As we start a new year, inbound marketing strategists everywhere think about what the new year holds for inbound marketing. This year is, of course, no exception.
However, rather than looking for "the next big thing" in inbound marketing trends, for many companies, the better option may be to re-visit some of the basics of good inbound marketing strategy to see what can be done to incorporate them into your 2017 plans. Like a classic pea coat, a good inbound marketing strategy never really goes out of style.
Classic Strategy One: Identify Your AudienceWhile it sounds so simple, the truth is that most marketing missteps can be attributed to a mismatch between your target audience and your marketing message. So, the first step must be to correctly identify your audience.
Your target audience is not "whoever will listen." Rather, to identify your target audience, look at your marketing research and talk to your sales team. The more specific you can be in the identification process, the more targeted your messaging will be, and the more likely you will generate quality leads for your sales team.
Classic Strategy Two: Find Your Audience OnlineLook at competitor websites, social media platforms, industry forums, and so on. Where does your target audience congregate online? Knowing this essential piece of the marketing puzzle helps you determine where and how to allocate your marketing budget most effectively.
Classic Strategy Three: Figure Out What Your Audience WantsYou already know what your product or service is. And you know who your target audience is. Now, it is time to connect those two dots. What have you got that your audience needs or wants? What pain points can you address successfully? What benefit can you bring to your audience?
These are the factors that will determine your marketing message. Remember that your audience does not necessarily want to know about all the features of your product. What they do want to know is how your product can solve a problem they have now or anticipate having soon.
Classic Strategy Four: Build a Content CalendarNow, it is time to map out a content strategy to address those needs and pain points. Entrepreneur notes about content creation: "It's not enough to just produce content. Your content must educate, inspire or entertain your audience."
To the end of education, inspiration, and entertainment for your audience, it is a good practice to lay out a logical, comprehensive content creation plan that spans all your marketing channels. Plan topics for blog posts, ebooks, webinars, social media posts, and so on. Use your content calendar to schedule the when, where, how, and who of content creation for your company.