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Bill Widmer May 9, 2016 1:52:00 AM 6 min read

Inbound Marketing Is Harder Than You Think | SF AppWorks

In recent years, many marketers have adopted Inbound Methodologies to attract visitors, convert leads, close customers, and delight promoters. Inbound sells the promise of a constant flow of qualified leads filling out forms on your website after reading your compelling content. However, mastering all of the moving parts of Inbound can be overwhelming.


As experts in digital marketing trends such as inbound, we have experienced all of the bumps along the way and smoothed out a path to inbound success. Below we will provide tips, tricks, and examples of how to properly execute four of Inbound’s key pieces: setting SMART goals, creating detailed buyer personas, creating content, and optimizing that content for search engines (SEO).


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S.M.A.R.T Goals


You may have heard of SMART goals in your journeys across the internet. They’re very common – and for good reason: they work.

Specific – Your goal must have a specific outcome. For example, instead of writing a goal of “Increase sales”, write “Increase sales by 10%.”

Measurable – Your goal must be measurable. In other words, how will you know when you have attained your goal? Are you going to track conversions? ROI? Sales? Traffic? Pick certain measurement criteria.

Achievable – Your goal must be physically and mentally achievable. You might also call this “Believable”. Do you believe you can actually do it?

Realistic – Your goal must realistically be possible. You can believe all you want, but in order to be able to actually succeed, it must truly be possible. When weightlifting, you can’t expect to put on 10 lbs. of healthy muscle in a week. Increasing sales also takes time.

Timely – Your goal must have a time limit. A goal without a due date is just a dream. When will you attain your goal? This week? This month? 10 years from now? Write a definitive date down.

SMART Goal Example:

“Increase sales” is a goal.

“I will increase website sales by 15% over the next 6 months by using social media paid promotions and creating one new blog post per week. I will see ROI by tracking traffic, lead, and conversion increases for each promotion and blog post.” is a SMART goal.

Pro Tip: Keep your new SMART goals handy throughout the process. You will want to refer back to it throughout every step of the process.


Buyer Personas


We all know that a buyer persona is a “made-up” person with the perfect qualities to be an ideal customer for your business.

We say “made-up” because a good buyer persona will be based on real data that you have compiled from all of your customers or target customers; not on a single customer or person you know. You want to be as specific as possible, and if possible use quotes that your customers have actually said.

A good buyer persona answers the following questions:

What are their demographics?

Age, gender, marital status, children, job, education, salary

How long have they been at their job?

What are their hobbies?

What does a typical day in their life look like?

Do they start the day on FB while drinking their coffee, put the kids on the bus, drive to the office? Come home and watch a favorite soap opera?

Do they listen to their friend’s opinions (i.e. word of mouth?)

How do they perform research before making purchasing decisions?

Do they use Google? Ask friends? Take to Social media? Use online review sites such as Yelp or Angie’s List?

What motivates them?

Do they love the newest gadgets? Time with family? Money? Freedom from working as many hours? Opportunity to travel? Love of learning?

What are their concerns when it comes to your brand?

Would they have issues with your product or service? What would those issues be?

What are their pain points, and how can you help solve them?

Do you have any real quotes of your customers or potential customers? Have they said, “I want to spend less time working and more time with my family” or “I’d like to, but cost is an issue” Quotes can help you get a better understanding of what makes your customer decide when and what to buy.

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SEO is one of the most important marketing metrics, yet so many people struggle with Search Engine Optimization. It is an ongoing battle because Google is constantly updating their search algorithms. However, we have some tips to ensure that you are always in the rankings:

Meta Descriptions – Include 1-2 keywords (or 1 long-tail keyword) here, but remember your audience. This isn’t just for Google – give viewers a description of what your content is about and how it can benefit the reader. Refer back to your buyer persona and target those pain points.

Alt Text – Every image on your page should include alt text. Since Google can’t read pictures, it relies on the alt text to understand what your content is about. Including your keywords will help you drive traffic from image search results.

Internal Links – Internal links help Google crawl your website. They’re also great for keeping people on your site. It is best to link to downloadable content or submission forms when you have them available.

External Links – You should include outbound, or external, links in your blog posts. Just make sure that they are links to influential sites (like Lifehack). These help Google determine if you are a worthy source of information.

Link Building – One of the most important factors of search engine optimization is building links back to your URL from influential sites. It is about quality over quantity.One great way to get backlinks is by contacting the owners (usually via email) of relevant websites or blogs and simply asking them if they are open to reciprocal linking, writing a guest post, or allowing you to write a guest post for them. Test different introductory emails to see which ones get the best results.

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Content is still king. In order to get more qualified traffic to your website, you need to give people a reason to come and to become a customer.Here are some key points to keep in mind when creating content:

Use Gated Content – Gated content is content that requires some sort of form submission to be granted access. It can be as simple as entering your email, or as complex as name, phone number, address, company, etc. This allows you to engage further with your audience. Keep in mind, not all content should be gated.

Keep Content Updated – Every so often, schedule time to update old content to ensure that it is relevant and correct. Update links to the newest survey results or change sections to reflect the hottest new trends, technologies or events.

Search Engine Optimization – Once a month, re-optimize your site and content to ensure that you are using the best keywords to keep search rankings up.

Keywords – Come up with keywords before you write your content so you don’t have to go back and squeeze them in. Use a tool such as Google’s Keyword Planner to find keywords that have low competition (aka “Difficulty”) and high search traffic.


Moving Forward


We know that this new digital marketing trend can prove to be more challenging than Inbound Marketing Services Agencies will lead you to believe, and hope that you have found this information to be helpful. We have also put together a quick reference guide that details all of this information along with the other key areas of Inbound Marketing. Or reach out to us, SF AppWorks: A San Francisco Digital Marketing Agency for a free marketing consultation.


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