In order to develop an inbound marketing strategy, you need to set the foundations to ensure your plan is going to be effective and work to support your business goals and objectives.
If you’re considering whether inbound marketing is the right thing for your business, this blog will guide you through the process and demonstrate how much resource is needed to establish a comprehensive and impactful inbound marketing campaign.
So, to understand how long it takes to scope an inbound marketing strategy, let’s look at the steps involved.
Set a goal
Any strategy needs at least one goal or objective. You can then build your strategy around this to ensure your inbound marketing activity is working to support your business. You may have a general idea but it’s good to sit down and decide on specific, measureable goals to work towards over a particular timeframe. This should be a quick step in the process, but don’t worry if it isn’t, identifying your objectives will guide the rest of your inbound marketing activity.
Estimated time: 1 hour
Before you can start building a strategy, you need to understand who you’re hoping to reach and engage with. You can this by putting together your buyer personas. A buyer persona is a semi-fictional character made up of the goals, challenges, pain points, personal and demographic information shared among members of a particular customer type - your personas then are your ideal customers.
Think about what drives your customers, where they hang out online (forums, blogs, social media - create a list of these as it will help give you ideas on where you can share content later down the line) and how they browse for information. Your sales team might have additional information to add to this, based on their experiences and conversations with your existing customers.
Depending on the complexities of your customer base - this may be long process as you should try and do as much research as possible to ensure your ideal customers are who you think they are. Research current customers and look for any similar behaviours - is there one common pain point? Are the majority of your customers male or female? Do the majority of your customers fall into a particular age group?
Depending on how complex you want your campaign to be, or how quickly you want to get it up and running. You may want to focus your attention on one specific buyer persona to start with, rather than trying to create a campaign that covers all of your different customer types.
Estimated time: 2 hours - 1 day+
Now that you’ve decided who you’re trying to reach and the kind of challenges they have - and what they might be searching for online, you can start thinking about the kinds of content which might attract and engage them. You may need to consider different personas and the different content is likely to appeal to them - as well as the different stages of the buyer journey (read our blog about buyer journeys and the inbound methodology here). Your content should always be interesting, relevant and helpful. Also think about the language your buyer personas use and mimic this to help ensure your content is accessible.
Set this out into a content calendar, detailing the kinds of content you need to create, the themes, keywords and timeframes.
Think about the keywords they may use when searching online too - as you can incorporate these into your content in order to help drive your ideal customers to your site.
Estimated time: 2 hours
Once you’ve planned your content using the process above - you need to understand how this content will be used and distributed to reach your buyer personas and guide them from being a website visitor to a lead all the way through to becoming a customer. Workflows and automated processes can be helpful to guide people through this journey - sharing relevant and helpful content with individuals over a period of time.
Estimated time: 2 hours
To ensure your strategy is working to help you to reach your goals you should also decide how you will evaluate your strategy and activity. Agree on how the report will be compiled and who will be involved - and who it will be shared with. We recommend monthly reports - which should provide you with a reasonable amount of data to understand if your inbound marketing activity is getting you the results you need - and where changes may need to be made to refine and improve your inbound marketing process.
Estimated time: 1 hour
Of course, the hard work doesn’t end there. You’ll need to constantly analyse and update your plan in line with your reports and findings. Resource will also be required to deliver your strategy and plan too - including content creation, distribution, engagement.
If you need support in creating a strategy, or delivering inbound marketing activity - get in touch. Or, if you want to learn more about how inbound can help your business increase the number of leads and enquiries you recieve online, download our free ebook.