the sales process moves along.

This jump-start approach will give you a taste of what your inbound marketing experience will be like once your program is up and running. It’s a way to get some quick wins using the basic tools of inbound marketing.

The first few months on your inbound marketing program requires patience. Inbound marketing is not a “silver bullet” — it requires work, continuous improvement, and planning. In return, you’ll have a scalable marketing system that generates a strong ROI for your business by helping you get found, get leads, grow sales, and reach your business goals more efficiently.

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Larry Levenson

Larry is passionate about inbound marketing and is a HubSpot Certified Trainer. He's learned the "secrets" of leveraging HubSpot to make marketing hyper-effective and customizes that information to help our clients meet their goals. Larry lives in Prescott, AZ, and when not at work, he is hiking or hanging out with teenagers as a volunteer with Boys to Men USA.