The elements of an inbound marketing campaign differ from those of traditional campaigns. In the past, your campaign might have included print advertising, television/radio advertising, outdoor advertising, direct mail and maybe a bit of PR to generate media coverage in appropriate publications and outlets.
The evolution of marketing to include a variety of online channels has changed the traditional campaign, allowing marketers to augment their campaigns and to create inbound campaigns focused on earning the attention of customers and facilitating communication.
For an inbound campaign to be successful, there are a number of elements that must be included and designed to work in concert.
First things first
The first element is to determine your specific audience. Before launching your campaign, you must identify and understand who you are talking to. Instead of writing for the masses, your inbound campaign should focus on a particular buyer persona. A buyer persona is a fictional representation of a segment of your audience. Creating a persona allows you to “talk” to your audience where they are and on their terms, providing them with answers to problems or challenges they wish to solve.
Next, develop a theme relevant and interesting to the persona. This allows you to create a set of content that is related, and can draw the buyer through the steps of their buying journey.
Set goals. Setting goals allows you to measure the success (or failure) of your campaign and use results to improve future campaigns. Depending on your marketing automation system, you can implement unique tracking code for your campaign on multiple levels that will help measure the awareness, engagement and acquisition success of your campaign. Google Analytics will also help with its own campaign and event tracking codes, as well as goal conversion tracking.
Content offers and landing pages
Once you have completed your initial planning, you can develop content offers for your campaign. These offers are the currency of your campaign. They must be valuable to your buyer persona and convince them to “pay” by trading some amount of contact information in exchange for the offer. The more valuable the content, the more information you can request from your buyer. Typically, offers are targeted to various stages of the funnel – top, middle or bottom—and are suited to the needs of buyers at these stages. For example, top of the funnel offers are low-commitment offers such as ebooks or educational content and are targeted to buyers in the awareness stage. These items may only request a name and email to access. More in-depth pieces may require additional pieces of information, like title, company and other demographics that would help you qualify the lead.
After creating your content, you need to put it where people can find it and download it. Create optimized landing pages which include a headline, benefits of your offer, and a form to collect information from your buyer.
Now, let’s talk about that form…
What information do you need to collect? What text should be on the submit button?
Try to keep your form as short as possible, keeping in mind that the number of fields should reflect the value of the content. For bottom of the funnel offers, forms can be longer. But for top of the funnel offers, limiting your form to name, company name and email might be sufficient. If you use a tool like Hubspot, you can use smart fields to adjust fields based on whether a visitor has already completed a form in the past or you can use progressive profiling which builds on smart fields and uses a queue of questions to better qualify leads.
The button should be an action and should be related to what the offer is. According to Dan Zarella of Hubspot, in a comparison of 40,000 landing pages, landing pages with “submit” buttons had significantly lower conversion rates than pages which used more directive text (for example, “Download Now”).
Congrats, your user completed the form. Now what?
Upon form submission, you should direct the user to a thank you page where you can include a thank you message and make good on the promise (a link to download the requested offer). You can also include a corresponding, related or follow-up offer to reconvert them and better qualify the lead. You can also send a follow up email with similar messaging as the thank-you page, which will give the lead the ability to save the link for later download.
Once you have their contact information, put them into an automatic nurturing workflow, which uses follow-up emails and offers to draw them down the funnel and promote further conversations and interactions.
Get the word out
After you have created a fabulous offer for your buyer persona, built a landing page, and developed your lead nurturing workflow, you still need to get the word out about the offer.
Send an email to a segment of your database who fits the persona, might be interested in your offer, and who you want to further qualify via reconversions.
Write a blog post. SEO-optimized blog posts for content offers introduce the offer to readers and allow you to leave them wanting more. Include a call-to-action pointing readers to the landing page.
Create Calls-to-Action. Calls-to-action are like ads you create and place within your website or blog to get people to take action. Your CTAs should be engaging and should echo the messaging, look and language of your landing page. Place them in your blog post or other locations on your site which might have high traffic.
Distribute on social media. Present your offer on your social media channels and direct users to your landing page. Additionally, make it easy for others to share your offer. Make sure your landing page and blog post include some sort of sharing feature to allow others to promote your content for you.
Paid Media Campaigns. One of the quickest and most effective ways to get qualified traffic to your offer is via paid media. Although it is not a traditional inbound technique, it has value in two ways. One, it provides immediate reach to users who are searching on questions that your offer solves. Second, you learn what keywords and questions people are searching on so you can optimize your content and offer to better the performance long-term.
Measure, rinse, repeat?
At the end of your campaign or at defined milestones, analyze your results compared to the goals you set at the beginning. Measuring progress allows you to adapt and improve along the way. It also lets you identify successful campaigns that you can use to replicate additional campaigns.
There are a lot of moving parts to a complete and strategic inbound marketing campaign. Fortunately, there are a lot of tools,reference guides and planning worksheets to help you along the way.
To get you started, we’ve created this reference diagram to help you quickly identify the key elements.