Define Your Purpose

Defining your purpose is an essential first step in the creation of a successful Inbound Marketing Strategy.

1.     A defined purpose will save you money, because you can create very specific, targeted content with simpler messages. Your content will be shorter and easier to digest, and you won’t need to spend money on creative ways to appeal to “everybody” all at once.

2.     With more crafted and targeted messages, you’re more likely to see a response that gives you a return on your investment (ROI), as it will resonate more effectively with the customers who actually need and want your product or service.

3.     Getting your content found by your potential customers will be cheaper and easier to achieve. Rather than competing against big-budget competitors to have your content ranked for broad search terms (which are expensive to bid on in Google Adwords and more competitive in the "organic" search results), you can focus on the more cost-effective long-tail terms that better match the content.

To achieve clarity of the purpose of your Inbound Marketing goals you need to determine what response you are trying achieve, and what metrics you will use to judge if you have achieved it (i.e., what will tell you that the effort has been a success)?

There are myriad different purposes you may want your Inbound Marketing campaign to accomplish, including:

  • To make a sale
  • To generate an inbound lead
  • To position your brand or build brand awareness
  • To demonstrate a new product or service
  • To educate a market
  • To entertain

Once you’ve decided what outcome you’re striving for and how its success will be measured you must define the "persona" of your targets.

For example, there is no point in creating content that appeals to junior executives with no purchasing power if you’re trying to clinch a sale, or to create content to educate the market if the landscape is generally well known amongst decision makers.

Some questions to keep in mind about your target:

  • In B2B, are your targets senior decision-makers, mid-level influencers, or observers who may be making decisions five years from now?
  • In B@C, what are the demographics of your targets?
  • Do they speak your industry language (e.g., a techie to a techie), or are you trying to reach a different type of executive who may not be so familiar with your industry jargon (e.g., a results-driven sales outsourcing company trying to reach a new, creative, product-obsessed market), or someone not in your industry at all (e.g., a government regulator)?
  • Do they care more about numbers and metrics, or vision and aspiration; details vs. big picture; process vs. creativity; layers of bureaucracy vs. flat structure, etc.?

If we are thinking and acting like media companies (and we are all media companies now) and publishers, everything you do with your content marketing begins and ends with your audience. If you do not understand the wants and needs of your audience, there is no way your marketing can be effective.