Wednesday November 4, 2015

Before Launching an Inbound Campaign: A Marketing Checklist

Before Launch

Let’s say you (or your marketing team) has already put in the time and hard work to hone in on a well-researched and strategic inbound marketing plan. You’ve got the perfect channels, tactics, messaging and offers in place to make it start raining highly qualified inbound leads – now all you have to do is press “go.”
Right?

If you don’t have an air-tight framework for what happens next, there’s still legwork to be done. Before you launch, be sure you’ve given due consideration to all of the following steps to ensure you’re getting the most out of your campaign.

What to Consider Before Launching Your Inbound Campaign

Revisit Your Goals

Having proper goals in place before launching your campaign is essential; without them, there’s no accountability, no definition of success and no context to inform ongoing direction. To avoid intangible, subjective goals (i.e. “more engagement” or “better leads”), use the SMART goals framework. SMART stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Attainable
  • Realistic
  • Timebound

Use this framework to establish threshold, target and exceptional goals. Make sure you put these numbers down on paper, share them with your team and incorporate them into your marketing reports. Once your campaign has kicked off, keep these goals handy and compare your performance against them on a regular basis.

Audit Your Intake Process

One common misconception about marketing is that sales and intake are somehow separate from marketing. The truth is that every area of your company that affects how your market perceives you – from your sales tactics and the way your staff answers the phone down to your email signatures and the invoices you send to customers – is connected to marketing.

When marketing efforts end with channel execution and fail to take into consideration these less obvious touch points with leads, customers and referral partners, businesses miss the opportunity to maximize their marketing investment, and they risk creating a negative impression of their brand among would-be leads.

Before you launch, it’s important to take the time to thoroughly audit your company’s intake process. This is a crucial component to maximizing the performance of any campaign – and it’s often overlooked.

For example:

  • Who in your company is accountable for handling inbound leads?
  • What is their documented intake process?
  • Have they been properly trained so that all leads come away loving your company – even if they’re not ready to convert?
  • How are leads handled after-hours and on the weekends? Are these expectations being clearly set with leads?
  • For website, phone and email leads, is everyone clear on how to track leads in your CRM, coordinate with the rest of the team and follow up in an effective manner?

The person in charge of intake needs to be accountable for answering these questions, and they need to make timelines for the following before the campaign kicks off:

  • Ensure all the right intake/sales people in the right seat. In other words, does everyone get what they’re doing, want to do it and have the capacity to do it well?
  • Training and expectations are known. When there’s ambiguity in training, expectations or accountability, the ball can easily get dropped.
  • Reinforce training. After the training is complete, continue to revisit the process until the intake process is automatic.
  • Testing. Have someone use a fake name and do test calls/emails/web contact submissions to ensure that the process is working.

Ensure Proper Tracking and Analytics Are in Place

If your inbound campaign is effective, you’ll likely see a dramatic increase in conversions and web traffic. To have a clear line of sight to your key performance indicators (KPIs) and to avoid getting bogged down trying to figure out which leads and traffic came from where, take the time to make sure you have the proper tracking in place.

Depending on your KPIs, this can include but is not limited to:

  • Website analytics
  • Real-time website tracking
  • Heatmap tracking
  • Phone tracking/recording
  • Channel-specific URL tags
  • Unique landing pages

Plan and Build Your Nurturing Flow

The marketing doesn’t stop once your sales/intake team has communicated with the lead; you need a plan to follow up and nurture leads through your sales funnel once they have provided you with their email.

Following the steps below will help you build a flow that works with your strategy:

  1. Identify who you want to nurture
  2. Determine what you want to nurture them towards
  3. Decide the frequency and number of emails needed to establish a trusting relationship with this target
  4. Write your nurturing emails so they’re ready to go

If you expect a high volume of leads, an automated marketing platform like HubSpot will make this process more manageable. 

To help simplify this process for preparation, we put together the checklist below.

Updated Checklist

Ready to launch your first inbound campaign? Download our free checklist for a step-by-step process to get started!

Download Our Free Inbound Campaign Checklist

 Charlie Nadler

Written by Charlie Nadler | Tags: marketing strategy

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