Write some blogs, post some comments on social media, and stuff your content with SEO keywords—how hard can inbound marketing be, right? Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. There are many steps that you need to take before you can actively start engaging your audience online.
You must formulate a full-fledge inbound marketing plan before you do anything else. Fail to do so and you probably won’t see results from your inbound strategy. You’ll just waste time, effort, and resources.
The inbound marketing plan is needed to guide all of your activities online. Here’s how to create one that works.
Define Your Audience
It’s nice to think that everyone will want to purchase your products or services, but that isn’t realistic. The people who are most likely to buy from you will be very specific. And it’s important to know as much as you can about them in order to properly target them, craft messaging that will resonate with them, and better meet their needs. To do so, you need to create buyer personas.
A buyer persona is essentially a fictional representation of your customers. Maybe your ideal audience is CFOs, married, in your city, with $200,000 in income or more, looking to buy a boat. Maybe it’s soccer moms, with two or more kids, under 40, with a messy house who needs your cleaning products.
The point is, the more you know about your audience—like how your ideal customers prefer to communicate, what demographic they fit, and where they live—the more successful your inbound marketing strategy can be because you’ll be pursuing the right kind of leads with the right type of content.
Define Your Marketing Triggers
Now that you know who your ideal customers are, you need to identify the pain points and events that will cause them to search for information about your product or service online. Defining these marketing triggers will help you be reactive and targeted, rather than just push your messaging to wide audiences that have no intention of purchasing from you, at least right now.
Create Your Keyword Library
SEO is a critical aspect of inbound marketing. All of your content should include SEO keywords—words or phrases that your ideal customers will likely type into a search engine to find information about your product or service. The ideal keywords will be searched often but have low competition. Long-tailed keywords are usually best because they’re not targeted. The more content you create with these included keywords, the more chances you are to be found by searchers online. But remember, they need to be keywords that your audience will use, so do your research.
Set Your Goals
To ensure that your inbound marketing plan is working as planned, you need goals to be able to measure. Use the SMART goal framework to create goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. For example, you want to get X new web visitors and X number of new leads by a certain date.
Create Your Content Strategy
A content strategy will guide your messaging to your audience for all of the stages of the sales funnel. Each stage requires its own specific content and communication method—content that will entice and lure in visitors, content that will move leads down the funnel, and content that will lead to the sale. Consider what information your buyer personas will be looking for and what questions they’ll have at the beginning of the purchasing journey, once they’re knee-deep in research, and once they’re ready to buy—this will help your content strategy take shape.
If you feel overwhelmed at the prospect of creating an inbound marketing plan that works, don’t give up. You don’t have to do it alone. Engage a digital marketing agency for help with the creation and implementation of your plan.