Creating Inbound Marketing campaigns: 5 "must dos" before kicking off

All articles | Marketing
Published Oct 24, 2012 | Written by Jeremy Knight

You may be thinking about a new inbound marketing campaign and are keen to get started.  There seems so many things to consider at this early stage: What are your keywords, and what are you going to blog about? Which social media channels are important? What to do about the eBook or webinar, the calls to action and landing page? What content to use to pull prospects through the sales funnel? 

But, while these are all important questions, you should really take a step back at this stage – before you write a word of content – to address five key areas that will ensure your campaign is successful.

You're understand that a winning inbound marketing campaign can be identified by a few common characteristics:

  • Educational and helpful – it answers the questions and needs of your target customers

  • Timely and customised – it is tailored to reflect where they are in the buying process

  • Consistent in language and message – it conveys the essence of your brand throughout each phase

In order to achieve all of these things though, you need to know absolutely everything you can about who you are talking to, what their issues and concerns are, and how you might respond to their areas of interest. Here are five must-do things before kicking off your inbound marketing campaign:

1.       Define your buyer personas

Figuring out who you are talking to is a most important piece of the puzzle. By considering all the types of people who buy from you, you can develop very specific profiles - key personas who are looking for your product or service.  Keeping these personas in mind will help you make sure everything you write is relevant. You can aim your content directly at solving their problems and addressing their areas of concern.

Adele Revella, founder of The Buyer Persona Institute, wrote a really informative blog about ways to develop your personas. To summarise,

- Don’t guess. Talk to customers as well as to people who didn’t choose you.

- Don’t get distracted by details. There are only a handful of things you need to know:

  •  their priorities and their major concerns

  •  the barriers to buying from you

  •  how they decide

- Don’t develop too many. Keep it focused so your campaign can be as targeted as possible.

2.       Focus on the right stage of the inbound marketing process

Potential customers follow a specific journey on the way to buying your product or service. There are a number of stages along the way and each one requires a different type of content. If we look at the different stages of the buying process – also known as the sales funnel – we can see what is happening and the kind of content that is required:


What is happening

Appropriate Content


Getting acquainted with your brand or realising the need for your product or service

Awareness content:

-  Blogs

-  eNewsletters

-  Check List / Cheat Sheet

-  Kit Campaigns


Identifying the problem; starting to look for solutions

Educational content:

-  eBooks

-  White Papers

-  Webinars

-  How to Video


Investigating the options, narrowing down the list of possible solutions

Validation offers:

-  Product Webinars/Videos

-  Case Studies

-  Testimonials

-  Price & Feature Guides


Making a decision

Sales offers:

-  Request a proposal

-  Consultation

-  Free Trials

-  Live Demo

Knowing which stage your key personas are in will help you create highly targeted content that more completely answers their needs. This, in turn, shows them you fully understand their concerns, building their trust in your brand.

3.       Find the right content

When creating content for each stage of the sales funnel, it can often help to look at past performance to predict future success. For example, which of your blogs have been most successful? Which pages on your website get viewed the most? Use this information to determine the topics your target customers are interested in. You can also look in the public domain for popular and newsworthy industry stories that you can customise to suit your audience.

4.       Find the right format

Keeping in mind your key personas and past successes, find the type of format that appeals to your target audience. Video is becoming an extremely popular way to get information, but it’s not for all customers – nor for all businesses.  Take a look at your landing page results. Does a webinar offer do better than an eBook? Do infographics lead to a spike of engagement while white papers fall a bit flat?  It’s great to have a variety of types of format, but they have to be ones that speak to the people who are looking for your product or service.

5.       Recruit a team of content creators

Be sure you are capable of producing the large amount of content that an inbound marketing campaign requires. You don’t have to do it alone:

  • Ask experts in your business to contribute to blogs

  • Post interviews with employees to share their expertise

  • Ask your sales people about the issues that are raised by prospective customers

  • Encourage employees to share successes that can be made into case studies

  • Seek outside help in the form of freelance writers or a content marketing agency

These steps are aimed at creating a more targeted and effective inbound marketing campaign. Taking the time to achieve these five points will boost the chances that your campaign will reach its target audience and achieve your goals for your business.

Are there other steps you think we might employ? How do you set up your campaigns? Let us know in the comments below.

Content strategy guide

Published by Jeremy Knight October 24, 2012
Jeremy Knight