Head above water! Breathe. Reflect.
I haven't blogged of late as I've been busy setting up the Inbound campaign for a client about to launch a major technology. Busy, yes but loving it, because Inbound Methodology gives us a playbook that makes sense and keeps us focused on doing the right things!
So when your company decides to launch a major new initiative, lets look at what Inbound Marketing would have you do in response to each of these questions.
1. You Know Who you are working for (Oh, Persona!)
Marketing 101. Knowing who your ideal customers are -- their backgrounds, goals, challenges, and so on -- makes it easy to create an effective marketing strategy to attract more of those types of people. If you've been in business a while, you likely know this information. But why not get it down on paper? If you don't have an inbound marketing or marketing automation software that lets you do that, Hubspot has made a free tool you can use. Pay special attentions to their goals and challenges as you'll use them to answer the next question!
2. You Know what you have to offer (thank you Keywords!)
When people (and your customers are people ;-) need to solve problems, 2 of the common ways they do this is to look for advice from friends and colleagues and to do internet searches. If you've done a good job of distilling their goals and challenges, you know how they would phrase their questions. This will help you to figure out the right words to help them find you. If you're new to figuring how how to use keywords, there are many resources available. Moz is the master if you'd like to study up, or you can jump right into finding suggestions using this great tool! (Thank you DeeDee for suggesting!) If you use abovementioned tools like Hubspot, this will all feed into making sure the next step is set up for success.
3. You have a Clear Way to Start the Conversation. (Blog/Social!)
So the inbound methodology (which is VERY similar to the concept of Content Marketing) urges you to use your expertise to help solve problems. Blog posts are the easiest way to provide valuable content. Ideally, you'd be able to follow up your posts with deeper information, such as eBooks, WhitePapers, Videos, Demos etc. to help them more and to build a relationship. And the blogging will help people find you when doing web searches (if you've done your keywords ;-) but you can amplify your reach if you go out into social media and look for other people talking about your keywords. And it never hurts to email people in your contact list to let them know you've got relevant timely information that could help them.
And if you do other "outbound" type of marketing like Press Releases and Advertising, you've already built out the content by doing the above. Congrats! Two birds, one stone.
4.You Know how you're doing. (Real time, in house analytics!)
Ah... my favorite part of inbound. Starting from step 2 above, you've grounded your work in real world feedback. Having determined your buyers needs and what specifically they are searching for, you've started to offer up information. Blog and social media monitoring give you real time feedback on how things are working.
If you've used best practices like landing pages, a/b testing you'll soon see a dashboard of lovely reporting updated in real time so you can tweak, adjust improve.
Well - back to the launch I go. I'll update the above with specifics once we're public. In the meantime, if you'd like a handy checklist of best practices for doing Inbound, you can download mine and see if you find helpful too.