Inbound marketing is a methodology of understanding your personas and applying the inbound methodology to your marketing to nurture them down the funnel into new customers and eventually promoters of your business.
The inbound methodology consists of 4 different stages that include attracting personas to your site, converting visitors into leads, closing leads into customers, and delighting customers to eventually become promoters of your business.
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- Attracting Site Traffic With Inbound Marketing
- Converting Visitors into leads
- Closing leads into customers
The Inbound marketing process has alot of of different peices but is well worth the time to build an effective marketing and lead generation strategy. Below are the 3 steps I have laid out to start inbound marketing effectively.
Step 1: Understanding Buyer Personas
Determining your target audience is one of the first steps in marketing. Developing buyer personas takes your marketing a step further to understand the behaviors, goals, and challenges of your audience.
Buyer personas are semi fictional characters based on real information about your customers. Each company may have a few different personas that has a unique amarketing strategy and conversion path. For our industry we have 3 main buyer personas.
- Owner Oscar (Small business owner)
- Marketing May (head of marketing)
- Agency Anna (Marketing/ad agency)
Each of these personas have specific characteristics that differentiate them from each other. This helps inbound marketing professionals like myself to understand their challenges and how I can help. Personas are created with the information such as:
- Background information
- Demographic information
- Key identifiers
- Common Objections
Once you gather this information about each persona, you are able to understand your personas challenges and position your marketing to effectively meet their needs.
Step 2: Setting SMART Goals
Goal setting is another important step in any successful program. Setting SMART goals can help you be more effective in reaching those goals. SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relavant, and Timely.
- Specific- Specific amount of traffic, leads, or customers you want to attain
- Measurable- Provide a specific number that success can be measured
- Attainable- Making realistic goals that can be reached based on benchmarks or past analytics
- Relevant- Do these goals relate or tie in with your company's overall goals?
- Timely- Include a specific time frame when you want to accomplish this goal
Step 3: Developing an Inbound Marketing Plan
Once you have determined your buyer personas and SMART goals, the hard work starts with putting a detailed plan that lays out each stage of the inbound marketing methodology.
- Attract- How will you attract your personas to your website?
- SEO- what keywords are your personas using to search for solutions to their problems? What do you do with those keywords an how do you optimize for them on your site?
- Blogging- What topics and titles are your personas interested in?
- Social Media- What social media channels do your personas use?
- Other Sources- What other sources can you use to attract my personas?
- Call To Actions- What offers or Call to Actions would your personas be interested in. What stage are they in the buyer's journey. Remember to have call to actions that are relevant to where they are on the buying cycle. Are they in the decision stage and they are ready to purchase or are they in the consideration stage and need more information?
- Landing Pages- Does your landing page have a simple action oriented headline? Does it have all the benefits of the offer and a relevant image? Does it have a form to generate the lead conversion?
- Forms- What information do you want to receive from your lead? Are you asking the right amount of questions or is it too long for the buying cycle they are in?
- Thank You Pages- Are you navigating them to other related resources that will solve their need?
- Emails- Are you segmenting your email lists to provide a custom experience or are you sending that traditional email blast?
- Workflows- What type of automated messages should each campaign generate and what content and resources should be on those emails to nurture leads into customers?
- Lead Information- What pages did they visit, emails they opened, social messages they responded to and forms they filled out?
- Smart Content- What type of content do they want and how can you provide a custom marketing experience with each marketing touchpoint?
- Social Monitoring- What are they saying on social media that reveals their needs, wants, and goals of how to delight them.
Developing an inbound marketing plan can take a great amount of time, however well written plans will help you succeed in your inbound marketing campaigns.
Inbound marketing is a growing strategy being used by thousands of companies all around the world. Newspaper media companies are fairly new to inbound marketing. Fortunately our team has been building effective inbound marketing campaigns to generate new business for this industry in the last 4 years and has had great success in an industry that is considered to be dying.
This has given us the opportunity to use this methodology to re-invent the marketing funnel and increase advertising revenue by generating leads for ad sales and offering inbound marketing services to newspaper media clients.