This guest post is by Alex Embling, Director of Strategic Internet Consulting, who sharing his experience with planning a successful inbound marketing campaign.
Modern marketing is evolving. Now interruptive, traditional techniques are increasingly ignored, Marketing Directors must be willing to adapt if they are to attract B2B consumers today.
Inbound Marketing strategies are built around specific buyer personas, earning visibility by helping buyers reach the solution they need, rather than focussing on selling to them. But as Inbound campaigns can be complex, with multiple moving parts to monitor, considered planning is crucial.
Companies are 3x as likely to see higher ROI on Inbound marketing campaigns than on outbound. – HubSpot State of Inbound 2015
How to Plan Effective Inbound Marketing Campaign
1. Develop Data-Backed Buyer Personas
Rule one of a successful Inbound campaign is that every action must revolve around defined, best-fit buyer personas, and work toward addressing those personas’ challenges. If personas are incorrect, inaccurate or out of date, campaign activity will not resonate, causing the campaign to fail.
A foundation of data is key when developing buyer personas. Use a combination of real client data and market information to back up and support persona development.
2. Ensure Your Marketing and Sales Departments are Working Together
Marketing and sales must be aligned and working toward the same goals for Inbound strategies to perform well.
Online research is a key step in the purchase process for modern buyers. In Inbound marketing campaigns, that means it’s marketing’s job to ensure educational, helpful content is in place to assist that research – and nurture leads to sales qualification. From the perspective of the sales department, Inbound sales execs must have access to marketing’s lead data, and work to build a trusted relationship with the lead, helping, not pushing them to the solution.
3. Give Your Content Direction
To attract the right audience and generate quality leads, the content supporting your Inbound campaign must have clear direction.
When developing a content campaign, begin by considering your persona’s pain points. You can then develop a full content hub around addressing each challenge, using eBooks, blogs, emails and more.
Next, consider the Buyer’s Journey, or purchasing stages that a buyer progresses through (Awareness, Consideration, Decision), and make sure you have challenge-relevant content mapped to address each stage. This adds direction and will help your lead nurture campaigns. For example, you know leads in the Consideration stage will be aware of possible solutions to their challenge, and looking for supporting advice, which your case studies, guides or webinars will provide.
4. Develop Content Hubs Around Persona Challenges
Linked to giving your content direction, content assets built in a ‘hub’ around a single topic or key term can also help to boost search rankings.
When building a hub of Inbound content, it’s key to focus around a single persona challenge or pain point. This challenge should guide all related content assets in that campaign, from CTA’s to email workflows, to blog posts, landing page copy and more.
5. Develop A Content Promotion Strategy
Where do your personas look for information and answers to their challenges? Are there specific industry blogs, news sites or social networks that they favour?
This information should have been outlined as part of your data-backed persona development. By promoting your (challenge-focussed) content to these environments you’ll immediately be accessing a more relevant audience, and will generate higher quality leads as a result.
6. Keep Sales Cycle Length in Mind During Lead Nurture
Whatever the length of your sales cycle (and especially if you have a long sales cycle) it’s important that lead nurture activity maps to that length. There’s no use planning a 3 month email workflow if it actually takes 12 months to nurture a lead to a customer.
When planning your campaign content, make sure you have content mapped to each buyer’s journey stage and that workflows are extensive enough to span your sales cycle.
Planning Effective Inbound Strategies
Inbound campaigns achieve higher ROI than outbound. This holds true across different company sizes and budgets. – HubSpot State of Inbound 2015
Considered data-backed planning is integral to successful Inbound strategies. A campaign should never be launched without in depth persona development, or detailed goal planning.
By starting with the points above, you will take the first steps towards implementing an effective Inbound marketing campaign.
Author Bio: Alex Embling is Director of Strategic Internet Consulting, a London-based Inbound marketing agency with a raft of major public and private sector clients. Alex helps businesses large and small generate qualified leads via Inbound marketing and sales, social media and open source web development. He tweets at @StrategicIntC.
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