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Steps for Planning an 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 If personas are incorrect, inaccurate or out of date, campaign activity will not resonate, causing the campaign to fail.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.

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