In the midst of all the content, channels and tactics inbound marketers use to attract prospective customers, sometimes it makes sense to run a concentrated inbound marketing campaign to achieve a specific goal. An inbound marketing campaign is a distinct marketing push that aligns every marketing channel and all of your content around a single message.
1: Define your campaign goals
If you go into a campaign without clearly defined goals, you won’t know how to analyze your results for success (this approach is also known as “random acts of marketing”). Goals should be detailed, quantifiable, achievable and given a timeframe. For example: Generate [insert number] leads focused on [insert topic/product] by [insert date].
What are you trying to achieve? The goals of the campaign (such as lead generation, increasing followers, registering for an event, or website traffic) should be closely tied to the topic you are using to influence people with – if there is a disconnect between your goals and the steps you take to attain them, you’ll be relying on luck for good results rather than knowledge.
2: Target the right persona
Now that you have documented your goals, it’s time to think about your audience. Your company may have one overall persona you’re targeting, or a specific subset of your audience that you want to be influenced by the campaign. For example, a pharmaceutical company’s generic persona might be a physician who owns their own practice, but the company may only target family practices for a campaign geared toward this audience. Buyer personas depict your ideal customer based on real data and assumptions about their demographics, behavior, motivations, and objectives. By understanding your audience’s traits, you can create exceptional campaigns that are specifically aimed toward them.
3: Create content relevant to your persona, aligned with their stage in the buyer’s journey
By putting yourself in your audience’s shoes, you’ll have a better understanding of how and when they make decisions. The way you target one persona may differ greatly from how you target another, so you must cater to who you are trying to influence. What content will get their attention based on the information you gathered about that buyer persona? Another factor to consider is customizing content to align with where they are in their decision-making process. Is the best channel to reach them through email, social media or both? Are they best reached on their desktops, mobile phone, or tablet? Determining this information will be key when deciding what channels to focus heavily on. This is not to say you will neglect the integrated marketing approaching of utilizing multiple channels, but you can place more emphasis on the channels you know your buyer personas are using.
4: Promote and leverage content on your personas platforms
Start by choosing the channels that make the most sense for promoting your offer. The name of the game in any campaign (say that fast five times) is to get people to your website, so you must have a landing page to draw them in, whatever the platform your persona uses. Then you can use platforms such as email, blog posts, social media, and PPC to attract visitors to your landing page – again, placing emphasis on the channels most relevant to your audience.
If you have a database of existing contacts who could be interested in your campaign offer, email is the best place to start. Make sure you target your email list to include only the buyer persona(s) you want to reach for this campaign. The recipe for a great marketing email includes a clever subject line, visible social sharing buttons, a link to your blog, and finally a CTA.
What sets inbound marketing apart is its ability to make it about the buyer, not the company. Therefore, any successful campaign includes informative and timely content that is truly helpful to your personas. Fresh content on your blog that relates to your campaign gives you another avenue to link to your landing page.
Once you publish your blog, head on over to your social media platforms. Promoting your offer and linking straight to your landing page in moderation might work, but promoting your blog posts provides more incentive to click. Remember to be creative with the content and don’t repeat the same post again and again. Instead, be sure to tailor the message and use best practices for each channel.
No, paid advertising is not essential for a good campaign, but if you have the budget, you can certainly support your campaign with PPC ads.
5: Have an inbound marketing funnel ready
An inbound marketing funnel will help you qualify and nurture the leads your campaign generates, developing them from early stage leads to prospects ready to make a decision. What does an inbound marketing funnel entail? It’s the tools and processes your company uses to communicate with and qualify leads at a manageable scale, bringing them closer to conversion. Marketing automation helps many companies funnel their campaign leads to the sales team, but it does have its limitations. Powerful tools like this must be used responsibly due the tremendous reach they allow your message to have across your audience over time. Your winning messages are amplified; but so are any poorly thought-out messages. This is why it’s important to build out your entire campaign out with a larger strategy in mind before getting started.
6: Identify all aspects of your campaign
This takes us back to your buyer personas. Before you start sending emails and setting up a sales funnel for new leads, first think about the best way to follow up with each specific persona you target. One set of content might work for all leads your campaign generates, but it’s more likely that segmenting the leads you generate will help you to nurture them in more targeted ways. For example, if your business primarily targets two specific audiences, you may want to segment nurture leads in each of those audiences in different ways, with different messaging. Ask yourself: who will likely convert on your offer, and how do they differ? Are the opposing characteristics enough to segment these leads into different buckets receiving customized follow-up? Once you’ve thought about who your segments are and how many nurturing flows you’ll ultimately need, you are ready to start drafting email content.
7: Develop a plan of execution
When deciding what kind of content you’ll use for your nurturing flows, it’s helpful to decide on your ultimate goal for each segment you plan to develop. Think about goals at both a high level and practical terms, so you can close to gap to meet these goals. Do you have different goals for different segments? One audience might be a better fit for a certain focus area of your product or service, so you will want to manage your workflow with this audience differently than you would another. Setting a goal for each segment will help you report on the effectiveness of your sales funnel.
Next, start mapping out your emails and your content. Most importantly, make sure each email is tied to your goal. How does it push your leads further along on their buyer journey? How can your email provide opportunities for the audience to meet the goals you’ve set? By definition of inbound marketing, your emails should be educational or valuable in some way to your readers. The most effective marketing funnels include a combination of beneficial, interesting content that support the overall goals of the campaign.
8: Stay on track - react fast if you notice your offer, CTA, or landing page is not converting
Measuring throughout the duration of your campaign is imperative. Analyze your campaign holistically, reviewing how all of the landing pages, emails, blog posts, social messages, keywords, PPC campaigns and other sources are contributing traffic to your campaign. That way if you’re not happy with the campaign performance in particular areas, you can use the analytics to find your weak spots. If you find a landing page that isn’t performing as well as you’d like, dig in deeper to see how you can improve it, whether it’s making improvements to the landing page itself, or reevaluating the channels bringing in users.
Inbound campaigns are notable achievements once you have your goals in place, and all channels driving toward the same end. The key to success is keeping your campaigns focused and influential.