A Guide to Developing the Right Inbound Marketing Strategy for Your Small Business
There is more than one way to develop a small business marketing strategy, so devising the right one for your business starts with an assessment of your growth objectives, capabilities, and the needs of your target market. In this step-by-step guide, we introduce the main points to consider and questions to ask when developing an inbound marketing strategy for your company.
1) Define Your Goals And Objectives
A solid foundation for your marketing strategy is a knowledge of what you want to achieve through marketing. Define a set of goals and objectives relative to your business and where you want to be over the next 12 to 24 months. These goals can be financial – e.g., higher sales revenues, more customers; or brand related – e.g., more social shares, higher search rankings, better brand recognition, more referrals etc. Every proposed action and marketing channel can be referred back to these goals and objectives – which can also be used to measure success and progress.
2) Define Your Unique Selling Points (USPs)
Think about the core qualities and characteristics that set your business and its products and services apart from other similar competitors in your marketplace. This is your USP, or Unique Selling point. It could be low prices, experience, quality, customer service philosophy etc, but the key to a successful USP is its uniqueness. If you offer low prices in a marketplace full of businesses claiming to offer low prices, while this may be a draw for customers, it isn’t a unique selling point, whereas if you are the cheapest business in your market, then it could be. Usually, a business’s USP isn’t that clear cut – it is a combination of different qualities that make you stand out.
3) Define Your Buyer Personas
For inbound marketing to work effectively, your content and marketing communications must be tailored to address the needs of your audience. The best way to do this is to create a detailed profile of your target customer, called a buyer persona, with enough consumer and demographic data points to form a well-rounded and accurate picture of their purchasing behaviour.
4) Define Your Value Propositions/Core Marketing Messages
Your value propositions or core marketing messages form the centre of all your marketing content, and you define them by thinking about how your USP relates to each of your target buyer personas and how it benefits them. The question to ask is ‘How would this customer benefit by purchasing my products and services?’
5) Define Your Marketing Budget
Set an affordable but ambitious marketing budget that allows you to pursue a range of inbound marketing activities in a consistent and strategic way. The average marketing spend for UK businesses is around 10% of gross annual turnover, but this varies from sector to sector. Speak with one of our inbound marketing specialists for a more accurate calculation for your industry and circumstances.
6) Define Your Inbound Marketing Channels
Think about the types of inbound marketing channels that represent the best value for money for your business. Most inbound marketing strategies use all the following channels in some way, but how each channel is used, the content you publish on each, and the weighting you give to different channels, will vary from business to business. Be guided by your target customers and the online channels they access for information.
a) Your Business Website:
The hub of your inbound marketing strategy and the source of most of your online leads. Investing in a content-rich, accessible, and search-optimised website is an essential part of inbound marketing success.
b) Your Business Blog:
Written blog content is the most valuable and effective part of your inbound marketing content arsenal and serves a range of purposes – from educating prospects and guiding them through the buyer journey, to improving your search rankings on Google, to gaining more likes and shares on social media, strengthening your brand authority and reputation, and building your website’s domain authority.
c) Your Social Media Platforms:
Social media offers business owners a free or low-priced platform for networking with other decision-makers in their sector. For B2B businesses, the best platform to use is LinkedIn, whereas B2C businesses may wish to focus their resources more on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. It all depends on the purchase and browsing habits of your target customers, your typical sales cycle, and the type of product or service you provide. YouTube provides a valuable platform for video hosting for both B2B and B2C businesses and can host much of your video marketing content. Your social media platforms play an important role in driving traffic to your website and can also generate leads in their own right.
d) Your Email Marketing List:
Email marketing is a cheap means of direct communication with leads who have opted into a subscriber list through your website, blog, or social platforms. It is the quickest and most effective means of lead nurturing by providing prospects with the appropriate information for their queries and concerns at each stage of their buyer journey.
e) Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) – Organic Searches:
SEO ‘optimises’ your website and content for better searchability by Google (and other search engines) bots. Bots are the software algorithms that determine a web page’s relevancy to search queries, ranking the best or most relevant search at number one, and other results lower down. The goal of SEO is to increase your Google search rank through the keywords or search terms your target customers are using to find out about your type of products and services. The more prominent you are on Google, the more website traffic you’ll get, and the more leads you will convert.
f) Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising – Paid/Sponsored Searches:
PPC provides rapid visibility for your brand on Google (through Google Ads), or social media (via paid adverts on LinkedIn or Facebook) and can quickly raise your profile and number of inbound leads. PPC campaigns are keyword based and usually require a campaign-specific landing page for each keyword. The advert drives traffic to the landing page, on which prospects are encouraged to take an action – download an e-book, make a purchase etc – through targeted content and a compelling call to action (CTA).
As experienced inbound marketing specialists, at JDR Group we can help you determine the best marketing strategy for your business to obtain your goals within your budget. To find out more about inbound marketing and how to set a marketing strategy, please call 01332 343281 today.
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