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11 Steps to Creating a Successful Inbound Marketing Campaign

Entrepreneurs and marketers love inbound marketing—and with good reason. Inbound marketing captures customer attention and makes it easy for prospects to find your company. 

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Inbound marketing campaigns are based around meaningful, lasting relationships with your customers by creating content that nurtures them at each stage of the buyer’s journey. This helps you ensure that no matter where your leads or customers are in terms of being ready to buy, they are always engaged. 

Here’s our quick guide for ensuring your inbound marketing campaign is set up for success.

1. Identify your campaign audience 

One of the most important steps in crafting a successful inbound marketing campaign is to identify which buyer persona you are targeting. A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on real data and some speculation about customer demographics, psychographics, behavior patterns, motivations and goals.

It’s essential to understand who your buyer personas are, and which you’ll be targeting before jumping into a campaign. Consider your audience’s role, goals, challenges, financial situation and more as you pick a topic, create copy and determine a promotional strategy.

2. Set your goals and benchmarks 

At Accelity, we rely on the SMART goals framework to set and achieve business objections. SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. Having SMART goals can help ensure that you’ll have tangible results to share at the end of your campaign.

3. Research and add in long-tail keywords

The last thing you want to do is create a content offer on a topic, only to find out no one is interested in that subject. Take the time up-front to make sure your campaign is SEO-friendly. Optimizing your campaign even after you’ve stopped actively promoting it.

You will need a strong keyword strategy, so expect to invest some time here. SEO isn't an immediate process. To get started brainstorming long-tail keywords, ask yourself, “What questions are my personas asking?” Then, use a tool, like SEMRush, to validate your assumptions. Finally, be sure to incorporate your chosen keyword throughout your content.

Where in my blog should I place long-tail keywords?

    • Post title
    • Section headers
    • Page title
    • URL
    • Meta description
    • Image alt text
    • Naturally within the body (3–6 times)

4. Create your offer

No matter what form your offer may take, make sure that the information in the offer is something your persona needs. This is where the research that you completed in the beginning stages of persona creation will come into play.

What forms can your content offers take?

  • Ebooks and guides
  • Cheat Sheets
  • Checklists
  • Interviews
  • Podcasts
  • Trials
  • Videos
  • Webinars
  • Contests
  • Courses and classes
  • Worksheets
  • Demos
  • Whitepapers
  • Case Studies
  • Infographics
  • … and more!

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5. Build a landing page for your offer

Landing pages can be gated or ungated. Gated content is any type of content that can only be accessed by a user after they provide contact information such as an email address. Using a healthy mix of gated and ungated content in your B2B SaaS marketing strategy is essential for getting the most qualified leads. 

Here’s a quick guide for when to use a gated or ungated landing page:

  • Educational content that dives deeper into a topic (such as an ebook or whitepaper) is good for gated content. The reader is looking for more insights and is willing to share their information in exchange. 
  • Sales pieces that directly promote your business shouldn’t be gated. If the reader is already interested in knowing about your business, you don’t want to create an additional barrier!

Don’t forget to optimize your landing pages for SEO, have a clear value proposition and call to action (usually a form for the user to complete). 

If you’re looking for ideas or examples of what good landing pages look like, you can check out our landing pages for ebooks on Content Marketing ROI and SEO Basics

6. Plan and build your automation and nurturing workflows 

Your campaign doesn’t end when leads convert on your landing page. After a lead is converted, you should have a follow-up plan so that you can turn that lead into a loyal customer, or at least a fan of your brand. Plan and build your follow-up campaigns to nurture leads through your funnel.

For example, after leads convert on your landing page, set up an automatic email to follow up with those leads, and tailor the email workflow to relate to the information they initially downloaded. We set up lead nurturing workflows so that anytime a lead is “warm,” they’re automatically enrolled in a series of follow-up emails. By automating our follow-up, we can spend more time on creating valuable content for our audience and less on manually reaching out.

7. Write a blog post

Your campaign is awesome—it shouldn’t be hidden from the readers who could really benefit from it. One way to increase visibility is by using blog posts to introduce readers to the valuable content they’ll find in your offer. Be sure to promote your content offer in your blogs and incorporate the keywords you previously identified.

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8. Share on social media

Social media platforms allow you to reach people that you may not otherwise influence—so use them often and use them well. Promoting your blog posts and offers through your various social platforms drives traffic into the top of your funnel and through your campaign. In fact, using LinkedIn to promote our campaigns has brought in hundreds of new leads and contacts. Sharing your content on social platforms is a key component of any successful campaign.

9. Consider paid search and other channels

Paid search is one of the best ways to drive consistent traffic from relevant search results and similar websites. Although this does require an up-front investment, the number of leads you gain from paid search will typically provide a return on your investment. Other channels can be a part of your inbound campaign, too—just be sure that you are measuring the effectiveness of any and all channels you use.

10. Track your URLs

Where is your traffic coming from and how are visitors finding you? Tracking URLs help you figure out which sources drive website traffic, and which aren’t doing very well. Be sure to regularly analyze what works and what strategies need to be adjusted. Once you know which mediums are working, start spending more time there and less on channels that don’t drive results.

Analytics also provides a great opportunity to learn from your mistakes. When tracking URLs, you should consider what you can change within your next campaign to make sure that it performs better than ever.

11. Analyze and celebrate your results

Organize, analyze and show off your results at the end of the campaign! Remember, all of your hard work shouldn’t go unmeasured. You set goals at the very beginning and hopefully, you accomplished most, if not all of them.

Now, it’s time to celebrate your success and learn what to adjust for the future. Just because your campaign has come to an end doesn’t mean that your work is finished. Be sure to document takeaways from your efforts to improve next time. 

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Plan for inbound marketing success

If you don't have a solid plan for your inbound marketing campaign, it will fail. Creating a strategic plan will put your campaign on track towards success. A lot of time and effort goes into creating and executing your campaigns, so give yourself the best possible opportunity to exceed your goal. When creating your inbound marketing campaigns, reference this list to ensure that you complete all the necessary steps before launch.