Where to start with inbound marketing?

February 15, 2018 | by Vourneen Taylor

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Inbound is an increasingly popular approach that organisations are using to attract customers. For some on the outside looking in, it can be difficult to know where to start with Inbound marketing. Content offers, blogging, personas, social, email? The list goes on.  You might have seen companies being successful with Inbound but you often don't see the whole journey from the begining. Success doesn't magically happen with Inbound. You need substantial effort, the right tools, resources and process in place to really be sucessful.

In the this post, I am going to concentrate on the process regardless of the tools or resources you may have available. I believe anyone can introduce inbound to their business if they are willing to commit and put in the effort.  

What is Inbound Marketing?

Inbound Marketing is based on communicating (marketing) to the right person (persona) and at the right time (buyers journey stage)
 
 TIP - Bookmark this blog post as a workbook or checklist to launch you first inbound  marketing campaign!  
 

1) Define your goals

Be careful with setting your goals. Try to be realistic here. If possible base you goals on previous performance. The 2 things I always listen out for when I ask my clients about their goals is, what do they want to achieve and by when. Basically, I am looking for numbers and dates.
 
  TIMEFRAME EXAMPLE GOAL YOUR GOAL
Long term goal 12 MONTHS + Increase revenue by 20% by year end  
Medium term goal 3-6 MONTHS Get 60 demo requests next quarter  
Short term goal 1-3 MONTHS Get 100  MQL leads to handover to sales in the next 4 weeks  
 
It may seem obivious but make sure your short term goals should align with your medium and longer term goals. This helps you be very focused with your efforts. Always make sure you have a clear goal for everything you are doing. Even for that monthly newsletter your are sending out. 
 

2) Define your campaign goals

Campaign goals are even more specific. This is a plan we can use to achieve your goals. For example if you need 100 MQL's (marketing qualified leads) per month, you will likely need several activities to reach your lead goal. You should use previous data to make sure you are being realistic with your prediction.
 
For example:
to get 25 people to attend a webinar
send an email to 1000 contacts (avg. click through rate 4%) 40 click through to sign up
 
You should also take into consideration seasonalities, your reach, the size of your email list, your budget for paid promotion etc. 
 
Example Activity Example No. of leads Your activity Lead goal
Attend a webinar 25    
Watch a video case study 25    
Request a consultation 25    
Request a demo 25    
       
TOTAL MQL's 100     
  

3) Define your persona

Defining your persona means identifying your ideal customer type and creating marketing communications specifically for them which will help them through their buyer’s journey.

"The best way to think about your persona is to picture them as a stereotype of your ideal customer, based on data."
 
PERSONA DEVELOPMENT CHECKLIST:
  •  Company information - what type of companies do you sell to?
  •  Role in company - who is the end user?
  •  Goals - how do you help to achieve their goals?
  •  Challenges - how you help to solve their problems?
  •  Values - What do they value?
  •  Objections - What are common objections during the sales process?
  •  Marketing message - What is your elevator pitch?
  •  Where do they hang out online? - Blogs, social media, forums etc. 
  •  Group similar personas together - You can do this by company size or industry for example
  •  Finally name your persona and include an image!

     Resources for persona development:
4) Elements of an Inbound marketing campaign
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Start with the content offer & conversion path first
When building an inbound marketing campaign there are a couple of steps to consider. The heart and very centre of the campaign ( the purple section) is where a landing page and form gates your content offer for example a whitepaper, checklist or an invitation to an event.
 
"Constantly ask yourself what happens before this step and what do I want to happen after this step"
 
Build your promotional path next
Once you have your content offer, you need to promote it to get your personas to your landing page. Refer back to the research you did to find out where your personas hangout online. That's where you should have a presence also. 

Promotional channel ideas
Here is a list to start with. I would love to hear other ideas or ways you share your content in the comments section below. 
  • Place CTA's on blog posts/ website pages
  • Linkedin
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Youtube
  • Instagram
  • Snapchat
  • Pinterest
  • Email to your existing audience
  • Email newsletter
  • PPC 
  • Social paid ads
  • PR
  • Webinars
  • Podcasts

Nurturing path

The nurturing path is a way to move your prospects down the funnel. It is a way of linking your persona from one stage in the buyers journey to the next. 

"They Buyer's Journey is the active research process a customer goes through leading up to purchase"

Buyers_Journey_and_Content.jpg

Souce: Hubspot

At awareness stage

The buyer is aware they have a problem or opportunity. They are at an early phase of research and not that commited to purchase. Therefore the type of content they might consume at this stage might differ. Easily digestable bits of content work well at this stage.

e.g. a 1 page checklist. 

The consideration stage

However, we want to entice someone after they downloaded the checklist to move to the next stage if they are ready to do so by providing another piece of valueable and educational piece of content for them.

e.g. a webinar perhaps on the same subject

They way you can do this is by triggering an email a few days after they have downloaded the awareness stage offer. 

The final decision stage

At this stage you should consider handing them over to sales to have a conversation if they would find it valuable. Depending on your sales cycle their might be several content offers you could provide to your persona for them to be sales ready and have most of their questions answered before they get to sales. 

e.g. a free consultation or assessment

This nurturing stage is basically sending a series of automated emails between each piece of content so that there is always a next step in place for your personas to take action on.  

 

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Inbound Marketing Training | Inbound marketing

Written by Vourneen Taylor

Vourneen Taylor

Vourneen Taylor delivers Inbound Strategy Workshops and in-person Hubspot training for fast growing teams in international SaaS businesses. She has 15 years experience in marketing and has onboarded over 350 Hubspot customers. At last count, she has traveled to over 125 destinations in 27 countries and has lived in London, Prague, Amsterdam, and Melbourne, as well as, her home town of Dublin. Outside of work, she enjoys sampling craft beer, good coffee, and planning the next adventure.