8 Steps to Create a Complete Inbound Marketing Plan in 2021

Posted by David Terry on April 15, 2021

Are you currently planning a way to crush your company’s growth plans over the next year? If so, implementing a B2B Inbound Marketing program probably seems like a no-brainer. But how do you go from understanding the basics of Inbound Marketing to creating an effective strategy that actually delivers your business real results?

In this blog, we have created a comprehensive eight-step guide that will help your business build an Inbound Marketing strategy that helps you better generate new leads and achieve your growth goals. 

Before we dive straight into it, let’s take a quick overview on what Inbound Marketing is and how it can drive significant growth for your B2B business.

What is B2B Inbound Marketing and why is it important?

Before creating your Inbound Marketing strategy, it’s first important to understand exactly what Inbound Marketing is. To do so, it’s crucial to answer the common question of Inbound Marketing Vs. Outbound marketing.

Unlike outbound marketing which focuses on interrupting your audience through advertising, promotions and sales, Inbound Marketing is a way for your organization to drive organic traffic to your brand through relevant, useful and timely content. 

Inbound marketing typically uses digital marketing tactics, such as blogging, search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing and email marketing to generate leads for your brand by putting your customers’ needs first. 

Companies that implement Inbound Marketing programs can experience huge ROI. Just check out some of these statistics from HubSpot:

  • Websites with 51 to 100 pages generate 48 percent more traffic than websites with 1 to 50 pages.
  • B2B companies that blog only 1-2x/month generate 70 percent more leads than those who don’t blog.
  • Companies with 51-100 Twitter followers generate 106 percent more traffic than those with 25 or fewer.
  • Companies see a 55 percent increase in leads from increasing landing pages from 10 to 15.

So, to get started, here’s how to create a B2B Inbound Marketing program that will help your business grow.

How to Create a Comprehensive Inbound Marketing Plan

Step #1 - Start by defining your buyer personas

An effective Inbound Marketing program should always center around the specific challenges that your audience face. By creating buyer personas of your ideal audience, you can better understand the unique challenges that your audience is facing, what drives them to your company and what you need to do to accurately answer the questions they are searching for online.

Some further content that may help:

Why Buyer Personas are Important for Your B2B Marketing Strategy

Step #2 - Map your buyer’s journey

Once you understand your buyer personas, it’s time to map out your buyers’ journey. This is the path that each one of your persona’s take during their journey to become your company’s customer. This process is made up of three stages, awareness, consideration and decision, which correspond to where they are in the traditional marketing funnel (or the flywheel as HubSpot now defines it). 

Some further content that may help:

Content Mapping: Creating a Link Between Buyer Personas and the Buyer Journey

Inbound Content Marketing: Why it Pays to Put Your Audience First

Step #3 - Research your competitors

You don’t want to overthink this step, but doing some initial research into the competitors in your industry will give you a good idea of how you can ensure your Inbound Marketing program stands out from the crowd. By reviewing aspects of your competitors such as their website design, the content they produce, how active their social media accounts are and their messaging, you’ll be in a great position to create unique content that positions your brand as a market leader.

Step #4 - Define your Inbound Marketing goals

The success of your Inbound Marketing program is identified by what you want to achieve and when you expect to see results. Outline SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based) that clearly define what key performance indicators you want to achieve. This could be anything from a certain number of leads a month, a specific number of monthly unique website visitors or improving traffic to your blog. 

Step #5 - Research your keywords

Inbound Marketing relies on organic traffic, and that means your website needs to rank well for the keywords that truly matter to your prospects. Hitting the right keywords will improve your website’s SEO ranking and build up your search authority on your particular subject of expertise. Leverage keyword research to find the topics and longtail keywords that your buyer personas are actively searching for. 

Some further content that may help:

Content Marketing: How to do Keyword Research for SEO

Why Keyword Stuffing is Bad News for Your SEO

Step #6 - Develop your content strategy

With your researched keywords, brand identity and buyers’ journey in mind, it’s time to develop a content strategy that delivers valuable, relevant and timely content to your audience. This should include website pages (and pillar pages), blogs, social media, email marketing and much more. 

Some further content that may help:

How to Create a Pillar Page on Your Company's Website

Pillar Pages & Topic Clusters: Why Are They Important For Your Inbound Marketing Strategy?

Want to Create Content That Sells? Here Are 7 Essential Steps to Drive Revenue

On-Page SEO: How to Optimize Blog Content for Search Engines

An Inbound Marketing Guide to Creating Gated Content

Step #7 - Build your lead nurturing process

Inbound Marketing isn’t just about bringing visitors to your website, for true company growth you need to be able to nurture those leads into customers. Earning that business, however, typically takes time. Lead nurturing is about creating a journey, customer experience and content that seamlessly moves website visitors through the buyer’s journey, with valuable information, towards becoming a customer.

Some further content that may help:

Top 7 Inbound Marketing Lead Generation Techniques for B2B Businesses

5 Lead Nurturing Tips That Convert

Generating Leads on LinkedIn: Advertising Best Practices for B2B Marketers

Step #8 - Analyze how your program is performing

One of the first steps in creating your program was to build strategic SMART goals that helped guide your entire strategy. Now your program is in full flow, it’s crucial to use KPIs, data and other analytics to optimize your program as you move forward. Analyzing your Inbound Marketing program regularly will inform your decision-making and future strategy, allowing you to continually optimize your program with real-time data and analytics. 

Some further content that may help:

Top 10 Valuable Metrics for Your B2B Inbound Marketing Strategy

In need of further assistance from an Inbound Marketing expert?

Building an effective Inbound Marketing program is complex, and requires a team of highly-experienced marketers with skill sets in Inbound Market strategy, copywriting, web development, graphic design, web design, marketing analytics, SEO, social media, paid advertising and so much more!

Hiring the skills to fulfill these specific roles in-house can become incredibly expensive. That’s why many small, medium and large B2B organizations choose to outsource their Inbound Marketing program to a highly-experienced and skilled partner. 

Want to learn more about how outsourcing your B2B Inbound Marketing program to a partner can help you realize true ROI, while helping you save money at the same time? Contact The Brit Agency today. We would love to answer your questions.

Topics: Inbound Marketing