You might have created your inbound marketing game plan for 2016 already, but I’ve talked with a few people who haven’t done this, or were unclear where to really start.
The best way to build an inbound marketing strategy or gameplan for the year is to start with a persona-focused approach that will dictate what to say to your prospects and when.
Let me share a few steps we use that will save you time and more effectively engaged your B2B prospects.
Create target personas
Well developed personas will lay the foundation for creating content that targets their specific questions and challenges. If you get these right, you can be sure to create content that will establish you as an industry expert on that subject.
Target personas are the types of contacts that you want as customers. These are usually the decision makers or strong influencers.
The best way to get a nuanced understanding of your target personas is to talk with your sales team. (And if you want the template we use for developing buyer personas, complete with all the questions we ask, drop me a note.)
We usually start with quarterly goals and then break them down into monthly goals.
For example, if we had 103 new contacts last month, our goal might be 120 new contacts by the end of this month. Make sure your goals are SMART goals, using a single metric like number of contacts, or number of visitors, or number of new customers. Then you can use you conversion statistics to project these simple numbers into estimated new revenue.
More experienced HubSpotters can choose from a variety of metrics. Just be sure to understand from the beginning how you’re going to measure success at the end!
Develop a list of frequently asked questions
Every day, your sales team answers the same questions from prospects over and over again. These repeated questions indicate that there is a great opportunity for you to further educate your prospects and address some of their concerns (and even objections!) before sales gets involved.
Find these 10-20 questions for each of your personas, and use them as the basic for your blog content and an awareness stage ebook.
Create quality premium content
Premium content is typically something that your prospect will download in exchange for their email address and other information as they move through the buyers journey.
Look at the frequently asked questions for each persona, and determine how you can take some (or all) of that content and turn it into an ebook, or a webinar, or a slide deck, or a checklist. Be sure to make this new piece of content really helpful and valuable to your prospects.
To get your premium content, use a call-to-action to direct web visitors to your landing page. There they can fill out a short form (as short as you can make it) to get your ebook or whatever.
Smart marketers like you will also use this opportunity to get prospects to “bucket” themselves by persona, so you can send them further information addresses their concerns and challenges. We do this with a “Best describes me” required field in the form. This field gives then a choice of very short sentences that describe each of your personas. Be sure to include “Other” as a possibility in this dropdown field, so that people aren’t forced to choose something that doesn’t describe them in order to get the exclusive content you’re offering them.
Write blog posts that support your premium content
If you have 12 FAQs for a persona, you could blog out one of them (and the answer, of course) every week for the next 90 days. If you can do this for at least two personas, and blog once about each every week, you’ll be hitting Google’s minimum for publishing good content on a regular basis, and you’ll have content you can share on social media each week.
Be sure each blog post is valuable and engaging for the persona you’re targeting. Your goal here is to educate, not to sell. Elaborate on a single point from your premium content, and then provide a Call-to-action at the bottom of your post to lead visitors to the related landing page.
The purpose of these posts is to engage the reader, provide them with an answer to their question, and offer them an opportunity to take a next step to learn more by downloading your content offer.
Design your game plan around your buyer personas and the various stages of the buyer’s journey, and you’ll have a solid strategy that produces results. When possible, run each campaign for 90 days, then adjust and move forward.
Coffee genie photo courtesy of Matthew Wicks on flickr.