Organizing and executing a campaign can be a daunting prospect, especially if you’ve never done it before. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be that way if you have a path you can stick to throughout the journey.
In this article, we’ve outlined the steps that our team takes to conduct digital marketing campaigns.
In the early stages of planning a campaign, there’s a lot of noise as you try to figure out the best starting point. To ensure you’re starting off on the right foot, we recommend kicking off your campaign by taking time to identify your goals.
There are two basic kinds of goals:
- Your company’s “big picture” strategic and revenue goals. An example of this type of goal would be “we want to double the number of sales we get within six months” or “we want to establish our company as a thought leader in our industry.”
- Your smaller scale tactical goals that help you achieve those “big picture” goals. A few examples of this type of goal might be “we want our site visitors to fill out this contact form” or “we want our site visitors to download one of our marketing assets.”
Is the end goal to have them fill out the contact form? Would you rather have the site visitors call you directly if they want to know more about your services/products? Is the priority for the website just to be a resource that includes industry-related thought leadership content for visitors to download?
The reason that defining the above and determining the goals for the website is so important is that it will then shape the campaigns and tactical components of the campaigns that help lead users to those goals (i.e., contact form, phone number, downloadable asset). Basically, you want to define the end of the user journey, so that you can then build the user story (campaign) for how your visitors (audiences, personas, etc.) will get to the end.
Once you have your goals set, mapping out your campaign path suddenly becomes a lot more tangible and straightforward.
Once your goals are set, it’s time to benchmark those goals. As we’ve already discussed in a previous blog post about benchmarking your digital strategy, this research tactic “helps you evaluate your business’ current capabilities against competitors, and in turn, identify new opportunities or areas for improvement.”
Benchmarking allows you to track your return on investment, and most importantly, find the gaps between where your business is now and where you want it to be several years from now.
To begin the benchmarking process, you must first evaluate where you currently stand with your newly established goals. For example, if one of your goals is to increase the number of users who fill out the contact form in the next six months, you must first measure how many people filled out the form in the previous six months. Another example: If one of your goals is to increase the number of downloaded assets in the next nine months, you must first determine how many assets were downloaded in the previous nine months.
Of course, it’s very challenging to benchmark these items if you don’t have tracking set up for them yet. Don’t worry — that just means you’ll need to set up tracking for any new data moving forward. The most efficient and accessible way to begin monitoring your goals is through the use of marketing tools that allow you to track events, emails, keyword referrals, search engine rankings, technical site issues, or cross-domain user activity. A few of the most popular platforms that give you this capability include Google Analytics, Google Tag Manager, and Google Search Console.
Benchmarking is a step that must never be skipped. After all, the toughest part of marketing is proving the ROI of your efforts. That’s why you should never move forward with an initiative without defining how to track its success.
The next step in the campaign building process is to define the audience(s) that is meant to be targeted by the campaign. Each persona has certain characteristics that appeal to them differently than others, which is why we recommend creating personas — generalized representations of your ideal clients or customers.
Creating personas allows you to hone in on specific audience characteristics with individualized tactics. Your audiences’ characteristics could be buzzwords that they use (that you can leverage when optimizing content and ads), or they could be a particular medium they use the most (for example, some people prefer to be reached by social media while others prefer email).
Once we have established our audiences/personas and their respective characteristics, we are now better equipped to create content/messaging that we know will appeal to them.
Create the campaign
With your goals set up, benchmarking parameters established, and your audiences identified, you can now get into the meat of executing your campaign — whether that involves pay-per-click advertising, search engine optimization, social media, or a combination. Whichever medium(s) you leverage, a major component of your campaign should be your landing page.
A landing page is a page on your website that you want a user to “land on” after clicking an advertisement, search engine result, social media post, or through some other means of referral. Typically, you want to optimize your landing page carefully in order to maximize conversions. The most effective way to optimize the landing page is to think back to the audiences you defined earlier in the process. Who is this landing page for? Is it intended for a narrowly segmented persona, or is it suitable for a broader audience? You’ll want to make sure it’s tailored to that particular audience, so they aren’t surprised or confused when they arrive at the landing page. That’s why you must make sure your landing page is consistent. The same messaging that enticed your user to click your call-to-action (CTA) must also be present in the landing page content — but this time, accompanied by more detail.
TIP: Use similar copy in the referring CTA and your landing page. This provides a quick visual queue to the user that they are in the right place (and they didn’t fall in a trap).
Typically, the CTA you find on a landing page will be one of the goals you set at the beginning of the campaign process. For example, you might have a contact form embedded directly on the page, or you might have a prominent button link that allows users to download an asset — filling out that form or downloading that asset means a goal has been achieved!
Refine your campaign
Even though attaining a goal technically brings the campaign process to an end, the work doesn’t end there. After bringing your campaign efforts full circle and allowing the campaign to run its course, you must now take the time to review the benchmarking analytics that you set up previously. This allows you to assess the overall performance of the campaign so you can make data-driven decisions about how you will move forward with future campaigns — whether that means identifying new goals or defining new audiences.