It seems like I read about a new marketing tactic nearly every day. It’s hard not to think, “This is the answer to my business-driving prayers!” But beware the allure of the shiny object. Sure, shiny objects have their place, but don’t lose focus on the fundamentals of a comprehensive marketing campaign that will ultimately drive more business your way.
Marketing campaigns can be really complicated with multiple moving parts – the exact reason many marketers don’t use them (or at least don’t use them effectively). But a marketing campaign can also be simple and still effective. You just need to map out the strategy and execution to make it work. Don’t dive in without a plan!
WHAT EXACTLY IS A MARKETING CAMPAIGN?
Simply put, a marketing campaign is an integrated marketing effort that promotes an offer across any and all marketing channels available to you (i.e. the places your prospects lurk). Note the use of the plural, “channels”. A marketing campaign is not an isolated email promoting your offer. Two or three emails pushing the same message? Not a marketing campaign.
There are a few basic components to a simple yet successful marketing campaign:
The offer: You don’t need to give away the farm for your campaign to be successful. The offer can be anything that delivers value to your prospective customer, such as:
- Dollars/percent discount
- Early-bird pricing
- Value-add with purchase (i.e. free shipping)
- Partner offer
- Free consultation
- Free demo
- eBook/white paper download
Here are some sample strategies that utilize “consistent creative”:
- Use the same image or icon in all of your “ads” (both paid and organic promotions of your offer)
- Use different images with a common theme and the same treatment/filter (for example, all black and white or all sepia tone filter)
- Use the same colors and fonts
Don’t confuse your prospects. Too many different messages make one big mess and your message will be lost. Keep it clear and consistent for the best chance of success. Here are some super simple yet super effective ways to get your message across:
- Tell the same story across all of your channels. You can tell different aspects of the story, just make sure they’re all related to the larger message.
- Use the same offer
- Use the same or similar messaging
- Use the same tone of voice
- Use the same call-to-action (CTA)
WHY DO MARKETING CAMPAIGNS MATTER?
The average person sees a message eight times before reacting to it. EIGHT TIMES! (Hint, this is why re-targeting is so effective). That may sound insurmountable, but if you can get a comprehensive marketing campaign humming along across all channels simultaneously – for a few weeks in a row, with a consistent story and similar imagery, content and offer – it will eventually drive action from your target audience.
HOW DO I EXECUTE A MARKETING CAMPAIGN PLAN?
I may have made some sweeping statements above about the critical elements of any marketing campaign. But what are some of the nuts and bolts required to execute a strong campaign? Keep these tips in mind:
- Your campaign should run for at least two weeks if you want to see meaningful results (unless, for example, you’re running a one-day flash sale with a deep discount).
- Paid and organic social posts should be similar. Your followers are more likely to see your paid posts than your organic posts due to the nature of social media algorithms, so make sure paid posts read as though they’re organic. (Bottom line: be authentic.)
- Take advantage of testing tools in paid advertising (social and Google/Bing) to see which ads perform best.
- Yes, I did advise that you say the same thing everywhere. And if you are a one-person marketing department with limited time, stick to that plan and repeat the same exact message across the board. With people’s attention spans being what they are (puny!), the odds are slim that someone will even register seeing your offer the first few times – much less that they will be annoyed by the repetitive message. But, if you have a bit more time and resources…
- Try to tweak your creative slightly, specific to each channel. For example, focus more on the image on Instagram, be more professional on LinkedIn, more familiar on Facebook and more direct on Twitter. Keep your message clear and consistent, yet subtly customized for each audience.
HOW DO I MEASURE RESULTS OF A MARKETING CAMPAIGN?
There are a few ways to measure marketing results:
- Add tracking pixels on your site for each social channel. I use Google Tag Manager to manage my pixels so I never need to rely on a developer.
- Use UTM values in your URLs to track “source”, “medium” and “campaign” at a minimum. You can later report on these values in Google Analytics.
- Add goals in Google Analytics to track whatever you choose to measure (conversions, purchases, form fills, etc.).
- Track email metrics like open rates and click-through-rates.
HOW DO I TEST/MAKE CHANGES TO A MARKETING CAMPAIGN?
Here’s the challenging part. You’ve done the work to create a consistent message and get it out there to the market. Time to sit back and relax (err, or get on to the other marketing tasks at hand), right? You can (believe me, I have and I’ve still seen success), but there’s always something you can test (and react accordingly) to ensure even stronger results.
Be careful not to test too much, too quickly, though. I try to focus on one thing with each campaign. Then, I can implement my learning from one campaign in the next one, while testing something different. I generally let a campaign run for 7-10 business days before making any changes (unless there is something glaringly wrong).
Simple things you might test:
- Image vs. icon
- Image choice
- A few words of copy
- Landing page layout (form length, image vs. no image, length of content)
Note: Be methodical when editing your campaign so you’ll know which triggers cause change.
SUMMARIZING THE CHAOS
In summary, a well-planned yet simple marketing campaign can drive big results – without excessive A/B tests or a Microsoft-sized budget. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel in terms of creative and copy. You just need a strategic approach that incorporates a variety of channels, a clear and consistent message, minor adjustments as needed and straightforward analysis (using tools that are readily available). Easy peasy, right? In reality, it is pretty simple to set up a strong campaign, and you can do so with a relatively small financial investment, so any risk is worth the return you’re likely to see. Just stick to the basic tips outlined above and give it a try – and remember to embrace the testing and learning process as your campaign evolves.