Lights, Camera, Inbound

Feb 10, 2016 | 4  min
author Pyxl Development

As inbound marketing continues to gain ample steam across industries, some marketers are still floundering to figure out how to convert their wide, possibly unorganized campaign into a streamlined, sleek inbound engine. The solution includes paying attention to the mechanics that make consumer-centric marketing campaigns flourish, like strong goals and attention to your brand’s audience. It’s time to cast your cookie-cutter campaigns aside and craft a strategy that will bring the right leads directly to your front door.

Let’s visualize your company’s front door as the marquee-lit entrance to a movie theatre. If you apply the steps that go into creating a blockbuster summer flick to an inbound marketing strategy, the touch points are similar.

It Starts with a Setting

Before producers can handle any film, there must be a story. The script is the skeleton and determines the crew you’ll need to carry it out. One of the first things a screenwriter tackles in a script is the where, and the same goes for marketers. Knowing the setting of your campaigns – the platforms and mediums you’ll be using – will help you cater them to specific audiences and markets.

In the inbound marketing world, understanding your business and formulating a strategy starts with an extensive company audit – what marketing activities are you currently running? How are they working? What are you lacking? Dissecting and analyzing everything from your website, PPC efforts and search engine optimization (SEO) to social media and email marketing will help you determine your strong points and pitfalls.

When conducting this audit, audience research is pivotal. What type of advertising did your audience respond best to? Who, primarily, engaged with your content? Analyze past metrics on your social accounts and in email campaigns, advertising and SEO. What keywords have driven the most traffic for you?

Identifying your established strengths and needs will help you gather a better understanding of the inner-workings of previous campaigns. By determining the most fruitful areas of promotion, you are effectively scouting a setting, similar to a location manager on set, and finding the best place for your business to thrive.

Scripting Your Goals

At this juncture, the script has already been written, but the inciting incidents, twists and turns are being criticized and fine-tuned. Here, you ask the most important questions: “What are our business goals?” and “How will we accomplish them?”

Just like plot points in a film, setting goals for you and your team allows you to measure success via pre-established metrics and milestones. Each goal accomplished is a defining characteristic of your campaign’s success.

Without goals, your overall strategy will fall flat and be incomplete — the turning points will pass without notice. For example, let’s say you gained 200 new Facebook likes last month – it sounds good in theory, but what’s your goal? If your account has over 200,000 likes, an additional 200 probably isn’t a big deal. By setting concrete goals, both shortcomings and strong points are laid bare, and formulating next steps becomes much simpler.

At this point, you know your market and have set your goals; you know the people you need to make the magic happen behind the scenes. Now, what’s a film without the actors?

Cast Your Personas

Imagine your inbound marketing strategy as a casting call. Casting your net wide and trying to get as many visitors as possible (qualified or not) is most accurately represented as a film producer’s “cattle call.” This type of casting allows for any and all actors to show up and audition for a role. With this tactic, you’ll have thousands of potential characters and only a handful that actually fit your ideal mold.

Now, on the flip side, what do you think happens when you give a detailed description of the type of actor you’re looking for? For example, “Calling all portly, affable, 40-50 year-old grey-haired males.” This limitation gives you a more narrow net, and thereby increases your ability to find the proper actors. By narrowing the field, you save time, effort and expense, even though you’re actually attracting fewer potential actors.

In a way, this discrepancy underlines the major difference between traditional and inbound marketing. By creating personas, or defining your target audience groups, you’ll ensure that you are targeting the right people. When defining your personas, conduct extensive research on your current, as well as ideal, customers. A fully fleshed-out persona will include their demographics, business practices, questions, pain points, goals and how your company can help.

Once the planning is finished, your role switches from producer to director. From an inbound marketing perspective, it’s time to start implementing your strategy. Are you ready to put all actors on set and get the camera rolling?

Call ‘Action!’ and Direct

With inbound marketing, creating unique campaigns is critical to your success. These campaigns are the scenes you’ll direct your personas through – they’re the segmented and custom-tailored divisions of your fully-formed marketing plan. It’s through these campaigns that you’ll work to attain the goals set in the screenwriting and goal-setting processes.

If you view your strategy from a director’s standpoint, scene-building is directly applicable to inbound marketing campaigns. Each scene, or campaign, should be crafted specifically for your personas. It’s the director’s responsibility to make sure each scene flows seamlessly to the next and still embodies the full potential of the actors within. With inbound marketing, a marketer directs a lead through the buyer’s journey, nurturing them through the funnel and ensuring they receive all the tools and content they need to make a decision.

That’s a Wrap

When everything’s said and done and your campaigns come to a close, evaluating their performance is essential. Looking back at the “film” as a whole, you may realize some things need to adjusted in the future:

  • Some casting decisions may need to change for the sequel.
    Personas might need to be tweaked — some may not have responded to your campaigns, or perhaps you need to revisit how you’re targeting them.
  • You might need to change the setting or dialogue.
    In the early planning stages, audience and market research may have been gathered from improper sources. Competitors could have been overlooked. Therefore, your goals may have been set unrealistically, considering the current state of your brand or service, and may need to be tweaked.
  • Some scenes just don’t stack up to the others.
    It could be time to revamp your campaign strategy if you didn’t see enough engagement or garner enough traction.

Regardless of the results you pull in, revisiting these metrics will give you insight into your next inbound marketing venture and help you create more successful campaigns for the future. Don’t be afraid to call “cut” on a failing campaign. However, it’s important to take the time to do your research and establish your personas and goals to help ensure your campaigns go off without a hitch. Interested in learning more about the inbound marketing process? We’d love to chat. Reach out to us today and let us know how we can help!

Updated: Apr 13, 2022

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