Inbound marketing pulls potential customers toward a business and their products and services through online efforts. For this reason inbound marketing is often referred to as “pull-marketing”. Inbound marketing attracts the attention of potential customers by providing something they want. Users who are exposed to an element of inbound marketing (i.e. blogs, social media, YouTube videos, etc.) have either already engaged or interacted with a company or they are actively seeking information about a product or service a company provides.
The beauty with inbound marketing is that it complements a buyer’s decision-making process, making it much easier to gain leads and customers. Also, according to the 2012 State of Inbound Marketing, in comparison to outbound marketing, inbound leads cost an average of 61% less.
So, if inbound marketing sounds like something your business can benefit from, you will need to engage in five essential inbound activities in order to be successful.
Each inbound activity will be discussed in detail through a series of 5 blogs which will be released over the next two weeks, so stay tuned! Here is the first of 5 essential inbound marketing elements:
#1 – GOAL SETTING
Setting goals provides guidance, motive and purpose for our actions. Goals give us something to work toward. Finally, goals allow us to create benchmarks and standards to measure our success, failure and progress against.
Determine where you want to be, what you want to achieve, why you want it and how to get there. By acknowledging your purpose and the results you want to achieve you will define your path to success and provide direction for all of your inbound efforts. Defining your path to success and providing direction for yourself and others will stimulate the appropriate action and keep your employees and your progress on track. You and your employees will be more productive and time will be better spent if there is a clear understanding of what needs to be done.
Set SMART monthly goals. SMART goals require you to set goals that you can achieve on a reasonable timeline that will bring success to your company. Additionally these goals should include a measurable component so you can determine whether or not your efforts are working, where there is room for growth and what elements can be eliminated.
S = Specific
M = Measurable
A = Attainable
R = Relevant
T = Timely
You should set SMART goals pertaining to traffic, leads, customers and content. And most importantly, write them down. This makes your goals appear more real and concrete. Have your SMART goals easily accessible to everyone involved in your inbound marketing strategy because they should be the foundation for every tactic implemented.
Examples of not SMART goals:
Get more engagement on my social media accounts.
Build up my email contacts.
Examples of SMART goals:
Increase sales-qualified leads by 25% in the next 6 months through increased website traffic and email marketing.
Within 3 months, increase my “likes” on Facebook by 10% through Facebook Advertising and increased activity and engagement with current customers.
Expand my email contact list from 560 to 1000 by the end of the year through social media promotions, landing pages and a more prominent call-to-action on our home page.
Defining goals before you set your inbound marketing strategy leaves nothing up to chance. It takes the ‘ifs’, ‘buts’ and ‘maybes’ out of the equation. You get to decide what success means and what needs to be done to achieve that success. Not only do you get to define your success, you and your team get to be fully responsible as well. If you achieve success, you get the pat on the back and other deserved recognition; however if you fail, you will be held accountable and need to determine what adjustments need to be made.