February 25, 2013
Everyday more businesses are being drawn to inbound marketing and its ability to attract qualified traffic and convert traffic into loyal customers; all of this at lower cost than outbound marketing.
Once inbound marketing concepts have been understood and the question for many businesses is how to make the transition successfully. The aspects below must be put in place to ensure a successful transition to implementing inbound marketing strategies in your business.
From Outbound to Inbound marketing
Planning is key to the transition. Once you determine where you are and where you want to be, the strategy that will get you there becomes clearer.
1. Where is your business now?: Review your monthly sales and revenue data. Who are your customers, and where have the majority come from? What have been the results of our marketing efforts to date? Offline channels may be trickier to measure but online channels are more easily tracked using various web analytics software such as Google Analytics or Hubspot.
2. Where do you want to be?: What are your objectives for the business? To increase new sales? To increase sales to existing customers? To build your brand? Your business goals will inform the goals for your inbound marketing strategy. It’s important to track the metrics for each goal in order to be able to measure how your inbound strategies are working. It’s also important to set targets for what you want to achieve to serve as the road map for the strategies you choose.
Know your market
Every business should aim to conduct periodic reviews of its market place including: customers, competition, and its position within the industry. Understanding your who your clients are will help to understand their needs and how they solve these. Understanding your competitors will give you an understanding of how to best position yourself to profitably address customers needs more effectively than your competitors.
Identify Internal Resources – Who will be responsible for driving the transition?
The answer: Everybody!
Inbound marketing requires a shift in your organization’s thinking because it requires involvement from every member of staff at some level. From identifying the appropriate people within the organization to create content, to brainstorming with customer facing staff to generate content and keyword ideas based on their observations of the needs of the customers they interact with daily.
Identify and train enthusiastic volunteers within the organizations to lead the charge. Where particular skills such as writing, web design, branding are lacking internally, consider outsourcing these functions to an agency that would be able to do the work for you.
Establish your home online
Your website is the home and centre of your inbound and online marketing efforts. It must be optimized for the needs of your business, the needs of your clients, and search engines. Your website content should be fresh, relevant, interesting and plentiful to increase the opportunities of getting found online. Using a content management system will allow you and your team to quickly and easily add to the website content with blog articles, new pages, reports and customer resources, testimonials etc.
This is just one example of one of the many software tools available to help implement, analyze and monitor your inbound marketing strategies. Further research should be undertaken to identify tools that can make the transition much easier.
Your online presence also includes your activities within social media channels such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. It is important to understand how social media channels are being used by your customers and the industry as a whole.
Commitment, Determination, and Time
Inbound marketing is a long term strategy which has proven successful for organizations that have made the commitment to pursuing it. It’s neither an easy way out nor magic bullet, but the positive results which build up over time are more than worth the patience and determination to stay the course.