Inbound marketing isn’t a mere buzzword, but a comprehensive strategy to attract and reach new customers. It involves rethinking your marketing strategy to focus on attracting people –  which is inbound rather than outbound. Just as you shouldn’t complete your business plan on the corner of a table, you shouldn’t hastily change your marketing strategy! You need to take some time, but don’t worry, your efforts will be rewarded.

Planning an inbound marketing strategy greatly resembles your strategic marketing planning, so you may have already completed some of these steps!

You should be able to implement this strategy in a week if you make a good effort! Here’s how:

Define your brand

brandFirst of all, you must define your brand with as much detail as possible. What makes your brand unique? Define your business mission and your value proposition. Take time to think about your company’s history and its values.

Also think about your product or service and what differentiates it from your competitors. Position your product or service as a solution to a problem, an outcome.

It should take you an hour or two if your business is already in operation.

Analyze your competitionCompetition-as-partners

Now that you have defined your brand identity, take time to analyze your competition in order to properly understand their solutions and how they are presented. Take note of how your competitors’ solutions are similar or different from yours and who they are targeting. You can then ensure that your solution, your product’s outcome, is unique to your company.

Use the occasion to check if your competitors are using inbound. Are they regularly producing content? Do they use any tools to collect email addresses?

Also take the time review your assets. Are there pages on your site that work better than others? Are there any advertising campaigns that had better-than-average results? Try to understand what caused them to do so.

To complete this step, take as much time as required, from a half-day to a day, or even more if necessary.

Determine your objectives

GoalNow that you have a good idea of what’s happening in your market, you need to define SMART objectives. These objectives must be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. They could be to increase visits, subscriptions to your information bulletin, or sales, for example. These objectives should correspond to a measurable action on your website, such as a conversion. You can then define your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and monitor your progress achieving these objectives.

Give yourself and hour or two to define your objectives. The longest part will be to ensure that they are SMART!

Target the right people

in the Men's Team Eliminations during the London Archery Classic at Lord's Cricket Ground on October 4, 2011 in London, England.

In this step, you must define your target market. To who do you sell your solution? Who would be your ideal customer, the person who would benefit from it the most? Defining your target market enables you to create communication that reaches this customer as best possible and responds to their needs.

To define your ideal customer (or avatar or persona), think about your current customers. What is their objective, what kind of job do they have, what problems do they encounter, what do they know about your product or service? Define at least 3 kinds of customers to begin with.

When you have to create content or advertising you would be wise to focus your communication according to each persona.

Take a few hours to create your ideal customer, at a rate of about one hour per customer type in order to properly define their needs and challenges.

Create tempting offers

shopping_cart_full_512Lastly, in order to implement your inbound marketing strategy, you must define your offers. By “offers” I mean everything that has a value for your consumer. In general, consumers go through three main phases before making a buying decision. You can provide content at each phase to help your ideal customer make progress in their purchasing process.

In the first phase, the awareness phase, your persona realizes that they have a need or a problem to resolve. You can provide non-promotional content to them to help them define their need and establish decision-making criteria. Content like blogs, videos and eBooks work well for this decision-making phase.

In the second phase, the consideration phase, your persona seeks solutions to respond to their need or problem. Decision-making tools like shopping guides and expert recommendations can help them evaluate the options available to them.

In the third phase, the decision, your persona is ready to make their final decision and make their purchase. You can offer them a free trial, a demo or even the product’s technical specifications in order to help them make their final decision.

This is the longest part. Developing this content might take you the rest of the week. Yes, it’s a lot of time, but this content is an asset that will help you generate sales. Consider it as an investment!

Implement your inbound marketing strategystrategie

A typical inbound marketing strategy should contain at least one offer at each decision-making phase for your customer. You could have a regularly updated blog, a shopping guide and a free trial. These offers will enable you to collect your potential customers’ contact information and re-launch them using other content that will help the customer’s decision-making progress.

Posting content on your site can be done very quickly if you use LeadFox. You can create landing pages to download your content as well as forms to collect your leads’ contact information. You will then be able to re-launch it by sending automatic emails.

And there you go! You have planned an implemented your first inbound marketing strategy!

Do you have any questions or concerns about the task at hand? I would be pleased to respond in the comments section or make it the subject of a future article.



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