Inbound Marketing Strategy Guide for 2023
[10+ Templates and Tools Included]
I know we just met, but… do you want to marry me?
How much success do you think you will have with such an opening line?
In real life, we understand that most things don’t happen overnight and that we need to invest to get anything worthwhile.
In Inbound Marketing.
Or most other marketing activities.
We want to cut corners and get results as fast as possible.
Either because we believe that everything WE create is so valuable that everyone who sees it falls in love with our work, or because managers and CEOs want a fast ROI.
We understand. That’s why in this Inbound Marketing Strategy guide, 1 of the 10 templates is one to set Goals and KPIs, but we want to take it further than input/output. Much further
In this Ultimate Guide to Inbound Marketing Strategy, we will take a holistic view of Inbound Marketing. We have built a Growth Storytelling Framework that covers our years of experience. You can access it here for free. No sign-up is needed.
Below, we will cover the provided Templates and Tools to help structure everything from your Strategy to Creating Content to Distributing content tu fuel your inbound marketing and demand generation campaigns.
Let’s get into it!
Inbound Marketing and Content Marketing Strategy
Let’s start with the fundamentals. The Content Marketing Strategy.
You and / or your business is / are unique. Start identifying:
- What makes you unique?
- Who would be interested in the content you create?
- Where do these people hang out?
Check out our simple 8-step Content Marketing Strategy Guide here.
Your strategy sits at the base of your Inbound Marketing. The stronger it is, the easier the next steps are going to be.
Remember that you don’t set up your strategy once and run with it. As you create, publish and distribute more content you’ll get more feedback from real people and that can help you adjust your road ahead.
It is crucial to keep learning what people actually find valuable, where you can interact with them and improve along the way.
Start creating your Brand Story
Doing Inbound Marketing means creating a lot of content. The more you can incorporate your Brand Story in your inbound marketing activities the stronger your message will be over time.
We’ve created a guide and canvas to help you create your own Brand Story and help make the work even more fun, easier, and more effective with our AI Tool.
Get the Brand Story Guide and Template here.
Like your Content Marketing Strategy, you don’t simply set up your Band Story once and forget it. You constantly refine it with the new learnings you will receive from your audience, prospects and ideal customers.
Inbound Marketing Goals and KPIs
Here we are. Numbers!
Your Inbound Marketing Strategy will not be complete without setting up some proper Goals and KPIs and of course, smashing them!
In our Content Marketing Goals and KPIs Guide, we walk you through how to identify your most important channels, look at data you already have, and work backward to set goals and KPIs fur the future.
Start documenting as fast as possible and be impressed by how much you can grow with Inbound Marketing year over year.
Inbound Marketing ROI is slow at first, but you can accumulate quite some momentum, even after 6 months, if you do the right things.
Follow the guides and templates presented here and be impressed by your outcomes.
Set up your Inbound Marketing Brand Style Guidelines
Everyone that is doing Inbound Marketing right, is creating and distributing a lot of content.
Set up your Brand Style Guidelines and be sure you and your team will always create on-brand content.
You will be surprised how much time you win by not having to think about the colors, typography, etc. each time you want to post something on social or write a new piece of content.
Your audience will recognize you from miles away if you stick to it.
This is one of the easiest exercise to do and it helps you create beautiful on-brand content.
Inbound Marketing and Storytelling
Truly effective Inbound Marketing campaigns can not succeed without telling effective stories.
Communicating with other humans through relatable stories is in our DNA. We love to tell them and we love to read / view them.
We did our best to set up a comprehensive guide on how to tell effective stories.
Check out our storytelling guide here.
This is, in my opinion, one of the most difficult Inbound Marketing skill and one of the most overrated and skipped element in Inbound Marketing Campaigns.
It takes more time to truly think about the short story you want to tell with every piece of content you create and how that ties into your bigger story.
This also means that it can be one of your strongest assets, because many skip it entirely.
Inbound Marketing and Keyword Research
Inbound Marketing works best with a strong SEO strategy.
Understanding which keywords you want to rank for, which keywords people actually search for and how to incorporate them into the content you create is crucial to build up your Inbound Marketing ROI year over year.
Many Content Marketers write articles about what they like to write about, never do a proper keyword research and then find it odd that their organic growth is not what they expected.
Check out our Keyword Research Guide here and start creating content around topics people actually search for.
Inbound Marketing and Effective Content Ideas
Next to templates, we also provide tools to help you on your Inbound Marketing journey.
It’s time to tie your keywords research to your content idea long list and come up with effective new content ideas.
StoryLab.ai’s Content Idea Generator is your best friend in doing this. You can simply copy / paste keywords from your keyword research list and get new ideas within seconds.
Here’s how it looks like:
Check out how to come up with effective content ideas here. We’ve created a full guide on how to use our AI Content Idea Generator in combination with your keyword research. Never run out of effective content ideas again!
Inbound Marketing and On-Page SEO Optimization
After you’ve conducted your Content Marketing Strategy, did your keyword research and added a story to your article, don’t publish it yet!
Check out our On-Page SEO Optimization Guide and Checklist and make sure you tick all the boxes.
On-page SEO does not have to be complicated but is is crucial for Inbound Marketing success.
If you have questions about this or anything else we’ve discussed or did not discuss, join us in our LinkedIn Group here and ask us any questions.
Social Media and Hashtag Research
Do you know which hashtags your audience follows and which ones you should use to get in front of the right audience when posting on Social Media?
Do you know how popular or how competitive the keywords are that you are using?
Do you use a healthy mix of hashtags and do you even know what that means?
No worries. We’ve got you covered.
You can find all the answers and more in our guide. Check out how to find the best Hashtags here.
Inbound Marketing and Content Distribution
An effective Inbound Marketing strategy is not just about creating more content. You also need to make sure it get’s in front of the right people.
Many marketers just publish and pray. Some post about their new piece of content they created on social media once or twice but we’re going to take it a step further.
There are a lot of ways you can promote / distribute your content and it differs per industry.
Check out our Content Distribution Guide and get inspired by how we set up our Content Distribution Strategy. Included is a work sheet which you can use and input your content and most important channels.
Improve your Inbound Marketing Strategy with our Growth Storytelling Framework
All the resources we’ve discussed above have guides, frameworks, and checklists. We’ve bundled them in our Growth Storytelling Framework. Be sure to check it out for free (no signup needed) and ask us any question in our LinkedIn Group.
Inbound Marketing Growth
This Inbound Marketing Strategy Guide with all its resources and templates has been created by a team of marketers with more than 40 years of inbound marketing experience combined.
We’re confident that taking your current Inbound Marketing Strategy and implementing even 10% or 20% of our tips will help with your Inbound Marketing Growth.
Inbound Marketing can give a slow ROI. Being consistant, talking to your audience, listening, actually listening without your bisases, learning and adapting the the way to grow.
Along the way, you should tell great stories, be mindful of your SEO and your Social Media Strategy and never publish & pray. Always invest time in distributing and promoting the great content you’ve created.
In a world where the is an overload of just about everything, you can not rely on the old saying ‘build it and they will come’.
Integrated Inbound Marketing
To fuel your Business Growth, your Inbound Marketing Strategy needs to be integrated with the right tools, right people and flow throughout the organization. Your sales and support team needs to understand exactly what content exists, where they can find it, when, and how they should use it to tell a story.
Employees need to be empowered to become brand ambassadors. They need to understand what types of content they can share on their own social media accounts and which hashtags they should use.
Your Inbound Marketing Strategy needs to be integrated in the entire organization and not live in a silo owned and managed by one person or a handful of people.
Top Inbound Marketing Tools
We’ve already mentioned a couple of tools but we want to share a couple more to make your life even easier and your campaigns even more effective.
Here are a couple of writing and visual design tools, because… you’ll be creating a lot of content to fuel your Inbound Marketing Strategy.
Top Content Writing Tools
Write better, write faster, get ideas from angles you have not of before and collaborate better than ever before. here’s our lineup of top content writing tools.
Check out Grammarly if you did not have had the chance yet. You can easily create a free account and copy / paste your content in their editor to have it grammar checked or you can install their free browser plugin and once anctivated, Grammarly will start finding grammar mistakes for you on various platforms.
With their paid plans, you can also set up writing guidelines for yourself and your team so all your writing will be on brand.
Do you want to empower your team to use the words ‘how are you’ instead of ‘how are ya’ (not the best example, but it will do), you can set up an alert in Grammarly and every time you or your team mates writes ‘how are ya’ they will be notified.
Be sure to check it out.
Google’s suite is vastly overrated because most people only use 1% of the capabilities. Google Docs are great in collaborating with team mates and once you get people on the Google Suite, it’s easy to also get them to use other tools like Sheets, presentations and all the other goodies.
No more sending emails with Word Docs and hoping you’re editing the latest version. Work in the cloud for free and collaborate easily with your colleagues or freelancers.
StoryLab.ai (that’s us) has a versatile suite of AI Marketing Copy Generators. We’ve already mentioned how to use the Content Idea Generator and how to use AI to help create your Brand Story but you can use our tool for a lot of cool things.
You can for instance get started with our Instagram Caption Generator and come up with new Insta caption ideas, you can create drafts for your email copy with our Email Copy Generator, you can create great blog intros with our Blog Intro Generator and much more.
We believe you should not use AI to create your copy but rather as a buddy that helps you to come up with new ideas and new angles to tell your story better.
Top Content Design Tools
What is an Inbound Marketing Strategy without great visuals? Boring and ineffective. That’s what it is :).
Here’s our lineup of great content design tools that we use ourselves.
Canva is one of those tools that we’ve been using for years. We’er super grateful for the tech, visuals and templates they created.
Creating beautiful designs is so much better and faster with this tool. if you haven’t tried it out yet, be sure to do so.
Google Web Stories
Create beautiful, snackable, short pieces of content with Google Web Stories.
Check out Google Web Stories, here’s one we made and make use of the tech Google has created to tell short stories on the internet.
We find it very immersive and engaging and it get’s people to consume content in a unique way. Different than written text or videos.
Next to Canva, we’ve also been using InkScape for years.
InkScape is an Open Source flexible drawing tool. It takes a bit of time to get the hang of it but they have a large community and a lot of videos to help you get started.
All images created in this blog post, the rest of the website and our social accounts are created with Canva or InkScape.
The Inbound Marketing Funnel
The Inbound Marketing Funnel is being used to illustrate that Inbound Marketing is the art of attracting people that have not heard of you yet (strangers) and nurturing them, together with other internal stakeholders, to become a customer and eventually a promoter.
You can easily see why your Inbound Marketing Strategy needs to be integrated with multiple Inbound Marketing tactics, multiple stakeholders and various tools.
You can set up different channels, tactics, approaches even team per stage of the Inbound Marketing Funnel.
The more complex your product / service is, the more complex the funnel is and the longer it takes to get people from stranger to customer.
Usually, B2B Inbound Marketing funnels differ from B2C funnels.
In B2C Inbound Marketing it’s usually easier to take a person from stranger to customer. Think about how many impulse purchases you have made because you saw an advertisement? B2C funnels often also revolve around repeat purchases and taking customers to the promoter stage.
In B2B Inbound Marketing products / services are often more expensive and there is a need for Sales and other internal stakeholders to get involved.
Often times, B2B Inbound Marketers implement an Account Based Marketing Strategy (ABM Strategy) to get people from stranger to customer.
With an ABM strategy, you identify your target accounts (a list of companies you want to have as your customer) and hone in on those companies with different marketing, re-marketing, sales outreach tactics.
We sometimes get the question:
“What is the difference between Inbound Marketing and ABM Marketing?”
Basically, you can do Inbound Marketing without an ABM Marketing approach but to do ABM Marketing well, you need an Inbound Marketing Strategy in place.
Take the Inbound Marketing Funnel as an inspiration, but be sure to create your own and hone in on what drives the most impact for your company.
Jump back to a section
- Inbound Marketing and Content Marketing Strategy
- Start creating your Brand Story
- Set up your Inbound Marketing Goals and KPIs
- Inbound Marketing and Storytelling
- Set up your Inbound Marketing Brand Style Guide
- Inbound Marketing and Keyword Research
- Come up with effective Inbound Marketing Content Ideas
- Inbound Marketing and On-Page SEO Optimization
- Social Media and Hashtag Research
- Inbound Marketing and Content Distribution
- Improve your Inbound Marketing Strategy with our Growth Storytelling Framework
- Inbound Marketing Growth
- Integrated Inbound Marketing
- Top Inbound Marketing Tools
- Inbound Marketing Funnel