Jul 14, 2020

4 Simple Tests Every Inbound Campaign Must Pass to Succeed

By: Ash Hoffman

Inbound Marketing

We’ve been managing and conducting inbound marketing campaigns for dozens of clients for the past 6+ years. During that time, we’ve learned a number of key lessons when it comes to creating and executing a successful inbound marketing campaign.

As you may know, not all inbound marketing campaigns are created equal. In fact, many fail due to outdated practices, moving too soon (or not soon enough) into the selling process, and focusing too much on the company producing them rather than the person engaging with them. 

While are many things that contribute to the success of your marketing campaign, we'd encourage you to think about these top 4 we’ve experienced with our clients.

Read Next: Generate The Right Leads. Build Trust. Achieve Breakthrough Growth.

1. It Adds Value And Leaves Something Behind

The whole idea of inbound marketing is to get the person/organization you’re targeting to want to talk to you. 

We, as human beings, are naturally selfish. In our jobs, we care about what will get us the next promotion. In our lives, we’re constantly trying to improve ourselves by reading books, exercising more often, and striving to find that perfect partner. So if you want your inbound campaign to work, it must add value to your persona’s life. 

It should also leave something behind that gets them to remember you later on, even if they aren’t ready to buy now. 

Think about the last good book you read or the last great movie you watched. Remember that “story hangover” you had, where you could simply not get your head out of the world of the story? Do that with your marketing. 

Here are a few things you can do to increase the value of your marketing & aim for a “campaign hangover”:

  1. Keep your persona’s pain point top of mind as you’re creating content. Speak directly to that pain point in your messaging to them.
  2. Incorporate storytelling in your content. This has proven to not only be more engaging, but also more memorable.
  3. Evoke an emotion. In Jonah Berger’s book, Contagious: Why Things Catch On, he explains that, “the most viral articles usually included high arousal emotions. The articles that were shared the most in his analysis of the NY Times Most Emailed list were articles that provoked awe, excitement, amusement, anger, or anxiety.” (Source)

2. It Ties In With The Overall Brand Message

Whether you’re producing 50 individual inbound campaigns per year or 2, there’s one thing that must tie each and every one of them together: your brand.

One of the clients we work with frequently partners with other brands to promote their offerings. This method has proven to be successful, but it has the added challenge of incorporating other brand messages into the campaign. Left unchecked, this can become a big problem, as each campaign may seem like it comes from a completely different company than the last.  

The best way to ensure your campaigns tie in with your overall brand message is to have it written down,  distributed to all content creators, and to check it as a part of the post-production process.

As you review content that is getting ready to be published, ask yourself one question: Does this accomplish our brand objective? Does it capture the essence of our brand message?

If the answer is no, then you may need to either reframe the content or scrap it altogether.

Note: There is a common misconception that the branding process must take years to pull off successfully. That’s not always the case. Check out our free eBook, The Secret to an Accelerated Branding Process, to learn more.

3. It Has a Clear Call-to-Action and Next Steps

The content that makes up your inbound marketing campaign should be as engaging and as memorable as your favorite book or movie. But that’s where the similarity ends. 

Books and movies don’t have a clear next step. A clear call-to-action that informs you what you should do after consuming the content. Instead, the purpose of that content is purely to entertain, or maybe to educate. But once the last page has been flipped or the credits have rolled, it’s up to you to decide what to do next.

Creating purely entertaining content is fine for engagement purposes. But if it doesn’t pass the person to the next phase of the buyer’s journey effectively, then it’s more like those books cluttering up your shelf rather than the solution to your buyer’s needs and desires. 

As you build out your campaign, think about how each element of it interacts with the other. Consider it from the perspective of the buyer’s journey — how is each component going to push the buyer to the next phase? Then, as you create and launch the content, make sure that the end of each one has a clear call-to-action. A clear next step to get them to the finish line.

4. It’s in Alignment With Sales Team Activities

Finally, it’s important to note that an inbound marketing campaign does not exist in a vacuum. Just like your content isn’t there to simply entertain, your campaign isn’t there to simply capture leads. Instead, it must nurture and qualify those leads so that by the time they reach the sales team, they’re ready to cross over to the finish line. 

Anyone who’s worked in marketing or sales knows that the two departments don’t always play nice together. Yet, collaboration is essential if you want your inbound marketing to thrive. 

The sales team typically works closely and communicates with the clients and the buyers every single day. They are the ones who know their pain points by heart and can speak to exactly how your product or service can solve for them. They also know what a qualified lead looks like and can help guide that process.

Setting up monthly smarketing meetings is the first step to ensuring both the marketing and the sales teams are on the same page. The sales team can provide the insight that will boost the quality of the leads, while the marketing can provide the knowledge and strategy to get those leads.


Is your inbound marketing campaign having trouble getting off the ground? Are all the leads you’re getting from it far from the high-quality ones you need? Check out our FREE guide to learn how to generate the right leads. 

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