The coronavirus pandemic has put many marketers in a difficult position - particularly those relying on more face-to-face marketing methods, such as trade shows and exhibitions. The cancellation of hundreds of events across the country means that in the coming months and beyond, you won’t necessarily be able to rely on these methods any longer.
This can be deeply worrying.
Especially if you haven’t yet embraced digital marketing. The entire world is online now more than ever - if you’re not, you’re missing out. You know this, so you may now be looking at a variety of digital marketing methods, and what you can do quickly to start boosting your efforts. Inbound marketing is a great place to start, as it focuses on giving potential buyers what they need before they even consider making a purchase, and getting your business heard above the noise.
It’s true - inbound marketing is great; but it’s an entire methodology, and requires real work to build a sustainable strategy. That being said, there are some things you can be doing right now to get you up and running. That’s right - and we’re not going to bore you with the unnecessary details either.
Here’s everything you need to get started with inbound marketing now.
First things first - know what you want
The secret to any successful marketing campaign is knowing exactly what you want to achieve; otherwise, how will you measure the success of your efforts?
Inbound marketing is no different. You need to have goals in mind in order to plan what work you need to do. For example, perhaps you need to increase conversion rates for a particular product or service. That’s great - but how many people do you want to convert? How many are currently converting?
If you don’t know these answers, you won’t be able to get started with inbound marketing. Whether you’re trying to attract visitors to your website, generate leads or convert them into customers, knowing exactly what you want to achieve is crucial to get right before you do anything else.
Next - create a persona
Now, we’ve talked about personas a lot here at Axon Garside, and in the interest of keeping this short and sweet - we won’t go into huge detail. You can find everything you need right here. However, what you do need to know is that your buyer persona will be absolutely key to getting you started with inbound.
Inbound marketing guides your buyers through their journey up until making a purchase; and in order for you to accomplish this you must know who they are While buyer personas should be detailed, thorough and based on market research (these are always more effective), if you’re just getting started due to the current circumstances, don’t worry too much about intricate details.
We recommend getting your team together for a quick session on what your ideal buyer(s) look like - asking members from different departments across your business a series of questions that will inform your buyer persona, and start sculpting it to life. These could be questions such as:
- What is their job role?
- Are they the decision maker for any purchases?
- What social media platforms do they use?
- What are their biggest challenges?
- What do they come to us for? How do they go about making a purchase?
These are just a few examples of the questions you could ask; but ultimately you need to think about what you need to know about your ideal customer in order to better help them.
Hopefully, with input from different colleagues, you’ll gain a better understanding of what your ideal customer looks like, the challenges they’re facing and how your product or service can be the solution. This will give you the basic setup to execute an inbound campaign in a short space of time.
Have a content plan for at least a month
When it comes to either driving more traffic to your site or converting leads, creating content is key. Whether it’s writing blogs or creating assets that can be gated, content is an excellent way to nurture leads through their buyers journey, and capture some customer information along the way.
If you currently don’t have a blog - start now. A blog is the perfect way to build brand awareness, drive more traffic to your website and encourage engagement. To get started with inbound, realistically you need content for at least a month - which shouldn’t be just limited to blogs, either. Your content plan should include other mediums such as eBooks, social posts and even video. With enough content to keep you going, you can focus on using it to attract visitors and convert leads.
But wait. We know what you’re thinking - you don’t have much content, and trying to create something could take weeks, or even months, and you want results now. However, creating content isn’t always as difficult as you may think.
Many businesses have content that’s currently being used internally (think checklists, white papers, case studies, eBooks etc.) that could easily be repurposed as marketing or sales material.
So, consider how the content you have already could be of interest to your potential buyers, and used as a way to capture lead information in a form. If possible, create a landing page for new assets, and begin promoting them on your website and across various social channels. By doing this, you’ll be able to attract those potential buyers who aren’t quite ready to make a purchase, and capture some of their information for your sales team; who will then be able to reach out to prospective buyers directly, but with a better understanding of their needs.
Which brings us directly to the next step.
Gather an email list
Any successful inbound campaign needs customer data to succeed, which means you need to have some sort of email list if you want to reach out to potential customers - whether it’s to follow up on an enquiry or to send them a piece of content they may be interested in.
One great way to gather emails is by using gated content to capture information (as previously mentioned), or by encouraging subscriptions to your blog. You can then use the information you have to send relevant content and information to customers who may be interested. If prospects truly value what you have to say, you’ll find they will be much more willing to convert.
Use marketing automation
Everything we have mentioned above can be made a lot easier if you invest in the convenience of a marketing automation tool. Of course we recommend HubSpot - but not just because we’re a partner. HubSpot’s completely free CRM can give your marketing the boost it seriously needs, with tools to help with everything from facilitating sales, to reporting and even email marketing. For marketers wanting to begin right away, there really is no better choice (though you can find out more in our HubSpot vs. the competition ebook, if you’d like).
Build the right team
Inbound marketing is done best with a team of specialists dedicated to planning and executing the perfect strategy. The key people in this team include:
- Inbound strategist
- Content writer
- Marketing coordinator
Each of these roles applies to a key aspect of inbound marketing, and if you want long-term success, it’s worth thinking about either recruiting these people into your team, or looking into hiring an agency to help you do the work.
Before you get going, let’s review what you need to start a successful inbound campaign, fast:
- Have your goals in mind, and how you will go about achieving them
- A persona (though not too in-depth at this stage)
- A content plan for at least a month
- An email list of relevant contacts
- Marketing automation software
- The right team to execute your campaign
To be successful, the elements mentioned above are key, and are the minimum to get you started on your inbound marketing journey. However, you also need to know how these different things fit together, and have a solid plan of what you’re actually going to do. Too often, businesses want to get started with inbound right away, don’t come up with a plan of action and as a result, their inbound marketing efforts don’t pay off the way they expected.
Don’t make this mistake.
We understand that it can be tempting to begin immediately, but you do need some sort of plan in place.
That’s why we created our inbound marketing planner, which can help you get off to a flying start - with advice on how to plan your inbound campaign quickly and efficiently; so you can begin as soon as possible, while ensuring that you get the results you need.