With inbound marketing becoming more of a focus for brands, many marketing managers are struggling to effectively train their teams on inbound and create a unified strategy. This challenge, left unaddressed, has the potential to hinder inbound marketing growth at your company in a big way. Not only must you give internal team training high priority, you need procedures in place that allow you to efficiently integrate the agency partners and freelance writers who contribute to your brand’s inbound marketing.
1. Get your team excited and motivated about inbound
Think about it: if you are excited or motivated about something (anything!), you’ve got a greater chance of success. Want to run a marathon? If you’re not thrilled about it, chances are that you’ll either fail or be incredibly slow. The same goes for getting your team excited about inbound marketing – they need enthusiasm to succeed. For some team motivation, give each person a responsibility that most relates back to their overall career goals. Then empower them by giving regular feedback, recognizing accomplishments and fostering their career growth. Encourage your team to become knowledge leaders within their inbound marketing specialty through following and engaging habitually with key influencers. This will help your team duplicate trends and create niche marketing opportunities for your company, as well as keep their creative wheels turning as they continue to explore and learn.
2. Analyze current situation, define goals
Before getting started, evaluate your brand’s current marketing efforts and how an inbound marketing strategy can enhance your team’s approach. The first priority for any marketing department is to prove ROI. According to inbound marketing statistics found in HubSpot’s State of Inbound 2015 Report, companies of any size and budget allocation are three times more likely to see a higher ROI with inbound marketing campaigns than traditional outbound channels. This doesn’t mean that traditional outbound marketing doesn’t have a place in your overall strategy, but are you using outbound to get the most ROI? For example, outbound channels can often give your inbound marketing the boost it needs to get noticed. With this in mind, clearly define your company’s goals as it relates to your niche market. This allows your team to plan targeted campaigns that focus on your audience through exceptional content.
3. Identify and communicate your Buyer Personas and Buyers Journey to your team
One of the key elements of team training is clearly defining and effectively communicating your buyer personas and buyer journey to your team. Your target audience and their preferences will drive your marketing strategy, campaign focus and content messaging. Having your team on the same page is essential in implementing a unified inbound strategy that stays on course. Not only will this help your internal team, but it is beneficial when you need to ramp up and work with outside marketing agencies. Formal persona guidelines will help your inbound team and external contributors create relevant content to attract visitors, convert those visitor’s to leads and close deals with those leads.
4. Define a Content Creation Process for your team
Now that your inbound team is feeling empowered and unified, you can get to the fun stuff: creating exceptional content! Without a content creation process, creating quality content on a regular basis can be more overwhelming than you think. To streamline the content creation process, create an editorial calendar that is shared across your brand’s internal and external teams. A calendar allows you to plan and assign content creation and distribution over a set period of time, including blogs, social media, website and PR content. Having an editorial calendar doesn’t pin you down to certain topics, but rather allows your team to focus on key messages, intentionally targeting your buys personas. Practically, an editorial calendar will improve your ability to manage and train employees and assign tasks within their capacity. The ‘fly by the seat of your pants’ strategy is sometimes necessary in the world of inbound marketing (ever heard of newsjacking?), but don’t make a habit of it.
5. Train your team to focus on Niche Marketing & Industry Leaders
This goes back to having a clearly defined buyer persona. A key method to having a successful inbound marketing strategy is to focus on niche marketing and advertising opportunities. Yep, we used the A-word – paid advertising is considered traditional marketing, but if outbound marketing is utilized correctly, it can bolster your inbound marketing efforts. To know where to start, you need to know how to get in front of your audience. Who are the leaders in your industry that influence your personas? Identify what your personas read online, the websites they visit, the blogs they read and which social media platforms they prefer. If you know these things, you can effectively target them with your content. If your team is equipped with appropriate communication channels to reach your potential buyers, they can more effectively create compelling content and garner engagement within each channel.
6. Review analytics weekly and celebrate results with your team
The pressure on business leaders to demonstrate ROI from their inbound marketing efforts is increasing every year. Luckily, the data to make smart marketing decisions is available, as are the analytical tools. With these tools at your disposal, why not take full advantage by reviewing the success of your campaigns weekly at minimum? By making analytics a key piece of your inbound marketing approach you will uncover meaningful insights and drive growth. Without a strategy based on data, companies often allocate marketing dollars based on the previous year's budget, or what they perceive is working without any actual data to back it up. Rather than waiting until the end of a campaign to see if it’s working, reviewing analytics regularly during a campaign will incentivize your team, giving them a chance to turn things around if needed or continue on the path. This provides a real reason to celebrate when things take an upturn or exceed expectations.
7. Use Hubspot’s Free Inbound Marketing Training
We get it: you’re busy! Therefore, taking the time to train each member of your inbound team may not be an option for you. Whether or not that is the case, using established training programs can successfully teach your employees everything they need to know about inbound (possibly better than you could). For example, Hubspot Academy’s online training tools offer robust tutorials and videos that can equip the most rookie inbound marketer to successfully implement an inbound marketing strategy for your brand. In addition to online training tools, you should encourage your team to develop their understanding of inbound by following key industry-relevant blogs, forums and podcasts. Knowledge is power!
By following these tactics when training your inbound team, your brand should feel well-poised for success by implementing the most current inbound and ROI-proven strategies. If you’re armed with this training knowledge but still wondering how to run an inbound marketing campaign, use our resource below to get your inbound rolling.