So you think inbound is the method for you? We don’t blame you, it’s pretty great. But is your team prepared for what's involved in the process and do you have the resources to make it work?
It’s essential to have a dedicated team to deliver an inbound strategy. Inbound would be difficult for even the most experienced Marketing Manager to carry out alone. How experienced is your team? And is their experience enough to cover all bases?
Let's start by looking at what you have already. You may have a marketing team of one, or you might be lucky enough to have two to three people, or even more. Either way, these are the primary skills you’ll need to make the strategy work.
Skills You Need
As they say, targeted content is king, it’ll improve your website rankings and get your audience clicking through to your page. Once they're on your page, you can nurture them through the process of buying your product or service.
Social Media is more important than ever. With 40% of the world's population engaging in some social media activity you don’t want to let this slide. Someone in the team needs to get the content your creating noticed.
Social is the best route for that. We don’t just mean sharing blog posts. This role stretches to photography, photo editing, video skills and even some design work.
One member of the team will need some on-page and off-page SEO experience to successfully put a strategy in place. This is key as it enables you to track, monitor and analyse the strength of your campaigns.
Knowing Adwords and PPC is also beneficial, these are the tools that get quick wins while your content is moving up the search rankings.
Last but not least, the design is the icing on the cake. It forms your brand style and draws people into connecting to your content in the first place. The last thing you want is to be boring, so creative and experimental design is essential.
Tools You Need
So now you’ve evaluated what skills your marketing team should possess but what about the tools they should be using?
There are plenty of free and paid tools that are content creation gems, helping your work go from great to exceptional. As an agency, we use these tools on a daily basis to ensure our inbound strategies are tip-top.
These tools are the marketing geek's way of analysing data and using it to increase the chances of being seen by prospective customers. Ahrefs provides URL rankings and backlink analysis to see how easy it is for people searching your industry to find your website. HubSpot is the Inbound Marketing Bible, SEMrush does your keyword research and tracks the progress of your competition.
Scheduling is your best friend when it comes to social, you can’t be everywhere at once. Get ahead of the game and post in the evening when engagement is high but the office is empty. HubSpot has its own scheduling tool, and other options are Hootsuite, Sprout Social and Planoly which is an Instagram hub.
In content marketing words make up the bulk of work, but there needs to be some interesting design slotted in as well! Infographics and videos make readers with even the shortest attention span stay focused.
For the wordsmiths among us Hemingway and Grammarly correct spelling errors and suggest better words even as you write. Joomla and WordPress are there to post the content and Yoast to help with web optimisation.
The Adobe suite creates seamless design work, with Photoshop and Illustrator being the two key players. If you aren’t lucky enough to have a Designer in the team apps like Canva are great for creative design work with the least effort (and spend).
As well as each individual using job-specific tools, there are programs to help everyone organise and schedule work. Slack is helpful for communication, Workflow Max records how much time is spent on projects, and Asana plans out jobs for different team members with due dates and workflows.
So now the skills and the tools needed for the job are ticked off, it’s time to look at the team structure.
Inbound Marketing Team Structure
There's no unique code for the perfect marketing team structure. It depends on how many staff you have and what their individual skills are. Here are some classic structures that display how you could organise your team.
Small Business Structure
This team wears many hats and often consists of one, two or three leading roles.Each member of the small business team must be multifaceted, in other words, be skilled in several areas.
The first task for this role is managing the team and assigning project work to each member. The small business Marketing Manager has plenty of other jobs to complete during the day.
They will have a varied skillset which could include anything from design, to SEO, PPC or content strategy. In a startup or small business, the Marketing Manager may work alone.
The Designer should be confident using Adobe but in a small team, their skillset should be broad. They will need to create graphics for social, web, and email templates, plus edit and create video content if nobody else is familiar with it.
Design for inbound strategies is different, it needs to engage and delight readers in a way that builds confidence and trust in your service. Inbound design is growth driven, so instead of redesigning a website every 3-4 years, the design evolves and improves based on data.
In a small team, this role is varied, usually covering content and social media. This person will be responsible for all social media output, from taking the photos and videos to writing copy for captions.
They're responsible for content creation for the website, be that blog posts or even email marketing. The small business marketer needs to be a jack of all trades.
Medium Business Structure
Medium businesses have access to a broader range of skills because their team is bigger, so each team member can focus on a specialised subject. As well as the above roles, new roles develop in a medium business which allows for new teams to be created. This means not every member of the team is overstretched — yay.
The design team is under less pressure with the development of a social team. It means you no longer have to manage video editing and can focus on creating innovative design work for the website and social media. An Assistant Designer can work with the lead to spread the workload, and who doesn’t want that?
Content Manager & Content Executive
The development of these roles means the pressure on the Marketing Manager is significantly reduced. This team will create thought-provoking content to encourage readers to take action. Be that buying your product or using your service.
The Content Manager will plan and strategise all the content in the calendar for the Content Executive to write. If content is a huge part of your business (which it should be) you may need freelance writers, it's then the job of the content team to proof and amend any writing they do.
Social Media Manager & Social Executive
The Social Media Manager will plan and strategise while the executive will create the day-to-day schedule.
The more manpower, the better the output, as you now have more time to build social campaigns with the use of video and photography.
Enterprise Business Structure
Business growth does not stop here. There’s still scope for more specialised roles that sit within each part of the team dependant on the nature of your business.
The creation of a video team means this can become a core part of your marketing strategy. A video will enhance a campaign and mean you can even build a full campaign around video content managed by a dedicated lead.
You can now storyboard videos to push your content to the next level. According to a report from Cisco “by 2019, video traffic will be 80% of all internet traffic across the world”. It’s not something you want to ignore and if you do it properly, it can transform your ability to communicate with your customers.
This role allows paid marketing to sit at the forefront of campaigns. The lead will be able to generate full strategies and have the time to analyse the results. Content could take 12+ months to rank, so putting a paid budget to some of it can get it traffic before a search engine picks it up.
This role is essential for the conversion of visitors to leads. In an ideal world, everyone who visits your website would transform into a lead and, with no encouragement, buy your product or service.
However, we don’t live in an ideal world so this means prospects might need a push through the use of email marketing. Email marketers can create and implement workflows that transform website visitors into fully fledged customers. Amazing, right?
Do You Have What It Takes?
Creating an inbound strategy requires a dedicated team, a plethora of tools and the know how to put the two together. It is possible for businesses to do it in-house but it can take years before the team is big enough and qualified enough to create a strategy that works.
Using an agency gives you access to all the resources you need straight away. A team of dedicated professionals whose sole job it is to strategise and implement your inbound marketing plan. That way you can focus on the tasks that matter to you.