On marketing blogs everywhere you hear a lot of lip-flapping about the importance of meticulously planning your marketing campaigns. But what many don’t address is that marketing campaigns aren’t specific to product launches – if you want to achieve measurable results with your marketing, you need to treat every single one of your marketing activities as a marketing campaign.
For every single project you take on to move the needle for your business,you’ve got to have a master plan: a set of clearly-defined goals, a finite start and end date, and a means of tracking your successes (and failures). So what extra baggage comes with this campaign mentality? What’s the ideal order of operations? What extra resources will you need?
Here’s a straightforward, step-by-step blueprint for planning and launching your next campaign. We plan to follow up with a post that highlights a number of hand-picked tools to help you along the way.
1. Ideation, Research, and Goal Setting
Organize Your Brilliant Ideas
I’m willing to bet that you’ve got more brilliant ideas floating around than you realize – but are they getting lost in the shuffle? Organizing your ideas goes a long way in helping to identify the opportunities with the most potential. Start by brain dumping cards into the “Ideas” column. For each campaign idea, identify the scope of the project: How long will it take?What resources will it require? What sort of results do you expect? As each campaign gets off the ground, move the card through each stage of the planning process, from “Validating” to “Underway.” Keep a "Done” column as well so you can track your progress and prove that you’re completing the right stuff. Organizing things in this way helps you prioritize and holds you and your team accountable for your ideas from start to finish. It sounds rudimentary, yet know your audience and what resonates, When validating ideas, it is imperative to always keep your audience top-of-mind.
2. Building (and testing) Your Campaign Landing Page
If you want your campaigns to inspire action, then you’ve got to make the intended goal crystal-clear. After all, your users deserve a delightful, seamless marketing experience, don’t they? If you agree, then you’ve got to create a dedicated landing page for every marketing campaign you launch. Having a dedicated landing page for every marketing campaign allows you to direct prospects toward the goal in a concise, compelling manner – and allows you to easily track the success of your campaign.
Leverage each key element associated with a high-converting landing page
Every campaign landing page should lead with the question that prospects have on the brain:
What's in it for me?
That includes talking about benefits, not features – and making sure you supply prospects with all the information they need to make a decision. A simple way to achieve this is to be sure that your landing page includes the essential elements of a winning landing page.
3. Set Up Goal Tracking
If you’re going to invest time and resources into your brilliant ideas, you’ll want to know how your campaign is performing. Google Analytics can be useful in tracking straightforward goals and conversions (such as an e-book download) – but often, campaigns involve more than one touch-point with prospects.est time and resources into your brilliant ideas, you’ll want to know how your campaign is performing.
Don't Make Assumptions From Previous Campaigns. Use Your Analytics.
Tools like Kissmetrics address some of the frustrations marketers (especially SaaS marketers) have with Google Analytics. KISSmetrics makes it easier to tag your campaign data and build a simple custom report to display results. We’ve found it extremely valuable that the tool allows you to pull customer data from your billing system so you can accurately track their progress all the way down the funnel – and even after they become a customer. For each campaign, you’ll want to set up events for every micro and macro conversion. For example, you may want to set up an event when a prospect completes each of the following:
Visits the campaign landing page
Signs up for a free 30-day trial
Uses your product
Then you should set up funnel reports so you can see the point at which people are dropping off – and optimize accordingly.
4. Distribution and Promotion
After you’ve created all the things and set up all the tracking, you’ve gotta devise a game plan for getting it all out there. Which channels will you use to promote your campaign? Email, co-marketing initiatives, social, press releases – maybe even a contest?Whichever channels you choose, remember that distribution and promotion should never be an afterthought.All this prep work should run parallel to content production so that much of the legwork is done before your launch date.
Announcing Your Campaign on Social Media
Your fans on social media have followed you because they’re interested in what you’re doing and what you have to say. So tell ‘em what’s up! Every marketing campaign needs a corresponding social media campaign to spread the word. At the very least, you should:
Create a variety of social assets that have design and message match with the landing page you created earlier.
Tag the URLs you are using to distribute content on social so you can measure the results of your campaign (check out a simple tutorial on that at the end of this post).
Schedule promotional messages in advance with tools like Hootsuite to coincide with the launch date and avoid last-minute scrambles.
Keep your ear to the ground on social media so as to collect real-time feedback and respond to comments/questions about your campaign. This is critical!
Announcing Your Campaign in a Blog Post
If you’ve already got a group of engaged readers on your blog, why not use it as a platform to break the news about your campaign? You could write a post on a related subject to pique your readers’ interest, and then insert a CTA at the bottom of the post for your campaign. Alternatively, you might decide to write a post that simply announces the launch! Explicitly announcing the launch of your latest campaign will typically result in significantly more views to the campaign landing page and a higher percentage of desired actions, i.e. download, registration, etc. Your campaign may have a finite end date, but your blog post is around forever – so make sure that you pay attention to SEO and do appropriate keyword research. If you’re running an evergreen campaign, also consider optimizing your landing page for SEO so that people can stumble on it organically. (Psst: If you’re an SEO newbie, tools like Moz can help.)
Announcing Your Campaign to Your Prospects
If you’ve already got an engaged list, announcing your campaign via email is an easy win. After all, these people have already self-identified as being interested in what you do. To help get you started, here are some best practices Sovartis often helps put into action in support of our customers email campaigns.
Easy To Implement Best Practices For Email Campaigns:
Make sure your email copy matches that of your landing page.
Your subject line has one job: to get the prospect to open the email. It needs to grab the reader’s attention, but should still be clear.
Test subject lines to learn more about what triggers subscribers to open.
Your body copy should be concise, and speak clearly to the benefits of your campaign. Your body copy’s “job” is to get people to click on the CTA in the email.
The CTA in your email has to pop and describe what people get when they click the button. Test CTA button copy that answers the question, “I want to…” The CTA for this webinar announcement email is easy to spot and finishes the sentence, “I want to _____.” Click for full email. here are of course tons of other methods for getting your campaign out there – I haven’t even touched on paid methods such as PPC (WordStream can help with that!).
5. Lead Nurturing
After your campaign is launched, your work isn’t done. No matter the goal of your campaign, you want to continue the relationship so you can make leads into customers and customers into repeat customers.I’m talking about lead nurturing. The more touch points a lead has with your business, the hotter they become.
You’ll want to keep track of those interactions (Customer Relationship Management tools such as HubSpot can help make this easy) – and then find ways to keep offering value.
Keep Delivering Value
The more details you have about your leads, the more opportunities you have to send them targeted offers that will make them happy – and more likely to do business with you. When we recently launched an ebook campaign, we set up separate email marketing campaigns to fire based on answers prospects provided in the opt-in form.
For example, if they answered “We don’t use landing pages” to the question above, we sent them a follow-up email schooling them about the importance of landing pages (and telling them about Unbounce). Taking this approach gave us insight into the behavior of each subscriber, and allowed us to target subsequent offers based on their answers.If you listen closely enough, you’ll have a good idea of what your prospects want. And that puts you in the unique position to give them exactly what they need.
6. Rinse, Lather, and Repeat
When your campaign has come to an end, it’s time to look back and take in all the results. Hold a postmortem with everyone involved to discuss your successes and shortcomings. For example:
Did you meet the goals you laid out in step #1?
What could have been done differently?
For anything that didn’t work out, what’s your best guess at why it went wrong?
How can you do things better next time?
What have you learned about your audience?
Holding meetings like this and keeping the notes on record allows the entire team to learn from each others’ mistakes and become better marketers. Doing so will make your next marketing campaign that much more awesome.
Treat All Your Marketing Activities As Distinct Campaigns
There is no such thing as the perfect marketing campaign. There’s always room for iteration and improvement – not to mention more conversion lifts.
Hope this helps. More to come. Let us know your thoughts.