How to Create a Marketing Campaign in 2021

Every business needs to use marketing campaigns in some form to increase sales and grow the brand. A well planned and executed campaign can really do wonders for your business, but a rushed and unorganised campaign will be costly and yield little results. 

Most startups and small businesses usually stay away for complicated marketing campaigns as they have little time and resources to commit to them, or they have had bad experiences in the past with dreary ROI (return on investment). Today, we will be helping you get over the fear of intimidating marketing campaigns by breaking down the process into bite-size steps. Let’s get started!

Grab a coffee, find a quiet place, get into ‘brainstorm mode’

The most important part of any marketing campaign is the planning. Every little step, task and requirement needs to be put on paper and elaborated on with instructive details. Finding a quiet spot and getting into the planning spirit should be the first thing you do for every marketing campaign. Don’t plan a campaign when you know you will be distracted by customers, colleagues and other everyday work or personal matters. 

Identify your goal

Now that you’re in your quiet place and ready to brainstorm, grab your notepad and start jotting down what you want your business to achieve with this marketing campaign. Try to be specific and don’t get greedy, rather stick to one main goal. Goals can be anything that will help your business grow: increasing brand awareness and store visits, making sales, getting newsletter subscribers, promoting a special offer on slow moving products, finding the perfect employee/s, collecting market and target audience research, and so much more. By picking too many goals, you’ll dilute your focus and end up with a shallow campaign that will be difficult to manage/monitor and therefore yield poor results. The rest of your campaign planning should always keep the main goal in mind. 

Research ways to reach your goal

Now that you know what you goal is, how will you achieve it? Creating a clever and unique marketing strategy is great, but most small businesses do not have a dedicated marketing team nor the time to conceptualise epic new ways of promoting the brand. Instead, go online and see what your competitors have been doing (not just local competitors, but international ones as well). You shouldn’t copy them verbatim, but many marketing campaigns work similarly and can be adjusted to suite your business and your specific goal. No need to reinvent the wheel when the perfect campaign is already out there and working well for a competitor. Take notes of how their campaign works and what materials they used to inspire your own campaign: 

  • What artwork or videos they used? 
  • What phrasing did they use to convey their message?
  • Did they link to related landing page on their website?
  • What terms and conditions did they include?
  • How do you think they kept track of their success (what metric and monitoring system did they possibly use)?

Select a campaign format and flesh it out

Now that you have a goal and some inspirations from existing campaigns, select what type of marketing campaign you will be running and start breaking it down into a project brief. From your research you will notice that you could create a special offer and advertise it on social media, or perhaps a giveaway, you could share coupon codes with your loyal newsletter database, or maybe create an advert for radio or a poster in your shop. Once you’ve selected how you will be sharing your campaign message, identify how you will track the success of the campaign. If you’re sending a coupon code, you can simply track how many times the code has been used. If you’re sending a newsletter, you can see how many opens and clicks you received. If you did a radio advert or put a up a poster in your store, add a “How did you hear about our special offer?” form at your check-out counter. Furthermore, think about every aspect of your marketing campaign, like any copy that needs to be written and artwork to be designed, monitoring and management systems to put in place, and the precise duties and responsibilities of each staff member involved in the campaign. Write it all down!

Create a timeline

With your campaign format selected and the list of required resources written down, start creating a realistic timeline. Think about what steps would work best in a chronological order, usually you would do the following:

  1. Write the copy. This includes how the campaign will work, what needs to go on the adverts and artwork, what posts need to be shared on social media, what your staff needs to know and say, any terms and conditions, and what keywords and hashtags you will be tracking to monitor success.
  2. Create the artwork. This includes any posters, banners, GIFs, videos, soundbites, games, labels, cards, newsletters, anything visually (or verbally, if you’re using radio broadcasting as your campaign vehicle) stimulating.
  3. Set up and test the systems. Make sure that all the mechanics needed for the campaign work correctly. Test them personally, from your customer’s perspective.
  4. Start the campaign. Press send on the newsletter, share that social media post, approve that advert, put up that banner, and watch the marketing do its magic.
  5. Stop the campaign. Once the campaign’s closing date has been reached, remember to share an announcement on your social media pages and remove any website banners, in-store posters, and other campaign marketing material to avoid any confusion from new visitors.
  6. Review your ROI. Check the various metrics you’ve been recording while your marketing campaign has been running and write a report to identify why the campaign was a success or failure.

Brief your team

If planning is the most important aspect of a marketing campaign, then communication is the second. With all the instructions and timeline for your marketing campaign ready, you can now start delegating the various tasks to obtain the marketing material needed and to ensure staff are informed about how the campaign will work to correctly convey instructions to customers. Send a brief to your copywriter, including all the details of how the campaign will work and what your customers have to gain. Brief your graphic designer and content creator on the artwork you will need. Brief you website manager on any special offers or subscription/application forms to set up. Make sure your Real Receptionist is informed of the campaign to answer any telephonic queries or to take note of certain callers during the campaign period. 

Test the campaign

The last thing you want to do is anger a customer that is interested in your marketing campaign by having them hit a technical roadblock. Test drive the campaign journey from a customer’s perspective, from seeing the first add to completing the steps for sign-up or purchase, ensure it all conveys a clear message and that all mechanics work. If you’re sharing coupon codes, make sure they work on your e-store and in-store point-of-sale systems. If you’re collecting newsletter subscriptions, check that the sign-up forms collect data correctly. If you’re hosting a giveaway, check that your entry and winner selection mechanics are feasible.

Launch your campaign

Once everything is ready and you’ve tested all the mechanics and metric recording systems, go ahead and launch the campaign. Send that mailer, put up that banner, approve your adverts for distribution, and keep an eye on your customer care platforms to ensure you are informed of and can tend to any campaign mishaps that may occur.

Evaluate the results

Once the campaign is closed and you’ve removed all campaign messaging from public view, it’s time to work out the ROI. Did you achieve the goals you set? Try to work out a monetary value for the metric/s you recorded: if you spend R10000 on the campaign, did the sales you made during the campaign period cover this cost and bring in profits or was there a loss? If you were growing subscribers, figure out how much a subscriber is worth to you, and tally that against the campaign budget. This way you will see which campaign worked and should be repeated, or which fizzled and should be avoided.

Marketing campaigns can be a bit of a gamble sometimes. It is important to realise than not all of them will yield the success we want, but that a well-planned and effectively communicated campaign has a much better chance to do so than a rushed one. And remember, if your marketing campaigns usually result in numerous telephone calls with customers wanting to know more, subscribe to Real Receptionist so you can focus on other business ventures and know that we will answer your callers’ marketing campaign questions. 


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