As part of the LeadG2 series on "The 10 Commandments of Inbound Marketing" we will be discussing each of these ten commandments and the importance of each one. Also, we'll share why these principles are ones that you need to abide by and can’t ignore. The first of The 10 Commandments of Inbound Marketing is: Thou Shall Not Put Pen to Paper Before Conducting Research and Understanding Your Target Persona. (Tweet This)
Knowing Your Audience
This commandment is the first on the list of The 10 Commandments of Inbound Marketing because we continually see this as one of the steps that's skipped by companies who are not getting results.
Without knowing who you are writing for and what their interests are, you can’t author content that your audience finds valuable. This might seem like a logical step when beginning your inbound marketing program, but time and time again we see companies developing content without a solid understanding of who they are trying to reach and what content is of interest to their target persona. We had a radio station client once that intially thought that blogging and creating "content" for lead generation meant that they should share information that you would find on a “Mommy blog”—recipes and recommendations for kid friendly food places. Considering that this radio station's goal was to generate advertising leads, this “Mommy blogger” type of content was missing their intended target of small- to mid-size companies wanting to advertise.
Conducting Target Persona Research
Prior to the Inbound Marketing Planning and Strategy day that we conduct with each of our new clients, we begin the process of developing a very detailed target persona for them. This persona informs us of what type of content we should be creating to generate leads and how that content is distributed.
In order to create these target personas, we ask the internal management team and those that interface with the customers or clients a series of questions that helps provide a detailed look at how the client is portrayed and what their challenges are. This knowledge provides us with our client’s view of their target persona, which we then cross validate with a separate survey sent to their customers. For this second survey, we ask for a list of clients so we can send a similar survey and learn more about their unique challenges and how they go about making purchase decisions.
After we process the results of the two surveys, we put together an analysis that helps us determine the following:
- top challenges of the client
- what are the most common questions asked in the buying process
- biggest objections during the sales process
- if the clients are on social media and, if so, which networks
- what the buying process looks like
- how long the buying process is
- who are the decision makers and what are their titles
- and lots more!
As you can see, by understanding what the main challenges that a prospect is facing, you can refine your content and develop content that’s just not of interest to them but actually generates leads. We often go back to the target personas and ask ourselves if the target persona would be interested in that content. Also, by understanding the challenges and questions that prospects have, it gives us a large list of topics to write about and create premium content such as white papers and guides from.
The 10 Commandments of Inbound Marketing
- Thou shall not put pen to paper before conducting research and understanding your target persona. (Tweet This)
- Sales must be involved in your inbound strategy at each stage from conception to implementation to follow up. (Tweet This)
- Your website must be mobile optimized or responsive. (Tweet This)
- You must have a written plan for lead follow up that’s agreed upon by both sales and marketing. (Tweet This)
- You must have someone responsible for your inbound marketing program. (Tweet This)
- Consistently be publishing content on your blog. (Tweet This)
- You must have premium content (white papers, guides etc) on your website if you intend to generate leads. (Tweet This)
- Do not ignore SEO / Organic search. This is your website’s lifeblood. (Tweet This)
- Thou shall not publish content for the sake of Google. Write for humans not Google. (Tweet This)
- You must use a CRM. (Tweet This)
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