Creating an effective inbound marketing strategy isn’t black and white, every brand has its own obstacles to overcome, platforms that would be best to market on and varying marketing objectives to match. In this article we aim to provide a best of both outline and instruction manual on laying the foundation, creating and executing a successful inbound marketing strategy for your brand.
The first thing any marketer needs is a solid game plan so you can achieve scoring goals in the form of converted leads and sales.
The bread and butter that makes any inbound marketing strategy successful is the research that goes into it. The only way to create content and marketing materials that attract consumers and engage them is to know exactly who you’re communicating to, what action you would like them to take and what the best communication is to achieve this.
Inbound marketing strategy research
Situational and market analysis: understand the market you are working in.
- Research what is currently affecting the market you are in. Although you may already know your business inside out, having an up to date assessment of trends and happenings surrounding your business is important to creating an inbound marketing strategy that is completely relevant and effective. As a furniture brand, is the market moving in the direction of sustainability, is there a gap that neither you or your competitors are taking advantage of? Is there a potential risk that you should look out for? Can these insights improve your overall inbound marketing communication?
- Do comprehensive competitor research. Understand exactly what your competitors offer and how you are differentiating yourself. Secondly, analyse your competitor’s communication channels and which of these are working and not working, if they are using inbound marketing efforts and if they are successful or not. From this, you can see where you need to improve to match the expected industry standard and perhaps where you can take initiative and take advantage of an opportunity that your competitors are not.
- Conduct THOROUGH target audience research. Inbound marketing is based on attracting targeted audiences and engaging them, educating them and solving problems that are specific to them. You need to know your audiences:
- Purchasing behaviour
- Hobbies and interests
- What they value and believe in
- What their biggest challenges are (Pain points)
- How your product and service market solves these challenges.
- What unique benefits differentiate your product and service in this market.
- How they perceive your products and service results?
Building usable and relevant customer personas are critically important to the success of your inbound marketing strategy. If you don’t know exactly who you’re speaking to, you won’t know their needs, where they are online and what content will engage them and solve their problems. If you don’t know this you have little to work with, but if you do know this, then you have taken the time to gain the information that makes inbound marketing so effective. It’s personal information that gets to the core of your consumer, this is highly valuable to building a truly lasting connection and getting great engagement.
Keyword research is an important part of building customer profiles and also your content strategy. Use Google Keyword Planner to find out how people interested in your product or service are searching for it and what questions they would like to know about it. The main keyword used in this article is ‘Inbound Marketing Strategy’ because this is what our audience is searching for when looking to learn more about how to create a successful one.
Some useful inbound marketing tools you can use:
- SEMRush, is an all-in-one marketing toolkit that allows you to analyse the SEO, paid traffic, social media, and content & PR of your competitors – or use it to keep track of your own business.
- SpyFu, for example, is an excellent inbound marketing tool that allows you to get competitor research on any website to show every keyword they’ve bid on, organic rank, and ad variation they’ve been running across the last decade.
- Google Trends is a great and easy-to-use tool, which isn’t as daunting as the Keyword Planner by Google. This makes a great addition to your inbound marketing software as it allows you to very simply gauge the interest, over time, across certain topics and keywords in your niche.
- BuzzSumo is another powerful content research tool for your inbound marketing that instantly delivers tonnes of popular content when you search for a niche. This allows you to get an idea of what content your audience likes to engage with and share on social media.
For any inbound marketing campaign to be a success, the message you are communicating needs to reach them, or, in this case, they need to reach the message. Generating traffic is achieved in multiple ways and serves a number of purposes. The method we find most effective is the inbound marketing gameplan trinity; quality content, search engine optimization and organic and paid media promotion.
- Create quality content that entices and attracts your audience.
- SEO optimize all content and landing pages to maximise organic traffic and ranking.
- Promote content on Social Media platforms organically in forums and by paying to promote it.
Organic traffic: your target audience will land on your articles or website naturally by searching terms in a search engine like google and clicking on your link as one of the results that come up. You can also get organic traffic by having your content shared on social media forums and your own social pages. This is why your keyword research is so important, you need to base your articles not only on what people need but also what a large number of your audience are searching for so that you can compete for the search ranking.
This leads us to another benefit of Inbound Marketing – it builds up the strength of your overall digital brand. Creating content for your online blog is the best way to SEO (Search Engine Optimization) your website. Building a good website ranking in google doesn’t happen overnight, and the more quality content you make, the more other sites will generate backlinks to your website, and so the more your website will show up when people search for your product and services.
How to generate leads
Inbound marketing attracts the kinds of visitors and leads you want. Inbound content has been very well researched and tailor-made to specific customer personas. Leads generated through inbound marketing are informed, interested and want to continue the conversation with your brand.
You need to make sure that you capture leads at every stage of your funnel and customize your content so it suits what stage each customer is at. Someone in the research stage of the funnel (Middle) might need an article or asset that provides content that educates and teaches them the different ways to solve a problem they have, and mentions your product is one way to do so. Someone in the interest or ready to buy stage (Bottom) can be converted into a lead by providing product-specific content that shows exactly how your product or service can solve problems for them.
Once a visitor has been converted into a lead, you must continue to nurture them from the top of your funnel to the bottom of your funnel. There must be a clear distinction between the top, middle, and bottom, with varying content that guides the consumer naturally until they are hopefully ready to purchase. Nurturing leads is also important because your brand must be top of mind for consumers while they research other brands and products.
The RACE framework is a summary of a full digital customer lifecycle in the form of a broad marketing funnel split into four more specific marketing funnel segments. It not only outlines the life cycle segments but describes online marketing activities that need to be maintained to achieve a successfully holistic digital marketing strategy.
The RACE mnemonic stands for Reach, Act, Convert and Engage. There is also a planning phase at the beginning making it PRACE, but RACE sounds a whole lot better.
Below is a description of each funnel segment.
- REACH – reach is about building and driving traffic towards your main online presences, such as; your website or social media pages. This involves raising awareness for your products, services, and brand on alternative websites and offline media that points to your online presences. To maximise your reach over time different contact points are used, such as; paid, owned and earned media, for example: Search Engine Marketing, blogging, using social media and publishers.
- ACT – this accounts for the interactions your audience take on your varying online platforms. Here you focus on optimizing them to encourage your audience to become leads. Content and user experience play a large part in the Act stage. Converting audience members into leads should be frictionless by your design and driven by great content and incentives.
- CONVERT – this is the all-important moment where you turn your leads into paying customers whether they are purchasing your products and services online or offline. Your Reach and Act stage must prepare them well.
- ENGAGE – it’s so important to form long-lasting relationships with customers, you must create a two-way conversation where you can build up your customers trust and loyalty resulting in repeat purchases. It is 74% easier to get an already existing customer to purchase your product compared to a new customer. The engage stage ensures that all the hard work done in the first three stages of the RACE framework pays off over a long time.
Remember that a powerful inbound marketing strategy always starts with planning. Before creating content, and creating funnels to move your customers through you HAVE to have the right information to do so. It’s about leading a golden thread through all your online campaigns that begin with your research and customer personas so that every stage afterwards is directed by informative content, incentives, designs and calls-to-action that appeal to your audience’s needs and brand objectives. Providing excellent content and information, that solves problems and delights consumers, that is researched and written professionally, and fits in well as apart of an integrated marketing campaign is the basis of inbound marketing. We hope the above outline has been helpful.