Steps to Developing an Inbound Marketing Plan

Inbound marketing is about getting customers to come to you – creating content that influences buyers to seek you out and learn more about your company. This marketing strategy utilizes multiple techniques: content writing, social media, search engine optimization, web design, graphic design, email marketing, conversion rate optimization, and more. Read on to learn how you can craft your own inbound marketing strategy!

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Picture Your Customer Persona

Ask yourself: who buys your products? Consider details like age, education level, location, and income. Some of these educated guesses will be extremely important– younger customers are much more likely to use Snapchat, and customers with children might be especially happy to hear about a time-saving or safety feature of your product. Envisioning customers will help you figure out what they want to hear, and identifying multiple targets will help you create a multi-platform strategy.

Find Your Marketing Triggers

A marketing trigger motivates research leading to a purchase. If you run an outdoor equipment company, then summer is probably a big trigger for your customers. If you run a gym, you’ll probably see a bump every January, right when people resolve to get in shape. Triggers can be straightforward, or they can be a little more complicated – for example, a company that sells green HVAC solutions will attract customers when utility prices rise, when office properties change hands, and when new building regulations go into effect.

Brainstorm Keywords

Once you’ve developed a sense of who your target customer is and when and why they seek you out, it’s time to start looking at the keywords that will lead them to you. Google’s Keyword Planner is a great starter tool for measuring keyword effectiveness – you can generate a list of relevant keywords and see whether these keywords fit your needs. Your “key” criteria are high search volume and low competition – customers will be more likely to use these keywords and less likely to be directed to competing sites. Keywords can be integrated into content in multiple ways, including headings and tags.

Read up on long tail keywords and how to use them in search engine optimization here.

Identify Inbound Marketing Goals

Remember, inbound marketing is about planning. Now that you’ve identified customers, pressure points, and keywords, it’s time to decide what you want to accomplish with your inbound marketing plan. It’s best to start by looking at your current traffic and conversion rates. Google Analytics is a good place to start out, and Marketing Grader will help you see how you stack up against competitors in your industry. Consider unique visitors, searches, lead-to-customer conversion, and traffic sources – for example, do customers come to you from social media, or from email marketing? Use these current performance stats to set inbound marketing benchmarks.

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Develop a Content Strategy

Now that you’ve set goals, think about the kind of content you want to generate in order to raise your lead-to-customer conversion rates. One key concept here is identifying stages for the customer engagement. The “funnel” from lead to purchase can be divided into three steps. Customers at the “top” of the funnel are in the “awareness” stage, looking for basic information. Customers at the “middle” of the funnel are in the “evaluation” stage, exploring your products and services in more depth. Finally, customers at the very bottom are in the “purchase” stage, looking for clear details about service packages and features. “Awareness” content focuses on raising your profile with customers and getting the word out across as many platforms as possible. “Evaluation” content positions your product so that customers get a detailed sense of its advantages. “Purchase” content gives a customers a “test drive” or a last-stage incentive to buy – promotions, free trials, and demo videos are ideal.

Learn how to create quality content to enhance your marketing strategy.

Create an Inbound Content Strategy

Now that you’ve developed a “map” of the messages you want to transmit to customers at each stage, you can generate targeted content to drive your inbound marketing plan. Each blog post, video post, and social media link should start with a headline that responds to a common question from one of your customer demographics at a specific point in the process. Each should end with a “call to action” that appeals to specific customer profiles. Use blog posts to encourage customers to access other forms of content available on your site, like downloadable guides and e-books. If you’ve integrated “Learn more” and “Sign up now” buttons into content pages, you can personalize these as well.

Use Social Media to Signal Boost

Targeted social media posts will draw customers to your site – this is especially true if the content you link to is shareable, like videos and infographics. It’s important to integrate social-media content across platforms, so that you can target multiple customer demographics. Social media is also built for personalized content and marketing research. Consider using surveys to get a sense of what your customers want to see, or asking them to post selfies or share reviews of your products.

Be sure to check out these proven strategies for growing and engaging social media networks!

Hire Marketing Professionals

Inbound marketing requires strategic planning at multiple levels. This is where a digital marketing team can come in handy – they’ll have access to every skillset you need to develop an inbound marketing plan that builds on the strengths of your company. Shop around to ensure that the digital marketing firm you choose can develop an inbound marketing plan, and make sure that they have experience with every stage we’ve discussed in this post. Even if you decide to do some of this work “in house,” a digital marketing firm is a great place to find cost-effective content writers and web designers.

Inbound marketing can seem complicated – and it’s true that developing inbound leads does involve careful attention to a lot of different factors. But with some conscientious planning, you’ve got everything you need to draw traffic to your site and capture customer interest across a variety of market demographics.

Are you interested in learning more about inbound marketing? We recommend a consultation with a group of dedicated marketing professionals who can offer you expert advice at every step of the way.  Contact Square 1 Group for more information today!



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