Implementing inbound marketing

The first step in building a solid inbound marketing strategy and plan for your manufacturing business is to commit to the idea that this is about your business strategy and a core mission of your business. Inbound marketing is not a one-off marketing tactic but a fundamental shift in how you view finding prospects, communicating with your target market, and converting leads to customers. You need to understand your target market to create compelling and attractive content. This is where developing detailed personas of your ideal customer guides content development.

Developing a solid strategy up front will help as you use your inbound marketing analytics data to adjust and re-position your tactical efforts as you move forward.

The next step is to develop a series of internal tools and systems to manage the inbound marketing process from content development to customer retention. Some tools to consider include:

• Website hosting and content management platform – Blogger, WordPress, Joomla, HubSpot
• CRM – Salesforce.com, ACT, Zoho, Sugar CRM
• Email manager – Constant Contact, Mail Chimp
• Phone call tracking software

Internal processes to manage the incoming leads and opportunities should also be developed. Ask yourself, how will marketing determine lead quality and what constitutes a sales ready lead? What are the offers to be made through the sales process and how will marketing use them to move prospects through the buying process? When does the sales team get involved and how do they receive the prospect information and hand off from marketing? What key performance metrics do you need to track and how will you get the information? Who is publishing content and in who’s voice?
Finally, to be a good inbound marketer you need to allocate the proper resources to make the strategy successful. Asking an intern to post a few items on your blog or sending an email once a quarter will not generate the transformative results that you want. Inbound marketing requires specific skills and abilities. If you have a team in house, they can be trained to think differently and perform the inbound marketing activities your plan requires.