The goals that you set for your inbound marketing will guide your strategy and tactics and will determine what success looks like for you and your team. It is therefore important to set some really SMART goals.If you want to see success with your inbound marketing strategy, you first need to understand what inbound marketing can do for you and what it can’t. Inbound marketing can help you build a healthy pipeline and ultimately improve your bottom line by generating great quality leads and nurturing those leads through thoughtful communication. Inbound marketing can’t, however, give you amazing results overnight. Inbound marketing takes time and commitment to work.
If you have a well thought out inbound marketing strategy in place, you increase your chances of seeing great results faster. If you are smart about your inbound marketing you will save yourself months of going to and fro trying to figure out what is not working and why. So what do we mean by being smart?
How to be smart with your inbound marketing
Regardless of whether you are just starting out with inbound marketing or you are reviewing your existing inbound marketing strategy, it is important to stop and ask yourself how you can make the most of what inbound marketing has to offer.
Here are some questions you need to ask yourself to ensure you will be hitting your inbound marketing goals:
How does inbound marketing fit into your marketing mix?
Inbound marketing might be only one of many tools that you have in your marketing toolbox. In order to have a smart and successful inbound marketing strategy, you need to understand how inbound marketing fits into your overall marketing strategy and how it will work alongside any other marketing activities. You might use event marketing and influencer marketing alongside your inbound marketing, or maybe you like to mix things up and invest in both inbound and outbound marketing tactics. This is perfectly fine. It is important, however, that you think about how all those different marketing activities support each other and how you will measure their success.
Does your inbound marketing speak to your sales?
There is not much point generating great leads and nurturing them with awesome content if there is no one to pick up the phone and call them when the right time comes. Marketing and sales should work together to identify at what stage a lead is ready to be passed on to sales and to build processes to efficiently communicate this. Keeping open communication channels between marketing and sales and having a central place to collect data are essential for this. Make sure that your inbound marketing and sales activities are aligned and are striving towards a mutual goal — generating more revenue for your business. Yes, your marketing team should know what your sales team is doing and what their struggles are and vice versa and we couldn’t stress this enough. Save yourself months of working hard to produce and promote content yet failing to generate any return on investment by simply getting your sales team onboard early in the process.
Are you making the most of the content you produce?
The beauty of inbound marketing is that if you invest enough time and thought into it you end up compiling a great library of content which you can use over and over again. We are sure you have created some incredible, useful and beautiful things but in order to maximise your return on investment from that effort you need to keep in mind that content doesn’t need to have an expiry date and can be used in more than one ways on more than a few channels.
Top tips for making the most of your content
1. Create evergreen content
Create content that will remain relevant for a long period of time. Nobody wants to write something great only to have to rewrite it in a month and nobody wants to read something that is outdated.
2. Know your channels
Find the right distribution channels for your content. Once you have created a good blog or a helpful whitepaper, think about all the channels you will be able to use to reach people who will be interested in reading that content. Think outside the box, it doesn’t all need to be Twitter and email.
3. Repurpose your top performing content
People consume content in different ways. While some will be happy to take up to 10 minutes to concentrate on a long blog post, others would prefer to see a short video with key take aways and others might want to be able to save a Power Point stack or SlideShare for future reference. Once you have created something that has worked well in getting people’s attention and has helped them tackle a problem, there is nothing wrong with making sure you communicate the same helpful information into a medium that works for different types of readers. Rework a great blog you wrote into a series of short videos illustrating your key points, make a talk you gave accessible to more people by transcribing it as a blog post and sharing the slides, summarise a longer ebook into a more concise checklist. The possibilities are endless and the key is to think about what your audience's needs and how they consume content.
Setting SMART inbound marketing goals
Now that you know what a smart inbound marketing strategy should look like, it is time to set some SMART goals. Here is how you can make sure you are keeping your inbound marketing goals in check by using the good, old SMART framework.
Try to be as concise and clear with any goal you set for your inbound marketing. Don’t leave room for interpretation. Vague and broad ideas like “I want to write the best ebook on this subject” don’t make good goals. What does “the best” mean to you? How are you measuring this goal? A more meaningful goal might sound like this: “I would like to rank on page 1 for Google searches on this subject”. Take the time to understand what your business’ needs are and make sure you know from the start specifically what you are looking to achieve with your inbound marketing.
Knowing what you are after feels great, doesn’t it? You are still not done. Once you know what your specific goal is, make sure that you have a way of measuring it. Can you track how many visits will get thanks to that new blog you wrote? Do you have a way of tracking how many new customers come to you thanks to your inbound marketing? If your answer to this is no, then having those as goals won’t be of much help. Make sure you have the tools and resources available to measure your goals then put some numbers behind each goal.
When setting the numbers you want to hit, it is good to be ambitious but you also need to be realistic. Your team won’t appreciate you setting goals that can’t possibly be reached with the current resources available. Make sure you have the data to prove that the goals you set are attainable. It is always a good idea to set specific numbers based on historical performance or industry benchmark information.
Before deciding whether something is a good goal always ask yourself what impact it will have on your business bottom line. Growing your social media profiles is great, but do you understand how this affects your profits or the way you work? If you are not sure how it will affect your business profits or how it will benefit the way you do business, don’t set the goal.
This last bit is to give yourself a little push. Setting a deadline for your goal pushes you to commit to it and helps you plan your activities accordingly. If you know that you would like to increase website traffic by 25% by the end of December you have the framework necessary to track progress and make adjustments in your strategy when necessary.
Once you have made up your mind about your goals, write them down and share them with your whole team. Make sure everyone is onboard and working towards that set of goals. The goals are no good if they only stay in your head. Share those with your team, talk about them, check your progress regularly and review your approach. Set formal processes such as a monthly or quarterly report but also make sure that goals stay on top of everyone’s minds by having informal updates and catch ups, celebrating successes and encouraging creative problem solving when something is not working out.
If you want to take your goal planning a step further make sure to grab our free SMART goal template here: