The inbound marketing plan is a totally essential reference document, and if we are not clear about where and how we want to go, it is impossible to get there! But many times this plan is not as complete as it should or does not exist at all. Error! So that you can achieve the best results with your inbound marketing , I have put together this complete guide with everything you need to include in your plans. Ready to get down to business?
1) Research: what you need to be clear about to develop your inbound marketing plan
Sometimes we can fall into the temptation to start the house with the roof and think that to develop an inbound marketing plan the first thing to do is define what actions we are going to carry out. But in reality, that is a fairly advanced step in the process, since we must first be very clear about a number of basic points .
The buyer persona: who are we addressing?
I always say the same thing: if you have not yet defined your buyer persona , you need to get down to work right away! And it is that without a very clear idea of who we are targeting, it will be impossible to get the channels, actions and segmentation right. In short, the buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of one of our ideal clients . The idea is that it helps us both to understand what our clients are like and what they need and to “get under their skin” and empathize with them. Therefore, although it seems superfluous, it is highly recommended to name our imaginary client and even add a stock photo that represents him.
An important distinction that we have to understand to develop a good profile is that buyer person and target are not exactly the same. The target is defined from Senegal Phone Number List a series of common characteristics such as demographics or location, but the buyer persona goes further and includes a greater depth. A key aspect for our buyer persona to be effective is to focus on the “pain points”, that is, the challenges our user faces and the difficulties they generate. In this way, we can plan communication with him based on the needs that our brand covers.
The buying and selling processes: customer journey and conversion funnel
Within our inbound marketing plan, the customer journey or customer journey allows us to understand everything that happens from when a person raises a need related to our brand for the first time until he becomes a regular customer. Throughout this entire journey, the client goes through a series of differentiated phases (research, decision, loyalty…), giving rise to different potential points of contact . In each of these phases, the user will need different information from us, probably through different channels. Therefore, it is essential that we do a thorough study of these stages and of the best ways to satisfy the user’s needs in each one of them.
The other side of the coin of the customer journey is the conversion funnel , that is, the way in which we articulate these stages to guide our marketing actions. If we graphically represent the entire potential customer base, we see that there are more users with a potential need than customers who have actually converted, that is, the number of people in each phase goes from more to less. Representing this graphically, we have the famous funnel.
In general, we divide the conversion funnel into these three stages:
- TOFU phase or “top of the funnel” . At the top of the funnel, the user has detected that they have a need and is beginning to look for how to answer it. To attract you, we must create content that responds as broadly as possible to your needs, so that we attract a good base of people potentially interested in our product or service.
- MOFU phase or “middle of the funnel” . In the middle phase of the funnel, the user is already more clear about what he wants and is evaluating different options, including our brand. What you need is to offer them content with a higher degree of specialization, usually in exchange for their data. Thus, the user becomes a “lead” or potential customer, and you can begin to nurture the relationship with him in a more personalized way.
- BOFU phase or “bottom of the funnel” . Lastly, the bottom of the funnel houses users who only need one last push to complete the conversion. Here we are interested in encouraging the user to launch through free trials, discounts and special offers or tailor-made services.
The objectives of the inbound marketing plan
The last of the prerequisites before entering the subject are the objectives of our inbound marketing plan , fundamental to measure the success of the actions that we are going to carry out. And as you may have already guessed, generic approaches such as “sell more” or “increase brand visibility” are of little use to us.
For our marketing goals to really help us, they must have a number of characteristics :
- Be concrete and quantifiable. For example, “get 400 leads through our newsletter”. It must be possible to objectively determine whether they have been met or not.
- Be able to measure accurately. Each objective must be associated with a KPI (key performance indicator), so that we know our progress at all times.
- Be achievable. If we are not realistic when it comes to setting the objectives, we will only manage to turn the forecasts into chaos and discourage our team.
- Have a fixed date. Having a deadline motivates us for action and allows us to develop a realistic achievement plan.
2) The actions of the inbound marketing plan: attraction and nurturing strategies
We are ready to start defining in a more concrete way what we are going to do, that is, the tactics and actions that we will use to attract users to our channels and move them through the conversion funnel. Depending on the circumstances and characteristics of the company, there are many ways of proposing the strategies and channels to be used, but these are the points that seem most basic to me.
SEO and SEM strategy
The SEO and SEM are two tools to drive traffic to our website from the user searches. While SEO seeks to achieve long-term organic results, SEM is a good solution to position our website immediately through advertisements. A very common mistake that we have to avoid in the inbound marketing plan is to define the SEO and SEM strategies separately, since in reality they are completely complementary . For example, we can orient the SEM to fill those gaps where it is more difficult for us to position organically or to launch short-term campaigns that are more oriented to conversion. It should also be noted that well-managed SEM campaigns can help improve our SEO in the long run.
In both cases, the definition of strategies and actions has to start from a thorough investigation of the keywords that interest our brand, through tools such as the Google Ads keyword planner. Thus, we can identify those keywords that should be part of our SEM strategy and those that we want to position through SEO. We must also always distinguish between non-branded or generic search terms and branded (which include our brand), since competitiveness, search volume and user intentions can be very different.
Content strategy and social networks
A well-defined content strategy goes beyond a business blog. More than a specific format, we have to think about how we are going to solve the needs of users at each moment of the customer’s journey, from generic and viral-oriented content to very specific guides. In later phases of the funnel there is also room for video tutorials, user testimonials, success stories and a long etcetera. All these contents must respond to the tone and values of the brand, and we have to distribute them in a coherent calendar throughout the season.
In most cases, we will be interested in including one or more social networks in our inbound marketing plan to disseminate this content and connect with users. Before deciding on a specific channel, we must investigate where users similar to our buyer persona are most active. And to reinforce this dissemination work and continue to attract traffic to our sites, we must also take into account the possibility of using social ads .
Optimization for uptake
Once we have managed to attract the user to our page, we have to think about how to attract them so that they become a lead . Therefore, within the inbound marketing plan, we have to define aspects such as:
- The structure and design of the landing pages . This aspect is of vital importance in conversion rates, so I always recommend spending time doing A / B tests to find the most effective variants.
- The optimization of the forms . The recruitment forms must be able to collect enough information from the user to know if we are interested as a potential client, but always with the minimum number of fields possible. Once again, we can try A / B tests to find the balance.
- The calls to action . Optimizing this element is one of the fastest and most effective ways to increase conversions. In addition to experimenting with the text, try different button colors and locations.
Lead scoring and nurturing
When the user has already become a lead, we have to define what actions we will carry out so that they end up becoming a customer. To do this, we will rely on these two tools:
- The lead scoring is to assign a score to each lead based on a number of features that allow us to know if we really want as a customer and how close you are to convert.
- The Lead Nurturing is based on leads send a series of personalized communications based on their scoring and their individual characteristics, in order to give them the information they need to become customers. In many cases, these communications are made through email marketing.
More than an action in itself, marketing automation is a resource that allows us to simplify all the acquisition and nurturing processes and offer content with a Phone Number List high level of personalization to a high volume of users. Taking it into account in our inbound marketing plan will allow us to work in a much more effective way and to be able to easily scale our marketing actions.
3) Reports and monitoring
Now we only have one more ingredient for the plan to be complete, and that is to detail how we are going to measure our progress. Any marketing strategy requires continuous monitoring with periodic checkpoints, for example, a meeting with the team every two weeks to share a performance report and see the next actions to be taken. The metrics included in this report should respond to the objectives and key performance indicators that we defined in the first steps of the inbound marketing plan.
It is also important to have a plan contingenci to establish the next steps if the objectives are not being achieved. And last but not least, I want to remember that a good inbound marketing plan has to have a certain degree of flexibility to be able to adapt to unforeseen events and correct course if necessary. The important thing is that it is a tool that helps us to progress and that it never becomes an obstacle.