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If you haven’t already, developing and implementing a successful Inbound Marketing Strategy should be on the top of your to-do-list. In this article we’ll share our five best tips on how to make sure your strategy becomes successful. If you’re new to Inbound Marketing and want an overview of what it is, check out our article covering the basics. But let’s explore now some tips for developing a successful inbound marketing strategy.
1) Define Your Goals
As is the case of all marketing strategies, the first step is to clearly define your own business goals. Are you trying to attract new customers, turn your existing customers into repeat customers, or is your goal something else entirely? The most important aspect is that you set specific tangible goals. Simply saying to yourself that you want more customers is not going to cut it. Instead, define exactly how many new customers you want to get in a defined period of time, and how many sales you want to make within this timeframe.
2) Define Your Ideal Customer
Write a profile of what your ideal customer is, all the way down to specifics such as age, income, interests, occupation and so forth. Keep in mind that a key aspect of Inbound Marketing is to create content which is of high value to your customers. This is very difficult to do, if you haven’t defined your ideal customer, and what kind of content they would appreciate.
3) Analyze Your Competitors
Research your competitors. What are they doing in terms of Inbound Marketing? Identify what they are doing better than you, and what they are not doing as well as you are. It seems elementary, but to ensure that you’re one step ahead of the rest, you need to analyze your competitor’s efforts, and use that as a reference point for your own content. This is something you should do regularly, and I often advice clients to sign up for their competitor’s newsletters. Stay on top of industry news, and what your competitors are up to, it’s free, and extremely valuable! If for example you find yourself getting annoyed by the frequency of their newsletter, make sure that you tweak the frequency of your own newsletter accordingly, as you probably aren’t the only one getting annoyed.
4) Develop a Content Strategy
Based on your goals and your ideal customer, define a clear goal for your content. What kind of tone do you want the content to have? What is the ideal outcome for someone reading your content? How often should you post new content? It’s very common for businesses to create content which is great on its own, but appears to have been written by someone without a clear understanding of the overarching content strategy. We’ve covered the importance of integrating your Inbound Strategy across multiple channels here. If the person writing your content isn’t aware of your SEO strategy, what’s happening on your Facebook, and what the clear goal of your content is, it’s not going to be as effective as it could be.
5) Define how you aim to engage with your audience
Inbound Marketing aims at driving potential customers directly to you, but taking a passive approach to doing so is not ideal. Clearly defining how you will reach out and engage with your audience across channels is vital. Do you have a procedure for how to tackle a complaint on your Facebook? What do you do when a new customer signs up to your newsletter? Always remember that engaging with your customers, prospective or existing, is of paramount importance, so make sure that you aren’t caught off guard, and have a clear plan on how this should be done. Based on your ideal customer, define how you think they would like to be addressed, how often, and through which channels you can do so.
Many businesses make the mistake of thinking that they don’t need to actually write down their Inbound Marketing strategy, but that they can just wing it. Speaking from experience, you’ll save yourself a lot of trouble by abandoning this view, and take the time to actually develop and write up your strategy, even though it doesn’t seem that exciting. Your Inbound Marketing strategy is every bit as important as your business plan, and should not just exist in your head, but on actual paper.
Never think of your strategy as being completely finalized. If you identify a potential problem or something you haven’t thought of, go back to your overarching strategy and revise accordingly. The key to developing a successful Inbound Marketing strategy is understanding that it’s an organic process, which needs to be adjusted as new data become available. If you find out that a particular article is being shared way more than others, analyze why this is, and go back to your Content Strategy, to see if you’ve missed something.