Whenever I talk to someone that is a one-person marketing department, I kind of get excited. I suddenly have this urge to fist bump them or do some sort of secret handshake as if we were in the same fraternity (or sorority).
You see, being a one person marketing department has a unique set of challenges that only people that have been there and done it can appreciate.
As a one person department, you have unique opportunities to take risks, try out new ideas, and change up an old marketing program. That opportunity also means that you are responsible for planning, implementing and analyzing your entire marketing program… by yourself (which is awesome or miserable depending on what day it is).
You're also probably responsible for keeping up with and teaching yourself new marketing trends, technology, and methods. Oh, and when sales are slow, your head is probably on the chopping block because you're in charge of bringing in leads. Does that sound about right?
It can definitely be a lot to do, but I feel lucky to have had that opportunity at my previous job. From the start of implementing inbound marketing 3 ½ years ago to now, my previous company has seen over 114% increase in website traffic and over 362% increase in online leads. I feel like a proud mama. And it all started with not much of an existing online presence other than a website, outbound email campaigns, and some old blog articles.
So to those of you implementing inbound marketing by yourself, here's my "11 Step Program" on what to do and some great resources when you're stuck, confused, or needing inspiration.
1) Learn Inbound Marketing
HubSpot’s Academy is a great resource for learning both Inbound Marketing and the HubSpot tools. WIthout this knowledge up front, you’ll end up creating more work for yourself in the long run. You’ll realize a lead nurturing campaign or landing page or absolutely everything you’ve done for 3 months isn’t quite up to snuff. And then, of course, you’ll have to redo them all. Trust me, you’ll be glad you learned it all up front.
2) Get The Decision-maker On Board
Make sure they not only understand the overall concept of inbound marketing but agree that this is the direction they want to go in. Your life will be so much easier if you have them on board and they can convey that to the rest of your company. They also need to know that inbound marketing is a marathon and not a sprint.
3) Find a Design Agency That "Gets" Inbound
You never know when you'll need some help with your current website or a website redesign down the road. And if your website isn't working.... Well your marketing isn't working. And let’s be honest, you probably don’t have the time to learn HTML on top of all this new inbound marketing stuff you’re learning and implementing.
4) Assess Your Current Marketing Strategy
What is your company doing for their marketing currently? What have they been doing? What has worked? What hasn't worked? Write all of it down, look through examples, and include other people in your company in these discussions.
5) Study Your Customers
Learn about your ideal customers, how they see your company and how your company wants to be seen. This step is also called buyer persona research. Interview customers, your sales team, and company leadership.
Understand why your service or product is helpful to your customers, what is great about it, what sucks about it, what questions are frequently asked, what people think about your company, and what your leadership thinks people think about your company.
6) Identify Existing Resources
Even though you may be a one person marketing department, chances are you have some sort of resources for help. Talk with your sales team, leadership, faculty, and other team members that can speak about your service or product.
Are they willing to help write content, be interviewed, or make videos on topics related to your business? Sometimes you may need to sell them on inbound marketing before they'll agree. If they won’t help, do you have some money in your budget to hire writers?
7) Create Your Marketing Plan
This plan should include everything involving marketing - your goals, buyer personas, resources, budget, and all of the actual elements (online and offline). Start by writing out your goals and everything you’ve discovered at this point.
8) Plan Offline Marketing Strategy
I always found it easier to start with all the offline marketing because these tend to occur only a few times a year rather than daily. It also allows you to keep these things in mind when planning out your online marketing elements so that your online space supports your offline efforts.
List out tradeshows, direct mail, print ads, and anything else you plan to do. I would write down all the details for each elements, like the insertion dates, specs for the ads, the cost, and a contact person.
9) Plan Inbound Marketing
You’ll want to include elements like social media, blogging, downloadable content, email marketing, and marketing automation/lead nurturing. Write out what you want to do for each of these. Make sure to add events like holiday emails, conference reminder emails, or any events that online marketing will support.
Also, don’t feel like you need to start everything at once. If you’re just beginning inbound marketing, here’s a quick guide to what elements you should start with.
10) Develop a Content Calendar
Depending on your company, it may make sense to plan out the entire year or it might make sense just to do a month a time. Either way, start your content calendar now. And just to make your life THAT much easier, here’s a content calendar template.
11) Get Approval
Review your plan with your CEO (or leadership team). Make sure everything sounds good to your CEO and that they truly are on board for inbound marketing.
And there you go. You’re ready to start implementing.
When you're getting frustrated or overwhelmed, just remember that you're getting an opportunity to try out your ideas with probably little or no resistance. That opportunity is something most marketers would be jealous of. Not to mention, any results you produce are directly because of you. Good luck and happy inbound marketing!