Years ago, running a marketing campaign meant developing creative, writing a cheque, and crossing your fingers that results would follow.

Today, the channels that marketers use are different, but many of the same problems remain: disconnected tools and channels mean it’s tough to measure results, and the experience for your leads often feels disconnected.

That’s where inbound marketing comes in. Unlike traditional marketing campaigns, inbound marketing campaigns are designed around one goal, across a variety of connected channels.

So whether you’re planning your marketing strategy as a whole or developing a specific marketing campaign to achieve a particular goal, we’ve put together a little plan to reduce a daunting task to a manageable one.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to take a campaign from ideation to launch, so you can start seeing results sooner rather than later.


Inbound marketing campaigns are concentrated efforts that align all of your marketing channels around a single message and goal.

It starts with a marketing offer — something valuable and relevant for your audience that you promote through your marketing channels.

Then, you nurture the leads from that offer and move them along your marketing funnel so they can become your customers.

How is an inbound marketing campaign different from a traditional marketing campaign?

An inbound marketing campaign:

Starts with the customer in mind. An inbound campaign is built to attract, not to annoy. It takes every stage of your funnel into account to generate new, interested leads and turns them into quality leads and happy customers through relevant, compelling content.

Uses integrated tools to connect everything. An inbound campaign uses interconnected tools to weave context about a lead into every channel and every tool. The result is a smooth, personalised experience for buyers, better results for marketers and salespeople.

Works in any situation. Any campaign can be an inbound campaign. Whether you are starting with a webinar, a product launch, or a new list of leads, you can apply the inbound marketing campaign framework to organise and improve your effort.


When it comes time to brainstorm a campaign idea, unleashing your creativity can be easier said than done — especially if you’re brainstorming in a group setting.

In order to keep the ideas flowing and have more productive brainstorms, you need to account for different personality types, points of view, and preferred ways of learning. On top of that, you also need to be thinking about your potential customer’s pain points, preferred content formats, stage in the buyer’s journey, etc.

To help you conduct a better brainstorm session for your next campaign, consider the following tips:

Invite a diverse group of people. Invite new people from other teams to your brainstorms — people with different skill sets and experiences to help get you out of your rut and see things in a new way. It’ll give you that great mix of new perspectives and contextual knowledge that’ll help you land on ideas that are both original and doable.

Provide context and goals well before the meeting. Offer any pertinent information at least two business days in advance so people have a fighting chance at actually being prepared for the brainstorm.

Ask people to come prepared. By asking group members to bring a few ideas to the table, you create a launching point for more ideas to surface. To enforce this, you might want to pass around a spreadsheet for collecting ideas prior to the meeting.

Don’t be afraid to say “no” to the bad ideas. Squashing bad ideas could lead people to fear speaking up, missing out on good ideas as a result. But if you’re giving every idea equal due regardless of merit, then you get off-track real fast and end up down a bad idea rabbit hole.

Provide a place for anonymous submissions. For some people, the “right” format might be an anonymous submission. Provide a place for anonymous idea submission both before and after the meeting. People might have some ideas that they’re reticent to bring up in front of the group.

Want more brainstorming advice? Check out the tips outlined in this quick video:


Your persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.

When creating your persona(s), consider including customer demographics, behaviour patterns, motivations, and goals. The more detailed you are, the better.

Your campaign personas provide tremendous structure and insight for your content. A detailed buyer persona will help you determine where to focus your time, guide product development, and allow for alignment across the organization. As a result, you will be able to attract the most valuable visitors, leads, and customers to your business.


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To create marketing personas for your campaign, use the following questions to help put yourself in the shoes of your typical customer and determine your persona’s role, goals, challenges, company, and more.

Try to answer all of the questions here and then come up with some of your own. Don’t be surprised if you discover two or more distinct personas emerging from your research; that’s exactly what this exercise is meant to uncover.


What is your job role? Your job title?

How is your job measured?

What is a typical day?

What skills are required?

What knowledge and tools do you use?

Who do you report to? Who reports to you?


What are you responsible for?

What does it mean to be successful in your role?


What are your biggest challenges?

How do you overcome these challenges?


What industry or industries does your company work in?

What is the size of your company (revenue, employees)?


How do you learn about new information for your job?

What publications or blogs do you read?

What associations and social networks do you belong to?



Family (single, married, children)



How do you prefer to interact with vendors (email, phone, in person)?

Do you use the internet to research vendors or products? If yes, how do you search for information? What types of websites do you use?


Goals are an essential part of the potential success of your campaign. They provide structure and purpose — and something to work towards. However, nailing down effective goals requires a bit of thought and planning.

Luckily there’s a “smart” way to approach goal setting that makes aims to simplify it a bit:

Specific – Your goal should be unambiguous and communicate what is expected, why it is important, who’s involved, where it is going to happen and which constraints are in place.

Measurable – Your goal should have concrete criteria for measuring progress and reaching the goal.

Attainable – Your goal should be realistic and possible for your team to reach.

Relevant – Your goal should matter to your business and address a core initiative.

Timely – You should have an expected date that you will reach the goal.

Once you set your goals, don’t forget to share them with your larger team to ensure everyone is on the same page about the campaign expectations.

Sharing your goals with your team does a few things for you:


Creating quality offers is the key to generating quality leads. So when it comes time to actually create the substance of your campaign, you want to make sure you’ve really thought through the context, format, and positioning.

The good news is, there is no shortage of content types for you to choose from when designing your campaign offer:


1. Is this offer valuable to your target audience?

First and foremost, you should know that you’re not going to hit the nail on the head every single time. Getting to know the content topics and formats that actually resonate with your audience requires a little bit of trial and error — and a lot of research.

But there are a few things you can do to set yourself up for success here:

2. Does this offer align with your business goals?

Aligning your offer with your audience and your marketing goals in one thing, but what about your business goals? How does the campaign you’re crafting fit into the bigger picture?

To ensure you’re on the right track here, ask yourself: What is driving the marketing goals for this campaign?

For example, if increased traffic is your marketing campaign goal, ask yourself: How will an increase in website traffic help us grow as a business?

By clearly drawing the lines back to the advancement of your business, you a) eliminate the risk of creating content just for the sake of creating content, and b) ground the value of your efforts in reality.

3. Is this offer targeted to the right person at the right time?

This is where content mapping — the process in which you decide what content is most appropriate for a person to receive at a given time — comes into play. To understand content mapping for inbound marketing campaigns, you first need to understand the buying cycle, which can be broken down into three stages:

Awareness: Leads have either become aware of your product or service, or they have become aware that they have a need that must be fulfilled.

Evaluation: Leads are aware that your product or service could fulfil their need, and they are trying to determine whether you are the best fit.

Purchase: Leads are ready to make a purchase.

Ultimately, the goals of your campaign should align with the stage of the buying cycle that you target, which will then inform your content format. To determine the types of content that are aligned with the stage you’re targeting, reference this table of assets:


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In the world of inbound marketing campaigns, a conversion path refers to the process by which an anonymous website visitor becomes a known lead.

A conversion path is comprised of a content offer, call-to-action, landing page, thank you page, and sometimes a kickback email.

In order to convert into a lead, a visitor sees a content offer of interest to them (that’s your remarkable content), clicks on the call-to-action button to access that content, and is then taken to a landing page. On that landing page, the visitor can provide their information on a form in exchange for access to the offer itself. Upon submitting that form, the now-lead is taken to a thank-you page where they receive the offer.


A call-to-action (CTA) is an image or line of text that prompts your visitors, leads, and customers to take action. It is, quite literally, a “call” to take an “action.”

Here are a few examples to get the wheels turning:

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Here’s an example of a standard ebook promo CTA that you would find at the bottom of a blog post. inbound marketing Here’s an example of a slide-in style CTA that would trigger on a website page or blog post to promote an offer. inbound marketing Here’s an example of a homepage CTA button being used to direct people to a campaign landing page


When creating a call-to-action to support your campaign conversion path, consider the following:

Use actionable language. When you’re designing CTAs, effective copy all boils down to using action-oriented, second-person verbs. Use verbs like “discover, unearth, find” instead of ones like “be smarter.”

Align CTA copy with landing page copy. When you’re creating CTA copy, you also want to make sure your CTA copy and your landing page copy align. The name of the thing you are promoting — whether it’s a free ebook, whitepaper, template, guide, crash course, or presentation — should align with the name of it on the landing page.

Create a highly contrasting design. Calls-to-action shouldn’t blend in with the rest of your website design. While fonts and colours should align with your style guide, the way you combine these elements should make the design pop from the rest of the page.

Personalize CTAs for different segments of your audience. Create more context by tailoring CTAs to appear differently for specific audiences. For example, your visitors can see one thing, your leads can see another, and your customers can see something else altogether. (Note: This type of personalization will require marketing automation software.)


While having a landing page in place is a necessary step in the creation of an inbound marketing campaign, your landing page needs to do more than just exist. To drive results, you need to design a page that is intentional and action-oriented.

Here are a few examples of intentional, optimized landing pages to give you a sense of what to expect:


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This landing page employs a high-contrast CTA button, five simple form fields, and supporting visual elements.


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This landing page leverages a concise headline, an enticing question, and clearly defined bullet points.


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This landing page keeps the focus on the form by providing an ultra-simple layout with a contrasting button.


To help you get started, here are seven landing page best practices to guide your efforts:

Limit navigation. Limit the number of exits from your landing page so that your visitors are focused on filling out your form. A key part of this is to hide your website navigation elements on landing pages.

Deliver value. When designing your landing pages, get straight to the point. People came to the page for a reason, so make sure you address that reason clearly and succinctly by highlighting the value of what you’re offering and how it addresses their needs, interests, or problems.

Optimise the form. You want to make it as easy as possible for a website visitor to become a lead, but if your form is too short, then those many more leads might be much lower quality. The solution? Find the perfect length for your needs by conducting a few A/B tests.

Leverage contrast. Using complementary and contrasting colours is a great way to call a visitor’s attention to exactly where you want it.

Incorporate social proof. Consider embedding tweets from users who have downloaded your content and said complimentary things about it, or ask if you can quote someone who sent a nice follow-up email.


The second stop on the conversion path is the thank-you page or the page where your visitors will actually access the offer. Much like the landing page, the thank-you page should be intentionally designed to deliver the offer and encourage more engagement with your business.

Let’s take a look at a few examples so you can get a sense of how this page should take shape:


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This thank-you page offers a clear download button, a next step, and social proof. inbound marketing This thank-you page serves up the content, then directs new leads to the blog to advance their learning. inbound marketing This thank-you page offers a secondary conversion point designed to move visitors further down the funnel.

Feeling inspired? Here are a few takeaways to consider when putting together your campaign thank-you page:

Start with a confirmation. Let your visitors know that their submission went through and that you’re thankful for their interest.

Explain how to access the offer. Be really clear about how the offer can be accessed, whether that means download instructions, a link to bookmark, etc.

Provide a secondary offer or piece of content. While you have their attention, introduce an offer designed to push visitors further down the funnel — like a demo, coupon code, or consultation.

Reintroduce your navigation. While you want to hide the main nav on your landing page to keep visitors focused on the conversion point, reintroducing the nav on the thank you page provides visitors with more to explore.


Let’s recap. At this point, your visitor has visited a landing page promoting your campaign offering and submitted their contact information via a form. Then, they were directed to a thank-you page where they got their hands on the actual offer and were presented with a secondary piece of content.

Now there’s only one thing left to do to complete the conversion: send the kickback email.

A kickback email is typically triggered via marketing automation after a visitor submits a form on your website. The purpose of this email is to deliver a link to the content they requested so they can access it at any time via their inbox.

To help you get a handle on what this should look like, reference these examples:

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This kickback email serves up a link to the offer alongside a recap of what the reader can expect.


Inbound marketing This kickback email is simple and direct, with a bright red CTA to encourage action. inbound marketing This LinkedIn kickback email provides a link to the download and encourages more engagement by inviting new leads to subscribe.


As you can tell, the goal is to keep these email simple. To help you get a handle on what this should look like, reference these best practices:

Serve up the goods. Again, the purpose of this email is to deliver the content offer so the recipient doesn’t have to go searching for the PDF file every time they want to access the resource. Keep it simple by providing them with the offer straight away.

Add social sharing. Encourage those that have already downloaded your offer to share it with their network by providing social sharing buttons at the end of your email.

Introduce a secondary call-to-action. Don’t be afraid of optimizing your kickback emails to encourage secondary conversions, when appropriate. This can be done by including calls-to-action for high-value marketing offers that will move your leads further along in the sales cycle, such as a consultation with your sales team or a free trial of your product.


Now that the mechanics of your campaign are in place, it’s time to share it with the world. But before you go ahead and set it live, there are a few more boxes to check.


Before you start pushing traffic to your campaign, it’s always a good idea to go through the process yourself to make sure that everything is working the way it should be. A campaign has a lot of moving pieces, and it’s easy to forget or overlook the small details.

You may even want to have a few other folks in your company convert on your landing page and kick the tires of your campaign too as an added assurance that everything is working properly.

Once you’ve completed your testing, you’re ready to set the campaign live and start spreading the word.



Posting on social media is probably something you’re already doing — but below are a few strategic ways you can leverage your social media accounts to promote your campaign:

Create a Snapchat or Instagram Story introducing your campaign. If possible, incorporate an element of engagement to get your audience participating and sharing.

Change your cover photo to be branded for the piece of content you just launched. This increases brand awareness of the campaign.


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Pin a tweet to the top of your page that has a link to the landing page and an image with the same branding as the cover photo.

Create a hashtag for the campaign. This allows you to monitor conversations around the content and answer any questions specific to the content.


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Join a group and start a discussion. Pose a discussion question related to your content campaign in a relevant group on LinkedIn — but don’t post your content. Check back in a few days, and if the campaign adds value to the discussion that follows, then introduce it.


Lots of people overlook how they can optimize their website to promote new offers and campaigns — but it’s most likely one of your biggest marketing assets.

Here are a few things you can do to take advantage of that:

Create a CTA on your homepage or log-in screen. Your homepage is likely the highest trafficked page on your site, so take advantage of this high volume of viewers.

Create a content library to house all of your resources. Note: a content library is a page on your site dedicated to the content and campaigns you create.


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Leverage related pages within your site. Include a link to the offer to download on product pages or thank-you pages that align with the topic.


Blogging drives traffic to your landing pages and website better than any other tool. Why? Each time you blog, you give Google and other search engines one more opportunity to find you. Each blog posts gives you the opportunity to rank for more and more keywords and grow your reach.

If you want to use your blog as a promotion channel for your campaign, here are a few ideas:

Write 3-5+ piece of blog content related to your campaign. Within the blog post, link to the landing page for people to download. It’s best to write posts that target a high-traffic keyword, so you can attract organic visitors that are new to your business.

Create a CTA at the bottom of each blog post that links to the offer — but don’t stop there. Experiment with slide-in CTAs, anchor text CTAs, and more to provide visitors with multiple conversion points.


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Guest blog on related sites to increase awareness. Not only are you reaching a new audience, you are also increasing the number of inbound links to your content.

Encourage social sharing of blog posts as well with built-in social share buttons and tweetable quotes.


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Optimizing your content to be found on search engines can be very beneficial to your business.

Here are few things to try:

Increase traffic from search engines by optimizing your page for the keywords you want to rank for. This doesn’t mean you should be keyword stuffing your landing pages — just make sure your page title, landing page copy, and URL follow these rules for search engine optimization.

Create a topic cluster with your campaign landing page serving as the pillar page. The topic cluster model, at its core, is a way of organizing a site’s content pages using a cleaner and more deliberate site architecture.

Optimise your landing page or promotional blog articles for Google’s featured snippet to increase traction on SERPs. A Featured Snippet is shown in some search engine results pages (SERPs), usually when a question-based query is being searched for. The snippet displays content from within one of the pages ranking on page one that directly answers the question searched for on the SERP.


Emailing segments of your current database will not only increase their engagement with your company, it will also generate new leads through the sharing power of your database.

Here are a few tips for using email to promote your campaign:


inbound marketing

Include a lazy tweet in emails, so that all people need to do is click once to share the tweet with their networks.

Leverage your network. Reach out directly to some friends and influencers in your industry, and ask them to share the content with their audience if they found it valuable. To make it easier for them, have lazy tweets or email copy ready for them to use.


You can also use paid marketing opportunities to amplify the message you already have on social media:

Facebook Ads. Make your ads very targeted to ensure your money is spent in the most efficient way. You can also use Facebook’s Lookalike Audiences to promote content people similar to your fans.


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Instagram Ads. In addition to an Instagram marketing strategy, campaign ads on Instagram can be used to complement your ongoing content posting schedule.

LinkedIn Sponsored Content. Sponsored Content can be used to help surface relevant content for quality prospects in your target business-to-business market.


The reach of the employees within your company may be larger than you think.

Capitalise on this, and make it easy for your employees to share your new lead gen content, too.

Send an internal email after the content is live. Include a brief explanation, link to the landing page and thank-you page, supply them with lazy tweets to use, and ask them to share the content with their audience on any social media platform.

Ask executives to send a special, personalised message to their audience (if it is relevant).


You did it. You launched an inbound marketing campaign. But that doesn’t mean it’s time to pack it in quite yet.

In fact, it’s not until after the campaign launches that a lot of the really interesting work comes into play. But when it comes to measuring and reporting on your campaign results, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

After all, there are tons of metrics that you can report on — visits to your website, conversions, leads from different channels, and more. The key to getting started here is to revisit your campaign goals and start by zooming in on the metrics tied directly to them.


Simple Marketing Metrics:

More Advanced Marketing Metrics:

Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC)

This is your total Sales and Marketing cost: Add up all the program or advertising spend, plus salaries, plus commissions and bonuses, plus overhead within a given time period. Then, divide it by the number of new customers in that same time period.

For instance, if you spent £300,000 on Sales and Marketing in a month and added 30 customers that month, then your CAC is £10,000.

Marketing Percentage of Customer Acquisition Cost (M%-CAC)

We compute the marketing portion of CAC and call it M-CAC, and then compute that as a percentage of the overall CAC. The M%-CAC is interesting to watch over time, and any change signals that something has changed in either your strategy or your effectiveness.

For instance, an increase either means that 1) you are spending too much on marketing, 2) sales costs are lower because they missed quota, or 3) you are trying to raise sales productivity by spending more on marketing and providing more and higher-quality leads to Sales.

For a company that does mostly outside sales with a long and complicated sales cycle, M%-CAC might be only 10-20%. For companies that have an inside sales team and a less complicated sales process, M%-CAC might be more like 20-50%. And for companies that have a low cost and simpler sales cycle where sales are somewhat humanless, the M%-CAC might be more like 60-90%.

Ratio of Customer Lifetime Value to CAC (LTV:CAC)

For companies that have a recurring revenue stream from their customers, or even any way for customers to make a repeat purchase, you need to estimate the current value of a customer and compare that to what you spent to acquire that new customer.

To compute the LTV, you need to take the revenue the customer pays you in a period, subtract out the gross margin, and then divide by the estimated churn percentage (cancellation rate) for that customer. So, for a type of customer who pays you £100,000 per year where your gross margin on the revenue is 70%, and that customer type is predicted to cancel at a rate of 16% per year, then the LTV is £437,500.

Now, once you have the LTV and the CAC, you compute the ratio of the two. If it cost you $100,000 to acquire this customer with an LTV of $437,500, then your LTV:CAC is 4.4 to 1. For growing SaaS companies, most investors and board members want this ratio to be greater than 3X — because a higher ratio means your sales and marketing teams have a higher ROI.

Higher is not always better, though. When the ratio is too high, you might want to spend more on Sales and Marketing to grow faster, because you are restraining your growth by under-spending, and making life easy for your competition.

Time to Payback CAC

This is the number of months it takes you to earn back the CAC you spent to get a new customer. You take the CAC and divide by margin-adjusted revenue per month for the average new customer you just signed up, and the resulting number is the number of months to payback.

In industries where customers pay one time up-front, this metric is less relevant, because the upfront payment should be greater than the CAC — otherwise, you’re losing money on every customer. On the other hand, in industries where customers pay a monthly or annual fee (as is the case for many SaaS companies like HubSpot), you usually want the payback time to be under 12 months, meaning that you become “profitable” on a new customer in under a year, and after that, you start making money.

Marketing-Originated Customer Percentage

This ratio shows what percentage of your new business is driven by marketing efforts. To compute it, take all of the new customers you signed up in a period, and look at what percentage of them started with a lead that the marketing team generated. This is much, much easier to do when you have a closed-loop marketing analytics system, but you can do it manually — just know it will be time-consuming.

What we like about this metric is that it directly shows what portion of the overall customer acquisition originated in Marketing, and it is often higher than what you might think. In our experience, this number varies widely from company to company. For companies with an outside sales team supported by an inside sales team with cold callers, this percentage might be pretty small, perhaps 20-40%. But for a company with an inside sales team that is supported by a lot of lead generation from Marketing, it might be as high as 40-80%.

Note: You can also compute this percentage using revenue instead of customers, depending on how you prefer to look at your business.

Marketing Influenced Customer Percentage

This number is similar to the Marketing Originated Customer Percentage, but it adds in all the new customers in cases where Marketing touched and nurtured the lead at any point during the sales process, not only by originating the lead.

For instance, if a salesperson found a lead, but then the lead attended a marketing event and then later closed, that new customer was influenced by Marketing. This number is obviously higher than the “Originated” percentage, and for most companies, we think this number should be between 50% and 99%.


Channels Breakdown:

Channel Effectiveness Metrics:

Month-to-Date (MTD) Goal Per Channel

How closely are you measuring the growth and progress of each channel? For example, are you on a mission to scale social media as a lead generation channel? Or maybe email marketing? Let’s say you set a goal to generate 100 leads via social media in March. By using your handy leads per business day metric, you can set daily goals to help you there. This is a numerical-only version of the waterfall chart above, but it could also easily be graphed to help you have a visual representation.

This metric is also a great tool to incentivize, say, your blog team to hit a lead goal for their own channel. Now it’s easier for them to do it because they can actively track their daily progress.

Close Rate Per Channel

Every marketer should understand what channels work best for their business from a customer acquisition standpoint. Maybe SEO is your best volume-producing lead generation channel for your business, and social media is one of your smallest.

Regardless of lead volume, it’s possible that social is driving more customers for your business. How, you might wonder? Perhaps the close rate of leads generated via social media is significantly higher than leads generated via SEO … so much so that SEO’s volume isn’t enough to make up the difference. That high close rate is also a very strong indicator of the quality of those leads coming from that channel. In other words, do more on that channel! It’s your sweet spot.

Paid vs. Organic Lead Percentage

Lots of marketers group their channel analysis into larger buckets — for example, “paid” and “organic” might be separated for analysis. The paid bucket is any marketing that you spend money on (aside from employee time), like social advertising, sponsored newsletters, etc. Organic is the opposite; it’s all leads that you generate without cost other than your team’s time. Blogging, SEO, social media, and email marketing fall into that bucket.

So if you’re a marketing director using both of these “types” of lead generation, you probably want to keep a close watch on how much of your leads are coming from one bucket over the other. You might also set a goal to decrease paid channels as a lead source over time. Measure what percentage of your leads come from each bucket to get a sense for how your organic efforts are working for you, and if you are scaling to reduce your dependency on advertising.


Inbound campaigns are an impressive feat once you have all channels firing toward the same end goal.

While this playbook walked through an effort to generate leads interested in a particular focus area, you could replicate this campaign for a product launch, major event registration, or other time-bound goal.

The trick is, keep your campaigns focused and powerful. And at the conclusion of your campaign, don’t forget to report and reflect on the totality of your work to inform how you might adapt the inbound framework to produce even better results for your next campaign.