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The 4 Phases of a Successful Inbound Marketing Campaign

Katelyn Ahern Digital Project Manager
#Digital Marketing, #Inbound Marketing, #HubSpot
Published on May 10, 2018

We look at how marketers can use HubSpot's Campaign tool to get the most out of each of the 4 phases of a campaign.

Launching new campaigns includes many moving parts. On top of ensuring that all of the campaign’s pieces are mapped out properly and created in time for the big launch day, you’ll also want to include a way to track whether each part of the campaign is performing as expected, or whether anything could use some tweaking to provide more value to your contacts.

Using HubSpot to create the different pieces of your campaign already provides an aligned way to get insightful analytics. On top of that, you can use the campaigns tool within your HubSpot portal to track all pieces of a single campaign in one place. This gives you a high level view of all a campaign’s statistics, allowing you to implement continuous improvement over time and accelerate the value of that campaign for your contacts.

When using the HubSpot Campaign tool to prepare a new campaign for launch, I look at the project in 4 phases. Let’s look at each of these phases in detail:

Phase 1: Setup

The campaign setup phase includes several tasks that provide a solid foundation for your campaign. These answers will not only set the direction of your campaign, but they will also help decide on other aspects of the campaign as you create the remaining pieces. During the setup phase, you will define the following:

  • The campaign start date, end date, budget, and description
  • A reevaluation schedule, mapping how often you pull the campaign analytics (see more in phase 4 below)
  • Buyer persona(s) that the campaign is targeting
  • Your goals for the campaign
  • Top keywords for the campaign

Defining these elements will not only get your campaign started on the right foot, but it will help your entire team to stay on the same page when making content and workflow decisions as the campaign gets built out. Use this phase as an important stepping stone in getting your team and any other departments in your company all on the same page.

Phase 2: Messaging

The messaging phase is really the meat and potatoes of your campaign. This is when you will be creating valuable offers for your ideal audience members and setting up the automation functionality to have HubSpot deliver this content on a schedule that continues to provide value for your contacts. Although the offers you create will depend on your particular campaign goals and audience, a few items that will be created during this phase include:

  • Offer content (eBook, video, tip sheets, etc.)
  • Landing pages for easy conversion on offers
  • Follow-up emails (Thank you emails and additional valuable content that pertains to the campaign’s subject)
  • Lead nurturing workflow automation (be sure to choose the email quantity and frequency wisely to match the expectations of your buyer persona(s). It is also extremely important to ensure that these follow-up emails provide value for your intended audience)

During this phase, the number one aspect to focus on is the value which each piece of content provides to your intended audience. After that is nailed down, then we suggest ensuring that the content of your landing pages is created with Search Engine Optimization (SE0) in mind and includes the keywords that were decided on in Phase 1, when it makes sense. This order of importance keeps your audience in mind first and then factors in search engines second.

Phase 3: Promotion

Although the campaign promotion phase comes after the content is already created, it can still include many tasks and will need to be thought out thoroughly. This phase is not only about getting the word out that you have awesome new content to share, but creating a promotion strategy behind that content that gets the message in front of the right audience, namely the people who will actually benefit from this information. Some of the potential pieces that will need to be created during this phase include:

  • Blog(s) related to the new content offer(s)
  • Calls-to-action for new content offer(s)
    • Note: CTAs might be placed in your blog or other sections of your website
  • Promotional emails
  • Social media messaging
  • Paid search and other channels (if applicable)

When planning and creating your campaign promotion phase, do not forget to reference the decisions that you made in phase 1. These will be your guides in deciding what channels you should participate in, how much content will be needed for those channels, and the direction of your messaging for all of the above tasks. This is also an area that may be frequently adjusted based on the campaign reporting done throughout phase 4.

Phase 4: Reporting

This is the last phase of a campaign, and it can last quite a bit longer than the previous three phases. This phase is often overlooked, but it is an incredibly important phase of all campaigns, and it will be repeated following the reevaluation schedule that was decided upon in phase 1. Reports created in this phase will be monitored against the goals that were set in phase 1 (although there are times that those goals are uncovered as unrealistic at this point in the campaign).

Right after the launch of your campaign, I suggest checking in on your data to ensure that all your tracking has been set up properly. This also allows you to see if there are any obvious areas that are not getting any attention, and it gives you an opportunity to diagnose any errors quickly, ensuring that you do not lose any analytical data over the course of the entire campaign.

After performing that double check of the functionality on your campaign pieces, stick to your reevaluation schedule and make sure to make small, trackable changes when needed. There is nothing worse than making changes and not being able to explain what the change was that impacted the success of the campaign.

When you are performing reevaluations of your campaign, HubSpot comes in handy. They released a new feature called the Campaign Analytics tool which helps marketers measure sessions, new contacts that resulted from the campaign, influenced contacts, influence deals and influence revenue (really helpful when measuring the ROI of your inbound marketing campaign).

Within the HubSpot Campaigns tool itself, you can get some more granular data on each individual piece of your campaign. This is a great starting point for campaign analysis, allowing you to see what is working and what can benefit from some changes.

There are a lot of moving parts when launching a new inbound marketing campaign. Keeping track of all the to-dos before your go-live date can be overwhelming, but in order to help you out, we’ve put together a checklist to keep all your tasks in order. Please feel free to share any questions or campaign tips of your own in the comments below, and I'm wishing you a happy inbound campaign!