A marketing campaign can be a number of things: daunting or exciting, exhausting or exhilarating, scary, demanding, or just plain old fun. It’s easy to get started and give up halfway through, feeling like you’re in over your head. But if you’re serious about getting returns and new business, then you need to accept that a marketing strategy is what you need to get ahead of your competitors.
The key to applying a marketing campaign that will win you customers or clients and attract success and prospects is proper planning. Getting organized is the name of the game. A poor understanding of your strategy will lead to stress, defeat, and your hair falling out, while a strong grasp on the concept and logistics behind the campaign will spell out a victory in big, capital letters.
Before strategizing, though, here are a couple of aspects that you should consider.
Baby Steps to Perfecting Your Marketing Strategy
The first step is getting started in the first place, and that’s often the most difficult one to make. Grab a pen and paper and organize your thoughts as you read the advice below, as it will help with memorization, absorption, and seeing the bigger picture. You don’t need to be fancy: simply write it down as you would a to-do or a shopping list.
Ready? Before your future audience is going to know about you, it’s you that has to learn about them.
Know Your Audience
Whether your marketing campaign succeeds or fails will depend on how strongly you target your audience. If you’re not creating information for the people who will eventually buy your products or services, then you can’t expect to get new business. To attract new leads and bring them to your website, create content specific to them.
Take time to research your audience. Who is already purchasing from you? What group of individuals would you like to become your clients? What are they looking for online and how can you provide it for them? Getting to know who your audience is and what they need means your marketing strategy will appeal directly to the people you’re trying to attract.
This can be done in a variety of ways. For example, if your target audience is primarily linked with physical products or activities, then you can gather information on how to pursue your strategy through public, hand-written surveys.
On the other hand, if your audience is significantly more up-to-date when it comes to modern technology, or is not easily reachable through a physical form, then you can conduct online surveys, either through your website or an open platform such as Survey Monkey or Google Forms.
Once you’ve realized where your audience can be found and what it wants and needs, you need to prepare a clear-cut set of goals that will create the foundation for a solid strategy.
Establish Your Goals
While the main goal of your marketing strategy may be to sell more products, it usually isn’t that simple. You can’t have one strategy designed to attract customers, help them find the right product, and purchase any item that fits their needs. Instead, you need to create marketing campaigns that have one main purpose.
What would you like to accomplish with your new marketing campaign? Are you hoping to get more followers through social media marketing? Do you want to attract more viewers to a video or a blog post? Are you looking for more newsletter signups? Is there a specific product you’d like to sell?
Focus on each of these points and develop them together with your team. Find out the magic behind them so that you have a good core strategy of how such a campaign would work.
Each of your campaigns should have a unique goal you’d like to achieve by the end of the promotion. Writing this down is absolutely critical, as nothing is made official until it is marked.
Once your goals have been defined, it’s time to start thinking about how you’ll be timing your marketing campaign.
Have a Content Calendar
It can be difficult to stay on track when sharing content on various platforms. If you fall behind, miss a post or forget about a platform completely, it could ruin your entire campaign. There are obvious exceptions to this rule, such as when you’ve just started the campaign and don’t have much room to damage your progress.
Trying to remember what content to post and when can be a major stress. Sporadic posts and inconsistent messages may make your customers think you don’t really care about your online presence.
Enter the content (or editorial) calendar: a written schedule that dictates when you will release your marketing content. With one, you will know exactly what should happen and when, thus attaining a level of security.
Without one, your marketing campaign will flounder and implode upon itself.
The importance of consistency cannot be underestimated, as a marketing campaign is just as dependent on aesthetics and uniformity as other factors. Reading several marketing pieces that feel as if they have been written by different people can be extraordinarily jarring.
A content calendar can help you stay organized and ensure you’re posting the right information at the right time. Instead of needing to remember what day you should post something, you can view your content calendar each morning to see what should be scheduled for that day.
Maintaining composure if your strategy has not been followed religiously is also important. Just because a couple of mistakes have been made does not specifically mean the strategy was ruined.
For example, you can fix the late posting of an upcoming piece by retroactively publishing it on a previous date. WordPress, a very popular platform, allows you to publish posts that appear and show up as having been published a long time ago, regardless of what the current day is. While this is not an alternative to posting your content on the right day, it can help save face and restore SEO balance as a compromise, as even the Google ranking system will take it as a truth.
Furthermore, a content calendar allows you to see the big picture of your marketing process. You’ll know how each piece of content fits together to create the entire campaign. Workers don’t get started on building a house without the blueprint, so why should you?
Make sure not to cram your calendar, though. Slow and steady wins the race.
Don’t Rush It
Marketing takes time. Make sure you’re giving yourself a realistic timeline, starting with the day you begin your campaign. If you rush through the planning stages, your audience will be able to tell, and it could cost you money.
Give yourself enough time to plan your launch. Ensure your marketing materials are created with enough time to read them through, make adjustments and create a truly high-quality piece.
If you’re cramped for time, push back the launch. It’s better to extend your campaign by a few days than to put something half-completed out there.
Preparing a content calendar solely on the back of your business is more difficult than it needs to be, though. This is why you should not shy away from asking for help and finding some allies.
Get Some Help
If you’re struggling to create a buzz around your marketing campaign, don’t worry. Very few companies can generate a strong marketing campaign on their own. Without a strong baseline of loyal customers, it can be difficult to spread the word about the products or services you’re trying to promote.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help in promoting your brand. Whether it’s through using social media influencers or strategic partnerships, getting backup can push your marketing campaign to the next level. Talk with influencers before your campaign launches. It can take time to deliver expectations and formulate a promotion plan. Factor in this time when creating your marketing strategy.
And after starting the campaign, getting used to it, and finding valuable contacts and connections, then what? The answer is simple: keep detailed track of your failures and successes so you know where to improve.
Measure Your Results
The only way to know whether your campaign is working is to measure your results. Based on the goals you established early in the campaign’s creation, lay out what key performance indicators or KPIs, you would like to measure. These KPIs should tell you whether you’re achieving your pre-determined goals.
Measuring your results can come in handy when it’s time to create your next marketing campaign. The data you collect during this campaign can help you create an even stronger campaign the next time around. The information you gather should identify what kind of content your audience likes, what ads were the strongest, and whether you’re reaching your target audience.
Rigidity is the bane of a good marketing campaign. Your results need to be a flowing conversation between you and the very embodiment of your strategy. You need to listen, and you need to adapt.
Be Prepared to Make Changes
Sometimes, your first attempt at a marketing campaign isn’t right, and that’s okay. In many ways, marketing is a guessing game. You can analyze, measure and track, but it’s still difficult to know what your audience will connect with. If you find your marketing campaign isn’t coming close to achieving the goals you laid out, you need to be able to pivot.
Be prepared to shift your strategy if you see it headed in the wrong direction. Stay agile and aware of how your audience is reacting, but keep your team prepared to create new content if you think it’s necessary. Don’t waste time or money following through a marketing campaign that won’t bring the best returns.
Whether you create a strong marketing campaign or not depends entirely on how well you know your audience and how much you prepare. If you simply post content however you please, you won’t attract the right attention.
On the other hand, if you take the time to think through what your target audience is doing, what they’re looking for, and how you can help them, you’ll have a marketing campaign that consistently brings in new clients.
Use this article to learn and gain a basic idea of what you should do to succeed. And remember: practice, practice, practice, keep trying, and never give up, as you’ll never get ahead with just theory - experience is key!
Author Bio: Lexie Lu is a freelance web designer and writer. She enjoys researching the latest design news and always has some coffee nearby. She writes for Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner.