Back in the day, creating specific marketing campaigns was a lot less complex. You'd gather a team of creatives and let them thrash out ideas. One would be chosen and you'd go into production for your shiny new advertisement, direct mailer or billboard, expecting your audience to be ready to buy once they've seen these.
Campaign planning and execution, for inbound marketing strategies, is a little trickier than that. Unlike the traditional approach, your inbound campaign takes your prospects’ needs into consideration and seeks to be useful and valuable as opposed to intrusive. Secondly, an inbound approach means using multiple channels simultaneously.
So, without further ado, let's take a look at our foolproof 10 step checklist to work through when planning, executing and reporting on your inbound marketing campaigns.
How To Plan, Launch, Promote and Report Inbound Marketing CampaignS
1. Identify Target Audience
Buying behaviour has changed and as much as 80% of consumers prefer to research online before buying a product or a service. For this reason, we need to provide them with the kind of information that will be educational in this process. Before we can determine the content we need to produce, we need to understand who our target audience is. With this level of insight, we will be sure to create content that is valuable to them.
We do this by profiling our ideal customer, whom we call a buyer persona, in terms of:
- Demographics - Gender, age, marital status, geographical location, etc.
- Business-graphics - Professional role, buying influence, career objectives, business challenges and aspirations
- Behaviour and preferences - What channels they use to research, what social media platforms are they active on, how or where they prefer to engage
- Expectations and objections - What they are looking for in your product or service, is this the first purchase or are they looking to change suppliers, what objections they may have
The more insight you have about your target audience, the better you will be able to reach them and meet their needs.
2. Set Goals and Benchmarks
It's an important step to set up your campaign objectives. We use SMART goals in order to be able to provide tangible results post-campaign. SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound.
Some examples of SMART goals are:
- Increase website traffic by 15% in the next 30 days
- Generate 100 marketing qualified lead by 31 December
- Attain a 2% visitor to lead conversion rate for the next 3 months
Provided these numbers aren't unrealistic compared to your existing results and trends indicate that your objective is attainable - even at a bit of a stretch - then these meet the requirements of SMART goals as they provide real numbers that are trackable and set to a time frame.
3. Determine Keywords for SEO
Most people start their research and buying processes by using a search engine. We need to ensure that our campaign uses the same words and terminology that those prospects will use in search engine searches in order for our content to be ranked well.
At this stage create keyword lists, including long-tail keywords, that will ensure your content is optimised for search engines and will be found long after your initial campaign promotion has ended.
4. Create Offers, Landing Pages and CTAs
Use what you know about your target audience's needs and interests to create a compelling marketing plan offer that addresses their requirements. This could be a how-to e-book, an in-depth paper or even a webinar, depending on your campaign objectives.
Flesh out your conversion path by creating great calls-to-action and landing pages that support the campaign message and encourage uptake of the offer. Remember to keep your messaging tight between the call-to-action, landing page, offer and thank you page for best results.
5. Build Out Automation and Nurturing Emails
Once your prospects have found your campaign and downloaded your content, you'll need to nurture them through the buying cycle with workflows (or drip emails) that address the next set of questions or concerns they may have.
You want to offer them content based on the content they have previously been interested in so you'll need to set up a series of emails that provide links to material that flow from the top of the sales funnel to the bottom. The Workflows tool in HubSpot makes this process relatively easy.
6. Launch Campaign With a Targeted Email
At this point, you have your offer, conversion path and lead nurturing set up and ready to roll. The next step is to create a list of leads from your database that match your target audience and send them an email with your fantastic offer, that may include a free trial.
In this email include a quick overview of your offer, what's in it for them, and most importantly, your call-to-action to take them to your landing page.
7. Write a Blog Post
So your campaign is now live. It's time to give it a bit of a push by generating interest. The first tactic to promote your content is to write blog posts that are topically relevant and provide high-level information about your content offer.
This is where your keyword list will come into play and you can use what you know about your target audience and the terms they use to search and research online to draft search engine optimised blog posts. Write your blog post in such a way that it uses the words naturally in its flow (and in titles, headings and links for search engines).
8. Share Content on Social Media
The next step to promoting your content is to share it out on your social media platforms, where you know your target audience spends time. Schedule social media posts, highlighting your new campaign and content, for the times your target audience is most active and when engagement rates are highest.
9. Amplify Visibility with Paid Media
Organic results, i.e. traffic from search engines, may take some time to be realised as you build out more blog posts to support your campaign. If your campaign has a limited time frame or organic reach, you may want to consider using paid media to increase your campaign visibility and expedite results. This could include search engine marketing such as Google or Bing pay-per-click advertisements, sponsored content on LinkedIn or a Facebook Ad campaign.
10. Track, Measure and Report
Remember those goals and benchmarks we set up in the beginning? Well, now is the time to dive into our analytics and track our performance against those objectives. A dashboard will help you measure results, highlight channels that are performing better than others and give you the insight you need to make any changes to your campaign.
By applying these steps, you can rest assured that you are checking off the boxes of what makes for an effective inbound marketing campaign. Do you make use of similar checklists when planning, creating and executing a campaign? Share your thoughts in the comments below.