Inbound Marketing Plan

This is the second in a series of posts that will provide a road map on how you can plan and implement Inbound Marketing for your small business.

Now that you understand what inbound marketing is and how it can help your small business, it’s time to figure out your inbound marketing strategy. I know, you hate writing marketing plans. So do I actually, but they are necessary to keep us on track. However, once you put it in writing, you will only need to update it when you measure your results and determine what changes need to be made. And we can make it a quick and painless exercise that will get you out there doing something to start your lead generation activities.

How to develop your Inbound Marketing Plan

The following framework can be used as the base template for your plan. The links in each section provide you with more information. As usual with marketing plans, we start with the basics.

  • Set goals: What are you trying to accomplish? How will you measure your success?
  • Analyze your web presence: How is your business perceived on the web? Is your brand consistent across all properties? Can it be found at all?
  • Know your target audience: where can you find them; what are they interested in; how can you help them?
Four Pillars of Inbound Marketing
Four Pillars of Inbound Marketing
  • Develop strategies for the four pillars of inbound marketing: content marketing, social media, search engine optimization and public relations. Each of these areas needs a strategy that consistently projects your brand to your target audience.

    • Content marketing – What type of content will you create? Who will develop this content and share it? What is your content distribution strategy?
    • Social media – Which social media tools make sense for your business? How will you leverage each one to drive inbound leads? How will you respond and engage those who share, comment and connect?
    • Search engine optimization – How do people search for your products and services? What keywords will you use to optimize your content? What is your link building strategy?
    • Public relations – How will your business use public relations to drive inbound leads? What type of news will be interesting to your audience? Where will you publish your content for the most impact?

Each of the four pillars of Inbound Marketing are critical to each others success.

  • Content marketing is the offer you make to those interested.
  • Social media is the channel to deliver your content to your audience.
  • Public relations has gone more social and will use that same content to promote your business to the right audiences.
  • Well written and relevant content is critical to a successful search engine optimization strategy.

This integration is important to keep in mind as you are developing your overall plan.

As part of the big picture, understand how you will handle:

  • Lead nurturing:
    • How will you build a relationship with each person that signs up for your email list, subscribes to your blog, likes your Facebook page, joins your LinkedIn Group or follows you on Twitter?
    • What type of content will you provide?
    • How often will you touch your prospects?
  • Analyze and measure:
    • How will you determine if your efforts are successful?
    • What will you measure?
    • What are the key metrics you will use to determine success?

Don’t let this exercise overwhelm you. Go through each area and answer the questions keeping in mind what you know you can do. We’ll also be publishing additional posts on more of the details of inbound marketing.

There is too much distraction online to try to implement inbound marketing without a plan. Putting structure around your strategy helps you remain focused on the goal. As a small business, we have only so much time to devote to marketing, so use that time wisely.

Have you created your inbound marketing plan yet? What do you need to get this done and start generating inbound leads?

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