Blog / Inbound Marketing: 13 steps to your inbound marketing campaign
Inbound Marketing: 13 steps to your inbound marketing campaign
Maurice – August 20, 2023 – 10 min read
A new sheriff is in town and this one is driving out the biggest gangster we all know: Annoying and endless advertisements that force us to buy at gunpoint.
The modern customer doesn’t want to be coerced, because we’ve gone from impulse-driven cavemen to Victorian ladies. We want to be seduced, taken out to eat and finally bewitched! We want to be fully informed before we buy anything. We want to have fun with it. We want to identify with something and we want to be addressed as individually as possible. And only one thing can actually do all this: inbound marketing.
That’s why in this article we’ll explain to you what inbound marketing is, what the benefits are, and how to plan and execute an inbound marketing campaign in 13 steps.
What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is a marketing method that focuses on creating valuable content that engages your target audience and satisfies their needs on a deep level. The aim here is to tailor the content to the company’s own target group and its position in the buyer’s journey.
This content is usually in the form of blog posts and eBooks to webinars and social media content created for their own target audience. The main goal is to make potential customers aware of your brand and build a lasting relationship with them, so that when they make a purchase, they think of your offer first.
How does inbound marketing work?
Inbound marketing usually consists of four main phases:
- Convert (Convert)
- Close (Close)
- Delight (Delight)
In these 4 main phases, inbound marketing pursues different goals.
The Attract phase is all about grabbing the attention of your target audience. This is usually done through SEO-optimized content such as blog posts, infographics or eBooks.
Alternatively, you can also draw attention to yourself on social media. The channel is actually secondary, it’s simply about making sure your potential customers know who you are and what you offer.
Once you have gained the attention of your potential customers through this content, you should do everything you can to convert them into leads and this happens in the Convert phase.
Lead capture forms and call-to-action buttons on your website are great for this.
Alternatively, you can engage with them directly on social media or even arrange a specific sales call.
The Close phase is about converting the customer into a lead. The easiest way to do this is through lead nurturing. This is about building relationships with potential customers who have shown interest in your product or service.
To do this, you provide them with valuable content and information that helps them learn more about your company and what you offer. The use of e-mail marketing is particularly suitable for this purpose.
After you’ve turned your lead into a customer, and therefore a first-time buyer, the next step is to turn that first-time buyer into a lifelong ambassador and loyal customer of your brand.
To do this, you need to continue to delight your customer with great customer service and valuable content so that they keep coming back.
This is the easiest way to turn first-time buyers into lifelong fans of your brand.
Inbound marketing is therefore concerned with four central goals:
- Generate traffic
- Win leads
- Qualify leads in the long term
- Customer loyalty
But is inbound marketing for everyone?
Who is Inbound Marketing suitable for?
Inbound marketing is suitable for any company that wants to build sustainable and long-term relationships with its customers.
If you’re interested in driving more traffic to your website and converting them into leads and customers, inbound marketing is the way to go.
In addition to inbound marketing, however, there is also outbound marketing. But what is actually the difference?
The difference between inbound and outbound marketing
The fundamental difference between inbound and outbound marketing is that inbound marketing is based on creating opportunities for people to find you, while outbound marketing is based on actively seeking out customers. Inbound marketing is about creating a customer experience that works with the customer to attract them.
In outbound marketing, companies reach customers through interruptive methods such as cold calling, television commercials, and pop-up ads. So it’s more like push marketing. Which tries to “push” customers to a certain activity.
Unlike outbound marketing, inbound marketing focuses on making it easy for customers to find your business through SEO-optimized content, social media posts, and helpful forms, and eventually become leads.
But what are the concrete benefits of inbound marketing?
What are the benefits of inbound marketing?
There are many benefits that come from using inbound marketing, including:
- Inbound marketing is a more sustainable way to market your business for the long term.
- Inbound marketing is more cost-effective than outbound marketing
- Inbound marketing helps you build relationships with your customers instead of just selling them something.
- Inbound marketing allows you to target only those visitors who are already interested in your offer, instead of annoying them with unwanted sales pitches.
All well and good, but what does an inbound marketing strategy look like that generates all these benefits?
Measures and tactics of an inbound marketing strategy
Now that you understand the basics of inbound marketing, it’s time to start planning your strategy. To create a successful inbound marketing campaign, you need to consider your customer’s Buyer’s Journey and plan your content and digital marketing efforts accordingly.
To do this, you must always identify your target audience first. The following question will help:
Who do I want to target with my marketing?
Then, once you know who your target audience is, you can design personas that further define your target audience. Developing personas is so important because they allow you to create content and messaging that speaks to your ideal customer in a more tailored way.
Then, once you know your target market and personas, it’s time to create content. But in addition to creating good content, you also need to invest in digital marketing efforts that will help you reach your target audience. And here, there are quite a few different inbound marketing actions and tactics that bring the most proven success.
These include, but are not limited to:
- Content marketing
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Social Media Marketing
- Pay Per Click (PPC)
- Email marketing
The heart of inbound marketing is content marketing. Content marketing is about creating and sharing valuable content with your target audience to help them solve their problems.
Your focus should be on creating quality content that is relevant to your target audience. This content can take many forms, such as blog posts, articles, infographics, videos, or e-books. The most important thing is that the content is interesting and useful for your target audience.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO, is one of the most important aspects of inbound marketing. This involves optimizing your website and content so that it ranks better on the results pages of the various search engines and thus attracts more visitors.
One of the most important aspects of SEO is also the creation of relevant and high-quality content. However, this content must also be enriched with keywords so that the search engines recognize what the articles are about and which questions are answered for the searchers in them. To rank better, you still need to build backlinks as well.
SEO, much like inbound marketing, is in itself an ongoing process that requires regular attention to appear at the top of SERPs. However, if you do it right, SEO can help you drive a large number of visitors to your website or main page.
Social Media Marketing
How does a brand actually become known?
By many people talking about it and, above all, knowing what they are talking about. You can do this by using social media marketing and making an effort to promote your brand and its content on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
On such platforms, a lot depends on virality, you need to be authentic and if possible unique, then people will engage with your solutions and brand quite organically.
Pay Per Click (PPC)
PPC is a form of online advertising where you pay a fee every time someone clicks on your ad.
This form works so well for an inbound marketing strategy because you can target which keywords your ads appear for. This way you can target the people who are interested in your offer.
Mail marketing is one of the most effective inbound marketing tactics. For many companies, emails are even the most important source of new customers.
To get the most out of your mail marketing, you need to focus on lead nurturing.
The lead nurturing method is about building relationships with potential customers who have shown interest in your product or service and have voluntarily given you their email address, for example, by signing up for a newsletter. To do this, you provide them with valuable content and information that helps them learn more about your company and what you offer.
You can do this by creating a lead nurturing campaign that includes the following, as an example:
- A series of automated emails containing valuable content and information
- A lead capture form on your website that allows prospects to sign up for your email list
- A landing page for each of your automated emails that provides more information about the content of the email and encourages potential customers to sign up
- A Thank-You-Page, which contains additional information about your company and the possibility to contact you
Besides blog posts, video production is one of the most popular methods of inbound marketing.
Analogous to other content types, video content is about identifying the problems and needs of your target audience and then solving or satisfying them.
With a combination of all of these, you can then develop a well-rounded inbound marketing strategy that engages, excites, and converts customers at every stage of the buyer’s journey.
But how does this combination work in practice? How do you run an inbound marketing campaign?
Implementation of an inbound marketing campaign in 13 steps
At Growth Marketing Map, we like to be practical, and preferably as practical as possible. I am therefore an absolute fan of a checklist with different steps, firstly it allows me to be creative and pour a complex process into 13 steps and also it allows all my readers to achieve good results with relatively little effort.
That’s why I’ve taken the liberty of summarizing 13 steps on how you can start an inbound marketing campaign with any product or service.
You can run an inbound marketing campaign with the following 13 steps:
- Step 1: Define your target audience and persona
- Step 2: Set goals with reference to your target group
- Step 3: Design your Buyer’s Journey
- Step 4: Research your keywords and your competitors
- Step 5: Conduct a competitor analysis
- Step 6: Create a content strategy
- Step 7: Create an offer, landing pages and CTAs
- Step 8: Take care of automation and your Nurturing
- Step 9: Create unique and practical content
- Step 10: Use social media to get your content out there
- Step 11: Analyze your KPIs
- Step 12: Adjust your strategy as needed
- Step 13: Stay open to new things
Step 1: Define your target audience and persona
The first step to a successful inbound marketing campaign is to define your target audience. To do this, you need to answer the following questions:
- Who are you trying to reach with your content?
- What are their problems?
- What kind of content will appeal to them?
These questions should result in personas, semi-fictional characters of your ideal target customers that will allow you to create effective marketing messages that engage your audience more effectively.
Personas actually don’t have to be complicated, if you want to know exactly how to do it, I recommend our“Creating Buyer Persona” guide on this.
Step 2: Set goals with reference to your target group
If you set SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-based), you will find it much easier to achieve them. Because they can give you a roadmap and a benchmark for measuring success.
SMART goals should be formulated in concrete terms and may be as follows:
- Increase website traffic by X% in X days
- Gain 120 new leads in the period of X
- Increase ROAS by 20% within X weeks
If you succeed in formulating such goals, they will serve as an incentive.
Step 3: Design your Buyer’s Journey
The Buyer’s Journey is the journey a member of your target audience takes toward becoming a customer. In general, the Buyer’s Journey is divided into three phases:
- Awareness phase
- Consideration phase
- Decision phase
Each stage is different in its own way and so potential customers at each stage have different needs, wants, questions and fears. And that’s exactly why it’s important to think about how you’re going to meet your target audience at different stages.
But we have also written a very detailed guide on this: Buyers Journey – The Guide to Your Customer’s Journey.
Step 4: Research your keywords
Once you know who you’re targeting, when and how, it’s time to start thinking about your keywords and your competitors. So you should ask yourself the following questions:
- What terms does my target audience search for when they think of my product?
- What kind of questions do they want answered?
- For which keywords do my competitors rank?
Then, once you have created content, it is important to optimize it for the algorithms of the various search engines using the keywords. To do this, you need to use the right keywords and phrases in the appropriate place and structure your content so that it is easy to read and understand.
Step 5: Conduct a competitor analysis
It is also important to learn more about your competitors. To do this, you should ask yourself the following questions:
- What do they do well?
- What could you do better?
- What are their weaknesses?
By knowing your competition better, you can ensure that your inbound marketing campaign is as successful as possible.
Step 6: Create a content strategy
Now we come to the heart of your inbound marketing campaign. After all, without a good content strategy, it won’t get very far. To formulate a content strategy that works, you need to ask yourself the following questions:
- Which content type is preferred by my target group?
- Which content pieces do I need for which phase of the Buyer’s Journey?
- What lead magnets would interest my target audience
- When do I want to design and publish which content?
- How do I tie my email automation into this plan?
Of course, these questions are not enough to formulate a detailed content strategy, but they are a good start. In general, a detailed guide is required at this point. However, this one is beyond the scope of this article, so we’ve written another guide that deals specifically with creating a content strategy .
Step 7: Create an offer, landing pages and CTAs
Use everything you know about your target audience and persona to create an offer that will blow your customers away. Design lead magnets that you can perfectly incorporate into your content strategy. Write landing pages to support these lead magnets and further qualify any leads right away.
Invite prospects to qualify with top-notch CTAs and then convert them into real customers.
And always remember, only when your message of offer, landing pages, CTAs, and supporting pages mesh together can you achieve optimal results.
Step 8: Take care of automation and your Nurturing
So far, you’ve done everything you can to convert cold traffic into leads, but what are you doing to make those leads convert into sales?
In order to achieve this, a workflow, i.e. mail automation, is the best way to target your lead and onlytured it according to your previous planning.
With your workflow, you play content to your leads that alleviates their concerns, piques their curiosity, and ultimately practically compels them to take you up on your offer.
It’s best to tailor workflows to the stages of your buyer’s journey, because that way each lead sees exactly what qualifies them further.
Step 9: Create unique and practical content
Now is the time to create content that is of practical use to your target audience.
And fortunately, this can be anything:
- Blog posts
- Social Media Posts
- and much more
Just take everything you’ve found out about your target audience in the previous steps and use it to create custom-fit content.
Step 10: Use social media to get your content out there
Once your content is created and optimized, it’s time to promote it. And this is the most neglected part of all inbound marketing campaigns.
Generally, you can achieve the promotion of your content in different ways. For one, you can use social media marketing, write emails, do paid advertising, or even try your hand at PR.
The goal is to make your content available to as many people as possible.
Step 11: Analyze your KPIs and results
Once you start promoting your content, you will start getting results and you should analyze them promptly. Depending on the results, you should then make adjustments. Always ask yourself the following:
- What works well?
- What not?
- What could be improved?
Because in inbound marketing, it is precisely this feedback loop that is crucial to a successful inbound marketing campaign.
Just keep your eyes open and pay special attention:
- Your website traffic
- Your conversion rates
- Your engagement on social media
- The open rates of your mails
By monitoring your progress in these areas, you can make sure your campaign is on the right track. If not, you can adjust your strategy soon enough.
Step 12: Adjust your strategy as needed
As with any marketing campaign, things may not always go according to plan. Inbound marketing is no different. Therefore, be prepared to adjust your strategy over time.
If something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to try something new. The most important thing is that you analyze throughout and profitably implement the insights gained.
Step 13: Stay open to new things
Inbound marketing thrives on innovation, because customers love to be surprised and taken care of even better. But you will only succeed if you are always open to new things.
Now we’ve already talked about one or two KPIs and benchmarks, yet it never hurts to know the most important ones.
Inbound Marketing KPIs and Benchmarks
Below are some key performance indicators (KPIs) and benchmarks you can use to measure the success of your marketing:
- Number of website visitors: the average number of website visitors per month
- Traffic sources: The most important traffic sources for your business
- Number of leads: The average number of leads per month
- Conversion rate: The average conversion rate
- Cost per lead: The average cost per lead
- ROI: The average ROI (return on investment)
But now we still don’t know exactly what marketing automation is all about when it comes to inbound marketing.
What is Marketing Automation?
Marketing automation is mostly a software tool that helps businesses automate their marketing tasks. This can be anything from email marketing, to advertising, to social media campaigns.
Marketing automation can improve the efficiency and effectiveness of any marketing campaign. In inbound marketing campaigns, marketing automation is often used to reach potential customers, convert them into leads, and then qualify them.
To effectively implement an inbound marketing strategy, you need a system to manage the various aspects of the campaign. This is where marketing automation comes into play.
By using a marketing automation system, you can streamline your marketing activities and save time and money.
Conclusion – How inbound marketing can help your business
And now, unfortunately, we are already at the end. What remains to be said?
Well, inbound marketing is a great way to target potential customers and build relationships with them.
By creating valuable content and experiences, you can bring your brand closer to your target audience, making your marketing as sustainable as possible.
And if you manage to implement the 13-step tips above, you’ll actually be well on your way to launching a successful inbound marketing campaign and taking your online marketing to the next level.