Whether you’ve got a new product to promote (yoga pants for cats), a recently revamped website to show off, or a social media sharing goal to reach, getting the results you want all starts with your internet marketing campaign. And call us biased—only because it works—but for the most effective customer engagement, inbound is the way to go.
Inbound marketing refers to creating digital content that draws customers in with the information they actually want, rather than going out and trying to grab their attention with cold calling, print ads, billboards, or shrieking. Instead, you’ll be using all of your digital channels, including your website, blog, email lists, and social media accounts, to bring potential customers to content that aligns with their goals.
To develop an effective inbound marketing strategy:
1. Goal SMARTly.
Verb a noun, too, while you’re at it. Inbound marketing rewards the brave, and the well-organized.
Start by setting SMART goals, which are encompassed by this handy acronym describing five primary objectives:
Knowing what is realistic and attainable for your campaign is essential. Having vague or unreasonable expectations will only set you up for disappointment and make it harder to focus on the gains you do receive.
Setting your goals should rely on the knowledge you glean from reviewing your metrics. Study your Google and social analytics to help you determine the attainable and realistic aspects of your goals. For example, getting “more” likes for your product’s Facebook page is desirable, but it’s not a particularly SMART goal. Getting 100 new Facebook likes within three months, however, is much SMARTer.
2. Know who you're talking to.
You know that not all customers are created equal. So save time and money by focusing on the ones who most need and will find the most value in your products and services—that is, the ones who are likeliest to become good leads, then sales.
When building your online marketing plan, target one specific type of customer, or buyer persona. General information, like whether they are male or female isn’t going to work. You need specifics. Give them names and titles. Put together details that paint a larger picture of who these people are, their concerns, and their biggest pain points with regard to their business needs.
Here’s an example of a basic buyer persona: Sample Sally, mild-mannered HR director by day and fight club enthusiast by night.
If you haven’t put together your buyer personas yet, these posts can help you get started:
- What Is a Buyer Persona?
- 8 Reasons to Use Buyer Personas to Guide Your Marketing
- How to Create Buyer Personas You Can Actually Use
3. Know where to find them.
After determining your ideal buyer personas, you can figure out how and where to target them. What channels will really grab their attention? Everyone is online, all the time, whether at their desks or on a mobile device. It’s important to know where and how your potential clients use social media and other sites, so you can market to them more efficiently.
For even more comprehensive oversight, use HubSpot, Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics, Pinterest Analytics, other tools to find out much more detailed information, like when your personas use different platforms and which elements of your posts result in the most engagement.
4. Make an offer they can’t refuse.
First, put away your press-on mustache and Marlon Brando impression. This isn’t that type of offer. Now that you’ve identified the who and the how, it’s time to start to provide a targeted offer to draw them in. You need to create content that people want and are willing to give you their contact info to receive.
The purpose of your offer is to educate your leads (or generate new ones), and guide them into the next stage of the sales funnel. Your offer could be an ebook, webinar, white paper, or even a video how-to. If they’re further into their buyer’s journey, consider offering something like a product demo or even a consultation with your team.
Creating this content can be daunting. One way to make this easier is to repurpose your existing content. For example, use common questions people ask about your product to build a “Top 10 Q&A” ebook. Or combine related blog posts into a white paper or checklist. As an added bonus, you get to update valuable content that can further draw in more visitors and spur increased engagement.
After you’ve created your offer, it should live on its own special landing page, optimized to increase conversions. All your media channels can drive traffic to this page, either directly as a link or through CTAs on blog posts, in the sidebar of your website, and elsewhere. Learn about creating a killer landing page in much more detail here!
The offer’s landing page needs to be very concise. Be clear about what the offer is, why it’s valuable, why they ought to take advantage of it now, and include a short form with their contact info so you can start tracking them as a lead. Once that’s done, you can begin communicating with them by email to usher them along to the next stage of their decision-making process.
And don’t neglect the thank you page that you ought to have appear after they’ve submitted the form. It’s a great place to serve up a similar educational offer or even an offer deeper down in the next level of buyer education.
5. Check your results.
Now that you’ve got your content strategy laid out, and your channels are drawing visitors to
your site and your landing page, pave the way to constant improvement and longevity. Be sure to analyze your results and adapt your methods. You can use what you learn from successful decisions as well as unsuccessful ones to strengthen your campaign at any stage.
Planning and setting up a successful internet marketing campaign is a vital component of your business process. With the steps above, it should go more smoothly so you can concentrate on wooing your ideal buyer personas and turning them into leads and sales.
Just need a little more information about developing campaigns? Fill out this form to download our How to Create an Effective Inbound Marketing Campaign ebook.