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Send applicationsInbound marketing is a sustainable and natural process that provides a measurable ROI (return on investment). Whether you have a startup business with investors or a small business that has a limited amount of capital, using inbound marketing efforts is something that just makes sense.

However, it is essential to develop a workable strategy that provides the results your business wants. In many cases, this can be easier said than done.

Where Inbound Marketing Efforts Go Wrong

There are a number of small businesses that approach marketing with a half-in and half-out manner. They know they need a strong presence online, but may not have the resources or time to actually follow through and create a solid inbound marketing plan.

The fact is, however, your competition isn’t holding back, and if you don’t “play ball,” it may cost you quite a bit.

Whether you hire an outside marketing agency, a consultant, or take the DIY approach, now is the time to step up and make your online marketing strategy a priority.

What Makes a Compelling Inbound Marketing Plan?

When it comes to business, you need to create a marketing strategy that will produce the highest possible return, with as little of an investment as possible. For some small businesses, this will mean making what you already have work for you.

Prior to updating your website or interacting more on social media, you have to develop a plan for implementing and measuring the efforts you make. With a well-planned strategy, you will be able to capitalize on your money and time investments.

With the five tips here, you will be well on your way to creating your own, effective marketing strategy.

The Market Assessment

To pitch your strategy well, you need to show your audience that you understand. Developing a marketing persona, which is a description of the characteristics of your ideal customer, is a great place to start. Once you have this information, you can begin to search for online trends that let you know how the people behave while online.

Considerations for Measuring Success

Being able to measure the financial ROI of your efforts is essential for business success; however, it is important to note that there are a number of inbound marketing strategies that will take time to flourish. Create a set of KPIs (key performance indicators) that will add value to your brand and supplement the ROI metrics. Some of the KPIs you may use include repeat business, consumer trust and increased visibility online.

Identify Your KPI Pathways

Once you have specific goals outlined, you can begin to find possible consumer pathways – this is how your consumers will contribute to the goals you have created. For example, social media engagement and higher search engine rankings will increase visibility online. Not all consumers will begin their journey by searching or by checking social media. Try to list all the possible pathways that consumers may use to reach the business.

Add and Optimize the Pathways

Be sure to focus on making a few of your current online pathways stronger at first and then add a few new tactics. There are many small businesses that are successful thanks to email marketing, social media interactions, blogging and local SEO. If you currently have a blog, try to write about topics that relate to your KPIs and your goals. For example, highlight a story from a customer and then link it to a review site, which will help improve customer trust.

You can use Google Analytics, for free, to run some reports on your website and mobile assets. Be sure to look at the reports carefully to know exactly where you stand.

With these tips, you can develop a clear image of your goals and then repeat the optimization and the measurements steps again and again until all your goals have been met.

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