Back in the era of Mad Men, marketing relied on a philosophy of interruption in which marketers aimed to outspend their competition to gain the attention of their audience. Traditional marketing required businesses to pay fees for ad space and airtime in an effort to capture market share. Sounds like a lot of work, and a lot of money, doesn’t it?
Luckily for the business owners of today, the time and money consuming conventional marketing practices of the past have been replaced by inbound marketing, which enables companies to grow faster and smarter by investing in quality, not quantity. By providing consumers with content that inspires action, inbound marketing is innovating the marketing game and creating impressive results for businesses of all shapes and sizes.
Ready to get started? Jump in with these steps to create an inbound marketing plan that will work for you.
Create a Killer Inbound Marketing Plan in an Afternoon
Step 1: Define what makes your brand special
The first step in setting a direction for your inbound marketing strategy is to identify what makes your brand different from other brands. In a congested marketplace where competition is intense, differentiating your brand is key to developing an effective inbound marketing strategy. This step will help you to define your business goals and start to think critically about how to realize them. If you’re not sure where to start, check out these tips on branding from Entrepreneur.
Step 2: Establish campaign objectives
Oftentimes, small business owners set ineffective campaign objectives, which makes it difficult (if not impossible) to implement their inbound marketing plan or to see the desired results. A promising campaign objective should serve as a roadmap for realizing the goals that you laid out for your business in step one. We always use the SMART model to set our marketing objectives: create goals for your inbound marketing campaign that are specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time-bound. A good campaign will likely have anywhere from 3-7 objectives, depending on what you are trying to achieve.
Step 3: Integrate inbound marketing strategies
Now that you’ve set your goals and created objectives to help you achieve them, it’s time to start thinking about the specifics. What sets inbound marketing apart from traditional tactics is the ability to create content that drives your audience towards you - rather than chasing after them. There are a few ways to do this: keyword research, SEO tactics, and content creation are all important elements of a successful inbound marketing plan. If that sounds overwhelming, fear not! Check out our blog on the only three elements you really need to realize your inbound marketing strategy.
Got questions about SEO? We’ve busted the 5 myths that are stopping you from crushing the search engine game.
Step 4: Define your timeline
You can create the best inbound marketing plan in the game, but a timeline is crucial to define your tasks and stick to your responsibilities. Creating and sticking to a timeline will also help you to know when you’ve achieved milestones along the way.
Step 5: Measure twice, cut once
Actually, measure a thousand times and be willing to make changes to your inbound marketing strategy as your timeline progresses. Rather than be intimidated by this, think of it as a way to continually grow your business and as inspiration to strive to create the best inbound marketing plan possible. The most crucial aspect of digital marketing is acknowledging the ever-changing digital landscape. Flexibility is key when creating and implementing your inbound marketing plan, and you will have to evolve your plan as you go.