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Our Inbound Marketing Process: Getting Started with Inbound

Feb 5, '17 / by Beth Carter

Getting Started with Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing can deliver amazing results – we’ve seen it happen time and again. And yet, the best inbound marketing strategies are comprehensive, with many moving pieces. We’ve developed a repeatable system that allows us to address everything your strategy needs to encompass, so you can derive the maximum ROI from your efforts.

Here’s what you can expect when getting started with inbound maketing with Clariant Creative.

1. Set SMART Goals

SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Timebound. We will work with you to identify SMART goals for:

  • Website Visitors
  • Leads
  • Marketing Qualified Leads
  • Customers

These goals will determine how aggressive we need to be with your strategy, so we can develop the right action plan.

2. Website Analysis

The foundation for every inbound marketing strategy is a solid website. Therefore, before we launch your inbound marketing strategy, we need to know if your website is up to the task. We’ll carefully assess several components of your site, including:

  • Does your website clearly articulate your value proposition and subject matter expertise?
  • Are you currently blogging?
  • Do you have any additional resources to download on your site?
  • What are your calls to action?
  • How does your website integrate with your email marketing?
  • Does your website platform allow you to easily create landing pages and forms for lead capture?
  • Does your website platform allow you to easily track conversion rates?

The results of our analysis will show us if we need to fix any foundational issues before we launch into anything your website can’t handle.

3. Target Audience Analysis

At this point, we understand what we’re trying to achieve with inbound marketing, and we understand what updates we might need to make on your website. Before we can launch into creating content, we need to understand who we want to be reading that content.

We need to identify two things about your target audience:

  1. Who are your buyer personas?
  2. What is the buying journey for each persona?

Inbound marketing doesn’t work if it’s designed to answer our own questions. It only works if we answer the important questions your customers have before they’re willing to buy from you.

4. Blogging

Finally – it’s time to start blogging! Almost. First, though, we need to map out our blog strategy. We usually do this at Clariant Creative with a Google Spreadsheet that we share with everyone on the team.

In our editorial calendar, we will specify for each blog post over the next 90 days:

  • Working title
  • Blog category (if the blog covers more than one)
  • Target keyword and monthly search volume for that keyword
  • Target persona
  • Call to action for the post

This gives us an at-a-glance view of entire quarter’s worth of blog posts. We can quickly see whether we’re evenly targeting all our personas, the right keywords, and whether our working title accurately positions the post the way we intend.

Related Post: Creating an Editorial Calendar? Here Are 8 Tips to Get Started

5. Lead Generation Content

This is my favorite part – where we deep dive into thought leadership!

The big question is what your lead generation content should be. It’s probably going to be longer and more in-depth than your blog posts. The topic should also be valuable enough that potential customers are willing to fork over their email address to get it.

To identify this topic, first we identify which buyer persona you want to target. Then, we look deeply into that persona’s concerns and questions across the buying journey. Ideally, we’ll identify three-four pieces to create:

  1. One or two top-of-funnel topics (“attract”)
  2. One mid-funnel topic (“convert”)
  3. One bottom-of-the-funnel topic (“close”)

The specific number of pieces we create for you will depend on your budget and how aggressive our goals are.

Because this content needs to be highly valuable, we’ll work with you to determine the thought leadership perspective you want to convey, and we’ll interview any subject matter experts on your team. We might also conduct our own research to supplement this.

Once we’ve created the content, we’ll focus our initial marketing on your top-of-funnel content. We might do this with an email campaign, public relations push, paid search advertising, social media marketing, or more; the specific strategy will depend on what is most likely to reach your target audience. We’ll also make sure relevant blog posts include calls to action to drive visitors to this content.

This premium content will be housed behind a landing page that contains a short form, where prospects will need to provide their email address in order to access the content.

6. Lead Nurturing Workflows

As our awareness campaign attracts visitors and captures their email addresses, we need to think about what we’re going to actually do with those leads.

Specifically, we’ll use their email addresses to steadily share content that nudges them further along that journey. As they engage with each piece of content we send them, we can determine how interested or how ready they are to take the next step.

It’s a gentle process designed to be informative rather than salesy. But it’s also mindful and deliberate; we’re closely watching the behavior of each lead, and we’re looking for signals that suggest that lead is ready for an honest-to-goodness sales conversation.

This might mean we set up a lead scoring system that automatically tags any lead that takes specific actions on your website, or it might mean we flag anyone consuming specific bottom-of-funnel content as a qualified lead. We’ll let your own internal sales system determine the best way to coordinate the way your marketing team hands off these qualified leads to your sales team.

And – voila – you now have an effective, efficient lead generation strategy rooted in solid inbound marketing principles.

It’s not an overnight process, but it’s hugely productive. If you’re wondering whether getting started with inbound marketing might make sense for your business, please reach out to us. We’re passionate about this stuff, and we’d love to talk with you.

How does your marketing stack up?

Topics: Strategy

Beth Carter
Written by Beth Carter

I love to write and I'm a total grammar freak. I also passionately believe that conversational, approachable and insightful content can help people solve real problems and can make a real difference in the world.

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