I went out for a brisk autumn jog last week and in my haste to fit the exercise into my schedule I completely forgot to stretch and in the middle of my jog I started to cramp up. It destroyed my ability to achieve the workout I needed and also had a residual negative impact on the rest of my day.
What happened to me out on my jog is nearly the exact same outcome businesses have when rushing into a marketing or advertising campaign without doing their due diligence or planning. You can rush into a campaign without stretching or knowing what your goals are. Here is how you can avoid these issues and have the strongest campaign possible.
1. Figure Out Your Target Audience
Who is your dream client or customer? How old are they? What is their education level? What industry are they in? What are their common characteristics and challenges?
These questions are important because they will help you figure out where you should be advertising and start to formulate a marketing message. If you go too broad in your target audience you will end up trying to reach too many people and waste your time and money because it won’t have enough impact.
You must start with your target audience and grow that out. By narrowing your target audience you will also be able to make your own informed hypothesis of how to reach them and what message to use. This will help determine whether you drive sales through digital platforms, print, radio, or television.
2. Determine What Messaging Will Convert Them
After you’ve narrowed your audience and your marketing channels you next should test what your message will be in order to convert prospects. You should never settle on one piece of message alone and run your entire budget on that message with no data to back it up. This is especially true if you are doing a single mailed out marketing piece for a single campaign. If you’re spending thousands of dollars you want to make sure your audience is receptive to the messaging.
You can typically do cost-effective testing in two different ways. You can come up with two different messages, then craft two email pieces for each message, and send out the different email blasts to your list of current clients or customers using an email service like Constant Contact to track reactions. Whatever message receives the most clicks, calls, or general inquiries should be your full campaign messaging. You can also spend a small amount of money to perform A/B tests for Google pay-per-click advertising and let the data tell you which message to use on your larger campaign.
3. Establishing What Success Looks Like/Measuring ROI
Before you move forward with your big campaign you need to figure out what success looks like. This means understanding what your projected cost per lead, cost per sale, or engagement level you are looking for.
If you understand the types of key metrics you need to monitor, you can judge whether a campaign is moving your business in the right direction or a drain on resources. This is how you begin tracking your ROI on a campaign. But remember, you must have mechanisms in place that allow you track your audience’s reaction. This means setting up a dedicated phone number, email address, webpage, or coupon code. Tracking this type of information is the only way to find proof of a campaign’s success. Alternatively, with social media campaigns a direct ROI is more difficult to nail down and that is why there are key engagement metrics you should focus on in order to establish your Return on Engagement (ROR).
4. Improve and Re-Launch
Once your campaign is done and you’ve collected your metrics you need to analyze the data and then improve the campaign. This could mean performing a complete overhaul of the campaign from the messaging to the advertising/marketing platforms or making small tweaks to improve a decent campaign and turn it into a wildly successful one.
You should never put all your marketing eggs in one basket. Go into your campaign expecting to run multiple iterations and plan a budget for ongoing campaigns. This means thinking roughly 6-9 months of iterated campaigns instead of flash in the pan campaigns that fizzle out without strong results and leave you without a budget to move forward again. If you are struggling for immediate growth you still should avoid an “all or nothing” mentality; instead, focus on speeding up and limiting your initial sample testing for messaging and the campaign test periods.