Although the end goal of marketing – customer acquisition, retention and referral may sound simple, the tactics and channels businesses use to achieve it can vary greatly depending on the industry and team. Developing a marketing strategy can be challenging and time-consuming, with many available options.
To create an effective strategy, it's important to prioritise certain channels over others, especially if your company has a limited marketing budget. If you make these decisions, we recommend prioritising inbound marketing, as it can be an effective approach to achieving your marketing goals.
Let's discuss what inbound marketing entails, the most successful strategies, and how to utilise them to expand your business.
What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is a business strategy and an effective method to market and sell your products or services, which can lead to long-term growth for your company. The concept of inbound marketing is based on the idea that customers desire authentic and meaningful relationships with the companies they do business with, and this methodology helps to create those connections.
Instead of generic marketing tactics like banner ads, inbound marketing employs targeted messages to inform and capture attention, ultimately generating interest and demand.
Why is Inbound Marketing Important?
When clients achieve success and share it with others, it attracts more prospects to your company, creating a completely self-sufficient cycle. This is how your organisation gains traction, so the inbound methodology serves as a solid foundation for your company's success.
Stages of Inbound Marketing
For marketing to be effective, delivering the appropriate content to the right audience at the right time is important. This process is generally divided into three stages, each of which is strategically planned to align with the customer journey.
Stage 1: Attract
Attracting your target audience is the initial stage of inbound marketing, especially if they are unfamiliar with your brand. At this stage, potential customers are researching and seeking solutions. Companies can start attracting prospects by raising awareness, distributing relevant content, and demonstrating that they understand their customers' demands.
Stage 2: Engage
The second stage is all about converting those potential customers into paying customers. Companies may collect what people are looking for and utilise that knowledge by building customised, targeted narratives. The key to engagement is to remain truthful and subtle enough so clients feel in charge when making decisions.
Stage 3: Delight
The goal of the final stage of inbound marketing is to exceed all customer expectations, delight them and foster loyalty. This can be done by giving memorable experiences, demonstrating to clients that you genuinely care about them, making recommendations, and continuing to invest in them even after a purchase has been completed.
How does gigCMO Create an Inbound Marketing Strategy?
The most effective inbound marketing approaches revolve around developing a playbook that businesses could use repeatedly. These scalable strategies may be monitored using sales, retention rates, ROI, social media analytics metrics, etc. New strategies always emerge, and it's critical to remain on top of which methods your target audience prefers.
The first step in any B2B inbound marketing strategy should be to be clear about what you want to happen due to the campaign.
As previously said, this can include increasing MQLs, driving higher qualified leads, doubling organic traffic, improving domain authority through link development, etc. Once you've determined your desired outcome, you and your team may analyse that goal and turn it into action steps.
Here's how to create the ideal goal:
- Determine your most critical channels, those your potential customers will likely use.Determine the gaps in your current efforts.
- Analyse how much performance improvement is required to meet the business's goals.
- Based on prior data, use those performance improvement estimates to forecast how long those improvements should take.
- Write out your objective, discuss it with your team, and receive feedback on its feasibility.
Understanding the Desires of Your Target Audience
To begin with, there's an incredible tool from HubSpot designed precisely for this purpose. We highly recommend leveraging it to guide you through this process. Or, if you're expanding your business to a new country or targeting specific customer demographics, our downloadable template can help you with the assessment.
With that in mind, consider these crucial steps and key aspects:
- Determine whether you have several target buying personas for various offers. Typically, the same type of person will make up most of your deals, but if you run a business that offers substantially various offers, you'll need to adjust this approach accordingly.
- Give the person unique traits such as a name, location, and gender. The goal is to hold everyone on your marketing team accountable to the needs of your target personas throughout their purchasing experience. They are not just numbers; they are real people with hopes, dreams, wants, and concerns.
- List their essential demographic information, such as industry, geographic location, and decision-maker roles. This data starts to drive how you may position your brand image, content, and messaging to match the essential parts of your life experience and background.
- Choose information about the company and the industry. Is their company multinational or local? What is the title of their position? What kind of industry does their company do?
- Consider their major challenges, ambitions, and desires. This information is just as crucial as the others. You can convey or even adjust your offer to meet your buyer's demands better if you understand their pain points. If you know their primary objectives, you can connect them with those goals using your product as a guide.
Research Opportunities and Analyse the Competition
Competitive analysis is a necessary stage in developing an effective marketing campaign. Understanding existing methods and what your competition is doing to achieve outcomes can save you time and effort when planning and testing. It provides you with a firm foundation to begin your own unique idea.
Here's the game plan:
- Choose 5-10 of your top competitors based on their business models and companies that are running effective ads or campaigns in the channel in which you wish to compete.
- Use competitive intelligence tools to obtain as much information and data points as possible about your competitors and their strategies. SEMrush is for website traffic and SEO stats, BuzzSumo is for winning content examples, etc. Find a few distinct tools that provide insights into your preferred campaign channel, pull the data, and put it in a centralised area.
- Focus on discovering what they all have in common that is successful (where to begin), what efforts they've done that haven't yet paid off (what you may learn from or avoid), and areas for development that they've overlooked (your opportunities).
When you base your campaign on meaningful and accurate data, you set yourself up for success since you have something to benchmark your own performance to right from the start.
Start Mapping Your Content
Content is the backbone of inbound marketing. When done properly, content helps the customer make the best decision based on their needs and goals. Sometimes, the content aspect can be equal to parts of science and art, but there is a system of development that will undoubtedly set you up for success.
- Make use of your research findings to plan ahead. If you're starting an SEO campaign, ensure you have all of your target keywords included in a spreadsheet, along with the type of content you need to create and whether it's an existing or future asset. If you're building a PPC campaign, ensure your ad groups are assigned to a specific landing page type based on best practices and competition efforts.
- Focus on things that educate and help customers solve an immediate need. There are numerous things to consider when optimising content for the platform or channel you're targeting throughout your campaign. Still, customers will not convert into customers if the content is delivered to them but isn't irrelevant to their needs.
- Outline the content ahead of time. Build an outline of all the pieces of the material you want to create before you begin working on it. Working from the structure ensures that the end result is laser-targeted to help you accomplish your campaign objectives.
- Use tools to assess the content as you go. As you proceed, apps like Grammarly can help ensure that there are no serious writing mistakes, grammatical errors, or readability faults. This will save you time and hassle in the long run.
- When finished, show it to several team members and departments. This phase is critical for spotting any spelling or grammatical issues you may have overlooked. Still, each person will be able to offer a unique perspective that can help the content perform better.
- Publish and optimise on your chosen channels. Check to see if you've optimised each part of the content in accordance with the platform's best practices.
Promote Your Content
Some businesses overlook content promotion as an essential stage in inbound marketing. However, expanding your content's reach and, eventually, its effectiveness is crucial.
Here are some examples of content promotion:
- Publishing blog posts to your website or known platforms.
- Repurpose your content as an infographic or slide presentation and share it on websites specialising in curating these resources.
- To increase the visibility of your website content, run impressions or click-through targeting advertising on Linkedin, Facebook, or Google.
- Encourage your teams and brand supporters to share and generate discussions about the content on your preferred target media.
Understanding what value you can give to the correct type of individual on the right platform at the right time is required for promotion. It's a long game, but it's well worth doing.
Measure Results & Update Strategy
When you're investing capital in marketing, it's tempting to personally estimate the efficacy of your content or rely on inadequate KPIs like impressions. However, this will not benefit your bottom line in the long run.
Every strong B2B inbound marketing effort must have the right analytics and tracking in place to measure campaign performance, gain reliable insights into that performance, and take action to improve.
Every month, depending on the campaign length, your team should evaluate KPIs to frequently find trends in your content's performance and pivot strategy, particularly in the beginning until you've reached the desired outcomes.
Your company should have a playbook for adopting the strategies listed above. For startups, scaleups and SMEs, inbound is one of the most important aspects of your go-to-market plan. Contact us and start with your inbound marketing strategy with gigCMO.