Starting an inbound marketing campaign for your business is a great way to grow your company whether you're a mom-and-pop shop or an international enterprise business. For many business owners and marketers, however, getting started can be daunting. Are you ready to dive in with your inbound marketing plan? These key tips can help you get started.
Tip #1: Know Your Buyers
How well do you know the people who are buying your product or service? Have you taken the time to carefully put together buyer personas? When you have solid buyer personas, you don't just know the basic demographics for your customers. You have a better idea of what makes them tick: what they really need from your products and from your company. If you're struggling to put together effective buyer personas for your marketing campaigns, try our buyer persona worksheet. This simple worksheet will help you answer key questions about your customers that will, in turn, shape your future marketing efforts.
Tip #2: Create a Content Calendar
If you want to create an effective inbound marketing strategy, you need a content calendar: a guiding list that will let you know when you need to publish new content and what you intend to publish. Your content calendar can be semi-flexible, to allow for changes in your industry and unexpected shifts to your routine, but it will give you a solid idea of what's coming next and what you need to accomplish. Your content calendar may include details like blog posts, social media posts, when you're going to launch new advertising campaigns, and more as well as what specific content you want to highlight each month or each season.
Tip #3: Take Inventory of Your Existing Content
Before you dive in with your inbound marketing plan, take an inventory of your existing content. What have you already produced for your audience? You might, for example, have blog posts on certain common questions or topics in your industry. Once you know what content you already have, you'll be able to shape the answers to several questions:
- What content do you still need? That is, what topics are you lacking?
- What information have your customers responded most to in the past? Is there a specific type of content that your customers are more likely to consume or engage with?
- Are there any gaps in types of content you're creating? Do you have white papers, infographics, videos as well as blog posts?
Your content inventory will give you a great place to start as you start creating new content for future use. In many cases, you may also find that you're able to recycle older content in new forms that you'll be able to use to attract new traffic.
Tip #4: Design an Execution Plan
How are you going to get your new inbound marketing material out there? Do you have a plan for reaching your customers? This may include posting on social media, paid search engine ads, and other plans for attracting your audience. Your execution plan should include your budget, who is responsible for putting together specific pieces of content, and how you'll handle any problems that crop up along the way--falling search engine results, for example. One of the biggest traps that small businesses fall into is creating a great content plan, but not taking into account the time, cost, and resources needed to actually execute on it. This step is vital to a successful campaign.
Tip #5: Set Up Your Social Media
Do you have current, active social media accounts that allow you to connect with your customers? What platforms are you using? From Twitter and Facebook to Instagram, Pinterest, and more, there are plenty of social media platforms to choose from. When choosing your social media platforms, there are several factors to keep in mind.
- Don't feel that you have to have a presence on every social media platform. Instead, choose the platforms that are most likely to work for your business--and keep it reasonable. If you have too many social media platforms, you won't be able to manage them effectively, and customers may fall through the cracks.
- Know where to find your audience. 68% of Americans, for example, can be found on Facebook--a number that has been fairly consistent over the last several years. Younger Americans--those in their teens and early twenties--are more likely to have Instagram accounts than their older counterparts.
- Remember that in order to be effective, you must have a presence on social media. Take the time to learn when your audience is usually online and what types of content are most effective for your audience.
Making the most of your social media accounts is an ongoing process. Your audience is unique, so while you can take certain rules of thumb from your industry - in general, for example, you should post on Facebook at least four times per week, but no more than ten times per week - you'll need to create your own tests to better establish what posting frequency works best for your audience.
Tip #6: Improve Your Website
Before you put a great deal of energy and effort into your inbound marketing campaign, think about where that campaign is going to bring your customers: straight to your website. Does your website have the tools needed to provide a great experience for your customers? Before you bring more customers to your website, consider how you might improve your website to create a better customer experience.
- Is your website mobile responsive?
- Have you taken into account how your visitors and customers are using your website?
- Can visitors easily find what they're looking for with an intuitive design?
- Is your website fast?
- Are you giving your visitors every opportunity to convert into leads?
- Are you A/B testing content?
- Do you have SMART content?
If your website still needs work, make sure you take care of that before launching your inbound marketing campaign. That way, you'll get a better, more effective connection with your customers when they arrive.
Are you ready to create your inbound marketing campaign? Whether you're hoping to handle much of it yourself or you need a little help along the way, contact us. We'll work with you to help create a better inbound marketing program that will more effectively reach your customers.