Social selling and inbound marketing (one of the key strategies of digital marketing) go hand-in-hand. Building a social presence plays a large role in any inbound marketing plan, and combining social selling with broader social media marketing tactics can help to facilitate alignment between your sales and marketing teams.
An inbound marketing plan should have a few basic components to ensure that your plan is well-rounded, positions your company for success, and allows you to ensure that you begin your inbound marketing efforts with a solid understanding of what steps that you need to take next.
The core components of any inbound marketing plan include:
1. Buyer Personas
You can’t create an effective inbound marketing plan without understanding who you are targeting. When you think about your buyer persona you think you have it down. It’s a little bit more challenging to precisely explain it to someone else. But putting it in writing is an entirely different story. Finding the right words to describe each aspect of your buyer persona is a really good exercise, because it forces you to be exact. When you’re working with a team, conduct this exercise together and you’ll see how everyone will end up wanting to use a different word here and there. Coming together as a team and agreeing on the right words and using that definition moving forward in the prospecting process is an amazingly unifying focing-function.
A buyer persona creates a vivid picture of the type of prospects that you target. For example, a commercial insurance company that targets manufacturing companies might target owners or GMs of manufacturing companies. Their buyer persona would include information about their average age, income, hobbies, business information, goals, and typical pain points that they encounter. One of my favorite templates to create buyer personas is from Xtensio. It’s simple, intuitive, easy to fill out and incorporates the most important aspects you need to consider.
2. Buyer Journey Map
Once you have a solid understanding of who you are targeting, you can begin to map out the journey that you would like them to take on their way to becoming a customer. Mapping out the buyer’s journey helps you to create targeted content for specific points in this journey and create plans that address the four main stages of the inbound marketing process:
- Experience & Delight
A buyer’s journey map ensures that each step in the process is fulfilling for your customers.
3. Goals and KPIs
For your inbound marketing efforts to be successful, you have to define what success actually looks like for your business. Outlining the KPIs that your business cares most about — whether those are sales, subscribers, recurring revenue, etc. — puts you in a position to measure whether your investment is truly paying off for your business. Any goals that you outline should follow the SMART goals system.
Because inbound marketing relies so heavily on the content creation process to be successful, it can be quite budget-heavy at first, as you build out your foundational content. It’s very important that you go into your inbound marketing strategy with a well-defined budget to stick to. This budget should take into consideration what it will cost to create all components of an effective inbound marketing system, including blog posts, lead magnets, email sequences, social media posts, graphics, and time spent managing your social media accounts.
5. Content Strategy
You can’t have inbound marketing without content. Many would say that your content strategy is the bread and butter of any inbound marketing plan. Make sure that you have a solid understanding of what your customers would like to know about your product, what keywords you would like to target, and whether or not you have the content creation resources (writers, editors, graphic designers, social media managers) on hand to effectively execute the strategy that you’ve outlined.
6. Sales and Marketing Alignment Plan
Inbound marketing is most effective when you align your sales and marketing teams. By creating content that will be useful to both teams, you position your sales team to make the most of the leads that come into your system, while giving your marketing team the tools that they need to succeed. Map out the steps that you will take to ensure that there is alignment between your teams.