When companies come to us for advice, "put up a Facebook business page" is not the first thing we tell them. In fact, we may not recommend a Facebook presence at all. As an inbound marketing consultant, I'd like to share with you what we do consider and why the inbound approach has so many benefits for our clients.
- What are your objectives for the business? What revenue growth do you want/need to achieve in what timeframe? What's the longterm value of a customer? How many new customers do you need to reach revenue goals? How many existing clients do you need to retain and what will keep them happy and loyal? It's surprising how many companies can't answer these questions. Strategic planning comes before marketing
- Who is your customer? How can we find them online (where they're already looking for products and services like yours) and keep them happy if we can't define them? We work with our clients to boil down their understanding of their customers into Buyer Personae. This helps us speak the right language and deliver the right information and messages in marketing.
- How much of your revenue growth do you hope to achieve from leads from online sources?
- Once we have the information from points 1. 2. and 3., we can determine how much traffic we have to drive to your website, what percentage of that traffic we have to convert to leads and how many leads have to convert to customers to reach your business goals.
- Now we can put together a plan to get you there. Here's where we start considering which tactics and tools are mission critical. Does your website need an update or a do-over to take advantage of today's online opportunities? How are we going to get you found by search engines and your important audiences? We determine what keywords they're using to find companies like yours and optimize your web site for those search terms. Since consistent blogging is critical to driving traffic, who will blog for you? We'll help you connect with your brand personae on the social media platforms where they gather. We'll create a plan to convert leads through calls to actions, landing page and content marketing and then nurture them with more content and email campaigns.
- We measure it all. This is the most important thing about inbound marketing. It can be measured! We'll know what's working best and what needs re-thinking. We can adjust on the fly to make the most of client and agency resources. Closed loop analytics let us measure business closed online against budgets and objectives to determine inbound marketing ROI.
An inbound marketing consultant has his or her eye on outcomes that contribute to business growth. If that's the number of 'likes' on Facebook, terrific. But that may not be true for your business. Inbound Marketing is powerful and it is the path to successful marketing in an age when people shop and buy online. How are you using - or could you use - the inbound process to take advantage of the web for your company.