If you are new to running a marketing campaign, there are a number of best practices to keep in mind to ensure that your advertising efforts are as effective as possible.
Review Your Marketing Plan
Don’t have a marketing plan? Go do that first! Visit our article Essential Items for a Marketing Plan. Once you have that in place, do a review of your marketing plan to have it fresh in your mind as you think about how best to target your ideal customer.
Review Current and/or Previous Marketing Efforts
If you have done any advertising in the past, hopefully you have tracked and kept some statistics that you can analyze to see how successful any past campaigns have been. Don’t be too quick to eliminate a certain avenue from consideration simply because it was a bust in the past. The timing or messaging could have been off rather than the method. But you can use the results from previous advertising attempts to begin to plan what types of marketing think might be most successful for your promotion or business.
Set a Specific Objective
Many campaigns fail because they are too general. “We want to increase sales,” is not a great campaign objective, it’s too broad. Set a time frame and a measurable goal. A better objective might be, “We want to increase sales of our home delivery service by 15% over the next three months with an advertising spend that is 5% of our total profits or less.” With a specific, measurable objective, you can test out a few different strategies and see whether the campaign was successful or fell short.
Determine How You Will Measure Your Progress
How will you know that increased sales are due to your campaign, and not due to unrelated forces? If you are doing online advertising, it should be relatively easy to track whether a particular ad is driving traffic to your website, but other types of advertising can be more challenging. Brainstorm ways that you can use promo codes, surveys or a special phone number to allow you to separate and track purchases that are the direct result of an ad rather than via other avenues.
Set Your Budget
Determine what amount of money you can comfortably spend on this advertising campaign and set about doing some research on what the costs will be for some of the marketing platforms you are considering. Don’t forget to include design costs, videography, copyrighting and any other services you may need to contract. If this is your first ad campaign, it’s usually a good idea to budget for a small spend and see what kind of results you get before allocating larger sums.
Choose Your Marketing Mix
Starting with online ads can be a great way to test out a variety of marketing messages for small sums of money. Once you discover what resonates with your audience, then you will want to investigate other avenues to reach your target audience. Trade magazines may make sense for reaching industry professionals, newspaper ads may be effective at reaching seniors, Google Ads reach people searching for specific goods and services, email marketing can be very effective for generating repeat business from existing customers.
Set Deadlines and Timelines
Determine when you’d like to start this campaign and work backwards to set deadlines for the various steps that have to happen to get you there. For instance, you may have steps like:
- Meet with an advertising consultant;
- Write copy;
- Create graphics in 4 different formats;
- Create a special landing page on your website;
- Research media outlets;
- Buy time and space on those chosen outlets;
- Stockpile product;
- Launch your campaign.
You’ll want to set deadlines for each portion of this plan to ensure that everything is in place when the launch date arrives.
Write Copy and Create Graphics
Look at what your competitors are doing. Survey trusted customers and/or friends to see what they respond to. Then focus on what sets you and your business apart. Visualize your ideal client. What are they most interested in when it comes to your business or service?
Whole books are written on crafting advertising messages and images to grab attention and convert viewers into buying customers. It may be well worth using part of your budget to hire a professional marketer, designer and/or copywriter to help you create ads that will resonate with your target audience.
Prepare for Increased Demand
Once your tracking mechanisms are in place, be sure that you are also prepared to handle extra calls, orders, walk-ins, etc. Hopefully your campaign will be so successful that you will find yourself with a rush of new business! Prepare your staff and systems to handle that. The worst thing you can do as a business is to attract a wave of new customers that are immediately turned off by slow customer service, busy phone lines or out-of-stock products.
Review Your Results
After the campaign has ended, review your results as soon as possible while the impact is still fresh in your mind. Was your campaign successful based on your specific measurable objective? If it wasn’t, do an immediate autopsy to see if you can brainstorm possibilities for what might have been lacking. Use this analysis to guide your next campaign so that you can continuously refine and improve your results for future campaigns.