Pivot, pivot, pivot. Chances are if you’ve been in business for a while, you’ve heard this instruction and followed through on it at least once. Statistics show that a properly planned inbound strategy is ten times more effective than outbound strategies in terms of lead conversions, so it's important that you stay current to maintain that ROI.
2023, in particular, has seen revolutionary advancements in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data analytics, enabling businesses to glean deeper insights into consumer behavior and preferences than ever before. This has further refined inbound marketing, making it crucial for companies to keep up with the latest trends.
But as with all strategies, success in inbound marketing is not solely about employing the latest tools or creating top-tier content. It is about setting clear objectives and measurable goals. So, in this article, I’m going to cover how you can set SMART inbound marketing objectives and goals that take all these new changes into account.
Inbound Marketing By The Numbers
2023 is proving to be a stellar year for your inbound strategy, with no signs of slowing down. Here are just a few convincing statistics from Gitnux that may reaffirm your strategies, or get them going:
- According to Gitnux, 70% of marketers consider inbound marketing to be their main focus
- Inbound marketing is incredibly cost-effective, averaging 62% less than outbound marketing tactics
- 91% of consumers are more likely to shop with brands that recognize, remember, and provide relevant offers and recommendations
The Evolution Of Inbound Marketing
Inbound marketing isn't just a buzzword; it's the heartbeat of modern digital strategies. As you likely know, it’s all about attracting the right audience, engaging them with valuable content, and nurturing them into company or service advocates.
Inbound marketing has evolved from simple content creation to a multifaceted strategy encompassing SEO, social media, email and video marketing, and more. The aforementioned rise of AI and machine learning has since added another layer, enabling hyper-personalization and predictive analytics.
But even with the rise of the machines, the goals for inbound marketing remain the same.
Perceptive listening is how you draw out what prospects or customers are truly passionate about.John Jantsch
The 4 Pillars Of Inbound Marketing
Gone are the days when merely having an online presence was enough. Today, it's about drawing in the right audience with compelling content and SEO strategies that resonate with their needs and challenges.
With the saturation of content online, the real question becomes: How can you ensure yours stands out? Start by truly understanding your audience's pain points. How can you solve their problem better than other solutions?
Then take it to the tactical level leveraging AI for content personalization, and staying updated with search engine optimization and social media trends.
Capturing attention is just the beginning.
Next, you need to transform these visitors into leads. This is where the magic of CTAs, landing pages, forms, and my personal favorite, CRO, comes into play! Now it's about offering value in exchange for your target audience’s trust.
Dive deep into analytics, test personas, and understand what drives your audience. What do they do, what do they exchange with? Where are they in the buyer’s journey? Now tailor your content messaging in step.
The home stretch—turning those leads into paying customers.
With the right CRM tools such as Hubspot, email marketing strategies, and workflows, you can guide the right lead down the right sales funnel seamlessly. But remember, in this age of information, transparency and authenticity are key. Ensure your sales processes reflect that.
The journey doesn't end with a sale. It's about ensuring these customers become your brand's biggest promoters. Engage them, listen to their feedback, optimize your messaging, and continuously offer value. Implement loyalty programs and always be there when they need you.
The SMART Framework For Setting Goals
Setting marketing goals without a clear framework is like driving with the GPS on, but no specific destination. Enter the SMART framework methodology and your divining rod for defining successful inbound marketing goals.
Broad goals are hard to achieve. Narrow down and focus it in.
Instead of "I want to increase website traffic," aim for "I want to increase website traffic by 15% through organic search."
One of the most important components of any SMART goal is to ask yourself – Is this measurable? How will we measure this to determine its effectiveness?
Marketing analytics tools like Google Analytics, HubSpot, and SEMrush can offer insights into your progress. Regularly monitor and adjust your strategies based on these insights.
Look, we all want viral content, we all want moonshots, and while it's good to aim high, ensure your goals are realistic given your resources. It's about balancing ambition with feasibility with all the other campaigns and responsibilities you’re facing.
Every goal should align with your broader business objectives. How are your inbound marketing goals aligning with your business goals for the quarter? The year? It's not just about getting more website hits; it's about generating quality leads that convert.
You say time-bound, I say timely: Set clear timeframes for your goals, whether they're short-term or long-term. Mapping out your objectives in chunks of either time or by important times of year for your organization will help keep your goals on track.
Smart KPIs For SMART Goals
Not sure where to start? I find I spend my time in the funnel. How do I get someone from that first visit to conversion to sale? A few of my favorite metrics:
Top of the Funnel
Let’s think of the top of the funnel as the beginning of the buyer’s journey for your customer. This is where campaign messaging and brand awareness live and where a dynamic call-to-action can bring potential customers to your website.
- Social media engagement
- Click-through rates
- Impressions or page views
In the mid-funnel, you have their attention. They clicked through from a search engine or social media post. Now what? Ensure they hit an optimized landing page with clear messaging or CTA and some type of content: whitepapers, webinars, case studies, etc.
This will not only assist your SEO but drive qualified leads into your workflows.
- Bounce rate
- Lead form initiations
- Lead form completions
Inside your CRM your sales team is eagerly awaiting your inbound marketing efforts to pay off. Your efforts with the customer journey can now take form into the foundation of a customer relationship with your company.
- Leads to Opps
- Opps to Sales
Each one of your SMART goals can be tied to distinct KPIs and, as mentioned in the “Relevant” section, matched to company goals as well. Trust me, your sales team will love it!
Embracing The Future: Inbound Marketing Trends For 2023 And Beyond
The future is exciting–if not a bit daunting.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing content creation, marketing automation, lead generation, and much more.
Personalization is becoming more sophisticated: chatbots can offer support in real-time answering questions and providing potential customers great content twenty-four hours a day.
Voice search is also on the rise, and augmented reality (AR) might just be the next big thing in content marketing. Platforms and tools to generate high-quality content continue to evolve, and as CMOs, it's crucial for all of us to stay ahead of these trends.
Practical Steps To Implement Your Inbound Marketing Goals
Begin with a thorough audit of your current strategies. Use tools like Moz or Ahrefs to understand your website's SEO health. Dive into your social media analytics. What's working? What's not? Drop or delay anything that is not driving results.
Identify Areas of Growth
Maybe it's your social media strategy that needs a revamp, or perhaps it's your email marketing campaigns. Where in your persona’s sales journey is falling down? Understand where the gaps are and address them.
When you’re juggling so many responsibilities, this one can be hard, however, try to attend webinars, workshops, and conferences. Do product demos and explore new tools to keep yourself up with the trends.
Monitor and Adjust
Did you watch Friends in the 90s? We said it before and we’ll say it again: “PIVOT!”
Set regular intervals to review your strategy's performance, and adjust as needed.
Maybe that PPC campaign isn't giving the desired ROI, or perhaps your email open rates have dropped. Be agile and don’t be afraid to adapt. One of the best elements of digital marketing is the experimental nature of it.
Set a goal. Evaluate and measure.
2023 is not just another year; it's an opportunity. An opportunity to redefine your inbound marketing strategies, to set clear, actionable goals, and to stay ahead of the curve.
It’s a year of continued growth, change and opportunity. As CMOs, it's time to seize your opportunities and be set up for success in 2024.
How will you be planning to set your SMART goals? Share in the comments below, connect with me on LinkedIn and subscribe to The CMO to stay up to date on what is coming next.