What is a campaign?
Small business owners have learned to segment their campaigns into three categories: traditional, digital, and social.
While each campaign type can be beneficial in your business, these different approaches can help each other very effectively when properly set up.
To understand how a campaign will be successful, you have to keep one thing in your mind: people want to be social, whichever media they consume. That’s why it’s important that you integrate a social element into all of your campaigns. This includes when you create traditional media campaigns, as well as with every interaction you have with your customers, whether in your social media posts and replies, in your ads, or printed media campaign.
Successful campaigns tend to be carefully researched, well thought-out, and focused on details and execution, rather than relying solely on a single, grand idea. Planning a successful marketing campaign starts with understanding your position in the marketplace, and ends with the minute details, such as the wording of an advertisement.
Building a contact list
The “lead magnet”
You have to ask current and potential customers to give you their email address, mailing address, phone number, or any and pretty much all info you can use to contact them. Sure, you can typically get some or all of this information when people buy from you – but you want to get this information for POTENTIAL customers, as well. These are the people who are usually curious or “just looking”, but don’t want to buy anything. You need these people to turn them into paid customers.
What if these people just swing by your store to look, or watch your website, then go away? You will likely never hear from them again, however, managed correctly, they have the potential to buy from you later. Email is typically the most powerful and cheapest way to communicate with potential customers, especially in large numbers. To encourage people to provide their email address, you should offer something in return.
Give them something valuable that they need or can use, and they will be happy to provide you with their email address.
- A study or guide about their main problem
- Product samples
- A coupon for their next purchase
- An entry into a weekly or monthly drawing
- A study
- A special price list only for them who gave their contact info
Marketing capital offense:
Not collecting potential customers’ contact info. These are people who are already interested in your product—don’t lose them!
Your main campaign will run all the time. This is where you advertise the solution you can offer to a specific problem for a specific audience. In other words, this is your core campaign.
You can advertise your hook-product, or your marketing message, instead of selling something.
Success doesn’t come overnight. You have to plant the seeds first, taking care of the garden before harvest. You can’t harvest without seeds, and without taking care of the plants until they start to bloom.
Think about marketing as a process, not a one-time-event. Plan an aggressive, effective campaign to get new customers. This is a two-step strategy. The first looks easy: that you have to spend more time with marketing (especially when your business is struggling or just getting established).
The second, to bridge the hard times, is to plan AND attain a continuous, consistent, aggressive promotion effort.
The promotion doesn’t have to be expensive. There are easy activities that communicate your message continuously to your current and potential customers. Continuous – that’s the key. If you don’t do this, you won’t have results.
Start as soon as you can. If you start your marketing campaign today – it may take a month, or several months or a year to generate profit, but if you don’t start it today, the profit will come much later, if at all.
That’s why it’s important to plan a consistent (continuously repeating the same message) marketing structure that is affordable and generates measurable results.
- Do you want better marketing?
- Is one of your goals to build your name and generate greater profits?
- Do you realize that you need a stronger marketing plan than last year?
- Are you willing to put the work in it?
The secret is do it “every day”
Looking at Facebook posts for an extra 30 minutes every day doesn’t generate profits for your business. Running errands for another 30 minutes won’t generate a profit. Watching the news, searching on the internet doesn’t help in your business.
How about taking an extra 30 minutes every day to work on your own marketing?
Work on getting new customers every day
So just to reinforce this piece of advice: If you really want more customers and a strong brand name, you have to do something with your marketing EVERY DAY.
Set aside at least 30 minutes every day to learn and create.
Just imagine how many clients you would have if you had started a year ago? So what are you waiting for? Start today!
You have to advertise this through at least two different media, all the time. For example Facebook and Google Adwords. Or the local newspaper and website banners. It depends where your potential customers are located, and the best channels to reach them.
Yes, I said all the time. As we discussed for the main marketing message earlier, that’s the one you have to keep communicating 24/7 to your target audience without changing the ad. People forget easily, and there are a lot of distractions out there. You have to be in their head as the solution to their problem at all times. And when they need a product or service you sell, they will remember you.
The secret of a main campaign is commitment. All the winners know it. If you are not committed to a marketing or advertising program, it’s probably not going to work. When you develop a marketing strategy and start to run a campaign, you have to be patient and stay with it (if it seems to be working).
Marketing capital offense:
Running campaigns ad-hoc, change the message, or don’t advertise continuously.
Occasionally, you will create seasonal campaigns to advertise one of your services, kick off a new or special offer, to promote a one-time activity, or to build relationships with your target customers.
Let’s talk about how to run a successful seasonal campaign.
- Set your marketing campaign objective and parameters
One of the very first steps is to nail down the objective and parameters of your campaign. To get started, ask yourself the following questions:
- What do you want your marketing campaign to achieve?
- In what timeframe do you want to achieve this objective?
Once you have thought about your objective and the desired timeframe, it’s time to build the rest of your foundation. For example, how do you plan to get to your objective? I’m willing to bet that you’ve got more brilliant ideas floating around than you realize—but are they getting lost in the shuffle?
Buy a notebook that you keep specifically for campaign ideas. Every time you have a new idea, or see an idea that you could use or adapt, write it down! Organizing your ideas goes a long way toward helping to identify the opportunities with the most potential.
Here are a few more things to write down as you think out the foundation of your campaign:
- How long will it take to prepare for the campaign?
- What resources will it require?
- What sort of results do you expect?
- Choose your marketing media
You have the foundation for your campaign in place, and you have an awesome idea for your campaign theme. So how do you intend to share that theme with your customers? Which communication channels are you planning to use?
Select your media carefully, and develop a campaign with multiple steps. One ad is not a campaign. One flyer is not a campaign. Plan with multiple step emails and follow up, remind your potential customers at least 4 times in at least 2 different media channel.
- Set your marketing campaign budget
How much money you have to spend on your campaign will greatly affect the marketing strategies you choose, so you need to set your marketing budget first.
There are many free marketing tools you can use, but sometimes (especially if you plan a large campaign over a short timeframe) you have to spend some money in order to make the campaign successful and make the most out of it.
- Create a time line/action plan
To make your campaign successful, you need to know what you plan to do when, and think through the order of the steps you will take. Write down every detail of your campaign, including all the steps you need to complete before you begin your campaign. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, but writing down each step will help you see if there are gaps or possible issues with the sequence or timing (did you leave enough time for printing the flyers? Will the mailer have time to arrive at customers’ homes?). In addition, having a written plan will greatly increase the chances that you follow through, and give you records to use when you go back to evaluate the success of your marketing campaign.
The following is an example for an online and offline marketing campaign for the coming month, and outlines all the steps taken prior to actually kicking off the actual campaign:
|02/01/17||Create a lead magnet||02/02/17|
|02/03/17||Create a core offer||02/05/17|
|02/07/17||Send flyers to print||02/07/17|
|02/08/17||Create landing page||02/10/17|
|02/11/17||Buy envelopes and stamps||02/11/17|
|02/12/17||Create follow up emails||02/13/17|
|02/18/17||Create Facebook live||02/18/17|
|02/19/17||Send out flyers||02/19/17|
|02/19/17||Send out emails||02/19/17|
|02/20/17||Campaign is live||02/20/17|
|02/26/17||Send up follow up flyers||02/26/17|
|02/28/17||Send out follow up emails||02/28/17|
|03/05/17||Send out product sample||03/05/17|
|03/10/17||Send out Q&A emails||03/10/17|
|03/17/17||Send out deadline reminder||03/17/17|
|03/20/17||Close the campaign||03/20/17|
|03/21/17||Thank you emails for buyers||03/21/17|
It has multiple steps that need to be taken into account, and missing one of those steps, or even doing one too early or too late, could have a big impact on the success of your campaign. However, campaigns can be this simple; simple is fine if it gets results.
By setting up your calendar, you can not only see what has to be done on a certain day or by a certain week, you can also plan out your marketing budget more easily, knowing when you need to spend what.
As you complete tasks, go back to your action plan timeline and check them off, writing in the date that you complete them. It will keep you organized and you’ll love the feeling. It’s very helpful when doing any campaign.
- Determine how you will measure success
How do you know if your campaign is successful? Many people feel that if they generate a few new customers, they succeeded. But to really know if a campaign was successful, it’s more than just whether the final objective was achieved. It’s about effectiveness of each step along the way. Could you have achieved the same end result with a lower cost, or in a faster timeframe? By modifying different elements of your campaign, could you have seen a greater number of conversions for the same investment? By measuring the results of each part of the campaign, you will see where you can tweak the campaign in the future, or if it’s a longer term campaign, possibly even make adjustments as you go.
Measuring results in online campaigns
For tracking online marketing efforts, Google Analytics is a powerful, easy-to-use tool. You can also do a lot of simple measurements yourself, such as how many people clicked on your landing page, or how many new blog or social media subscribers you have. The measurement depends on your campaign’s call to action, but measuring results online is generally pretty easy.
Measuring the impact of offline campaigns
Measuring the results of an offline campaign can be more difficult. However, tracking and monitoring your marketing efforts and advertisements will help you allocate your marketing budget into marketing campaigns that you know will work. There is nothing more devastating to a company than to spend money on an advertisement that produces little or no results.
Tracking your offline marketing efforts can give you the knowledge that you need to have when it comes to knowing what worked and what didn’t. The result is an accurate measurement of what marketing efforts were effective and no longer having to depend on inaccurate guesswork to determine where you spend your marketing budget.
So how do you track something offline? It’s not like you can be there to watch them open their mail, look at your ad in a magazine, or read a billboard. But you can take steps to be as aware as possible of how your campaign is doing. Below are just a few examples of methods you can use to monitor the effectiveness of an offline campaign element.
1. Landing pages: Create a unique landing page just for the campaign. You do not have to have a separate site for each domain, just separate landing pages. You can use subpages only for the offline campaign, such as yourcompany.com/offline-registration.
It is one of the easiest ways to track your offline advertisements to see what is working. Realize that there is still some room for error with a dedicated landing page. For example, someone could just see your brand and type in www.yourcompany.com and end up on your main site, despite being provided a URL specific to the campaign landing page. This visit wouldn’t necessarily be attributed to your campaign automatically, however, the majority should be traceable to your specific campaign.
2. Phone calls: Now let’s talking about tracking phone calls that are generated from your advertisements.
One of the best ways to evaluate the effectiveness of your advertisements and measure “call-in” volume is to use call tracking. You can use call tracking to determine your cost-per-sale and cost-per-call rate. This can help in determining which marketing campaigns are most effective. To allow this kind of tracking, each campaign must have a designated telephone number. The best is to have a separate phone number from the company’s main number.
You can use this information to see what advertisements are working and which are not. Call tracking can be used with virtually offline or traditional marketing channel: radio commercials, television commercials, direct mail, flyers, and print advertisements.
It’s important that you receive a report showing incoming calls in an itemized breakdown that shows which number was called, as well as when and what time that number was called as well as what region that call came from. This allows you to track which ad drove them to contact you, as well as provides helpful insights into the demographics of who is replying. For example, if you see high response levels from one region but not another, you may want to change your marketing approach in the low-response region.
3. Promo codes: Promo codes are another effective strategy that can offer a couple great benefits. Imagine a scenario where you run a promotion for buying a product to get a bonus, but require customers to enter a promo code online, or bring it to your store to get their free bonus.
By using a specific code for each campaign or marketing channel, you can tell what advertising communication got their attention. For example, if you sent out a direct mail campaign, you might use the promotion code “direct25”, while you might use a promo code like “insta” or “facebookfriends” for your social media efforts. Not only does the promotion entice visitors to take action, but they are essentially telling you exactly how they heard about it, so that you know which media or message of your campaign worked best.
4. Follow up surveys: While you ideally want an automated way to track the effectiveness of a specific campaign, it’s always good to get at least some degree of feedback about how people are becoming aware of you. One approach is to use a survey, or a follow-up question, when you get a new customer. It can be something as simple as “How did you hear about us?” with a multiple choice answer indicating the different marketing channels you use. It’s not nearly as precise as a promo code with a date code, but it still offers some additional information, and helps you know where customers are learning about your business. The answers may end up surprising you.
Wrapping up a campaign
When the marketing campaign is over, it’s time to see how successful it was. Go back to your marketing objective, and evaluate whether you have achieved that goal, or ideally, exceeded it. Document your successes and your failures, and use what you have learned to make the next campaign even more effective, whether it’s changing your message, adding or removing media channels, or adjusting your targeted regions or customers.