Experimenting with new marketing methods and strategies is every marketer’s dream. But due to the sheer volume of work and the pressure of tight deadlines and delivering results, it’s very easy to carry on with the ‘tried and tested’ approach.
And as the old saying goes, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.”
Inbound marketing may seem like a challenging prospect for people who have never tried it, especially if you’re used to more traditional forms of marketing – or outbound marketing – such as media buying, print advertising and cold calls for a long time. However, many businesses are already using inbound methods such as blogging, email marketing and landing pages but don’t know how to build a campaign around this content.
So, whichever situation you find yourself in, we have created a checklist of five simple steps you can use to create your very first inbound marketing campaign.
By understanding who you’re targeting and how you should communicate with them, this will help you decide which tactics to employ and even what you should offer.
The first question you should ask yourself is “how did our customers find us?”
If you collect this data already, perfect – this should tell you where to focus your efforts. If not, ask your sales team or account managers to speak to a few select customers to find out more about their journey.
By understanding your target customer's character, goals, issues and everyday experiences, you can use this information to create content designed to help answer their questions and solve their problems.
It is impossible to measure success without establishing what success looks like, so you need to think about what the purpose of your campaign is. Generating more qualified leads? Attracting bigger clients? Increasing customer retention?
While these goals are very similar, it is important to remember that they each require a different approach. For instance, an existing customer is not going to be quite as receptive to a demo or consultancy call compared to a new lead. They know your business already and don’t require the elevator pitch.
Many people would be tempted to tackle multiple goals at one time, but if this is your first try then we would recommend focusing on a single high-priority goal with your first campaign. This will give you a better opportunity to evaluate what has and hasn’t worked at the end of the campaign and you will avoid focusing on metrics that are irrelevant to what you are trying to achieve.
For example, if you want to close more deals and you focus on creating sales enablement content, low traffic numbers are not a huge issue here. If a whitepaper only has 10 downloads but it produced 2 customers, that is still a conversion rate of 20% and a huge win for your business.
So, get together with the decision makers and establish a list of goals in order of priority.
Now you have your target audience and your goals, the next step is to create a plan for the work involved.
Developing inbound marketing content isn’t specifically focused on creating new content, the truth is you might not need it. We have worked with several companies in the past that have an extensive library of content that just required updating or reformatting. So firstly you should take a look and what you have that may be usable.
The idea is to use various pieces of valuable content that you are confident will drive conversions. If you don’t have much available, then we would recommend creating some new blogs targeted to your ideal customer profile that feature a mix of topical and helpful content.
You should then supplement this with a lead magnet, which could be a downloadable PDF e-Guide or whitepaper. This will be positioned behind a gated landing page, meaning that your visitors have to enter their contact details into a lead-capture form. It’s a win-win situation: they get a valuable piece of content and in return you can add their contact details to your database.
Now that you know what content you are publishing, you need to create a promotional plan. Content without promotion will not find its way to the right audiences, especially on social media.
You need to think about where your target audience ‘lives’ online and research the right channels for your audience.
But here are a few quick tips to get you started:
By implementing these tactics you should easily arm yourself with a steady flow of qualified leads with conversion intent.
The number 1 rule of any inbound marketing strategy is to provide value to the prospect. Just because they display an interest in your content, it doesn’t mean they’re looking for an immediate high-pressure sales pitch.
By using a nurture workflow, you can send your leads emails with more information about your business. As they become more engaged, and you can see they are reacting to your content offers, slowly introduce them to your products or services.
If they appear to be interested, then reach out to them to see if you can help them further. If they are disengaged, don’t pressure them into a call. Just continue to send them emails to keep your business in their mind, each email acts as a helpful reminder to get the lead to the next step of the decision process.
Now you have delivered your campaign, the first thing you should do is analyze your results so you can measure the success of your content.
If you are a HubSpot customer, you can collate all of your assets into a Campaign and then you will be able to see how many visits, contacts and conversions you generated broken down by channel and by individual pieces of content.
The main thing to remember here is that you shouldn’t get overly-concerned with small dips and fluctuations. You will likely have bad days here and there, so it is important to consider the average metrics of the campaign as a whole rather than taking a granular approach.
If you do have something that has evidently under-performed, don’t panic just yet. Tweak the headline or the call-to-action slightly and try again. You may be surprised at how a small change can have a big impact.
So there we have it. All of the above methods will give you the ability to create a strong inbound marketing campaign, but the magic happens when these are all used in collaboration with each other. When you combine these resources together, you will have the opportunity to elevate your lead generation efforts and total return on investment.
Once you perfect your inbound marketing approach, nothing will stand in your way.