Strategic Planning for Inbound Marketing

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Inbound marketing must be integrated into the overall strategic plan

In some of my recent blog posts I wrote about how planting a seed, turning it into a lead, nurturing it and helping the lead progress towards purchase are all important steps in the B2B lead generation process. When organizations take on inbound marketing, it requires an integrated marketing approach to ensure that every initiative is part of a strategic plan. In order to deliver the overall marketing and CRM goals, inbound marketing can be broken down into distinct programs, each with a specific objective. Not only does this makes monitoring and measurement easier, it offers clear insights to help change what’s not working and leverage what is bringing results.

How can your business develop a strategy for planning and implementation of inbound marketing?

  • Reputation Management: This is the stage where your B2B lead generation efforts are geared towards planting the seed. It’s all about creating awareness, branding and giving a boost to customer loyalty. Social media is very useful at this stage.
  • Demand Generation: Once the grounds are “fertile” you set to work on creating a demand for your goods by “reminding” prospects of their challenges and pulling them closer to wanting the solution you offer. SEO, PPC, Public Relations are all great tools to use at this stage. But another very good technique is events that pique the interest of your target audience. Goes without saying that strategic event planning and registration is required to ensure that the right decision makers are at your event; both online and offline. Reinforce brand messaging at events and every demand generation activity you take on.
  • Sales: This is when the flower is turning to fruit! Do what you can to enable and accelerate the sales process. Make it easy to complete the purchase and ensure that it is a satisfying, positive experience for the buyer. Remember that customer referrals will go a long way! Online videos and interactive presentations for customers can help reinforce comfort levels. At all times stay consistent with brand messaging.
  • Post-Sale (and everything after): Now is the kid gloves stage! You hold the customer in your hands. The competition is still watching (not very passively perhaps!). The efforts you have made to reinforce your brand must now come together with expectation management. Live up to your brand promise! Market intelligence about trends and changing customer needs can keep you on top of things. Stay tuned to the search and social networks to manage your inbound marketing and keep you in the lead.

Questions or comments about implementing inbound marketing? Let’s discuss it on my blog.

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