Digital marketing is a minefield for unassuming small business owners…
All you see are success stories. Whether it’s content marketing, social media, paid advertising, influencer marketing, or any other digital tactic in the playbook, everyone is crushing it.
Well, at least that’s what they want you to think.
The harsh reality of digital marketing is that it’s not as easy as it seems from the outside. Whichever tactic you choose has the potential to drain your budget and send you out of business before you can blink.
The problem is a lack of cohesiveness… complex word, simple meaning.
Cohesiveness refers to the quality of an output generated by forming a united whole.
Creating a united whole is where most businesses get digital wrong. They write a few blogs, it doesn’t work. So they run a few ads, it costs too much. So they start a Facebook page, and no one listens.
These are all “tactics” that in isolation and without a clear direction will do nothing for your business. They need to work together in one harmonious she-bang of a digital marketing strategy that combines their powers and delivers you an end outcome. (#captainplanetreference)
One way to combine a variety of digital marketing techniques in a cohesive and powerful strategy is to plan a marketing campaign.
A marketing campaign is a time-bound promotional period that has a start and end date. In-between the start and end date are compelling elements of content that build buzz and suspense in preparation for a climactic event. This climactic event taps into the persuasive influence of real and genuine scarcity.
For all of this to work, the campaign is supported by brand authority and relevant social proof of an articulated outcome.
Successful digital marketing campaigns combine the best online techniques in a consistent, compelling, and cohesive manner.
So, then, how do you plan a marketing campaign that elicits these feelings, actions, and outcomes, to actually drive bottom-line revenue for your business?
Define your goals
Ultimately, the point of your marketing campaign is all about growing your business, but you’ll want your goals to be more specific than that. Chose a clear goal, then laser-focus your campaign to achieve it.
Here are some common outcomes that marketing campaigns can help you achieve with a hypothetical goal for each:
- Increase brand awareness (Grow Facebook followers and increase website traffic by 30% in 30 days)
- Generate leads (Obtain 100 marketing qualified leads in 30 days)
- Drive sales (Turn 20% of all qualified leads into paying customers in 30 days)
- Build brand advocates (Get 10 customer testimonials within 30 days)
The goal you choose will dictate the elements of your campaign structure. Say your goal is to generate leads, your campaign should involve an email signup process. If your goal is to drive sales, you’ll probably create a special discount or promotion for new customers.
You can work towards more than one goal but articulating those goals before you plan your marketing campaign is essential to its success. It gives you a guiding light.
Choose your campaign elements and set a budget
Once you know your goal(s) for the campaign, the next step is to choose which campaign elements you will use and set a budget for each of those elements.
Here are some things to consider:
- The offer
Every marketing campaign needs an offer, what is yours going to be? Exposure to your audience? A free download? Discount? Coupon? A trial of your service?
The offer is important because it is what will persuade campaign participants to take action. It’s the thing that you are going to take away once the campaign ends in an attempt to create urgency.
If you’re running a contest or giveaway, for example, you’ll need to invest in a prize. This could be one of your products and cost you nothing beyond manufacturing costs. Or it could be something else like a gift card or tickets to a concert. Just make sure you choose a prize that truly interests your target audience.
Choosing your offer is a balancing act. It needs to be valuable enough for people to take the action you want them to, but not too valuable that you’ll break the budget.
- Content and collateral
Your campaign content is the main tool you’ll use to create awareness for your marketing campaign and encourage people to sign up, make a purchase, share your business, or whatever your goal is. This content should build authority, create suspense and buzz for your offer, and establish social proof with participants.
Decide which kind of content you’ll need (Blog posts, promotional videos, memes, photos, webinars, banner ads etc.) so you can get an idea of how much money to spend.
Content creation will likely be the bulk of your marketing investment for the campaign. For example, you may need to hire writers, graphic designers, and other professionals to create the content.
How will you get people to participate in your campaign?
Your distribution strategy is critical. It’s the way you get people to see and engage with your campaign collateral.
Marketing campaign distribution channels include:
- Email broadcasts
- Organic social media posts
- Influencer marketing
- Paid social media advertising
- Banner advertising
- PPC or search engine marketing
- Native advertising
Your budget for distribution is contextual, but at the end of the day, the more you spend here the more reach your campaign will have.
- Marketing campaign tools
You won’t get far with your campaign if you don’t have the right tools to support the planning and execution.
Here are some considerations:
- To plan your campaign elements and assign them to team members – FlypChart, Asana, Trello, or Basecamp
- To create content and collateral – Canva (images), Soapbox (video), Leadpages (landing pages), and UpWork (outsourcing)
- To manage and execute the campaign – FlypChart (email, social, and blogs), Facebook Ads Manager, and Adwords Manager
Anchor to a climax
The most important element that set a marketing campaign apart from general promotions is the climax. It has a clear start and end date that you make public to build excitement and encourage a specific outcome that aligns with your goal.
If you’re offering a special discount or sale, make sure your end-date is clearly visible in your promotional material. Same goes if you’re running a contest or sweepstakes campaign.
Even if your marketing campaign doesn’t need to have an end-date, you should create one. This creates novelty and scarcity that helps drive interest in your campaign. Just look at the famous #ShareaCoke campaign as an example:
They switched out the Coca-Cola logo with popular names and encouraged people to share their stories on social media. It was a limited-time campaign but generated 235,000 tweets using the hashtag while it was running.
If they kept the campaign going, eventually the novelty would wear off and so would the buzz. Since then they’ve brought the campaign back to feature cities around the world.
If you want, you can have a secondary climax (the down-sell) to get more out of your marketing campaign. For example, if people missed your buy-one-get-one-free sale, they could still take advantage of a 10% discount on their next purchase.
Your offer, content, collateral, and distribution should all anchor to this climactic event.
Plan your campaign, put it in a calendar, and schedule it
It’s all very well to know your goals, offer, content, distribution channels, tools, and climactic event, but when is this all going to happen?
Before you kick things into gear, plan out the key dates for all the moving parts in your campaign. You may want to create a workflow for this. For example, each piece of content could go through the same process:
- Assign to a copywriter
- Draft copywriting
- Assign to a designer
- Draft design
- Assign to an editor
- Proofread and edit
- Assign to the decision maker
- Finalize and approve for publication
Put all of this into a calendar, project management software, or a campaign planning tool like FlypChart which can handle the whole process.
The below video shows how this workflow could work in FlypChart:
Running a marketing campaign is just as much a science as it is an art… you need to plan for it to be successful.
Follow these tips to plan your next marketing campaign and you will start to build a cohesive digital marketing strategy, rather than the disjointed set of tactics you’re probably using right now.
Analyze your efforts, learn from your audience and tweak your campaigns as you go along to improve performance. Before long, your marketing campaigns will start driving serious growth beyond your bottom-line needs.