Inbound Marketing Methodology Stages

How to Develop Your Inbound Marketing Strategy [Assessment Tool]

Table of Contents

How Do You Develop an Inbound Marketing Strategy


First, Assess Your Current Situation


If you're responsible for generating leads and sales for your organization using Inbound Marketing Campaigns, you know it is tough out there. The problem is that people are inundated with advertising to the point where they are simply tuning out most advertising.


Take the Free Inbound Marketing  Assessment Scorecard Quiz

Digital Transformation Digital Marketing Assessment Test


Have you taken the FREE Inbound Marketing Assessment yet? It is one of a suite of digital marketing assessment and testing tools we offer as part of our comprehensive digital transformation services.  By taking this test, you can learn what part of your website is working to generate leads, which is not, and what you can do to improve your digital marketing results. Used by more than 185,000 Hubspot customers, it will pinpoint exactly where to focus your efforts.


Your Sales Strategy Must Match Buyer's Strategies


At the same time, their buying habits have changed. Now they are looking for the perfect experience from their first encounter with a product or service all the way through the entire 'ownership' lifecycle. Whether they are B2C or B2B buyers, they expect a consumer grade experience. They are, of course, researching everything on the web long before you ever hear from them.


In order for you to win in this new, more challenging environment, you've got to know exactly how you're doing in every single marketing channel. You have to have a working sales process that customers love. You also have to have enough incoming leads to keep your sales process running at optimal effectiveness.

Hubspot Inbound Marketing Assessment Tool

The first step in making all of this happen is much like going to the doctor. It is to assess your current situation. To help you assess your situation, we've taken an existing offline tool called the Hubspot Inbound Marketing Assessment or IMA for short, and converted it into a fully online inbound marketing tool. As on the many tools for inbound marketing, it is a survey tool that 'grades' your marketing effort across multiple dimensions. It also serves as a content marketing assessment tool. It's very simple to use, yet proven effective by over 45,000 customers.

Time To Diagnose Your Results

It consist of 49 questions divided into 4 key areas of your marketing. It provides a grade for each of these areas as you complete your assessment. At the end of the assessment, you get an overall 'grade', which is neither right nor wrong.

Based on your grade, you now have some 'pointers' as to which direction to focus your efforts. What you should know is that the IMA questions correspond to each phase of the Inbound Marketing Methodology, which are:


What might your diagnosis reveal about your digital marketing efforts. Perhaps everything is already working fine. You're are generating enough leads, which are converting into customers, at a rate high enough to hit your annual revenue goal. Congratulations, you're a unicorn.🦄

On the other hand, maybe you're not getting enough traffic to your website, indicating a problem with the first phase of inbound marketing.☹️   Why not? Is there a problem with your messaging? Is there a problem with your content, or lack of content? Maybe your social media strategy is the issue. It could also be a technical SEO issue. If you're not sure, you can find out by running your website through our Website Grader.



Is it your offer?


Do you really have product-market fit? Have you tested your offer? Perhaps the cost of customer acquisition (CAC) is just too high for it to work using your current approach.

If you have plenty of traffic, maybe your problem is further down your sales and marketing funnel. Today's customers are very aware of the value of their email and phone number. If you're using a content driven approach, it had better truly offer value added. In today's ultra competitive environment, customers expect value first before they spend a dime. If you don't offer it, there are probably at least 5 to 15 other competitors who do.

Is your content interactive? Have you incorporated gamification into your content strategy? Do you have a content strategy. Now that you have assessed your situation and done some initial diagnosis, it's time to 'solve for the customer'.

Prescribe The Solution

I would like to tell you the solution is simple. In some ways, it is. The capabilities of platforms like Hubspot make implementing Inbound Marketing very simple. Tools should make life simple.


However, the hard part is developing and implementing a marketing strategy that works. The assessment provides a roadmap. Roughly speaking it goes like this - develop a content plan, develop the content, post it on your website, then promote it using blogs and advertising. Rinse and repeat.


That's the 30,000 foot view of the Inbound Marketing methodology. As a mature approach to digital marketing, you can rest assured, it works. I am not going to lie to you, though. It takes a lot of high quality content, developed based on doing some very thorough and in-depth research, using a variety of tools, like Google Keyword Planner, SEMRush, and übersuggest.


It also takes expert knowledge of whatever you're selling to develop the content, especially authority content. This can be a real challenge for the marketer. You can't possibly know everything someone with 30 or 40 years of industry knowledge and experience has, unless you happen to be one of those people. That's why you have to have or have available to you, people with investigative journalist skills. Think Columbo.🔍 Whatever questions you're asking are surely being asked by your customers.


That's why one of the most popular type of YouTube videos is the 'How To' genre. People are always looking to learn how to do something. YouTube videos are often the first place they turn to.  In fact, courses are not only one the largest and fastest growing industries out there in the digital world, they are also one of the key selling tools in many industries.

Follow The Process

Now that you've assessed your current marketing and sales situation, diagnosed your results, and developed a 'prescription' to get well, the key to success is consistency. Consistency in working to your content plan. Consistency in working to your blogging plan. Consistency in content distribution. Probably the most important element is consistently striving to improve your results.

Consistently Improve Your Conversion Rate

They say Inbound Marketing is a long game, often times taking six months to show results. This is usually somewhat true. However, not many clients of ours are willing or able to wait six months to see results. What works better is to set up a top-to-bottom conversion path. Then ensure you have in place a measurement plan to measure the performance of each stage of this conversion path.

Once you have enough traffic to start collecting data, including sales data, you can then start to work on what is known as Conversion Rate Optimization or CRO. Why do I include Sales Data in the funnel. Because if your organization has leads but isn't able to convert them to sales, then it is very clear where your efforts must initially focus - Sales Enablement.

Of course, if you don't have the data about sales conversion rates or for that matter, any other part of your conversion process, then you definitely need a tool like Hubspot, so you can see your lead-to-customer conversion rate. More importantly, you can see it by channel in the Sources Report.

Hubspot Sources Report

Hubspot Sources Report Snapshot


This is a key report to analyze when you are starting to do CRO. It is, however, just one data point you should consider when you do the first step, which is research. From your research, the next step is to form a hypothesis, then decide what to test. Keep in mind, you will generally need to have quite a bit of traffic in order to complete a statistically valid test. You should plan on running your test for at least a month. I personally get better results by rerunning it throughout the year to account for seasonality and other variables.

You can test much more than just the copy on your website. If you recall, one part of the IMA you did was all about your social media presence. You can and should be testing different types of content. Let's take video. First off, a key video statistics:

  • After watching a video, 64% of users are more likely to buy a product online (ComScore). or that
  • 96% of B2B organizations use video in their marketing campaigns, and 73% of those organizations report positive results to their ROI (ReelSEO).

What you may not know is that for at least the past two to three years, the received wisdom was that video was the new black of marketing. Indeed, in some cases, it is. As long as it is good quality, engaging video that is relevant to what you are trying to communicate, it can be.

But here is what you may not know or appreciate. People can be extremely inconsistent as to which videos they respond well too. For instance, in one of my clients, we used video extensively, in fact, the client was a well known television personality. We also had various 'spokes people', who, in my opinion, were all exceptionally talented individuals of great beauty. Yet, when they delivered the same video using the same script, for some unknown je ne sais quoi, one would get many time more viewers and much more engagement than the others. What was the key take-away? Test, test, test. Test every element of everything you put there, then iterate, but use data and math, as well as sound judgement, to find the results.

What Works Today May or May Not Work Tomorrow

You will often hear about 'Evergreen Content', which means content that stays useful for years. You may get lucky and actually come up with something that is evergreen, but it is harder than you think. Within one space (probably many), Information Technology, because technology is changing at about the same rate or faster as Moore's law predicts, it is very likely that many pieces of content will need to be updated from time-to-time. Some content, like calculators and statistical tables, will work for a long time. Others, like the latest anything, are unlikely to remain the latest for long. This is especially true within the fashion industry, with some exceptions, of course.

Can You Really Do All This With Your Inbound Marketing Assessment Results?

We've covered a lot of ground here. We taken a look at a large number of key aspects of your website and how it is or is not generating leads. You've gotten an understanding of how critical it is to both know what you're selling and how well your team is doing in converting those leads into sales. You've gotten an idea of what it means to focus on CRO throughout your marketing and sales funnel, all the way through to sales and back again. Hopefully, you've got the information you need from your IMA to begin to plot your take-over of the world🙌. To take your FREE Inbound Marketing Assessment, just press the button. You can take the assessment as many times as you want, it's free.


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Lonnie D. Ayers, PMP

About the Author: Lonnie Ayers is a Hubspot Certified Inbound Marketing consultant, with additional certifications in Hubspot Content Optimization, Hubspot Contextual Marketing, and is a Hubspot Certified Partner. Specialized in demand generation and sales execution, especially in the SAP, Oracle and Microsoft Partner space, he has unique insight into the tough challenges Service Providers face with generating leads and closing sales using the latest digital tools. With 15 years of SAP Program Management experience, and dozens of complex sales engagements under his belt, he helps partners develop and communicate their unique sales proposition. Frequently sought as a public speaker in various events, he is available for both inhouse engagements and remote coaching.
Balanced Scorecard Consultant

He also recently released a book "How to Dominate Any Market - Turbocharging Your Digital Marketing and Sales Results", which is available on Amazon.

View All Articles by Lonnie D. Ayers, PMP

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