By Stephanie Carrillo, Senior Marketing Consultant at Heinz Marketing
The inbound methodology is creating and distributing content utilizing marketing channels like organic search, social media, blogging, lead nurturing, and live chat, to name a few. Inbound marketing focuses on providing content to the buying committee responsible for making a purchase decision for your services or product. The range typically includes from educational pieces to thought leadership to analysis reports in which people are searching to solve a given business problem.
Why is Inbound Marketing important to B2B marketing? Because most people, when trying to solve a business problem, start by researching online.
By providing high-value content, they will exchange their contact information for obtaining the relevant content piece like an industry whitepaper. New contacts feed your sales funnel. Your inbound marketing strategy will continue to nurture this lead until they become a sales opportunity, and your sales team can close the deal.
What does an inbound marketing strategy look like?
I look at inbound marketing plan in two ways:
- Individual inbound marketing strategies
- Inbound marketing strategy for a marketing campaign
Individual Inbound Marketing strategies
Individual inbound marketing strategies are the overarching strategies for achieving your organizational goals. These include items like your SEO strategy, lead nurture, and content strategy.
Search engine optimization (SEO) plays a vital role in your inbound marketing strategy. Before starting your content marketing strategy, identify your SEO goals to discover topics you would like to write about to improve your Google rankings.
Your SEO strategy should reveal how customers are searching to solve their problems. Defining your SEO goals will help develop your content strategy for selecting topics for inbound marketing tactics like blog posts, lead nurtures, and social posts. An editorial calendar of new content creation is typically a part of your content marketing strategy. The content marketing strategy will help your team plan for any inbound marketing activities, as the content provides the arsenal for your campaigns and sales enablement programs.
Content Marketing Strategy
The content marketing strategy should encompass the entire buyer’s journey for each of your buying committee members. I break them out into decision-makers and influencers.
Each of their pain points is different and addressed with varying types of content and messaging. Influencers are the end-users; they are trying to solve a particular set of problems. The CEO may only be validating the purchase and cares more about the ROI from the solution or how it will help them meet overall organizational goals.
One way to determine if you have the right content in play is to perform a content audit and review your sales funnel performance. Here is an article I wrote earlier this year to help identify difficulties within the sales funnel.
Developing an ongoing series of webinars is a great way to create content and drive interest in your company. Displaying your industry knowledge by sharing your expertise in a given field is one of the best ways to drive more opportunities. On-demand recordings of your webinars are perfect for future campaigns as an offer for your inbound marketing tactics. Try to plan for at least one webinar a quarter.
Lead nurture is how you usher a lead through the buyer’s journey to help them identify they might have a problem. The content you provide should create awareness around the issue and show how you have the best solution and are the right company to solve those problems.
Email is an excellent channel for nurturing leads and an opportunity to provide valuable content to educate, demonstrate you are a thought leader, and show use cases to showcase your expertise on the subject matter. Your content marketing strategy defines your inbound marketing offers.
Inbound marketing strategy for a marketing campaign
Inbound marketing is key to any lead generation or account-based marketing campaign. When developing a campaign strategy, I typically include these inbound marketing tactics.
- LinkedIn sponsored posts
- Email nurture customized to the individual campaign
- Organic social posts
- Customized content hubs for target industry and buyer persona
- Chat Bot campaign tactic
- Display advertising
For each inbound marketing tactic, the piece of content chosen should consider the buyer personas, buying journey stage, and pain points for the given industry. If the content you provide is not useful or does not solve your customers’ pain points, you will not have a successful campaign.
How to create an inbound marketing strategy
To build a robust inbound marketing strategy, you need to develop your predictable pipeline strategy first. This framework is essential for defining who your ideal customer might be, determining the buying committee members, and mapping the buyer’s journey.
These fundamental elements are the key drivers to any inbound marketing strategy or inbound marketing campaign. To help, here is a predictable pipeline workbook Heinz Marketing created in partnership with ON24 for a webinar earlier in the year. This workbook outlines the frameworks to develop predictable pipeline frameworks to run a successful inbound marketing program.
I hope you find this information helpful, and please feel free to reach out with any questions.