Put simply, inbound marketing campaigns are strategic and integrated efforts that align all of your company’s marketing channels around one message and goal. In this article, we explore how to implement and carry out a successful inbound marketing campaign.
How to Run a Successful Inbound Marketing Campaign
It starts with a marketing offer – this is usually something valuable and relevant for your audience such as a trial or demo, a downloadable eBook or whitepaper. This item can then be promoted through your brand’s marketing channels.
The next stage involves nurturing the leads from that offer and moving a prospect along your marketing funnel with the goal of converting them into a paying customer. Along the way, you’ll measure and analyse the campaign.
Despite the inbound marketing process being relatively simple in nature, marketing “speak” and words such as ‘engagement’ and ‘virality’ can make it seem anything but. While the creation of an inbound campaign is fairly simple, the execution is where many marketers run into trouble. Here’s our step-by-step guide.
1: Determine The Offer
Firstly, you need to decide what your offer mix will consist of. The idea is to create a number of pieces of content that you anticipate will drive visits and conversions. 5 offers are a good starting point and they should be created with your campaign goals in mind. For example, you might decide to opt for an offer nearer the “top of the funnel” – meaning they are educational and inform around a relevant topic. You might then throw in offers nearer the “middle of the funnel” – meaning they are better suited at those interested in finding out more about your product or service. Examples of offers to consider are listed below:
- Webinar or a series of webinars
- Free trial, demo or consultation
Each of the offers should have a unique value proposition while still being tied together by a unifying theme. Each offer should also have its own landing page so you can track the conversion of your offers over time!
What to Measure: Downloads, registrations, new leads, and eventually, the number of customers generated by each offer
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2: Set Timeline and Goals
While the timeline will be different for each campaign, try to think how you can spread out your mix of offers to maximise the impact without having them run for too long. Never-ending offers become heavily diluted and risk turning people away from your brand. Campaigns typically run from 30 to 90 days, with offers distributed throughout.
There’s no doubt that setting goals becomes much easier once you gain benchmarks from previous campaigns. Once you’ve decided on your offer mix, look back through your marketing history to find similar offers. Look at how many leads, submissions and customers those efforts generated previously, and use that information to create a framework for measuring your current campaign. If this is your first inbound marketing campaign, then make a conservative estimate.
In addition to metrics directly tied to your set of offers (downloads, registrations, etc.), you may also want to add some complementary goals.
What to Measure: Keep an eye on your benchmarks; if a given offer doesn’t meet your expectations for submissions or new leads, you may need to redirect your efforts or add in an additional offer mid-stream.
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3: Drive Traffic
To drive traffic to your offers, you’ll need to get the rest of your marketing channels primed and ready. There are many types of content marketing that can be used to facilitate traffic. These include:
- Social Media: Whether you post a snippet of your eBook or a statistic from your whitepaper, social media can prove hugely useful for teasing an audience with your offer.
- Email: Send out an introductory email launching your offer campaign. However, be sure to segment your list beforehand so you’re only sending the offers to the most relevant audience members.
- Blog: Why not dedicate a number of your blog posts to the topic your campaign covers? This is a great way to incorporate internal links to your offers within an informative article.
- Advertising: Whether it’s social media advertising or paid search ads (PPC) on Google, ads can be a useful supporting tool for an inbound campaign. However, ensure the offer provides value and matches the precise message conveyed by the advert text.
What to Measure: Click-throughs to your offers, conversions, content sharing (retweets, “likes,” re-posts)
4: Lead Nurturing
Let’s get one thing straight. Just because someone has converted on an offer in your campaign doesn’t mean they are ready to make a purchase. Inbound marketing is all about providing value, not loud and high-pressured sales pitches. Use a series of related emails to give your leads more and more information, nurturing them through the sales funnel. As the lead becomes more engaged, they will naturally opt to download additional offers and be introduced to your product organically.
If they’re not interested, don’t push sales calls and follow-ups on them.
What to Measure: Watch that the click-through rates of your lead nurturing campaigns don’t fall below 5%. If they do, your offer may not be sticky enough or you may have pushed a sale too early.
5: Close and Report
At the end of the campaign, it’s time to reflect and report. While each campaign is unique, there a few common benchmarks you should use:
- New Leads: New leads are crucial to any B2B campaign. New leads are a sign that you’re tapping into a market that you haven’t hit before. They’re also a sign that the content was valuable in attracting prospects to your company.
- Views: Measuring how many people viewed your promotion will also give you some idea as to how effective it was. If your conversion rate was high, but views were low, you need to evaluate and improve upon your promotion channels and strategy.
- Total Submissions: Submissions from existing leads should most definitely be included. They are another point of engagement, and they give you further indication of what your leads are interested in.
- New Customers: While this benchmark may take a while to be confirmed (it may take a while for a customer to actually truly become a paying customer), it should be incorporated into the analysis. After all, it is arguably the reason you embarked on this inbound marketing campaign in the first place.
All successful inbound marketing campaigns begin with solid content planning. Often known as “content mapping”, the process of working out which types of content to produce for different buyer personas can make your campaign extremely effective. We’ve produced a handy content mapping resource for you to use totally free. Find out more below.
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Our Content Mapping Starter Kit has all you need to get started with buyer personas and content planning. This handy resource is absolutely free and comes with an easy-to-understand eBook explaining the importance of content mapping and creating buyer-driven content.