They also say you need content. But, about what? Where should it live? How much do you need?
Don’t forget about social media – they say you shouldn’t go without it. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Google+, Tumblr, Vimeo, YouTube, StumbleUpon, Reddit, and the list goes on. Do you need them all?
They also say you should be creating buyer personas, landing pages, calls-to-action, forms, newsletters, events, and dare we mention it, maybe even billboards, radio ads, and other outbound marketing tactics.
They are Right… Sort Of
Whoever they are – your marketing team, your agency, your CEO, an external marketing expert, a trusted blogger, your mom – know that they are on the right track. All of these marketing tools and outlets can be effective, if used intentionally and with purpose.
We believe the key to success lies in a custom inbound marketing strategy. For every goal you are trying to achieve, you should have a defined strategy, a collection of tactics, a plan.
Posting on Facebook doesn’t do any good if you don’t know why you are doing it. A set of blogs may generate some traffic for you – but what purpose does that serve? Marketing efforts performed without a goal are nothing but wasted time...
They are as useful as throwing a dart without a dart board...
As pointless as sitting down to play a tune on the piano without any sheet music...
As productive as sending an email without a receiving address.
Start at the End, And Work Your Way Backward
Now, we are telling you that you need a custom inbound marketing strategy. That’s about as useful as telling you to start blogging – I get it. But, I’m going to tell you exactly how to create your own. And then, in my next blog, I’ll show you some examples – real strategies (also referred to as campaigns) we created for real businesses.
1st: Set a Goal
I’ve already explained the importance of setting a goal, so I’ll keep this short and sweet. My only other note on goal setting is: make them SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely).
2nd: Brainstorm ALL Tactics that will Help You Reach Your Goal
This is your one chance to lay it all on the line – get crazy, think outside the box, and most importantly, don’t be afraid. Be brave, be bold; but, be intentional.
This is where knowing the inbound marketing methodology, and the tools that align with each phase, becomes important. Include the tactics and tools that will help you achieve your goal.
If you first need to generate visitors to your website, you might decide to go heavy on the social and blogs, for example. But, if you’re trying to show your existing customers some love, focus your energy more on SWAG or invite-only events.
3rd: Bring it Back Down to Reality – Do What You Can with Your Budget
At this point, you’ll need to decide how much time and resources you can pour into these specific marketing efforts. This will dictate how much you can do and your timeline.
We typically work with monthly budgets. If you are managing your marketing efforts in house, you’ll probably approach this in terms of how much time you, or your staff, has during the day to devote to these efforts.
Maybe you’d like to publish a blog five times a week, but you realize you actually only have time for two or three blogs with the resources you currently have available.
4th: Outline Your Timeline
Now it’s time to pull it all together. You have your goal (which should have a deadline defined), your tactics, and your budget – all that’s left is to arrange it in the order that makes the most sense for you to reach your goal.
Let’s say, for example, you want to generate 5 new sales qualified leads for one of your product/service verticals in 6 months. You feel you already have adequate, qualified traffic to your website; so, you may choose to spend your time and resources building forms, landing pages and downloadable content in the form of eBooks, checklists, or case studies.
5th: Set Checkpoints – Analyze & Adjust
As you make your plan, be sure to schedule in time to review and analyze the progress you are making. Most plans don’t start out perfect; with inbound marketing you have the ability to dig into the data and identify what isn’t working and adjust on the fly.
6th: Get to Work
Finally – it’s go time! Get to work. We’re here to help if you run into any questions or roadblocks along the way.
A deep love of art and design drives me as I navigate the ever-changing waters of marketing. I am constantly looking for new and better ways to give the inbound marketing methodology the beautiful face it deserves. As the Art Director, I ensure that all of the design work we produce is top notch and designed with a purpose. When I’m not trying to solve creative problems, my life revolves around my family and friends, my passion for music, and my addiction to stories.