As today’s B2B consumers increasingly ignore traditional interruptive marketing, marketers must adapt their strategies to succeed.
For Marketing Directors today, that means having the confidence to change strategy; earning visibility through helping buyers reach the solutions they need.
3 out of 4 marketers across the globe prioritise an Inbound approach to marketing - HubSpot State of Inbound 2015
By aligning marketing and sales, and focussing campaigns around personas, statistics show that Inbound Marketing is the way forward in the modern marketing world. However, it is essential to devise a detailed inbound marketing plan to ensure performance, the best lead quality possible and definite ROI.
Companies are 3x as likely to see higher ROI on Inbound marketing campaigns than on outbound ones. - HubSpot State of Inbound 2015
Inbound campaigns contain many moving parts so can be complex to coordinate, especially for small marketing teams.
HubSpot are correct in saying that strategy and process are two main contributors to Inbound success. Failed campaigns are often the result of these strategic mistakes:
1. Buyer Personas Are Not Backed By Data
Every business needs to know who they are targeting and understand who their ‘sweet-spot’ or best-fit clients are. Buyer Personas are defined profiles of your organisation’s best-fit customers based on a combination of real client and market data.
- Data backed personas will detail your key buyers’ challenges, behaviour patterns, demographics (such as job title, budget or business size), goals and motivations. As such they form the foundation of effective Inbound campaigns
- If persona development is incorrect, lacking in real data, out of date; or if campaign activity does not align with any persona, the strategy will fail.
2. Marketing and Sales Are Not Aligned
Do your marketing and sales departments speak to each other? Does each understand where their responsibilities crossover and sit? As modern buyers self-educate with online research before purchasing, Inbound marketing prioritises education through helpful content.
- This means it is marketing’s role to have educational content in place and nurture leads to purchase-ready qualification before they speak with sales
- Equally, sales staff must be involved across all buying stages to build a trusted relationship with the lead and help, not push to closure
Strategies that do not align marketing and sales (or only use outbound sales tactics) lack effective nurture and qualification, so are setup to perform poorly.
3. Directionless Content
Blogs, eBooks, landing pages, emails, webinars; content is the fuel powering Inbound campaigns.
- Effective content always maps back to solving persona’s pain points. This educates and nurtures the right leads throughout the Buyer’s Journey.
Content will not resonate, and will not support lead nurture if:
- It is not persona challenge focussed
- It does not support topic ideas with data (such as similar content success metrics)
- It fails to map to the Buyer’s Journey
4. Not Building Content Hubs
Content hubs (multiple content pieces built around one umbrella topic or key campaign phrase) are a great way to add direction to persona-driven content and enhance search rank for SEO.
As with individual content pieces, the hub topic must be persona challenge driven, and should inform the angle of all related campaign assets, from initial blog posts, to associated eBooks, CTA’s, workflows, webinars and more.
5. Poor Channel Promotion
Going back to the importance of data-backed persona development, successful campaigns understand more than just persona challenges. They know where those personas look for information online, then work to promote their content to those digital environments.
It’s not enough to be blindly active on social or content channels. To generate higher quality leads and avoid wasted resource, campaigns must have a clear idea of exactly where target clients are, and what they are looking for.
6. Lack Of Lead Nurture / Sales Cycle Consideration
If your email workflows do not align with the length of your sales cycle, your campaign will not nurture leads effectively. For example, if it takes an average of 6-18 months to nurture a lead to a customer but you only have 3 months’ of workflow content, you’re missing out on opportunities.
Only 25% of the leads you generate are ready to buy in the next 12 – 24 months; the other 75% need nurturing. - HubSpot
Remember; campaigns need to ensure workflows are extensive enough to qualify leads to the purchase or decision stage before they speak to sales. That way prospects understand enough about your solution’s benefits to be in a position to commit.
How To Plan An Inbound Campaign Effectively
So, where do you start?
Throughout a strategy, data backed planning centred around a persona is crucial. A campaign should never be actioned without detailed background consideration and goal planning.
Foundation considerations for planning an effective inbound campaign must include:
- Identifying and developing target personas.
- Aligning products or services to address your ideal customer's challenges/pain points
- Training both sales and marketing teams to work together toward the same goal.
- Considering the Buyer's Journey to deliver your message and content when your customer needs it.
- Creating content hubs to build authority around key topics.
- Using the correct sales channels for your target persona on social media.
- Nurturing qualified leads through to purchase.
By doing this you can take the first step to developing and running a successful Inbound Marketing Campaign.