Marketing Strategy

Inbound marketing strategy: Making it work for your business

Making a marketing strategy work for your business

So you’re thinking about implementing an inbound marketing strategy to ensure the long term growth of your company? We don’t blame you – it can reduce cost per lead, yield strong ROI, generate a healthy stream of the right type of leads and build a strong brand around your business. And all this through your website! But can you really guarantee that it will produce the results you’re looking for? Like with most things in life, you can’t, but knowing how to make an inbound marketing strategy work for your business is the first step to making a success of it.

A CRM and cloud computing company used content and social to drive traffic

Before we get onto the how of making your inbound marketing strategy yield the positive result you’re after, let’s take a look at the proof that inbound does, in fact, work. Take SalesForce, the CRM and cloud computing tool. They used a combination of social media and content marketing to drive web traffic up by 80% and social media traffic up by 2500% within one year of implementation. This translated into 10,000 eBook downloads – i.e. 10,000 leads. They adopted a 90/10 approach to social media, that is, 90% of the content they post on social is about their target audience, and only 10% is about them and their products.

A tank manufacturer revamped their website to make it inbound friendly – with incredible results

Let’s look at another case study from a completely different industry – the steel tank manufacturing sector. The Fisher Tank company has been around since the 1940s, and initially resisted the idea of a marketing strategy that revolved around online content and social media. But after a website redesign that made it SEO-friendly and included calls to action, social media profiles and a blog, the Fisher Tank website saw a 119% increase in web traffic, a 4,800% increase in web traffic from social, and a 3,900% increase in lead conversions – all within 12 weeks! The long buying cycle and highly specialised products make this type of company well suited to lead nurturing with content.

Now that you’ve seen just how powerful an inbound marketing strategy can be, we’ll run through a few of the components of making a real success of it.

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Before you start implementing inbound, set goals

Your inbound strategy should revolve around goals. You’ll already have business goals and objectives – your inbound goals should align with these, but are more detailed. Your goals need to be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound, i.e. they need to be SMART. Once you get going with your strategy, use data and metrics to determine whether you’re on track to meet these goals. If you’re not, tweak your strategy until you are.

Create buyer personas based on cold-hard data

Your strategy also revolves around buyer personas, a.k.a., the customers you want to attract. Inbound marketing is customer-focused, instead of product-focused – which has been (and still is, in some businesses) the status quo. Your content, social media and website need to be designed with your buyer personas in mind: their desires, needs and pain points. But before you can design content around them, you need to know who they are. Create these detailed representations of your ideal customers based on what you already know about existing customers, a ton of market research and cold-hard data. Data collection and analysis is core to everything we do in inbound.

Get strategic when it comes to your content

Content marketing isn’t simply writing blogs about your office party or cool industry news that you and your team find interesting. For content to work its magic, you need to think and plan strategically, which means creating content around each of your buyer personas and where they are in the buyer journey. If you want more mid-level IT managers as leads, you need to write blogs and eBooks, create videos and hold webinars around their interests, needs and solutions to their pain points. Your content must educate, inform and add value to them. Remember, that your personas only care about one thing: their problems, not your product or business.

Are you ready to align sales and marketing?

Marketing and sales have always been seen as distinct entities, with different goals, mindsets and approaches. Yet, this deeply entrenched rivalry actually hinders both parties from achieving their objectives. For your inbound strategy to fly, you need to align these two rival camps into one smarketing machine. Both teams have insights and information that help the other do its job. Marketing has interacted with leads right up until the point that the lead is passed onto sales – they have valuable insight and information that can help the sales team form a relationship with a lead. Likewise, sales has insights into the leads that have become customers, and this info can help marketing improve the lead nurturing process further up the sales funnel.

It would be impossible to cover everything involved in making a success of inbound marketing in one blog. If you’d like further details about how it works and how it can work for your business, download our guide:

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