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A simple guide to planning your inbound strategy

Setting up an inbound strategy for the first time can feel confusing, but it doesn’t have to! Putting together a strategy that works for your new inbound marketing is as simple as following HubSpot’s flywheel model of Attract, Engage, Delight (for more information on HubSpot, check out our podcast).


On the flywheel, the attract portion is dedicated to bringing strangers to your brand. This is all about bringing in the potential for new business and reaching your target audience. There are two main aspects of this that you need to consider in order to set up your inbound strategy: setting goals and getting found.

Set some goals

Before you start trying to wrangle an audience for your inbound marketing campaign, you need to take some time to set goals. A great way to start is by setting up a discovery session with your team. During that session, you should work together to identify your target audience, your unique selling point, and key metrics to measure the campaign. The information that you gather here will be a good foundation on which to build going forward. After your discovery session, you’ll want to build out buyer personas and your ideal customer profiles. This will help you define your target audience in the clearest possible terms and where it is your company fits with them.

Get found

The next part of attracting new customers to you is getting found! You know who you want to work with and what you can do for them, but now you have to get them to pay attention. The first place you’ll want to start is with keyword research and onsite SEO (Search Engine Optimisation on your website). Research the keywords that people are using to find your website and the words you need to target to draw in the right personas. After that, you’ll want to make sure that your website is optimised to rank highly for your keywords and performance.

Once you are set up for ongoing optimisation, you’re on your way to getting found through an inbound strategy! At this stage, it is important to create an editorial calendar to schedule content creation. This will allow you to both get ahead of the game and keep your content on target. Once that is done, you need to create your content. This is where you have the opportunity to address the pain points that your personas are feeling and tailor your approach to them. So content creation is key!

Sticking to your content calendar and creating timely, relevant content is the major crux of any good inbound strategy. That said, where would your content be if you didn’t share it? There are two considerations for distribution. The first is engaging your audience on at least one social media platform. The second consideration is Pay-Per-Click. PPC ad campaigns are a regular part of digital marketing now and, having done all of that keyword research earlier, you’ll be in a strong position to run PPC campaigns.


Following the Attract stage of the flywheel is Engage. This phase is all about customer interaction, from lead generation to sealing the deal. And similar to the Attract phase, there are two main parts to the Engage step of creating your inbound strategy: getting leads and closing deals!

Get more leads

The beginning of this stage is focused on lead generation. This is when you begin creating ways to interact with potential customers and transforming visitors into leads. As the world trends away from gating content, developing a lead generation plan that relies heavily on conversational marketing and relationship building is a necessary and vital step. For this part of your strategy to perform its best, you need to make sure that it is supported by both the content calendar you made earlier and landing pages that are optimised for the best conversion rates. Calls-to-action will need to be strong, attention-grabbing, and action-based.

Close the deal

Once a visitor becomes a lead, they have entered the customer journey fully and are being guided toward becoming a customer. At this point, having your internal processes down pat is key. First, ensure that your Sales and Marketing teams are on the same page. Clearly define your lead nurturing journey together so that no one is stepping on each other’s toes and keep a single source of truth about each lead. Both teams should be utilising your CRM to gather and store information (our preference, of course, being the HubSpot CRM.) After you have your lead journey mapped, you can create automated workflows that will reduce friction and save time for both your Sales and Marketing teams. To keep converting leads into customers smoothly, make sure both teams are communicating. Closed-loop reporting will keep that flywheel spinning!


The final phase of the flywheel is Delight. At this point, your visitors have turned into leads and then into customers and now your job is to delight them, keeping them involved and excited about your brand. And so, as before, there are two main areas to delight: keeping your customers and analysing successes

Retaining Customers

Keeping your existing customers enthusiastic about your organisation is a vital part of an inbound strategy. This is where the flywheel truly differentiates from the marketing funnel. With the flywheel, your existing customers don’t exit the funnel and instead become part of your growth machine, spurring you on more rapidly! There are a few best-practice ideas that may help you get started.

Firstly, creating continued education content will keep customers engaged and getting value from your business. Secondly, sending segmented customer newsletters can help content feel tailored to specific clients which helps them to feel heard and understood. Finally, if your business is able to support it, you could create a referral programme that introduces discounts or bonuses to customers that successfully refer new business to you. However, this one can be a bit difficult to navigate for small business. Ideally, your customers will be delighted enough to refer you anyway!

Account analysis

The last part of your inbound marketing strategy should be embracing data analysis. Marketers often have the reputation of being creative, gut-instinct types, but we need data as much as anyone else in the business. In order to truly get value out of inbound, you need to be continually reviewing and analysing.

The first step of utilising analytics is creating a benchmark report. This will give you a quick snapshot of where your organisation sits currently and can be the point from which you measure progress. Once you have your benchmark report ready, you can start tracking the metrics discussed in the earlier Attract stage. We suggest gathering your team for monthly reports or quarterly reviews.

The important thing is having visibility of the data and being able to act on the insight it provides. A great way to keep on top of this is with a central dashboard for your teams to view. This will keep your current customers happy, new visitors coming in, and leads becoming customers.


Setting up an inbound marketing strategy certainly may seem complicated, but as long as you follow the flywheel model of Attract, Engage, Delight, you will find that the steps begin to feel natural as they all feed into one another. Inbound is an in-depth and holistic approach to marketing and business growth and it takes time to get it right. But once you have laid the foundations, you have a simple, repeatable method for growing that customers and strangers alike will love.

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