If you're off and running with your Inbound Marketing approach – you've optimized your site, established a blog, are promoting content and converting and nurturing leads – you now realize that the fun's just begun and that the verbs like look, listen, comment, respond, post, update, analyze, share, and like are part of your daily life.
In an effort to help you organize your activities in a way that saves time, reduces stress and makes you more effective, we've created an overview of the primary (though not only) things you need to be doing each day or weekly to make the most of your Inbound Marketing efforts. So, here's your...
INBOUND MARKETING ACTIVITY CHECKLIST
Email - Daily
- Check your inbox for industry newsletters and Google Alerts (you should have those set for both your company name and terms related to your industry) and for any industry newsletters. See any headlines that pique your interest? Any articles that would be valuable to your customers? If so, identify each as either a future blog topic, Tweet, LinkedIn post, Facebook status or content offer and save to a folder earmarked “Potential Inbound Content”
Blog – Daily & Weekly
- Daily: Respond to comments. If they’re negative, take the high road and don’t “fight back” – simply address the situation appropriately, calmly, professionally. If, however, the comments are offensive, get rid of them
- Daily: If today is your posting day, get your blog up and double check it for typos, call-to-action opportunity, keyword usage and optimized meta data
- Weekly: Take a look at your blog analytics; take note of traffic trends and sources. If after a few weeks of regular posting you see a trend downward in visits, it’s time to evaluate your topics and keywords. Are you writing about things your best prospects want/need to know more about? Do the posts include the keywords that will attract search engines when your best prospect is typing in the search bar?
Social Media – Daily & Weekly
- Check all your social channels (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+) for comments, Tweets, updates, statuses (or, if you want to be grammatically correct, “statii”) and +1s. Plan to check these throughout the day – particularly LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Google+ – and comment when appropriate, post according to your content strategy (daily on LinkedIn, 1-2 times a day on Facebook and Google+, and at least 3 times a day on Twitter is about average). Retweet good content, “Like” appropriate companies’ pages on Facebook, and +1 anything of interest on Google+
- When you’re sharing on social media, remember to stick as close to the “magic mix” as possible: 60% of updates using third-party content, 30% of your own content and 10% for your content offers (with link to a landing page)
Website - Weekly
- Look at your traffic number at the end of each week (daily is probably unnecessary because it’s not indicative of a trend). If you’re not seeing much upward movement or it’s dropping, evaluate your success with: 1) blog topics (are you hitting on prospects’ pain points?); 2) blog frequency (you should be blogging at LEAST once a week); 3) usage of the appropriate keywords (are you trying too hard to rank for high-search-volume words? Trying to rank for a term your prospect isn’t using?); and 4) promoting your blog and content offers on social media
- At the same time you’re looking at the overall traffic number, pay attention to where your traffic is coming from – organic, referral or direct. If your organic traffic is falling off, chances are you need to switch to incorporate more effective keywords; if your referral traffic is off, you probably should be doing more social media promotion
- Look at page views to identify those getting the most eyeballs. This is direct evidence that what you have on those pages is most valuable to people. If those pages don’t already have call-to-action buttons on them, get ‘em on there ASAP – you’ve got a captive audience!
Prospects – Daily
- If you’re using a software like HubSpot, you’ll know who’s visiting your site, when, for how long, which pages they view, and the URL they’re visiting from, which can tell you for whom they work (once they become leads, after filling out a conversation form to get a content offer download, you’ll know even more about them). Scan this each day and note any trends. If you have an industry type that you can say is a “majority” of visitors, that might indicate a potential market for you. As an example, we noticed that a number of higher education institutions were interested in our content, so we discussed the possibility of creating targeted content to address their needs
- Daily. Look at total number of leads, the industry each is in, the content each downloaded and how they found your website (organically through search, from a referral source/link, or did they come directly to your URL). Review what content each lead converted on and how they got to your website (organically, through a link on another site, etc.). Each of these leads must be put into a nurturing campaign that sends emails promoting “next step” content offers – content that builds on what they’ve already downloaded in an effort to draw them further down the sales funnel. If you’re not using a software like HubSpot, this is a manual process
- Daily. Look for leads who have given signs of being ready to talk. These will be people who rank high in your lead scoring – a scale that helps you determine, based on input from your conversion forms and specific behaviors, whether or not this person fits your prospect persona and is likely to need your product or service
- Weekly. Take a few minutes to evaluate what your leads are downloading. If there’s a clear content “winner,” you need more related to that topic; if some are underperforming dogs, either make those pieces more valuable or put a new piece of content in its place
Ongoing, long-term Inbound Marketing activity is a lot like spinning plates on the ends of sticks: it looks tricky and chances are something bad will happen if you're not paying attention. As any clown will tell you, though, it just takes practice. Inbound Marketing requires effort to stay on top of all the moving pieces of, but we (and our clients) can tell you first-hand: it's well worth every second!
Final note: Two of the tasks we mentioned in this activity checklist were checking your blog and your website to make sure your content includes the right keywords. If you'd like to know more about search engine optimization (SEO), of which keyword research is a huge part, you might like "The SEO Survival Guide!"