There are a lot of little secrets to inbound marketing that generate results. We’re here to let you in on one huge one… how you plan, implement and optimize your inbound marketing content has a lot to do with the success of your agency and that all starts with a quarterly inbound marketing plan. I’m sure there are inbound marketing agencies out there that still plan out an entire year’s worth of content for their agency, but if you’re currently one of them… stop what you’re doing.
It’s essential as an inbound marketing agency that you plan out your content quarterly. Why? One of the biggest reasons is because this will help you stay agile when it comes to creating content that works. Planning out content in three-month chunks will help you be more prepared for the interesting events and changes that your industry will face and it allows you to make adjustments according to the performance of your content without having to change an entire year’s worth of planning. Sounds like a pretty good deal to me.
Now that our little secret is out, we’re going to show you exactly how to break down your quarterly plan so you’ll be ready to start planning in 2015! Your inbound marketing plan template should be broken up into six categories: goals, target market, editorial focus, strategy, tactics and metrics.
When starting your inbound marketing plan the first thing you want to ask yourself is, what are my goals? Think about what you hope to get across to your customer each quarter. These are obviously going to differ from quarter to quarter because your goals should be dependent on the stage that you’re currently in and the priorities of your company during that stage.
Your goals are going to change based on the needs of your business and the desires of your customers during that time of the year. The message will change with the calendar and fiscal quarter depending on your business, customer, reach and over-arching message. Your goals will better determine your content marketing strategy and it’s likely that one or more of them will be tied to revenue.
The next thing that you want to define in your inbound marketing plan is your target market. Your target market are the people most interested in buying your product/service. As an inbound marketer, you should be able to define these specific groups and tailor your message according to their challenges and the solutions they are looking for.
Remember you can still be a business that caters to different target markets but your advertising should then adjust to each segment. As a marketing agency, when you are creating your inbound marketing plan template you need to keep these facts in mind.
Your quarterly inbound marketing plan needs to include some aggressive content publishing initiatives. The intention of this area is to strategize and plan for what content/topics are best to focus on to attract and engage your target markets. It doesn’t matter if you’re publishing blog posts, eBooks, case studies or podcasts, you always have to publish with purpose. Be thoughtful about the needs of your potential customers and create razor sharp content that addresses their needs.
These are the strategies you plan to employ in order to achieve the goals that you set for the quarter. Your marketing strategy may remain constant quarter over quarter but be prepared to also change your strategy depending on the industry trends and changes happening during that time.
To compliment this section, you may also think of incorporating a content calendar. There you will be able to define and organize the content you plan to publish over the next three months. As important it is to determine your strategies for the quarter, it is just as important to organize these strategies to make sure you stay on track!
This is where you determine exactly how you’re going to implement your strategies to make it all come together. The majority of this section depends on the budget that your agency has. If your budget permits, you should consider investing in paid search advertising, media buying, remarketing, etc. With a smaller budget, consider partnerships, blogging and SEO. With an inbound marketing plan, you want to focus on marketing through email, search engines, web advertising and social media.
Here is where you want to define your key performance indicators (KPIs) by the different stages in the funnel. Once you determine your KPIs, then you will be able to compare them to past years. Not every year can be an “up” year but if you are able to have the figures out in front of you, you’ll be able to see exactly where you excelled and where your efforts fell flat. This will help you to provide context for the level of improvement needed to keep you on a firm track forward.
What else would you include in your quarterly inbound marketing plan? Let us know in the comments below!