Start your Inbound Marketing strategy from scratch (with a template)

Recently, I have spoken with many startup owners and entrepreneurs to find the best way of helping them with their Inbound Marketing strategies. After many insightful conversations, I realized that most small businesses don’t have any marketing strategy implemented. They start thinking about what they will post on social media before even knowing their target groups. They also start writing blog posts before deciding on fonts and colors for their brands. 

Building a business is a long journey. You need time to reach your target group and to grow an audience. You also need time to become recognizable. But, if you skip steps, and you start doing things here and there without a clear path in front of you, you risk getting lost on the way. You risk looking incoherent in front of your audience.

I feel that when my path is on paper and everything is planned, then I am more motivated to do the actual work. I already asked myself the important questions that will lead me towards the end goal. Therefore, it is easier for me to write blog posts, SoMe content, etc. I have a clear idea about who I am targeting, what the content should look like, and when it should be posted. Now, I just need to follow my strategy and be creative.

By following these 6 steps, you’ll also have a clear strategy in front of you. You can also download a template I created at the end of the blog post to help you out!

Start your Inbound Marketing strategy from scratch in 6 steps - infographic

1. Target group

Before implementing any marketing strategy, you need to know who you are targeting. This is because any content that you create will have to be addressed to them. Thus, you want to get to know them, understand their problems and find out what they like.

If you think you are targeting everyone, you are in big trouble. By targeting everyone, you are really targeting no one. Think about what you are offering. Who would that offering help the most? Be really specific when you answer that. The more specific you are, the easier it will be for you to talk to them.

Personally, I am targeting entrepreneurs and startup owners who are starting with their marketing strategies. So, when I write content, I don’t write it like I would if I was addressing marketers. Of course not. I make sure that I explain everything well enough for people who are new to marketing.

Target group - Inbound Marketing strategy

2. Design guidelines

Creating design guidelines is super important. That’s because when you follow them, you ensure that your brand is recognizable across all platforms. From your website to your SoMe posts, your audience needs to be able to recognize you instantly by having a quick look at your content. That’s done by defining clear and specific design guidelines. These guidelines should be based on your target group. For example, if you are targeting both girls and boys, don’t go full pink.   

The first thing you need is your logo. Remember to have an icon logo as well, and maybe a white logo for dark backgrounds. Afterwards, you’ll want to think about your brand colors and fonts. I suggest that you chose 2 or 3 primary colors, and maybe 2 shades of grey/beige for background colors. Then choose 3 different fonts for headlines, sub-headlines, and body.

Once your design guidelines are on paper, then you simply need to follow them.

Design checklist - design guidelines - Inbound Marketing strategy

3. Content strategy

After your design guidelines are set in stone, you are ready to start implementing a content strategy. This strategy will aim to create helpful and entertaining content for your target group. So, you want to write about things that can help them. Of course, it also needs to be somewhat related to your offering. So, think about it for a while and then write the goal of your content strategy in one sentence. Then, list the topics that could help you achieve this goal. Brainstorm and write as many as you want. These topics are going to be the foundation for your content. 

List of topics - Content marketing strategy - Inbound Marketing strategy

Once you have identified the topics, you need to decide what types of content you want to create. Blog posts? Short videos? Podcasts? There are many options. Think about what your target group would prefer, but also keep your own skills and the time you have in mind. Be sure that you don’t implement a strategy you can’t keep up with. List the types you have chosen and also decide on a frequency for each.

You can decide to go only with a SoMe strategy at the beginning. Yet, remember to create valuable and insightful content in your posts. Also, keep in mind that the content you create in your SoMe posts is only temporary. Yes, you can reuse it once in a while, or on other platforms, but it is not permanent content like on your website.

Content goal example - Content strategy - Inbound Marketing strategy

4. Social media strategy

Now that you know the topics you will focus on, you can start thinking about your SoMe strategy. First, do some research. What is the most used SoMe platforms for your target group? Make a list of the platforms you want to use. Then, decide how often you would like to post. Once that’s done, take a look at the topics you listed in your content marketing strategy and select 2 or 3 of them. These are going to be your campaigns for a while.

After posting for a while, you can take a look at the effectiveness of each campaign. If they have done well, continue this way. If not, change for a new topic.

You can find a more detailed post on how to create a social media strategy in 6 steps here.

Choosing SoMe campaigns - Social Media strategy - Inbound Marketing strategy

5. SEO strategy

Your SEO strategy will contain 3 sections: 

1. Keyword analysis

The best way to rank well is to create awesome content. So, your SEO strategy will be highly dependant on the content types you chose. For example, your strategy will probably be different if you are writing blog posts than if you are recording podcasts.

Thus, when you create content, think about what your target group is going to search for on google to find your topics. Create a list of specific keywords that they will use for each content topic. You can also use UberSuggestfrom Neil Patel to help. On UberSuggest, write down your topics, and it will show you the keywords that are the most used on Google at the moment. That’s a keyword analysis.

Once that’s done, be sure that every piece of content you create is directly related to a specific keyword. The title, the meta-description, and the body of your content should contain that keyword many times. 

Keyword analysis - SEO strategy - Inbound Marketing strategy

2. Website optimization

Think about the technicalities for SEO. Ranking on Google is hard, and it takes time. Yet, if you understand Google’s ranking, you know there are a few things you can do on your website to get started. Take a look at the list below, read The Beginner’s Guide to SEO from Moz, and create some SEO guidelines. That way, every page on your website is going to have a chance to rank well.

Website optimization checklist - SEO strategy - Inbound Marketing strategy

3. Link Building

Another important thing is to implement a link building strategy. Google perceives inbound links from from other websites as a sign that your site is trustworthy. So, each time another website links to yours, you get SEO points!

Of course, the best way of getting links is to create awesome content that people will want to share. Yet, in the beginning, you’ll lack the visibility for that. But don’t worry, there is a solution. You can ask for links. Think about your business partners or other local entrepreneurs/startups. You can contact them and share your content with them. You can ask them to link to your website, and you can do the same in exchange. So, you could write a list of 10 other websites that you can contact for link building purposes. Plan when to contact them, and think about what you can give them in exchange.

Link Building strategy - SEO strategy - Inbound Marketing

6. Email strategy

Finally, you can think about implementing an email strategy. Identify the different mailing lists you want. For example, you could have a list of contacts that signed up for your blog newsletter. You could also have a list of contacts that signed up to receive special offers.

Then, think about the goal of each list, and the frequencies for sending emails to them. If you send too many emails, people might get annoyed and unsubscribe. On the other hand, if you send emails too rarely, people might forget you. Finally, ask yourself how and where people will sign up for the different mailing lists.

Email list example - Inbound Marketing - Email strategy

If you follow the steps in this post, you’ll have a great foundation for your Inbound Marketing strategy. To make it even more easy for you, I have created a template that you can use. Filling in the template will help structuring your strategy, so you can reach the right target group and grow faster.

If you liked this post, don’t forget to follow me on my Facebook page to always be updated about new posts.

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