What kind of marketing strategy do you rely on for your business? Surprisingly, nearly 50% of small business owners admit to operating without a specific marketing plan in place, often citing other obligations that prevent them from focusing on advertising.
But you've put your heart and soul into your business. Shouldn't you want the world to know about the products and services you offer?
Let's take a quick look at how to plan an effective marketing campaign in 2022. Today, we'll also share ways to set clear, meaningful goals for your business.
What is a marketing campaign?
As you might expect, a marketing campaign can't be defined by any particular action or strategy. Instead, a marketing campaign is a series of steps designed to accomplish a specific business or marketing goal. This might be as simple as selling a new product or as complex as creating brand awareness with a new customer base.
This means that marketing is a bit broader than advertising alone. Think of advertising as a spotlight. It can be used to highlight a specific product, service, or event – and is usually a vital part of your marketing plan as a whole.
But your actual marketing campaign is more like a series of lights designed to showcase multiple products or services and increase your company's visibility.
What types of marketing campaigns can be used?
There are many types of marketing campaigns, and these unique marketing strategies are often designed to reflect specific business goals and communication styles used by your target audience.
Some common examples of marketing campaigns include:
- Product marketing
- Email marketing
- A branding campaign
- A social media campaign
- Public relations campaigns
- Paid marketing or advertising campaigns
- Direct mail campaigns
But don't think of these marketing campaigns as mutually exclusive. An integrated marketing campaign relies on multiple campaign strategies, basically acting as a sales funnel. Regardless of what marketing channel they first engage with, customers are driven to your website to purchase.
For example, your product marketing campaign might rely on email marketing and social media marketing tactics. Both will drive your customers to your website to make a final sale.
Core elements of a marketing plan
Industry experts emphasize the "seven P's" of a marketing plan. These include:
- Physical evidence
This can serve as a helpful checklist to create your campaign. We'll dive into greater detail about setting clear goals in the section below.
How to create a marketing campaign template
The marketing campaign planning process might seem overwhelming, but designing a marketing campaign plan simply requires that you make a series of decisions. The following is a step-by-step guide that you can use when planning marketing campaigns for your company.
How to create a marketing campaign
- Set goals for your marketing campaign
What are you hoping to achieve from your marketing campaign? How will you measure success? You must ask these two critical questions during every marketing campaign planning session you have. Your marketing plan needs to be organized around a series of campaign goals, such as:
- Promoting a new product
- Increasing brand awareness and attracting new customers
- Increasing sales of an existing product or service
- Demonstrating continued value to your current customers
Establishing clear, measurable campaign objectives can help you stay focused throughout your marketing campaign. It will also help you determine whether your campaign plan is working or not.
- Determine your marketing campaign budget
How much are you willing to spend on your marketing campaign? This is important to decide early in your process, as your campaign budget will shape the look and feel of your entire campaign.
So, for instance, if you have a large budget, you might look into creating high-quality digital content to use on your website or even outsource large portions of your marketing campaign to a professional marketing firm.
Of course, most small business owners can't afford a lavish marketing plan, which means you might want to organize your campaign around free options such as social media or other digital marketing tools. The good news is that even if your campaign budget is limited, modern tools make it easier than ever to reach new customers through social media posts and other forms of online content.
- Learn your target audience
What is your target market? How much do you know about your customers' ages, lifestyle, and buying habits? A successful marketing campaign depends on how well you reach your target audience. Customer data can be used to generate a "buyer persona," a simple guide to reflect the identity and behavior of your average customer.
You may be able to find some basic market research online by checking out companies that are also in your industry. But if you want to learn the most about your specific customer base, you can gain information by conducting customer surveys.
Businesses commonly collect customer data such as:
- Geographic location
- Marital status
- Household income
- Preferred social media channels (if any)
You can also use sales records to determine the average transaction size for your business, which can help you evaluate your existing customers’ spending habits.
Understanding your target audience's interests will help you connect them to the right products. Understanding their digital habits will help you select the best marketing channels to reach them. For example, suppose your customer base includes a lot of Millennials and members of Generation Z. In that case, you'll want to use multiple social media channels to reach them, rather than relying solely on Facebook.
- Delegate responsibilities
Solo entrepreneurs should maintain a simple marketing strategy that they can easily manage without getting overwhelmed. Thankfully, a digital marketing campaign can be created and run with relative ease from your office computer or even your phone.
But if you have employees, you'll want to pull together an in-house team that can handle your marketing activities. Your marketing team can help you during the marketing campaign planning phase. You can delegate tasks to team members to divide the workload and streamline the process.
- Establish a campaign theme
Next, you'll want to determine a marketing campaign theme. This is slightly different from your campaign goals, though the theme should reflect your campaign's goal or key message.
In other words, while your marketing goals were clear, specific statements, your campaign theme relates to how you'll creatively communicate with your target audience.
This is where you can think of a product or a campaign slogan to help reveal the need among your customers. You can also think about specific talking points that relate to how your product or service uniquely satisfies a need that your customers experience.
You'll also determine any specific creative assets (video cameras, web platforms, etc.) you'll need to implement your campaign ideas.
- Choose your marketing channels
Does your company already use social media? Most companies maintain their social media presence through a Facebook page, but others also use Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and up-and-coming social media platforms to engage specific demographics.
Don't forget that many social media platforms have free and paid features. You might consider devoting some money to Facebook Ads or a similar service to promote your business.
How do you know which is the best for your business? Just go back to Step 3! Find out where your audience likes to hang out online and focus your efforts on these platforms. Alternatively, you can branch out beyond these usual channels to build brand awareness with an entirely different customer base.
- Create a content calendar
Before your official campaign launch, you'll need to have some content ready to share. This content should be oriented around your marketing goals and reflect the campaign concept you created with your marketing campaign planning team in Step 5.
To manage this content, you'll want to establish a clear calendar. This can be integrated with your existing social media marketing calendar if you have one. Your calendar can also help you decide how often to share digital marketing content with your audience.
The actual content you create depends on your target audience, of course. Remember: many of today's younger audiences would rather watch a video than read a blog post, so keep that in mind during your marketing campaign planning sessions.
Pro tip: Build anticipation before officially launching your marketing campaign! Start sharing digital content about a new product and build anticipation among your existing customers. When combined with your digital marketing campaign, you may find that your current customers like and share your content, giving you a broader reach than before.
- Analyze and adapt
In the best-case scenario, you'll create a great marketing campaign and have near-instant success. But in the real world, this is unlikely. Instead, you might have to constantly revise your marketing strategy and adapt to a changing business climate.
Every marketing plan will move in a circle, so you'll constantly revisit your goals. Are you reaching these goals and objectives? Where are you falling short? How can you revise your marketing campaign to compensate for what you didn't expect?
You can use this insight to make course corrections to your current marketing plan or use these lessons to plan for your next campaign.
How to set goals for your marketing campaigns
Exactly what goals should you set during your marketing campaign planning meetings? What sort of campaign metrics should you look for? These can be tough questions to ask at the beginning of a new campaign, so let's use a few examples to help you understand the best ways to evaluate your marketing ROI (return on investment).
A product campaign is the easiest to evaluate. You can simply compare how much money you made in sales to the cash you spent on paid ads or other marketing tools.
New products can be slightly more challenging since there is no past sales data to make comparisons. But if you're trying to increase the sales of an existing product or service, you can use this to set a new sales goal, such as increasing sales by 30% over the next sales quarter.
Measuring brand awareness
What if you launched a campaign to raise awareness about your company? You can indirectly measure this by looking at an increase in your social media follower count or by looking for increased engagement on your social media content in the form of "likes" or "shares."
Your digital marketing campaign planning team can track this by assigning specific goals to milestones in your digital marketing plan. For instance, you might make it a goal to double your follower count in the next three months or attain 1,000 page views a day by driving visitors to your website.
When it comes to digital marketing plans, Google Analytics can provide a wealth of insight on page engagement, such as the number of unique visitors you had and the amount of time they spent browsing your website.
Lead generation benchmarks
Some businesses set out to gain new customers through a campaign plan. This, too, can be measured easily by looking at your conversion rate. How many visitors to your website became actual customers?
In addition to the data provided by Google Analytics, you can measure new leads by simply looking at the number of individuals who provide their customer data as part of a promotional offer.
Evaluating customer satisfaction
As a business owner, you likely understand the need to nurture existing customers and boost customer lifetime value. Customer satisfaction can be measured by the number of repeat customers you have, as well as the number of people who sign up for any sort of reward program or newsletter.
You can refine your website to enhance every step of the customer journey and minimize the number of people who land on your page only to bounce away.
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