Inbound marketing is defined by HubSpot as a business method that attracts customers by creating valuable content and experiences tailored to them. This differs from some of the more traditional marketing approaches, which tend to be outbound. With outbound marketing, you’re more in-your-face about your strategies. You actively look to seek out leads and be more involved in promoting your business. 

In this day and age, inbound marketing strategies deserve your full attention. A study by invesp showed that inbound leads cost 61% less than outbound leads – and inbound practices produce 54% more leads than outbound ones. Those are some mightily impressive stats that prove the cost-effectiveness – and general effectiveness – of inbound marketing strategies. 

So, how do you build one?

As you can imagine, everything is built around the customer. That’s the whole point of inbound marketing, and it’s where you need to begin your strategy…

Table of contents

Create Buyer Personas

The best place to start is by defining buyer personas. Here, you will create a profile of your perfect customer. Ideally, you should already have plenty of research to help you come up with your target market. However, within this market, you will find lots of different types of customers. The point of buyer personas is to define these individual customers and put them into groups. 

To create these personas, you need to think about the following: 

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Interests/hobbies
  • Buying habits
  • Geographical location
  • Pain points
  • Goals
  • Priorities

The list goes on and on, but you’re essentially crafting the perfect customers. From here, you will know who to target your inbound marketing material at. That’s the whole point of this step, it sets you up for the rest of your strategy. Otherwise, you could go ahead and plan your inbound strategy, but waste loads of money as everything falls on deaf ears.  

Furthermore, by understanding things like pain points and customer priorities, you figure out what your customers are looking for. Why do they need your product? What do they want to gain from it? This is crucial info to help build your content around. 

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Conduct Keyword Research

Keywords form a vital role in the inbound marketing world. We tend to associate keywords and phrases with SEO. When your target consumers are searching for your product or service, they will run a Google search using various terms. Clearly, you need to target these keywords to help improve your search ranking. 

However, they also give you lots of extra information on your ideal customers. In essence, the keywords show you what people are typing when they’re looking for products/services relating to your business. Therefore, you can take these keywords and use them to create content. Look at what people are searching for, then generate content around these terms and topics. 

The benefit of this is that you create content that your audience is likely to see. Also, it will be relevant to them. If they’re searching for something and find material that relates to their search, then they’re more likely to engage with it. From here, you have the chance to generate leads and influence sales. 

Naturally, the main concern with this step is finding the right keywords. Your entire strategy can fall apart if you get this wrong as you’ll be targetting the wrong keywords! So, it pays to use a great keyword research tool to help you find the most relevant selection. There’s a fantastic link by Backlinko that shows you the best one around, and it’s worth using a combination to get the most accurate spread of keywords. 

Outline Your Goals

What’s the point in developing a strategy without having any goals? 

Goals let you review your performance and judge how successful the strategy is. With inbound marketing, there are a few key things you might want to look at: 

  • Website traffic
  • Lead generation figures
  • Traffic sources
  • Sales 

These are the most common overall goals for a strategy like this. But, it’s not uncommon to include your social media presence as a goal as well. Many companies like to grow their presence, so your follower count can be a key performance indicator. 

Clearly, the goals you choose will vary from business to business. The best piece of advice is to set them following the SMART framework. This is a particular way of thinking that ensures you don’t set targets that are unrealistic and way out of your reach. The video below provides more information on how to set these goals. 

With your goals in place, you can start thinking about how you will proceed with your strategy. Everything should have these goals in mind, or else there’s no real point in doing anything. 

Choose The Key Elements Of Your Inbound Marketing Strategy

You must have an idea of what elements you will combine to form your inbound marketing strategy. Primarily, every single company should include these five things at least: 

  • SEO
  • Social Media
  • Content Marketing
  • PPC Advertising

Search engine optimization is inbound marketing in a nutshell. It’s a way of bringing customers and leads to you, rather than going out and being too in-your-face about things. When you optimize your website, you will improve your ranking and have more chances of being found in your main keyword searches. As such, this makes your content marketing more effective. 

Social media marketing is also an integral aspect of your overall inbound marketing strategy. It’s another way for you to drive traffic to your website and influence sales. The beauty of social media is that it gives you a massive reach and lets you find your target audience with ease. From here, you can create social media content that appeals to your audience, getting them to follow you or visit your website. 

Content marketing will make up the bulk of your inbound strategy. In effect, it groups lots of different ideas under the same heading. Clearly, to draw in customers, you need to create awesome content that tackles their pain points and keeps them engaged. It should be informative, entertaining, and solve their problems. Examples of content marketing include: 

  • Educational blog posts/guides
  • FAQ pages on your website that answer queries
  • Emails (not overtly promotional)
  • Infographics
  • Videos
  • Podcasts
  • Website content – landing pages

This seems like a long list of things, but there’s a simple way to make content marketing easier. All you have to do is repurpose a lot of your content. For example, you create an informative guide for people to read. It tells them all about a product you sell, and how they can use it, etc. Then, you turn this blog post into a video. It’s technically a different piece of content, but it contains the same information. The reason you do this is that you target different parts of your audience. Some like to read, some like to watch, some like to listen. Repurposing your content lets you produce more content without needing to come up with loads of new ideas. 

Lastly, PPC Advertising is technically still part of the inbound marketing landscape. This is because it’s a non-intrusive method of advertising. Why? Because your adverts will only appear when people are looking for something. Not only that, but they’re relevant to what that person is searching for. It’s a smart way to draw leads to your website, where you can let your content do the talking. A digital marketing agencies in India for example would benefit from bidding on keywords such as “best digital marketing agency” in the geographical location to make sure that their agency appears in the top ranks of a highly competitive market.  

Tailor Your Approach For The Right Leads

The final thing to talk about is how you will bring all of these things together to target your leads. Mainly, you have to approach things from the perspective of your inbound funnel. More often than not, your leads are part of one of these categories: 

  • Awareness (leads at the very top of your funnel)
  • Evaluation (leads in the middle of your funnel)
  • Purchase (leads right at the bottom of your funnel)

Obviously, you want to get your leads through all three stages. However, some will already be in a different stage than others. Let’s say there’s a customer who’s already done lots of research into your product and has landed on your website. Here, they’re in the evaluation stage as they know what they’re looking for but need more info on you. This is where you create content that targets them. It’s where FAQ pages come in handy, along with website content, to give them more information to drive their purchase decision. 

If a lead is at the bottom, then they’re ready to make a purchase. Here, you rely on landing pages or email marketing to influence this decision. Mainly, you’re outlining all the benefits of what you offer. 

For leads right at the top of your funnel, you’re providing a broader range of info. This is where blogs and videos/podcasts come in handy. They can explain topics to help leads understand the product/service they’re looking for. Then, you build on this until they make their way through the funnel and become a customer!

In summary, you need to understand what methods fit your leads based on where they are in the inbound funnel. 

Conclusion

To conclude, your inbound marketing strategy can bring in positive results. There’s an excellent case study that you can download and it shows you how an accounting firm used inbound marketing to multiply their monthly traffic 18 times over, gain a 1,000% increase in leads, and boost their blog subscribers by 5,000! 

So, if you don’t already have a strategy in place, then follow the steps outlined in this blog to put one together that works. 

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