Inbound marketing involves drawing your target audience in through valuable content and insights.
Blogs, ebooks, events, emails, social media and videos are examples of content developed and distributed through an inbound marketing campaign.
So now we know what inbound marketing is, how do you run a successful campaign?
Here’s 6 key steps you should follow….
- Identify your Ideal Customer Profile
When planning an Inbound Marketing Campaign you need to firstly identify your ICP.
This represents the individuals that would benefit most from the products/services that you offer.
During this step you need to think carefully about:
- What is your ideal customer profile?
- What are their common characteristics/behaviours?
Contacts that fit your ideal customer profile will most likely form the backbone of your current and future product/service sales.
To build out a strategy that will be successful, you need to know exactly who your ICP represents so that you can share communications that will resonate with these individuals.
- Decide on your Customer Segments
With your ICP identified, you should now segment this broad target audience into smaller groups depending on their specific needs and pain points.
This split can often best be determined using criteria such as, an individual's job position/seniority, business sector, organisation type/size, etc.
Always remember, when segmenting based on characteristics, you need to identify the key challenges they are likely to be facing and pinpoint how your products/services can alleviate these.
After recognising your audience on a more granular level, you should now rank these groups depending on the value they hold to your business (if they purchase), how easy they will be to engage with, and the size of the segment.
You can use these rankings to decide which group(s) you should target first. I recommend choosing only one or two to start with.
- Design your Content Strategy
Time for the big one; your overall content strategy!
With the audience now locked-in for your inbound marketing campaign, to ensure success in engaging with targets you should map out the process they would usually go through. This will span from the first business interaction to becoming a customer and is most commonly known as the Customer Journey.
You should then use this customer journey to decide on a programme of strategic content.
Content should be arranged in target clusters around a keyword/keywords you want to rank for in Google Search. You can conduct research on this using the keyword traffic and difficulty tools on sites such as SEMRush and Ahrefs.
Now your cluster is decided upon you can plan content based on type (e.g. blog/ebook/video), the funnel stage it will be addressing (awareness/consideration/conversion) and how the content will be distributed (e.g. through social media/paid ads/email).
Top Tip: Your campaign content should be planned by order of the funnel stages and content from all stages should be produced. This will ensure you successfully nurture leads so that as many as possible become customers.
- Invest in your Inbound Marketing Technology
Now, before you turn on the tap and content starts flowing to your audience you need to first build your inbound marketing technology stack.
But what do you actually need?
- Website with the ability to produce Landing Pages
- Google Analytics, Search Console and Tag Manager
- CRM for collecting and organising data
- Marketing automation software
- Sales automation software
With the above technology in place and setup properly you will be able to build your target audience and effectively distribute and report on your content.
- Distribute your Content
Here we go! Now that you have your audience, content strategy and inbound marketing technology stack in place, it’s time to start creating some contacts and winning some customers.
Believe it or not when distributing your content you need a strategy too. There’s no point in producing a load of content that never reaches your audience!
For your content distribution strategy you should consider:
- Social Media - Your company/founder profiles are an easy, cheap way to get your inbound content in front of the target audience
- Paid Media - Google Ads, LinkedIn Ads, Facebook Ads etc, and their sophisticated audience targeting features are a great way to reach people of interest (even if they can be expensive!)
- Email - Reach a pre-selected group of people that you want to win as customers and that you know will engage with your inbound content
- Your website - Promote content on pages e.g. your home page, to utlise qualified traffic you are already generating
Now you just need to assign distribution channels and you can start distributing each piece of content….
6. Measure your Inbound Campaign Performance
Finally, once all of the previous steps have been followed you can start preparing to measure the performance of your communications.
There are lots of ways to measure inbound marketing performance and the metrics you track should be fuelled by predetermined campaign goals.
But here are the main ones:
Cost Per Acquisition (CPA):
Cost per acquisition, constitutes the amount each conversion costs during your inbound campaign. This could be a click/form submission/discovery call booked/purchase etc, depending on the objective of your content.
Total cost of conversions / Total number of conversions = Cost Per Acquisition
Return on Investment (ROI):
Measuring ROI is vital in determining whether your marketing efforts have paid off. This metric calculates total profit using sales growth and costs attributable to your inbound campaign.
(Sales Growth – Marketing Cost) / Marketing Cost = Return on Investment
Running an inbound marketing campaign is hard but through this guide you now have your steps to success. And yes all this effort really is worth it….
Inbound is a long-term strategy that continually delivers results - the more you invest, the more your business will grow!