Every business has goals to achieve, that much is such an obvious statement but often forgotten. However it often seems to be the case that when it comes to actually reaching those goals, many businesses struggle to find the best path to success.
Luckily, there’s one simple solution to this issue, and it comes in the form of a solidly constructed and strategically thought-out marketing campaign – let’s see if we can clarify what this actually entails.
Your Marketing Campaign
Not only do marketing campaigns help you to set in stone the goals that you want your business to reach, but they also allow you to clearly visualise the actions that need to be taken in order to get there, effectively a roadmap to success! A marketing campaign also allows you to synchronise different marketing channels and areas of the business to ensure that all efforts are made harmoniously to achieve the same end result.
For instance, it could be the case that your business’s paid advertising, social media channels, on-site content and SEO strategy do not currently align. A thorough digital marketing strategy would help to ensure collaboration between all these different areas, and allow you to efficiently utilise each respective channel in one collective effort.
The exact make-up of your marketing campaign will depend on the nature of your business and it’s goals, but despite this, the steps necessary to design a marketing campaign typically remain largely the same.
Identify your goals
The first step is to decide on the end goal of your campaign: what is it you want to achieve? Try to think of the high level benefits for your company or organisation, and why these would be beneficial.
Here are a few examples of high level campaign goals that your business may want:
- Improve brand awareness
- Change customers perception of the business and it’s staff
- Increase sales leads
- Improve quality of sales leads
- Improve communication with members
- Reduce workload internally.
Ultimately, it’s up to you to decide which goals are most important to your business. Don’t worry if your campaign goal (or goals) seems to be very high level and vague as you will get the opportunity to drill down into the details in later steps.
Build your strategy
Having decided what the end goal of your campaign is, the next step is to start thinking more granularly about how you will get there, this will effectively define your strategy and approach.
The main thing that you need to consider when building your strategy is the channels that you will use to achieve your campaign goal. The channels that you ultimately decide to utilise will be largely dictated by the end goal itself, but your choice may or may not include the following:
- Your blog
- Other on-site content
- Social media channels
- Paid / sponsored advertising
- Email campaigns
Depending upon your business and its structure, you may end up using any or all of the above, or even different channels not mentioned above. It’s important that you remember to select the channels that will best connect you with the audience you want to reach, and that play to your business’s skills, experience and resources.
The channels that you select will also give you a good idea of the types of content that you produce, for instance an email newsletter or an in depth article on your site.
By now, you should have chosen a campaign goal (or goals) that you want to set out to achieve, as well as the method that you will use to get there. Now it’s time to drill down into the details of the return that each action you take should provide; it’s time to set objectives.
It’s all too easy to set objectives that are too broad to really measure impact and success. In order to combat this, it can be useful to set ‘SMART’ objectives.
Goals need to be granular, clear and unambiguous to give your activities focus. This allows your team to understand what they are working to and allows for no confusion.
If a goal is not measurable how will you know you have achieved it? A campaign needs to be designed in such a way that its success or not can be measured allowing you to make necessary changes when goals are not met.
There is no point setting yourself up to fail, you need to design a campaign that has half a chance of succeeding. In fact, you should be assuming it will succeed and meet its goals. You can’t measure your success on unachievable goals.
You must have the resources and skills to do the work! If you don’t, you will need to hire the talent to do it.
Should it be done? What happens if it is done? What will be the impact? These questions all relate to the relevance of the objective and whether it fits the overall strategy. Any work that you carry out should be worthwhile not only to your business, but also to your team.
When does the goal have to be achieved by? Set realistic time-scales so that when you review, you expect results. This sets a sense of urgency and prevents hijacking of activities by other concerns.
Here are some examples of what SMART objectives look like in order to give you a better idea of what you should be aiming for:
- Double relevant form enquiries over a three month period
- Double relevant phone enquiries over a one month period
- Increase the number of quotations to X per month by month four
- Increase the quotation volume per month to £X by month six
- Increase the sales volume per month to £X by month three
- Increase conversions to sale rate to X% month six.
Define your KPI’s
Not to be confused with goals, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are very specific metrics that indicate whether or not you are heading in the right direction to achieve your goal(s).
KPIs are effectively the statistics that you will use to know how successful a campaign is, and measure progress. The KPIs for your digital marketing campaign may include:
- Number of inbound phone calls
- Number of on-site goal completions
- Organic keyword ranking
- Number of inbound links
- Website bounce rate
- Website traffic volume
- Social shares or likes
- Comments on posts
- Email click throughs
It’s important to remember that your KPIs should be directly related to your campaign’s SMART objectives. For example, if one of your objectives is to increase the number of enquiries received from a contact form on your website, then it would make sense for your KPIs to include traffic to that page and the number of conversions made through the form.
The Big Idea!
Your digital marketing campaign will likely revolve around one central ‘idea’, designed specifically and strategically to achieve your desired goal. There is virtually no limit to what your big idea could be, as long as it is something that your target audience will be interested in, relevant to your business, and it will help to move you closer to your goals.
For instance, consider the following examples:
- Content – Producing an indepth guide, infographic or interesting video
- Adverts – A theme or concept to grab people’s attention
- Email – A newsletter sharing content relevant to your target audience
- Data – A survey, questionnaire or study about your industry
- User generated content – asking for submissions from the public
The best ideas require a lot of investment of time, thought and potentially money to ensure that your campaign will add value, drive interest, and stand out from the crowd.
Resource and schedule activities
Once you have decided what you want to achieve, how you are going to achieve it, and how you are going to measure that achievement, you’ll need to start thinking practically about managing the campaign. This starts with task delegation and resource management.
To get started with this, you will need to create some kind of formal documentation that describes which tasks need to be carried out when and by whom. Gantt charts are an excellent way of managing projects in this way.
Your campaign may only run for one month, or it may be an ongoing project that is simply reported on monthly. Once again, this will all depend on the goals that you want to achieve, as well as the resource available to you. No matter your timescales, it is often beneficial to just plan out the first month to begin with, as you may need to adjust the way that you work, manage resource, or even tweak your strategy as times goes on.
Once you have completed all this, you should be left with a document that outlines individual actions that need to be taken in order to achieve objectives, with the overall purpose of meeting your end goal. You may find it useful to review progress weekly or monthly, and adjust activities accordingly.