Building Your Strategic Inbound Plan: Identifying Tactical Tools to Activate Success

By Scott Anderson Miller

With inbound marketing, you have an arsenal of attraction and conversion tools. In fact, there are so many options it can quickly become overwhelming to decide which initiatives are the most important. Should you attract traffic via organic rankings or paid search? Where in the Lifestyle Loop purchase path should you attract? Should you create more forms or A/B test your landing pages?

Here’s an ordered check list to serve as a basic guideline. Feel free to customize it for your needs.

  1. Fix your website.

    Because your website is your Conversion Machine engine, start there. It doesn’t make sense to attract prospects to a broken site. Your IMA identified the technical, UX, and conversion path gaps. Based on these findings, decide if you:

    • Need to build an entire new site

    • Can use existing pages and content to redirect visitor on-site flow based on a conversion-based CTA Map blueprint

    • Need to optimize the conversion path by offering more onsite conversion opportunities to engagement content, specifically with buttons, forms, and landing pages.

  2. Determine your first focus: attraction or conversion. Here’s how:

    1. If you have enough traffic to achieve your objective with standard minimum key performance indicators (KPIs) — Traffic x Conversion KPI = >Objective — start with a conversion focus.

      Here’s an example. Say your organization is currently tracking these numbers:

      Sales objective: $100,000/month

      Average sale: $1,000, or 100 units/month

      Current traffic: 5,000 visitors/month

      Current traffic-to-end-sale conversion rate: 1 percent

      Maximum conversion rate (hypothesized based on your industry standard): 2 percent

      With these values, you can calculate the current state as follows:

      Current state: 5,000 visitors x .01 (1 percent) = 50 units or $50,000

      And the hypothesized state as:

      Maximum state (hypothesized): 5,000 visitors x .02 (2 percent) = 100 units or $100,000

      From this you can conclude: You have enough website traffic to succeed if you increase your conversion rate, so focus on that first. Work to increase overall conversion rate from 1 percent to 2 percent.

    2. If your sales objective is unattainable, even with high-performing conversion percentages, start with an attraction focus. You need more website visitors.

      Here’s an example. Say your organization is currently tracking these numbers:

      Sales objective: $100,000/month

      Average sale: $1,000 so 100 units/month

      Current traffic: 2,500 visitors/month

      Current traffic-to-end-sale conversion rate: 1 percent

      Maximum conversion rate (hypothesized): 2 percent

      With these values, you can calculate the current state as follows:

      Current state: 2,500 visitors x .01 (1 percent) = 25 units or $25,000

      Maximum conversion state (hypothesized): 2,500 visitors x .02 (2 percent) = 50 units or $50,000

      From this you can conclude: You cannot achieve your objective even at the maximum conversion rate. Your primary focus, then, should be on increasing traffic from 2,500 to 5,000 (and from there to 10,000) because that’s the minimum number of visitors needed to convert at the maximum conversion rate in order to meet your goal. Your secondary focus should be on increasing the conversion rate from one to two percent.

    3. If you’re not sure, start with onsite conversion. Unless your website traffic is very anemic or your sales goals are unrealistic, it’s usually a quicker route to achieving objectives.

  3. Choose tactical tools based on your IMA results.

    1. Identify which attraction sources (SEO, PPC, Referrals, Direct Traffic, etc.) drive the most traffic to your site.

    2. If you have automation software, measure which attraction inputs convert at the highest ratios.

    3. Segment traffic and conversion percentages by product to estimate total conversions. Usually, you’ll start with the biggest profit opportunity that can be achieved in the shortest period of time.

    4. Identify your content gaps and decide whether you have the resources to produce new content to fill those gaps as well as a timeline to complete.

    5. Perform a Customer Conversion Chain analysis based on your desired business outcome.

    6. Form a hypothesis as to which mix would perform optimally to achieve your business outcome.

    7. Allocate your resources of time, money, and energy on those tactics that achieve your objectives most effectively and most quickly.

    8. Initiate your inbound tactical campaign with a very specific timeline.

    9. Measure as you go. Adjust in real time.

    10. Compare your results with your hypothesis. Replicate success. Adjust non-performing or negative inputs.