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“If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” First attributed and paraphrased from Benjamin Franklin, that quote is spot on when it comes to marketing your business.
And you probably know that. But what are you going to do about it? Do you have an inbound marketing gameplan in place?
One of my favorite activities is sitting down with CEOs and Executives and talking to them about their business goals. What are they trying to accomplish over the next 12, 24, or 36 months? What type of revenue are they trying to create? How many new customers do they need? And many similar questions.
Ultimately, I ask them about the marketing strategy and tactics required in order to accomplish those goals. More often than not, I get blank stares back.
I guess that’s fair. One of the reasons we’re having the conversation is they need help marketing their business. But you’d think these successful individuals would have at least some sort of plan to bring their goals into reality. That’s just not the case.
So the first thing we do when bringing on a new client is create their inbound marketing gameplan. This is the roadmap that moves us towards the goals and objectives they’ve set out for themselves and their business.
In this article, I’ll walk you through the steps required to create your very own gameplan and the different components often included. We also suggest you watch our recorded webinar “How To Have Your Best Year Ever By Creating An Inbound Marketing Gameplan”.
But first . . .
What Is Inbound Marketing
In a nutshell, inbound marketing is the process of attracting visitors to your website, converting those visitors into leads, and then methodically nurturing leads into long-term, loyal customers of your business.
Different than outbound marketing – consisting of interruption types of tactics like direct mail, telemarketing, billboards, and commercials -inbound marketing is all about value. How can we provide so much value to our potential customers that they not only flock to our website, but that we can begin creating trust that ultimately leads to a business relationship.
What’s In An Inbound Marketing Gameplan
Whether developed by yourself or outsourced to an inbound marketing agency, here are what we consider the four key components that absolutely need to be included in your Gameplan to serve as your roadmap to accomplishing the larger and more successful vision of your business’ future.
A Self-Assessment Of Your Business
The very first step to undertake when creating your gameplan is to assess the current situation of your business. We usually look at a few things starting off with getting benchmarks (or metrics) of your current performance.
- How many visitors are you getting to your website currently? Where are they coming from? Organic search, social media, paid ads?
- How many leads are you getting from your website? These could be phone calls (are you tracking calls?), emails, form submissions, or downloads of content that you are offering (a hallmark of a great inbound campaign).
- How many of those leads are qualified? Are you wasting your time talking with people who will never be a great customer?
- What percentage of qualified leads is your sales team closing? This might suggest you need to spend time enabling the sales team before spending time creating new opportunities.
- How much is a customer worth to you. We call this the Lifetime Value Of A Customer. If you don’t know your LTV, how do you know how much you can spend to acquire new customers and have a sufficient ROI (return on investment)?
It’s also important that you have specific goals in place. We typically start with profit goals, since ultimate that’s what matters. And from there work backwards into how many customers, leads, and website visits are required. If you need help figuring this out and seeing the impact of inbound marketing, take a look at our Inbound Marketing Revenue Calculator.
Another critical part of the self-assessment phase is looking at your competition. What do they do well or not do well? How are they using their website? What marketing are they doing? This will give you great insight in what you need to beat them.
Creating Buyer Personas
After completing your self-assessment, the next step is creating one or more buyer personas.
A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your best customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.
Long gone are the days when a shotgun approach to marketing was effective. Who has the time or budget for that these days? By creating a persona, you are putting your company in the perfect position to create highly targeted marketing messages that will truly speak to the people (or other companies) you want to do business with.
A persona should include details on any aspect of your customer that would influence your marketing decisions. We typically include demographic information like age, gender, and income. But then we get into the specific goals and challenges they have and how the product or service of our client will help achieve those goals or overcome those challenges.
Build The Inbound Engine
Now that we have an idea of where we are today, what we’re trying to accomplish, and who we are marketing to . . . we can start putting together the specific ideas that will be included in our marketing campaigns.
We start with creating a list of questions our persona would ask at each stage of the buyer’s journey. This includes the Awareness stage, Consideration stage, and Decision stage representing the thought process a buyer goes through when making any purchasing decision.
So if we know what questions they are likely asking at each step along the way of becoming a customer, we can provide the answers to those questions in the form of remarkable content.
In this case, content can be anything consumed by a prospect whether by reading, listening, or watching. We’re talking about ebooks, white papers, interactive quizzes, videos, podcasts, checklists, and more. The specific type of content you create depends upon the persona and your industry. The key is that we are providing the exact content our prospects need (not just want) in order to have their questions answered and move closer to making a decision to use our company.
Along with great content, we need to figure out a way of moving a prospect along in our sales funnel. We call that lead nurturing. Often we accomplish this using a marketing tool like HubSpot where we can create a series of emails designed to further educate our prospects and build a trusting relationship. The key is that turning a prospect to a customer doesn’t happen overnight. And we don’t want to leave it to chance. So sit down and map out the specific steps you’re going to take to turn them from a prospect to a customer by providing valuable and timely information.
Launch The Campaign
The final component of the Gameplan is putting together campaigns that ties everything together.
A big mistake I see a lot of companies make is what I call “piecemeal marketing”. They do a little here and a little there, without any structure or consistency.
So instead, create a comprehensive campaign around the content you have identified in the Build The Inbound Engine phase and that answers the key questions your prospective customers have.
What’s a campaign look like? A great formula we often use is to create a series of blog posts (at least once per week) on a topic related to your content offer. And within that blog post, promote the offer itself. So that while they are reading your blog posts and learning about something important to them, provide an opportunity to gain even more valuable information by taking action and signing up for your ebook, white paper, video, or whatever else you created.
We’ll also promote each blog posts – and the offer itself – in social media and email. For social media, don’t just randomly promote. Give some thought in the Persona creation stage as to what social networks your best customers are using.
The above is just a glimpse into what should be included in an Inbound Marketing Gameplan. If you’re interested in learning more, you can watch a recording of a live webinar on this subject by going to http://growth.crushmymarket.com/gameplan-webinar-replay.