We get it: being a small business owner consumes all your time and energy, so marketing campaigns are probably the last thing on your mind. Your focus is keeping your existing customers happy in order to make them stick around and, if possible, refer you to others.
But what about new customers? They might be finding you on their own (without you putting any effort), but how long is that going to last? If you’re not working on getting your business out there, it simply can’t grow!
Ideally, you should take some time to create a detailed business plan which will contain a marketing section. The marketing plan section should explain how you are going to persuade your customers to buy your products or services. It will include sections detailing your products, services, and USP (unique selling proposition), sales and distribution plan, pricing strategy, as well as your advertising and promotions plan.
But if you’re still not ready for this step, creating your first marketing campaign is a great place to start.
We’ve created a list of 6 tips that will help you incorporate marketing campaigns into your existing marketing efforts.
1. Put a Plan In Place
If you don’t have a well-defined plan, your marketing campaign is very likely to fail. Take some time to put together a detailed strategy that will help guide you through the various stages of your campaign.
- Your plan should include the following:
- Your Objectives
- Your budget
- Promotion calendar or content calendar
- Data about your target audience
- Breakdown of the stages (design, pre-launch, launch, post-launch)
- Email templates and knowledge of the email best practices for reaching out to people
- List of people who will help you get the word out about your campaign
- Tools and channels you intend to use.
2. Set a Goal
Start with defining your goals. The more specific you are, the better. This will help you plan and measure the results of your campaign once it is finished. Are you hoping to increase the sales of a particular product? By how much? Will 400 units be enough?
Here’s a list of the 7 most common marketing campaign objectives:
- Promote a new product
- Boost sales
- Increase customer base
- Increase repeat purchases
- Increase retention rate
- Increase brand awareness
- Get better publicity
Choose one and try to be as specific as possible.
3. Set a Budget
It sucks when you come up with a great marketing campaign idea and work on the specifics only to realize that you don’t have enough money to realize it. That’s why setting the budget is a step that should come early on in the process.
If you’re uncertain about what exactly you can afford, try calculating the CLTV (customer lifetime value), i.e. the income generated from an average customer. Then, try to figure out how many customers the planned campaign could bring in (as well as how many customers you can realistically handle).
For instance, if your CLTV is around $4k and your estimations say you can get at least 3 customers with this campaign, then you should set $4k aside for the campaign. This way you’ll make sure you have a positive ROI.
The state of your current finances is of great importance. Forget about borrowing money in order to run a campaign because if your campaign fails, you won’t be able to return the money. Try to work with what you have.
3. Define the Target Audience
In order to be able to create a relevant and valuable marketing campaign, you need to understand the needs and demographics of your target audience.
Here’s what you need to take into consideration:
- Job title
- Level of education
In addition to this, you need to figure out where your audience spends their time. Knowing which platforms your potential clients use the most will help you determine the type of content you’ll be creating. Here are some main takeaways to have in mind:
- Facebook and YouTube are the best places for ads, which is partially due to their high-earning user bases.
- LinkedIn’s user base is comprised of well-educated people and young professionals, which makes it perfect for valuable, industry-specific content. If you decide to go with LinkedIn, consider using a tool that will help you to automate your work. Tools like LinkedHelper offer features like LinkedIn bulk messaging or bulk inviting to help you win connections much faster.
- Women outnumber men on Pinterest.
- A huge portion of Instagram’s users is Gen Z or millennials, which indicates you should use eye-catching content full of personality.
4. Create the Content
When it comes to marketing campaigns, content is essential because it conveys your message and contains a CTA.
The CTA (call to action) has to be obvious and specific. In general, one CTA per marketing campaign should be enough in order to avoid confusion.
The content you create can come in many forms. For instance, you can decide to market a video that encourages people to subscribe to your email newsletter. In that case, the call to action would be subscribing to the email newsletter.
Whatever the content, you need to make sure it fits your target audience and that it looks professional. Use tools like Canva and iMovie to create great content even with minimum skills.
5. Select the Channels
The typical marketing channels include social media, email, TV, radio, digital media, online advertising, print media, publicity, events, and trade shows.
Which ones you choose will depend mainly on your budget and on your target audience.
At this stage, TV adverts are most likely out of the question because they’re too expensive. However, FB ads are quite affordable and can bring you a good value in return for your money.
Email and social media are probably your best bets, so that’s where you need to focus your efforts.
Start by considering your audience. Which channels are they using? For instance, if your target is Baby Boomers, email is a great way to reach them. If you decide to go with email, make sure to use a good automation tool, such as ActiveCampaign or, even better, pick one of these ActiveCampaign Alternatives. Automatic emails are personalized, timely, relevant to the reader. As a result, they’re clicked and opened more frequently and drive visits and revenue for your business.
6. Track and Analyze the Results
Your campaign might be live but your job isn’t done.
You still need to monitor your campaign’s results. The tracking methods you choose will depend on your objective. For instance, if your goal is to increase the sales of a specific product, ask everyone who buys that product how they found out about it. If your goal is to get customers to leave reviews, keep track of how many positive ones you received.
Then, once your campaign is finished, it’s time to see whether it was a success or not. If you set a clear goal, then all you need to do is ask: Did this campaign meet my objective?
Other questions that could help you determine the campaign’s success include:
- Which elements of the campaign were most or least helpful toward meeting out objective?
- Which aspects of the campaign were most frustrating and which the simplest?
- Did we learn anything about our customers?
- Would we repeat this campaign? Why/why not?
These insights will help you make the necessary changes and adjustments in order to make your next campaign more effective.
John Pearson is a serial entrepreneur and writer who is passionate about helping small businesses launch and grow. His work has been featured in Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, and Forbes.