Inbound marketing has been around for some time now, but it’s still not so obvious for many industries competing for clients who reside more online than offline.
Inbound can still feel like an elusive art that requires too much work or expertise, even for companies who understand it.
With high demands for time and resources, determining whether the juice is worth the squeeze is at the forefront for many executives. Knowing where to look can help make this determination. For business executives, we recommend doing some due diligence on your company, your audience, and your competition before jumping in the deep end of inbound marketing.
Is Your Company Culture Ready?
Taking on a new methodology that produces results works best if it’s adopted and loved by the entire team. It doesn’t mean that every team member must crank out blog posts every week and master all social platforms, but it does mean that everyone understands the value, supports the efforts, and helps where appropriate.
If your company isn’t ready (especially at the top level), you may need to start by training and educating your team to ignite some excitement about inbound marketing.
Also take into consideration that it’s an investigative process. You and your team can’t expect to have all of the answers right out of the gate. In fact, the process of inbound marketing requires you to learn constantly about how to effectively market. Everyone should be prepared for the long term, not simply one big implementation.
Is Your Audience Listening?
It’s possible that your inbound efforts will not find your audience. Whether or not you feel like you know what your audience is and isn’t doing online, it’s a good idea to run some checks to be sure.
Find out if using digital content to drive sales has any merit and could be a good solutions for your organization. Take some time to see if your clients or target audience are:
- Using the web to search for solutions to problems your products or services address.
- Visiting or commenting on related active websites and blogs that are relevant to your business solutions.
- Using social media to engage with other similar organizations.
- Being drawn in by pay-per-click advertising or higher ranking competitors on Google.
You can always leverage Google Adwords Keyword Planner or a paid solution such as SEMRush. Look for how often the keywords are being searched for (search volume) and start to consider the competition.
What Are Your Competitors Doing?
Now take some time to look at your competitors. Looking at what your competitors are doing will provide some insight into how creative your organization needs to be to compete on the web.
Start with some of the obvious keywords that are related to your products and services on Google. See who is ranking and dig in to see how active they are on primary social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Can you determine if they are successful at driving traffic, engagement, or sales?
Get a Game Plan Together
At this point, you should have a start to the answer of your question: Is inbound marketing right for my company?
Of the items above, the most important is knowing whether or not your team will be committed to seeing it through. The top executives (whether that be yourself, your partners, or your boss) are the most important to have on board with an understanding that inbound will take tender lovin’ care and time to see results.
If your team responds well, assign someone to OWN the inbound efforts for your organization. Whether it’s an internal employee or a third party, they need to make sure tasks are being handled and constantly moving forward.
Have the responsible party present the research and initial plan to move forward. Chances are the plan will change, but it will make a huge difference to have a starting point and strategy to work from. With the right prep work and diligence, your team will be on it’s way to successfully harnessing the power of inbound.
Taking time to acknowledge and identify these elements will clarify if your business is ready to implement an inbound campaign. Starting off on the right foot will help the flow of your strategy imensly and save you time down the road. Even if now isn’t the right time for your business, it’s still a good idea to familiarize yourself with this type of marketing. Valuable user-focused content will soon be the norm, while marketer-foucsed efforts fade into the past.