The Many Hats Worn By An Inbound Marketing Consultant

An inbound marketing consultant's job is to help you get your business found online more often, convert more of your website's visitors and sign up more new customers. That's just the high level part.

Getting Started With inbound

Now is an ideal time to ramp up your business's inbound marketing efforts. But what's the best approach?

The following inbound marketing tactics are pursued by many companies:

  • Hire an SEO specialist

  • Start blogging

  • Do more social media posting

  • Invest in a marketing automation system

However, none of these tactics on their own will help grow your business.

Below are the research, planning and execution steps recommended for a business that's looking to get real results from inbound.

An inbound marketing consultant acts as a facilitator, researcher and recommender throughout this process.

Some inbound marketing specialists work for a marketing agency. Others are solopreneurs.

An Inbound Consultant's Initial Work

First, we'll take a look at the up-front work that is normally performed and/or facilitated by a consultant. Then, we'll look at the consultant's many ongoing tasks.

As with most business initiatives, the strategy that's behind inbound marketing should drive the tactics.

Assess the Current State

Begin by interviewing stakeholders in order to get some key questions answered. Examples of questions are:

  1. What problem does my company's products or services solve for my ideal clients?

  2. What do my prospects not know about my product or service?

  3. What have past customers learned about working with us that they didn't know before working with us?

  4. Are the sales and marketing teams working in concert?

  5. Is your important website content getting enough visibility in the search engine results?

Articulate Marketing Objectives

Based on the assessment, determine what your marketing objectives are and what the relative priority of each objective is. A list of objectives can include:

  • Brand building

  • Getting more business from our existing customers

  • Landing a greater number of net new customers each month

  • Acquiring more leads from our vendors

Identify Your Target Accounts

What is your area of geographic coverage? Do you sell locally, nationally, internationally?

What industries/verticals have you sold into in the past? What verticals do you want to sell into in the future?

Define Roles Within Target Accounts

Who are the buyers within your target accounts? If you're selling into small businesses, you may be selling to the owner or to a general manager. If you're selling into larger companies, you may be selling to an IT manager or to the vice president of sales.

Who are the influencers within your accounts? Your marketing may be more likely to get the attention of an influencer than a buyer.

Who are the practitioners? These are the people who will be using your product or service.

Analyze Competitor Websites

How are your competitors approaching their inbound marketing? What keywords are they ranking for—even unintentionally—that we should consider also trying to rank for?

If you have a regional business, what can be learned from similar businesses in other parts of the country?

Determine The Initial Traffic Sources

There are a variety of potential inbound traffic sources. It's important to initially focus on just one or two sources, such as organic search results and social.

Over time you can expand your sources to video, audio and to blog sites such as Medium and LinkedIn.

Define Traffic Destinations

Where do you want to drive traffic that comes from organic search results? Here are some of the options. These are not mutually exclusive:

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Identify Desired Visitor Actions

Once visitors arrive at a destination, what calls to action do you want to present to them? Each traffic destination should have one primary call to action.

  • Call us now

  • Email us

  • Get a quote

  • Schedule an online meeting with a consultant

  • Download something of value (lead magnet) in exchange for your contact information

  • Download an un-gated digital asset like a solution brochure

  • Fill in a traditional "Contact Us" type form

Inbound Marketing

Evaluate the Appropriate Technologies

There are a wide range of technology options for websites, web forms, landing pages and nurture email campaigns. Some are reasonably priced and do not represent a significant cost for most small and mid size businesses.

Depending on business requirements, an inbound marketing consultant will recommend the right blend of technologies.

Develop a Plan For Measuring Progress and Success

A combination of website analytics data, marketing automation system information and CRM data will indicate which efforts are working best.

Marketing revenue attribution can be tracked by creating technical connections along the Awareness to Order path. Proof of the value of marketing efforts can be reported to management.

Inbound Marketing: Awareness to Order Path

The Awareness to Order Path

Inbound Marketing Playbook(s)

The results of the above analysis are distilled into one or more marketing automation playbooks. Each product or service line can have its own playbook. A playbook covers:

  • Goals

  • Messaging

  • Audience & community

  • Competitors

  • Keywords

  • Traffic sources

  • Campaigns

The campaign is a bundle of activities, which can include:

  • Blog posts

  • Images & graphics

  • Calls to action

  • Landing pages

  • Gated content (lead magnet)

  • Autoresponder emails and nurture email sequences

  • Social promotion

  • PR

Implement the Playbook Recommendations

Playbook recommendations are implemented over a multi-month period. Recommended actions can be implemented by:

  • An outside, inbound marketing consultant

  • A combination of your internal inbound marketer(s) and an inbound consultant

  • Your inbound marketers only

The Inbound Marketing Consultant's Ongoing responsibilities

The ongoing role of the inbound consultant is to ensure that the playbook recommendations are executed consistently.

The consultant should complement your internal team as an advisor and a contributor of content.

There should be an ongoing transfer of knowledge from the consultant to your team members.

How an Inbound Marketing Consultant Can Help Your Business

A laundry list of inbound marketing tasks

An inbound consultant can get involved with a lot of details, all of which contribute to the success of your inbound marketing initiative. These may include:

  • Learning about your new product or service offerings

  • Performing keyword research

  • Developing new blog content

  • Editing new, internally generated content

  • Re-optimizing existing page & blog content

  • Suggesting lead magnets and calls to action (CTAs) and project managing the development of these

  • Making recommendations for acquisition of backlinks

  • Adding more value to your Google My Business profile(s)

  • Facilitating communication among salespeople and marketers

  • Helping to foster a culture of content

  • Recommending the testing of additional inbound content channels (Medium, LinkedIn, YouTube, Wistia)

  • Running technical audits on the company's website(s)

  • Identifying "low to no traffic" content that should be unpublished

  • Developing workflows/automations in your marketing automation system

  • Ensuring your marketing automation system and your CRM system are communicating properly

Frequently Asked Questions

What is inbound marketing?

The term "inbound marketing" was popularized by HubSpot. Inbound marketing is an approach to digital marketing that is designed to draw in visitors and potential prospects. The goal of inbound marketing is for people to find your brand, service or product when they are searching for a solutions, answers to questions or any other information that is of value to them.

What are some examples of inbound marketing?

  • Blogs posts

  • Podcasts

  • Social media campaigns (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)

  • Downloadable PDFs (checklists, cheat sheets, ebooks)

  • Infographics

  • Search engine optimized website pages

  • Videos

  • Webinars


Is inbound marketing still effective?

Inbound marketing still works, but it takes more effort to get results than it used to. Why? A lot more businesses are creating content. Also, the organic search results for many terms appear "below the fold", as they are crowded out by ads, Local Packs and the People also ask section. This means that long tail keywords are more important than ever.

Is SEO (search engine optimization) the same as inbound marketing?

They're different, but they overlap. SEO is one of the most important tactics within an inbound marketing strategy. A study of over one billion pages by Ahrefs concluded that over 90% of web content gets no traffic from Google. Since "being found online" is central to inbound marketing, optimizing content for search must be top of mind whenever content is created or updated.

What is outbound marketing?

Outbound marketing is broadcasting your message to a large audience in the hopes that you will attract the attention of some of those who are interested in your product or service. Broadcast television advertising is a classic example of outbound marketing. Sending an email marketing blast to a large, purchased list is another example.

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