How to Create Your First Marketing Campaign

An effective campaign demands a great deal of time, patience and planning. If you’ve never run a marketing campaign before, it can be tough to understand all of the working parts. In this blog, we show you how to make your first digital marketing campaign a success!

Outline Your Individual/ Company Marketing Goals

Before you can plan any campaign, you need to understand and outline your overall marketing goals. Establish SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely) goals for best results. Your goal might be to gain at least 10 new clients a month or to sell 10 products per week, or to increase your individual income by 30 percent this year). Goals can be based around sales, customer satisfaction or profits. 

Determine Your Budget

Before you get started with research, you’ll want to determine a budget. Why? Because persona research often costs money, and you’ll want to include these costs as part of your campaign budget. Determining how much money you can spend early in the campaign planning process will help you determine your goals, strategy and even how much content you can create. 

Determining how much money you can spent early in the campaign planning process will help you determine your goals, strategy and even how much content you can create. Source: ImageWorks Creative

Perform Marketing Research

Describe your product or service and its features and benefits in detail, as well as how it’s different from the competition. Focus on all of the key features for your product(s) / service(s), including pricing, service, distribution and placement. Collect, organize and write down this information. Some areas to consider include:

  • Market dynamics, patterns such as seasonality
  • Product - what's currently available, what your competition is selling
  • Benchmarks in the industry
  • Potential vendors and partners that you will need to rely on

Within this step, you also need to consider your competition and develop your "unique selling proposition” (USP). What makes you different from your competitors?

Write a few sentences that state:

  • Who your key market is
  • What you’re selling
  • Your USP

These questions and exercises will help you determine your target market and how you can most effectively sell your product or service. But there are more questions you need to ask. Your next step is persona marketing research.

Determine Your Target Personas

Though determining your target personas is often a part of the market research process, it’s important enough to deserve its own step. As Yusuf Bhana, digital marketing manager for TranslateMedia, explains to CIO.com, you must ask yourself: "Who are your target customers? What are their motivations? How do they like being communicated to? Which newspapers or magazines do they read and which sites do they visit regularly? Which channels are they using? [And] if they're using social media, what are they talking about? All these questions need to be answered before developing your integrated marketing strategy.” 

How to Build Your Marketing Personas: 

  1. First, describe your ideal target customer in terms of age, gender, family composition, earnings, likes and dislikes, lifestyle, purchasing patterns, buying objections, hobbies, etc..
  2. Test your target customer assumptions. You may not always be selling to who you think you are, or you may not be reaching your full potential with this target audience. Do this through in-person or online focus groups (if you have budget!), customer surveys, quiz targeted at your followers on social media, or use social media listening or paid external surveys to get your information. Who is responding to your product/service most enthusiastically? That’s your real target market!

Information to learn about your personas includes:

  • Name of the persona
  • Job title
  • Company size and industry
  • Title/ details of role
  • Gender
  • Salary
  • Education
  • Location
  • Age
  • Education
  • Pain points
  • Goals
  • What types of content/promotion they like/dislike
  • Fears/motivations
  • Common objections during the sales processes

Blank Persona Template

Marketing Persona template filled out. Source: BufferSocial

Outline Campaign Goals

Once you’ve determined how you’ll sell your product and who you’ll sell it to, you can start to outline your specific campaign goals. Here you will define “The Big Idea” for your campaign. This idea will determine how will you connect with and convince your audience.

You will also decide whether your focus is on creating brand awareness, customer acquisition or retention and growth.Again, you should create SMARTER objectives. Keep these goals tied to measurable KPIs.

Because you already have a budget in mind for your campaign, you can tie many of your goals to a monetary value. For example, perhaps you want to spend $1,500 on Facebook ads and get X amount of views and X amount of new customers. By the time you get to the analytics portion of your campaign (more of this later!), you can easily determine your marketing ROI and see if you’ve achieved your goals.

Finally, during this step you’ll want to decide what types of content you want to be a part of your campaign. You may choose to use some of the tactics below to achieve your goals, but whatever you do, be sure to consider your personas’ preferences. Do they like to read? Watch videos? Respond well to ads? For best results, create content that can be leveraged in many formats (a blog that can be broken into an infographic or company images that can be leveraged as memes). 

A Marketing Campaign May Include the Following Elements:

  • Email
  • Social Media
  • SEO
  • PPC
  • Automation
  • Demand generation
  • Landing pages/ website/ e-commerce pages
  • Content (created, curated, etc.)
  • Events
  • Press Releases/PR
  • Analytics
  • “Direct” marketing (traditional media)-- magazines, print ads, fliers, etc.
  • CRM
  • Coupons
  • Demos/evaluations 

Successful campaigns often include many different formats. Once you’ve determined what types of content you’ll use, determine your primary offer. For example, saying you want to “increase sales” isn’t enough. Do you want more people to buy dresses from your eCommerce site, or shoes? Ensure every element of your marketing campaign "is set up to drive traffic to your ultimate target, whether your target is a website (for purchases, reservations, email newsletter subscriptions, blog RSS subscriptions, etc.) or a social network like Facebook or Twitter (for engagement)," advises Tracie Broom, partner for Flock and Rally agency.

Before you move on to the next step, make sure you have a marketing campaign calendar in place to map out when you’ll initiative each phase of your campaign.

Content Creation

You’ve done your research, and you’re ready to start writing. But you don’t have to do everything. Many companies outsource to freelance writers or agencies to do their writing so they have more time to focus on strategy. You may choose to do some or all of the writing yourself if you feel comfortable doing so, choosing to outsource some of your design. Whatever you decide, again, make sure you keep your personas in mind throughout the entire creation process. The following image via Workplaces.info shows what a truly integrated marketing campaign looks like. 

 The following image via Workplaces.info shows what a truly integrated marketing campaign looks like. Source: Workplaces.info

Promotion & Execution

Once you’ve finalized your content and received sign-off from any necessary internal parties, it’s time for promotion and execution. There are a variety of tactics you can use, including many of those listed above, such as social media, email, pay-per-click ads, public relations, telemarketing and more. Everyone who enters your sales funnel via any channel (event, telemarketing call, landing page) can prove to be valuable, even the ones who don’t purchase your product(s)/service(s) right away. However, not every channel will be right for your business. Ask yourself: What are the channels' strengths and weaknesses? How will they help me reach my business objectives?'

Train Internally

You created great content, but does the rest of your team know how to use it? Internal communications can help anyone at your organization who works indirectly or directly with customers understand what resources they have and how to most effectively use them. Survey your teams to learn how your trainings and internal communications are performing. 

Analyze

Marketing campaigns are meant to be analyzed. You need to make sure that you’re spending your money on the right tactics and sending the most effective messages. Here are some of the many ways you can analyze your campaign’s performance and how you can measure them.

  • Number of organic website visits to your content (Google Analytics)
  • Time on page (Google Analytics)
  • Email open rates and click-throughs (marketing automation software, such as Marketo)
  • Click-throughs and referrals from paid ads (Google Analytics)
  • Number of prospects earned at an event (various ways)
  • Engagement (likes, shares) on social media (paid social analytics tools such as Simply Measured, or free analytics from the social networks themselves)

Whatever way you decide to track your campaign, make sure you have enough information available to make the case to your boss (or yourself, if you’re an entrepreneur) for continued investment in marketing.

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