If you were to write a Christmas wish list for your marketing department, what would it include?
I envision mine as a “12 Days of Christmas” style countdown, that combines to create a fantastic inbound marketing campaign, all in one neat package and ready to go.
The first half of that list was published here. Not to seem too greedy, Santa, but there’s more.
6-Month Marketing Plan
While we may compartmentalize and create our inbound marketing campaigns a month at a time, it’s essential to look ahead as well. Take the time as a team to brainstorm and develop a strategy that will take you out at least six months, identifying themes, buyer personas, and content ideas. While I am a big picture person, and love this part of marketing, I’m sure some of you who like to focus in on the nitty-gritty details of creating the content would be thrilled to find a six-month plan packaged up under the tree and ready to go.
While I can’t give you a full plan right now, I will offer the structure for creating one in our Campaign Planning Calendar Template. And here are a few more blog posts to guide your planning efforts:
- 6 Crucial Decisions to Make About Your Inbound Campaigns
- Working With Your Agency or Team to Plan Content
- How to Turn Your Content Ideas Into Complete Marketing Campaigns
5 Ways of Creating Blog Posts
As the end of the year approaches, it’s easy to fall into a rut, especially when tasked with writing multiple blog posts every week. If you aren’t careful, they can all start to sound the same. Wouldn’t it be great to receive an inspirational gift that breathes new life into the grind and reverses that writers block we all experience at times?
How about this: 5 Ways to Write Blog Posts. Download these templates for five different post formats to jumpstart your creativity again (or that of your writing team).
It’s important to be creative in the rest of your content creation efforts also. These blog posts offer up ideas for changing up your blog, your downloadable offers, and your website:
- 10 Ways to Spice Up a Business Blog
- Where Marketers Find Their Content Ideas
- 25 Offers to Appeal to Every Stage of the Sales Funnel
- 5 Places to Find Business Blogging Inspiration
4 Outbound Emails
Yes, this blog is titled the Inbound Accelerator, and yes, I believe wholeheartedly in the power of inbound to use content to draw visitors in to a brand’s website rather than using in-your-face outbound tactics. But … there is an exception to every rule, right?
Outbound emails—sent to an opt-in, segmented, and relevant distribution list—are an important tool for supplementing an inbound marketing strategy. These emails, kept infrequent, useful, and relevant, are one more way of promoting downloadable assets and bringing visitors to your website.
Read more on how to use this outbound tactic to complement your inbound approach:
- Even With Inbound, Marketing Emails Matter: 10 Things to Avoid
- Do This, Not That, For Video in Marketing Emails
Video has become an essential part of marketing campaigns today, with 96 percent of B2B organizations using it in some capacity. Considering surveys that show more than half of all executives would rather watch video than read text, it just makes sense.
There are a number of ways to use video in inbound marketing: on website home pages, in blog posts, on social media, on landing pages and even in lead nurturing emails. I’d love to see an explainer video and a couple of how-to videos under the tree on Christmas Day.
Need to know more about using video for inbound? Check these posts:
- 5 Decisions to Make When Planning Video Marketing Content
- Trends in How Businesses Use Video
- What Consumers & Businesses Say About Explainer Videos
2 Downloadable Assets
The countdown of my marketing wish list is almost finished, and has brought us to the place we start when sketching out the other components of a complete inbound marketing campaign: the downloadable assets.
Downloadable assets—whitepapers, webinars, case studies, templates or even free trials of software—are the resources for which prospects trade contact information and convert into leads. It is essential that the assets you offer be something your prospects believe with be useful, providing answers to their questions and solutions to their problems.
These are often the single content pieces that require the most time, research and energy to create, but they are the foundation of the campaign, and the information you gather while creating downloadable assets can be repurposed to fuel your campaign with the other elements we’ve already discussed: blog posts, social media updates, nurturing emails and more.
Need ideas to create your own downloadable assets (since St. Nick probably won’t deliver this time around)? Inspiration:
1 Great Inbound Campaign
And … a partridge in a pear tree!
Oops, that’s not right here, and I promised my staff no singing this year.
What all of these gifts on my inbound marketing Christmas list add up to is a complete inbound marketing campaign, with all of the elements needed to attract website visitors, convert them into leads, nurture those leads, and enable sales.
I’d love to say I would give each and every one of my readers a free campaign this Christmas, but you understand. What I can give you is an example of just what one of our winning campaigns looked like, from the actual assets to the blog posts promoting them and the nurturing emails sent to leads who downloaded the offers.
You’ll find the full campaign here: Creating a Winning Inbound Program campaign sample.
Now, tell me what is on your marketing Christmas list?
A top-notch graphic designer? More budget for content creation? Someone to dig into analytics or conduct a media audit? Or just the time to sip a peppermint mocha, uninterrupted, and read your favorite blog? Tell us in the comments, and we’ll add our wishes to yours.