July 23, 2013 | Emily Winsauer

Effective Inbound Marketing Campaign, Step 1: Develop An Offer

Inbound Marketing CampaignThe first step in creating an effective inbound marketing campaign is to come up with something to offer potential customers or clients. You need to show them how your business can benefit them–and you do that with marketing offers.

These offers come in many forms, but most of them will be different types of content, including ebooks, white papers, webinars, podcasts, and infographics.

Creating content, especially valuable content, is a challenge. Marketers are told again and again to “think like a publisher,” but what exactly does that mean?

Primarily, publishers have to know the audience. Like publishers, marketers must have a detailed picture of their target market in order to create desirable content for them. Ask yourself:

1. Who are your ideal customers and prospects?
2. What are their biggest concerns, needs, and interests?
3. Where can you reach them (search engines, social media, blogs, etc.)
4. What types of content do they prefer?

These questions can help you develop the marketing personas that will guide the kind of content you create and how you deliver it.

Once you’ve defined your audience, use this checklist to achieve results with your content!

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Focus on the Right Stage

Be aware of the stages of each customer’s experience - a website visitor who is learning about your brand for the first time has very different needs and interests from a returning customer. Broadly, these are:

Awareness – the prospect is getting acquainted with your brand. You are trying to show them why they will want or need your product or service.

Research & Education – the prospect has identified their problem and is searching for potential solutions (including yours!). You are trying to anticipate their needs and be there to provide the answers.

Comparison & Validation – The prospect is examining options and narrowing down the list of vendors. Anticipate the points of comparison and your own pros and cons.

Purchase – the prospect makes a purchase decision. Your site can help them have a smooth, pleasant transaction that affirms their choice.

Satisfaction & Advocacy – having converted the prospect into a customer, you can earn their return business and their recommendations by continuing to offer them valuable content suited to their evolving needs.

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Create Content that Drives Traffic

Before leads can be cultivated and converted into customers, you need to attract traffic and convert website visitors into leads. To launch a powerful marketing campaign that drives traffic, you begin by focusing on the first stage of a customer’s experience, creating awareness of your business through your marketing content.

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Use Your Data!

To determine the topics that your audience is interested in, dig in to any data you have access to about the performance of your existing content. For example, what are your most popular blog posts? What are the most-viewed pages on your website? Which offers led to the most engagement? Your content must be relevant and current, but these indicators help you understand what your audience is interested in. Let your past performance dictate your direction in producing new marketing content, and use to refine your marketing personas.

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Determine the Optimal Formats

Once you’ve chosen topics for your new content, you also need to figure out what formats your audience is interested in. Will they listen to a podcast, or would they rather read a white paper? Do they have time to read an ebook, or would they prefer to watch a short video? You can also rely heavily on past data to help you know how your audience prefers to consume your content. In addition, the format is also determined to a degree by the topic itself. If a certain subject just doesn’t work as a checklist, don’t force it!

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Build a Team of Content Creators

Don’t be the only one creating your business’s inbound marketing content! Each person in your company has a unique voice and a valuable perspective on important aspects of what you do and what your customers need. Make use of their specialties by:

1. Asking them to suggest topics for valuable content
2. Interviewing them for blog posts or short videos sharing their expertise
3. Asking them to co-write a white paper or ebook
4. Inviting them to give presentations or answer questions in webinars

You can also recruit guest bloggers, conduct interviews with industry leaders, and partner with other businesses to produce content–be creative!

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Repurpose Your Content

Almost every piece of content you create can be adapted, reused, modified, and republished in another format. With each piece of content you produce, come up with multiple ways to package and distribute it in the different formats that suit the material. An ebook, for example, makes a nice source for a series of blog posts (like this one!). Some ideas:

1. Combine text from an old white paper with new videos to create a multimedia e-book
2. Turn blog posts and ebooks into videos or webinars, and vice versa
3. Use common questions and comments from webinars, videos, and posts to create a new e-book
4. Create infographics from guides, white papers, videos, and blog posts

As you repurpose older content, be sure to read critically and update–you don’t want to share out-of-date information! Also, be sure to share your content across multiple formats – upload slides from your webinar to SlideShare, upload the video to YouTube, and pin your infographic to Pinterest.

Download the ebook to learn more about not only what constitutes an effective marketing campaign, but how to build and implement one!New Call-to-Action

Here are the other posts in this series:

And download our ebook now to learn everything you need to know to build an effective inbound marketing campaign, from start to finish!

Emily Winsauer

Emily Winsauer

As VIEO's content director, Emily Winsauer was responsible for content strategy for VIEO and our clients for over 5 years. She recently moved to Seattle where she's still creating compelling content in her new role.

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