There’s no greater feeling than finally launching a new campaign as part of your inbound marketing strategy. You’ve put a lot of hard work into writing blog posts, creating new videos or downloads, developing emails and preparing to generate demand.
But there’s one thing experienced inbound marketers know about any marketing campaign: hitting send or going live is just the beginning.
Every marketing campaign these days is an ongoing event. As part of your greater inbound marketing efforts, each campaign should build on what has happened in the past and adapt to what is changing in the moment.
Regularly optimizing your marketing campaigns is the only way to guarantee all that hard work you’ve put in pays off when you have to report to your boss or CEO.
But how do you go about jazzing up your marketing campaigns while they are still in progress? Here are three simple steps to help you get better results from the content and campaigns you already have:
Collect essential data. Gathering data requires a little bit of patience. Allow for enough time to pass from the start of the campaign for user behavior data to be collected. This could be as quick as A/B testing a batch email subject line or as lengthy as monitoring the full lifecycle of a person who enters your campaign. Either way, you can’t make good decisions without solid information on campaign performance.
Compare the results to other successful (or unsuccessful) campaigns. If you have an email that performed better, ask yourself why it was a bigger hit. Or, if your landing page conversions are down, find out what elements are driving conversions. Variation tests on pages or emails based on past efforts can give you the information you need to make improvements to your latest campaign. And if you’re launching your first real campaign, judge your results against industry standards. It may not be perfect, but at least it’s a benchmark.
Find your best sources. Some companies do better with Twitter and LinkedIn than they do with PPC or Facebook. Others rely heavily on email marketing or even direct mail. Based on the results of your current campaign and the successful channels from past campaigns, determine the expected results from each channel. That, of course, means you should track everything, every link and each tweet. Be sure to use tracking URLs with proper UTM codes so you know your most valuable sources.
Set goals. As with any part of your overall marketing strategy, you should set specific campaign-related goals. Research, again, comes in handy here because you’ll need to look at historical data for weekly or monthly Web traffic, new contacts and new customers to determine how you can use those metrics for the campaign you’re launching, especially if you have this information for campaigns you’ve launched in the past.
Determine successes. It’s good to pat yourself on the back every once in a while because even the smallest successes can keep you motivated. But more importantly, if your campaign has exceeded its goals in one area or has a source that is outpacing all the others, you can use that information to plan for improvements in other parts of the current campaign or in ongoing campaigns that also require adjustments.
Focus on potential successes. With data collected and comparative research complete, it should be easier to see what areas of your current campaigns are either underperforming or have the potential to overperform. Focus on the potential campaign successes to plan your efforts as the campaign progresses.
Plan phase outs. Not everything goes according to plan. And there are only so many hours in the day, even for the most dedicated marketer. If something just isn’t working (especially if it hasn’t in the past), it’s okay to let it slide. Keep an eye on the tactic in the future because there’s no reason you can’t revisit a campaign if results start to improve organically.
Double down on design. Templates and best practices are great for getting campaigns up and running quickly. But when it comes to making your campaign standout, use your right brain as much as your left. Rather than make a landing page like this:
Make one like this:
Use the data you collect to determine little things like what calls to action are on your form, location of text and placement of general images.
Pay to play. Yes, even in the world of inbound marketing you need to invest in demand generation. But not all demand generation is created equal. If your email marketing is producing outstanding results, invest in a paid batch email from a trade magazine in your industry. If LinkedIn is a success, place a few sponsored update advertisements. While you’re working on making potential successes into outright successes, paying for easy wins in the successful channels you already have can keep the campaign going.
Ask for help. Marketing teams often work in a bubble. Staring at reports can provide certain insights, but you can also get input from colleagues in other departments to see if they have any ideas. Product managers, support staff, sales--they all have an interest in the success of your marketing. Even if the ideas don’t bear fruit, you’ve broken down a barrier that can help you well into the future.