As a business owner, you have several options when it comes to reaching your ideal customer. But if you’re looking for an approach that’s more proactive than reactive, then developing an inbound marketing strategy is fundamental. Don’t cross your fingers, and hope your marketing and sales teams continue to work their hardest. Create a strategy that brings your target audience to you day after day so your business can grow.
While developing a full-fledged strategy may sound intimidating, it doesn’t have to be. With a few crucial components and an expertly crafted plan, you’ll be well on your way to gaining loyal customers for years to come.
In this guide, you’ll discover what an inbound marketing strategy is and gain practical insights on how to create an effective strategy of your own. We’ll answer the following:
- What is an Inbound Marketing Strategy?
- Essential Elements of an Inbound Marketing Strategy
- Laying the Foundation of Your Inbound Marketing Plan
- 8 Steps to Creating Your Inbound Marketing Strategy
What is an Inbound Marketing Strategy?
The term inbound marketing (first coined by Hubspot in 2006) refers to a marketing plan that attracts, rather than interrupts, a prospect’s search efforts. An inbound marketing strategy is composed of different channels and tools that take an interested prospect through the phases of attract, engage, and delight.
These steps happen organically when a customer lands on a blog page that offers the perfect solution to their pain point. Then maybe they download your whitepaper and start receiving your emails. Then, they click that magic button that connects them to your sales team.
Developing a strategy to create this content and have it show up where your target audience is already looking is the key to attracting new customers at scale. By doing so, you can intentionally capture and leverage customer interest.
Essential Elements of an Inbound Marketing Strategy
An inbound marketing strategy influences behavior at each step in the buyer journey. Each level introduces a new way to interact and build authority.
The content in blog posts, social media captions, and long-form deliverables pulls potential customers in. These resources are targeted with keywords that buyers are already searching for on their own. The Attract phase builds brand trust, visibility, and interest.
Engagement happens through interaction. Communication takes place via website elements like landing pages, forms, chatbots, and calls to action. Sales or customer support teams may be involved to nurture and build relationships. Once you’ve attracted and engaged your prospects, it’s important to start collecting data on these potential customers. Converting prospects to leads can happen in several ways, which means the possibilities for creativity are endless in this phase. Calls-to-action on blog posts or landing pages and embedded forms are great places to start.
Delighting a customer involves intuitive marketing elements that are timed appropriately. At this point in the process, businesses can use surveys to personalize the experience and make it unique. Tuning in and participating in social media chatter also establishes empathy and brand trust.
Laying the Foundation of Your Inbound Marketing Plan
An inbound marketing strategy represents the big-picture view. The next step to get rocking and rolling is actually creating an inbound marketing campaign to execute the goals laid out by the strategy.
Inbound marketing campaigns can be as complex or as simple as needed, but in general, these campaigns follow a similar process:
- Creating an attractive and enticing piece of content that your audience wants or needs
- Gating the content using a form or landing page to capture relevant data
- Using automation to place the prospect or lead into an email nurture sequence
- Promoting the content through a variety of channels and social media outlets
- Analyzing results according to specific goals and key performance indicators (KPIs)
The steps outlined above illustrate a general strategy that is useful for targeting audiences. Fortunately, the process is repeatable and productive for multiple areas of your business.
Although duplicating this framework is effective, the best marketers also go one step further and integrate the steps above into a larger, more holistic inbound marketing strategy.
8 Steps to Creating Your Inbound Marketing Strategy
Following the inbound campaign process is only one piece of the puzzle. There are many nuances to launching a full strategy that may take time to master, but when applied collectively, can yield impressive results.
Research shows that inbound marketing leads cost roughly 61% less than the average outbound leads, so taking a granular approach is well worth the time and effort. Below are a few key components of a successful inbound marketing strategy that will have a drastic impact on attracting, engaging, converting, and delighting your target audience.
1. Identify your target audience
Occasionally, the terms target audience and target persona are used interchangeably, but they’re actually quite different. While the general audience and demographic information are helpful to inbound efforts, an ideal customer persona goes deeper. In addition to standard information like age, gender, and location, buyer personas address:
- Product and service needs of ideal customers
- Where they receive their information from
- Specific pain points and frustrations
- Buying habits and styles
- Communication preferences
Marketing teams can define ideal customer personas by conducting interviews or sending out short surveys to existing customers. Additionally, sales team members may have valuable feedback after interacting with customers during the buying process.
2. Build your audience
Expanding the reach of your business or service should be the #1 goal for any marketer. After all, the whole goal of the fun graphics, social media posts, and emails is to get more eyes on what your company is selling.
But building an audience isn’t just about having large numbers that make you sound good. Creating an engaged audience is much more important. Setting measurable and attainable goals (such as 1,000 website visitors in a month who spend a certain amount of time on the page) can help businesses truly grow.
3. Ramp up content production
While you can have creative content without a firm inbound marketing strategy, it’s safe to say that it just won’t work the other way around. To be effective at inbound marketing, your team must commit to creating relevant, targeted, and high-quality content.
Luckily, content production takes shape in many forms, so you’ve got a variety of options to choose from. And if you’ve got specialists on your team, this is a great way to assign projects based on strengths. Content production includes:
- 10x Pillar Pages
- Blog posts and short articles
- How-to guides or infographics
- Long-form eBooks and whitepapers
- Case studies and customer testimonials
Marketing experts also suggest creating a system for content production. This can take the form of an editorial calendar or any other plan that’s easy to follow and use for task assignments.
5. Utilize search engine optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization, commonly referred to as SEO, could easily fall into its own category. SEO’s impact on inbound marketing strategy, however, cannot be overlooked.
SEO is the holistic process of optimizing your website’s structure and content for major search engines with the goal of receiving higher organic placement in rankings. SEO is vital because if prospects can’t find your business, they’re certainly not going to convert into a lead or a paying customer.
SEO includes several complex elements, including but not limited to:
- User search intent
- Targeted keywords
- Schema markup
- Website structure and code
As a result, some marketing teams choose to invest in an SEO specialist as part of their strategy. Whether you have the available budget or not, many comprehensive resources are available for free to help you gain traction.
6. Launch targeted email campaigns
Email marketing is another component of inbound marketing that simply can’t be overlooked. The power of email is undeniable, with companies that employ effective email marketing generating 50% more sales at a 33% less cost than those without it. If you’re looking for a high return on investment, email campaigns are the gateway.
It’s important to note that email marketing can be incredibly powerful, but only when properly executed. To prevent spam, always send out relevant and highly useful content to members of your audience who have requested it.
Additionally, stick to your email strategy for the long haul. Both welcome and nurture sequences build trust with subscribers over time, so it may take a few weeks or months to witness big results.
As prospects move through the funnel, they’ll be primed and ready to make a decision. With that in mind, if you want to measure the specific impact of certain verbiage, A/B tests can paint a clear picture of the words and messages that really resonate.
7. Improve web conversions on landing pages
Never underestimate the power of an effective, well-designed landing page. These customizable pages have a wide variety of uses, whether it’s getting a prospect to sign up for a product demo or taking them to the eBook download they spotted on social media.
Using clear and concise language boosts conversion on landing pages. Seize the opportunity to provide a specific direction, such as, “Download your free guide today!”
You can also boost inbound conversion with visuals or testimonials, which may encourage visitors to sign up if they have any doubts.
8. Optimize your social media strategy
Some marketers believe that once they’ve produced good content, the masses will simply come. While organic reach is possible, not all traffic is passive. You must develop a way to actively share and promote your content using social media.
With so many social media outlets vying for your time and attention, where should you even begin? Do a little market research. Ask questions like:
- Where does your target audience hang out?
- What type of posts appeal to them?
- Are they more interested in quick visuals or lengthy copy?
- Are social media ads worth the investment?
Go back to your target persona to understand your ideal customer’s preferences. This leads to targeted efforts in a well-rounded inbound marketing plan.
Attract Your Ideal Customers with Inbound Marketing
When it comes to fine-tuning your company’s inbound marketing, there are many factors at play. Whatever your current situation, don’t leave your inbound marketing to chance.
You can get started with a comprehensive process designed to attract and convert your ideal customer. With Striventa’s unique approach, you’ll establish a buyer journey that creates loyal and delighted customers for many years to come.