This is Part 1 of a 9-part series on The Key Elements of an Inbound Marketing Campaign. Keep your eyes open for Part 2: Develop Buyer Personas.
You can't afford to have reservations about inbound marketing anymore.
While a fairly new concept, inbound marketing is gaining unbelievable traction and producing measurable results, and for one simple reason: it is the first marketing methodology that takes every standalone digital marketing tactic and integrates it into a comprehensive whole, which helps generate, convert, nurture and close leads into sales.
So even if your current tactics are producing excellent results, you're limiting the potential for them to improve dramatically if you haven't jumped on the inbound boat. Just look at the stats, they speak for themselves:
- 93% of companies using inbound marketing increase lead generation
- 41% of marketers say inbound produces measurable ROI
- Inbound marketers' average website conversion is double the rate of non-inbound marketers
- Companies that excel at inbound lead nurturing generate 50% more leads at 33% lower cost
Chances are, you already have some semblance of an inbound marketing plan underway. Most companies are engaged in SEO, blogging, video creation or social media to some degree. But a solid inbound marketing effort involves taking all of these tactics and building them into a cohesive strategy.
How is this achieved? Well, that's what this blog series is all about. So without further ado, let's dive into the very first thing a cohesive inbound marketing strategy needs: well-defined, S.M.A.R.T goals.
Start Being S.M.A.R.T.
S.M.A.R.T. is an acronym to help you remember to define results focused goals that are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-based. This framework will help you clarify your objectives along with the measures to determine if the goals are achieved.
To make the leap from conceptual project ideas to strategy and plans, you need strategic direction. If you don't know where you're going, you're not going to get anywhere. As is true of any campaign, you won't hit your targets unless you set them. And the first step is to define S.M.A.R.T. goals:
- Specific: Lofty, vaguely defined pipe dreams aren't going to produce any results. "Increasing traffic" isn't a specific goal. Define real parameters, for example, how much of an increase do you want in traffic and by when? You want to explicitly state what you hope to accomplish, as well as how to do it and what resources you'll need to allocate.
- Measurable: You can't determine if your inbound strategy is working if you can't realistically measure performance. Once you set specific goals, make sure you can actually evaluate your progress by establishing solid criteria by which to measure them.
- Attainable: The results you want from your inbound marketing strategy may vary, but you want to ensure that the goals you set are attainable. Challenging, yes, but still attainable. Your goals should be ones on which you can take action to obtain results.
- Relevant: Your goal should directly link to your business and address the core initiative. Actionable goals are ones that are also realistic and relevant. Be honest with yourself when establishing targets; what are you and your team trying to achieve with your campaign, and are you realistically capable of reaching these goals? If the expectations are insurmountable and your goals are irrelevant, your campaign will fail to produce the desired results.
- Time-sensitive: Deadlines are a crucial part of your strategy. "Someday" is too vague and leaves room for things to be pushed back indefinitely. Establish a concrete timeline and set milestones to help you track the progress you're making toward your ultimate goals.
As the S.M.A.R.T. acronym suggests, an intelligently strategized campaign is what will help you produce the kind of results you want to see from the efforts you put forth. Take the time to properly define and set your goals; it will give you a realistic target to strive for.
What goals have you set for your inbound campaign? Let us know in the comments section!
Daniel is a Content Writer at Search Engine People. He is always experimenting with new formats and looking for creative ways to produce, optimize and promote content. He previously wrote for CanadaOne Magazine and helped create and implement online marketing strategies at Mongrel Media.