The world of inbound marketing can feel like a secret garden. For the longest time, you might never have even known it existed.
But once you learn about inbound, it’s easy to be dazzled and overwhelmed by the broad world that has been opened up to you.
If you’re new on the journey, you might not know where to turn or whom to trust. What are the resources and institutions you should seek out? What should you expect in terms of budgetary and personnel needs?
David Little, account executive at IMPACT, tells us what your business should do if it’s just getting started with inbound marketing and needs some help.
Who's looking to start with inbound?
John: So first off, who's asking this question? What company is in the position of asking for help with inbound marketing?
David: I think of somebody that has grown a healthy business over the last two to ten years and they have started to plateau — or maybe their businesses decreased a little bit over time and their networks are no longer providing sustainable growth.
And now they're looking at digital. They want to know how they can start doing inbound marketing, how they can start having leads come in, rather than always be out searching.
John: There is a common misconception that traditional marketing costs money, but inbound is free. What kind of budget should you devote to inbound, and where does that money go?
David: We've all heard that there's no such thing as a free lunch. Well, there is no such thing as a free lead.
When I think of an inbound marketing budget, I would focus on having the right team — and the right technology.
In order to have the best inbound team, I would suggest having at least a content manager and somebody who can do video. And through those two people, you're going to be able to start building your team.
And let's say each of those positions come with a $40,000 a year salary. So, that’s $80,000 — and then you have other marketing tech expenses on top.
So, in order to do inbound well, I would say you're investing a minimum of $100,000 per year.
Now, other people have the philosophy that advertising should be 10% of your business. So, if you're doing $1 million, you should be investing $100,000. If you're doing $10 million, you’re investing $1 million.
Inbound isn't effortless
John: Another misconception about inbound marketing is that it's easy. How do you set yourself up for success?
David: Remember, you didn't build your business overnight. You put in a lot of long nights and early mornings, and you need to expect the same with inbound marketing. It's going to take time and it's gonna take resources and it's going to take patience.
John: What kind of timeline should you expect in terms of seeing results?
David: That's a very tough question. I think the timeline for everybody is different, but you're really not going to start seeing results for six, eight, 12 months.
The truth is, people don't find your content overnight. In some cases they do, but Google has reasons why they give searchers the answers they do. Sites need to build their authority with Google so they can get their answers in front of people.
I would say the first priority is to make sure you have a roadmap and that you don't grow weary of doing the good things like writing articles and making videos.
You will see an increase in ranking and traffic if you’re making good content and following SEO best practices.
John: What resources are out there that you would recommend for people starting this journey?
Every company who starts this journey, usually begins with the same three questions:
How do we start writing content?
How do we start doing videos?
How do we make the sales processbetter?
The good news is that, at IMPACT, we have content that answers every question you can imagine that our ideal buyers might have about getting started with content and inbound marketing — and we’re always producing new content and updating older pieces to make sure they’re current.
Of course, we're not the only ones. Digital Marketer has great resources for people that are getting into marketing. You should also start following HubSpot's blogs and their articles on a daily basis is a great place to continue to get educated on the digital marketing world.
David: I think going into inbound marketing we get shiny things syndrome. It's like, oooh, something new came out. We should get it! We should get one of those!
Basically, we hear about something new and immediately think it’s right for us.
But the truth is there are reasons for the things that work and don't work. And to be honest with you, as somebody that's very passionate and entrepreneurially driven, I get shiny things syndrome, but I ask people in my life to keep me accountable, to keep me on the track of where I eventually want to go.
We put a plan together and make sure step-by-step you’re doing the things necessary to be hitting your goals.
Just getting started? Here's what to do this week, this month, this quarter...
John: If you are a business just starting out, what should you do within a week, what should you do within a month, and what should you do within a quarter?
David: If I was starting inbound marketing right now, this is what I do first...
I would get Google Analytics on my website. I would also purchase HubSpot and get that on my website. That's going to start giving me some really good data of who's coming to my website and what they're checking out. That's going to start laying the foundation for every move we make in the future.
Lastly, I would develop a quarterly roadmap of everything you want to accomplish with inbound.
Within the first month, I would write an article or produce a video to address each question that the sales team hears over and over. That’s going to be relevant content that starts bringing people to your site.
I'm also going to hire a content manager or a videographer. And that writer can start producing three to six articles per week in order to build up your educational library.
Within the first quarter, I would check back at my priorities to see if I have hit my targets. Every quarter, you should be tweaking your strategy, and determining what topics you want to go after.
And then, by the end of the year, you hopefully have that team built out — your content manager and your videographer — and you can really take stock. You can start looking at updating your website, updating your offers, and continuing to build and enhance your content library in smart, strategic ways.
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