When executed correctly, an inbound marketing strategy can increase your returns and grow your business. But in order to properly implement your strategy, you first need to have some fundamentals in place. We've distilled these necessities into three essential elements: well-defined buyer personas, a sales-ready website and a properly configured marketing automation platform.
1. Buyer Personas
Buyer personas are semi-fictional representation of your ideal customers built with an understanding of the challenges they're facing and how your company solves them. A set of properly defined buyer personas is the true foundation of your inbound marketing strategy, as they inform every later stage of the process. At the start of the inbound buyer's journey, your goal is to attract these ideal customers to your website through content they find interesting and educational, and at the end of the journey, your goal is to demonstrate how your company provides solutions to their pain points.
With buyer personas in place, you can easily create content that resonates with your ideal buyer and identify gaps in your content marketing strategy to better nurture them down the funnel. Without the holistic insight afforded by this foundation, your inbound marketing strategy will lack focus, which will detrimentally affect your content, website, leads, sales and, ultimately, your ROI. Therefore, the first step of any successful inbound strategy is to create buyer personas and put them at the center of the rest of the strategy.
2. Sales-Ready Website
We have a saying here at New Breed: Your website can no longer be just a digital brochure about your business; it needs to act as your first, and best, salesperson. Think about it: buyers have all of the power today, so in order to not miss out on an opportunity to connect or sell, your website needs to evolve to take on more of those conversations. Even the best-planned inbound marketing strategy will go awry if it's bringing visitors to an unresponsive and ineffective website. To move past the era of digital brochure, your website needs to dynamically tailor each experience to a prospect by offering relevant content that speaks to their specific audience (your buyer personas!). By providing this content, keeping form and conversion strategy in mind, as well as using inbound SEO best practices, your website will become truly sales ready, acting as a more efficient customer touchpoint and an opportunity for your company.
3. Marketing Automation Platform
As your new sales-ready website starts bringing in more leads, your marketing automation platform also needs to be properly configured. When set up correctly, your platform will streamline your operations, enable your marketing and sales teams to be successful and offer you full visibility into your marketing funnel. Most importantly, a well-built marketing automation platform provides context, and context is integral to a quality inbound marketing strategy. With more context, the more you are able to segment your contact database and set up even more relevant nurture campaigns that will bring more prospects down the funnel and eventually help them become customers.
It's critical to properly define your buyer personas before the start of any inbound marketing strategy. While it's a common misconception to think of these personas as simply a target industry or target position within a company, true buyer personas will track back to those aspects while also pulling together a fuller understanding of the human element, by considering challenges, pain points and how your company solves for them.
Next, ensure your website can speak to each of your buyer personas wherever they are in the buyer's journey — and optimize it for conversions. The more conversation your website is able to handle, the more insights it can provide your sales team when they continue the discussion with prospects.
Lastly, the right marketing automation platform can enable your marketing team to optimize processes for growth. When properly aligned with these processes, a good platform can quickly pinpoint problems in your funnel to ultimately convert more prospects into customers and grow your business.
Access the webinar "The Three Essential Elements of Effective Inbound Strategy" to see if your inbound marketing strategy is up to par.
Julia is a former New Breeder.