462145313About to start your very first inbound marketing campaign? There is so much to do that you may not know exactly where to start.

In this article series, we’ll walk you through planning, executing and getting the most out of your first inbound marketing campaign.

I absolutely adore alliteration. So why not pick 4 P’s for planning your first campaign. Not to be confused with the traditional 4 P’s of marketing, this set of P’s is specific to planning an inbound marketing campaign. Persona, Purpose, Promotion and Period.

1) Persona

Who will you target?

This is a big point of failure for most companies. When you cast too wide of a net, you rarely bring in any fish. Let’s dig deep and get specific. Spend time creating marketing personas that represent your ideal customer.

Remember, your marketing persona is not the same as your target market. People do business with people, not companies. Will your campaign target the medical industry (target market) or Jill, the Chief Marketing Officer for a health-care technology consulting firm (buyer persona). It makes a difference.

You want to create messaging that is relevant to the person who will be buying from you. Start working on buyer personas now to get the most out of your campaign.

2) Purpose

Why are they searching for information?

Catching your prospect in their time of need is a large part of the way inbound marketing works. Will you be there with the information they are searching for online? Will your competitors be there first?

Think about what your ideal customer would consider to be their biggest pain point. Don’t know? Ask them. I’ve found that surveying your current customers can be a very effective way to find problems that you can solve with content.

Use this theme to help plan out the content and offers you will be producing for your new campaign. For instance, we are targeting Jill, the Chief Marketing Officer for a health-care technology consulting firm. We  know that our target customer is trying to reach the CIO’s and CFO’s of medium size hospitals because this is their ideal buyer persona.

Many people we speak to do not know how best to reach these individuals with their marketing messages. They are actively searching for better ways to do this. This is something we can really center our campaign around.

Create a simple mission statement for what the prospect might want to accomplish. In this case, let’s call it “Get our message in front of health-care executives "

3) Promotion

Where will you promote your content?

Now that you know who you are trying to reach and why they’d be interested in your offers, we need to plan out where you’d like to place your content for discovery.

Your blog posts will be indexed by search engines and shown in relevant search results, so make sure you use titles that are likely to match up closely with your prospect’s search terms. A good article title for our running example might be “How to Get Past the Gatekeepers for Health-care CFO’s”. This is relevant to what they are trying to accomplish.

Organic search traffic takes time, and does not happen overnight. You may consider supplementing your traffic via paid search and social ads. Google, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter all offer traffic-driving paid options. Some of them offer interesting targeting options.

LinkedIn, for example, allows you to target specific job titles, and even run different ads for each company you are targeting. If I am trying to get in front of Jill, (the CMO for a health-care technology consulting firm), I can segment the LinkedIn audience, and promote my content only to those who fit my ideal buyer persona.

Can you imagine how much money I will save compared to an untargeted campaign without narrowing the scope? I’ll give you a hint. It’s a lot. This is just one example of supplementing organic traffic with paid traffic to drive your intended audience toward your content offer.

The bottom line here is to do some research onwhere your audience is congregating around the web. Joining LinkedIn groups, reading and commenting on industry blogs, and other online networking will likely play a role in your strategy as well.

4) Period

How long will you run the campaign?

I mentioned the power of organic search. First, its free for those who create the quality content worthy of being ranked by Google and Bing. Second, your content becomes a sustainable asset. Organic search traffic doesn’t stop when you stop buying ads. It’s still out there bringing in new traffic every day. So in this regard, the campaign is indefinite.

But you may be asking how long should I be creating new content for it, and how long should I be running paid ads for it. That, largely, is up to you.

I would always recommend committing to a certain timeframe upfront. The end date does not necessarily mean that you need to stop producing content for that topic, or that you must stop driving traffic with paid ads. It will, however, offer you an opportunity for reflection and for your to make any adjustments you may need to make before moving forward.

Set a check-in date to review the progress of your campaign before you start producing the content. This will help you know how much content to create, and allow more structure to your work.

What’s Next?

Now that you have planned out the Who, Why, Where and How long; you can start producing your content. This will take some extra P’s! Next time, we’ll run down "The 3 P's of Executing Your First Inbound Marketing Campaign."

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Originally published Apr 2, 2014 10:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017

Topics:

Inbound Marketing Buyer Personas