Small businesses are always on the look out for new ways to generate leads and grow their business…
But most digital marketers are telling you lies.
The buzz for the last decade has been all about marketing automation – whether that be on social, email or any other form of digital tactic.
Unfortunately, automation comes with laziness.
Everyone wants to click a few buttons, set something up once, and watch the money roll into their bank account.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it doesn’t work like that.
Yes, marketing automation is a key part of lead nurturing, building brand awareness and saving you a ton of time, but it won’t rock your world from a conversion perspective.
The psychology of consumers is pretty much the same today as it has been for centuries. People want to feel like they are apart of something. They are enticed by association to a movement, or that feeling they get inside when they tell others that they just got a great deal on something. We’re always trying to convince ourselves that our buying decisions are justified.
A set-and-forget approach to digital marketing doesn’t bring these feelings to the surface.
Instead of relying solely on automated marketing messages and this once-and-done approach, we need to get back to the basics of running marketing campaigns.
Marketing campaigns, unlike behind-the-scenes automation, illicit urgency from your prospects that force them to make a purchase decision now, rather than talking themselves out of it for a week or two.
They generate buzz, create a compelling offer, and come to a climactic finish line, where people are forced to make a decision either way. Buy, or don’t buy.
It’s the same reason salespeople are taught to work on the assumption that a “No” is better than a “Maybe”. Because “Maybes” very rarely turn into anything worthwhile, so you’re best to move onto people who are ready and willing to make a decision.
Below I’ve put together 9 marketing campaign ideas that work time and time again for big industry brands, small businesses, and every day digital marketers.
1. Go multi-channel
Of course, some marketing channels will naturally perform better depending on your business and industry. But if you go multichannel, you can build your brand awareness significantly more and increase the performance of your marketing campaign.
How does multi-channel marketing help you stand out from your competitors? Well, only 27% of companies bother to use a cross-channel campaign management tool for their marketing. But when they do, it really pays off:
For your next product launch or special promotion, try to invest time and money into as many channels as you can – within relevance to your business:
- Podcasts or webinars
- Social media
- Social events (Facebook or YouTube Live, Reddit AMAs)
- Email newsletters
- Advertising (on and offline, if relevant)
- In-person events
Even if you don’t have the budget to invest in everything, make a concerted effort to cast a wide net with your marketing channels. This gives you more opportunities to reach a new audience, and remind your audience of your brand on several platforms.
2. Diversify your content
If you really want to go multichannel with your marketing, you’ll need to diversify your content to make it happen. Different content types work better for different platforms. For example:
- You’ll need to create videos for Facebook Live or YouTube
- Audio for your podcasts
- Infographics to share on social media and your blog
You can also diversify the kind of blog content you create. Instead of sticking to your regular evergreen posts, create ultimate guides, case studies, reports, how-to walkthroughs, and other content that is ultra-useful (and ultra-shareable).
Just make sure the kind of content you create aligns well with your marketing campaign goal. Different content types perform better for different points in the sales funnel (e.g. viral videos in the awareness phase and case studies near the closing phase):
Building your audience from scratch is a challenge. But there’s no reason why you can’t get a leg up by collaborating with other brands, happy customers, or influencers. Happy customers are ready and willing to offer testimonials or online reviews. Or you can find social media or blogging influencers to review your product to reach a new audience as well.
Brand collaboration can be something as simple as pairing up with another industry player to host a webinar or author a new report. Or you could get really creative with your collaboration, like big brands Uber and Pandora did.
If drivers download the Uber Partner app, Uber riders can choose which Pandora music they want to hear on their trip, and play it through your car radio. Once the passenger leaves, the driver’s own music resumes playing.
The partnership solved an important pain point for Uber passengers: Not digging their driver’s music. The campaign also turned a lot of Uber drivers and passengers into Pandora users and generated buzz in the tech world for its ingenuity.
4. Create a real deadline
What’s the goal of your marketing campaign? Driving sales? Finding new leads? Clearing out your stock for a new shipment?
Whatever action you want your audience to take as the result of your marketing, needs to have a deadline. If you’re running a sale, make it clear in your advertising exactly how long it lasts (e.g. Until Sunday at 10PM).
Say you’re running a social media giveaway to generate new leads. Keep reminding your audience when the deadline is to enter and win.
Creating a real deadline (even if it’s arbitrary) helps initiate urgency in your audience to act now. Even if they’re interested in what you have to offer, they might not act unless you tell them the offer won’t be around forever.
Stick to your deadline even if you don’t want to. You can always down sell to the people who missed out later on or repeat your marketing campaign in the future.
5. Build suspense
Build suspense as part of your marketing campaign strategy to capture the attention of your target audience, industry players, and (hopefully) news outlets.
A great example of effective suspense marketing is Pinterest’s original strategy. When the site first launched, it was actually invitation-only. You had to register and wait several weeks to get an invitation to BETA test the site.
That’s pretty novel for a social networking site. People started talking about the secrecy online.
When the site finally did open up to the public, sites and news outlets like Huffington Post, Gizmodo, BBC News, TechCrunch and CNET gave them tons of coverage.
Would that have happened if they hadn’t launched the site as an exclusive membership? No.
Exclusivity isn’t the only way to build suspense. Discussing your product well before launch and using sneak peeks in your marketing can create the pre-launch suspense you need to build extra buzz. You can create a countdown to your product launch and share it on social media to keep your audience thinking about your brand.
6. Use custom research and data
Custom research is a powerful tool if you want to stand out from the competition in your industry. And offering industry advice is way more valuable if you have original data to back up your point. Conduct original research within your business and publish these statistics to help build thought leadership.
Most commonly, this will take the form of a case study or report. According to a recent CMI/MarketingProfs study, B2B content marketers say case studies are effective in their campaigns 70% of the time.
One of the main reasons original research is so powerful in marketing is that other industry leaders can use your data to back up points in their own content as well.
Getting data is easier than you may think. You can simply use your marketing analytics, or survey your audience to get insights.
7. Give something away
Giveaways can help you achieve all sorts of marketing goals. Here are a few different examples:
- Offering a free trial of your software to generate leads (and potentially sales).
- Creating a social media competition (e.g. a photo contest) to generate buzz about your brand and gain new followers.
- Running a sweepstakes to collect contact information from potential leads.
Just make sure your giveaway appeals to your target audience, but not too broadly. For example, say your business develops health and dieting apps, and you decide to run a sweepstakes to win an iPad for lead generation. A lot of the email sign ups you get won’t necessarily be interested in health apps – they just wanted to win an iPad. Premium workout gear would be a better-targeted prize to help generate relevant leads.
If you’re promoting your giveaway on social media (which you should), create a branded hashtag to help generate buzz:
8. Track key metrics
Ultimately, you’re never going to know which marketing campaign tactics work best with your target audience unless you monitor and track results. Create an analytics dashboard so you can track key conversions and goal outcomes.
If your goal is social media followers/engagement, most of these key metrics will be available right on the platform (e.g. Twitter Analytics).
If you want to track on-site behavior, you can use Google Analytics. It has a Goal Tracking feature that helps you keep track of “events” you define, such as new subscriptions, contact form completions, click through on a page, content engagement, etc.
It also tracks the source of your traffic, so you can see which platforms bring the most conversions to your site.
9. Repeat and improve
By tracking key metrics during your marketing campaign, you’ll be able to identify which types of content, which platforms, and which marketing messages resonate most with your audience and drive your marketing goals.
Learn from this information to improve future marketing campaigns. Create a cadence with your marketing strategy to regularly repeat and improve your campaigns every quarter, year, every time you launch a new product, etc.
Small business marketing is an art as much as it is a science. You have to always be on your toes to stand out from your competitors and grow your business in a crowded market.
But if you put to work even a few of these marketing campaign ideas, you’ll start growing the buzz you need to really broaden brand reach, accelerate sales, or achieve any other marketing campaign goal.
How do you use campaigns in your business to reach your marketing goals?