Whether you like it or not, marketing is an important part of your business. It allows you to attract new customers, remind existing ones that you exist, and communicate your brand values to the world.
Most business owners and managers understand the importance of marketing, but they may not always know how to get the most from their efforts. It’s really easy to spend a lot of money and not get much in the way of results to show for it.
So before you start your next campaign, here are some things to consider.
Do Your Research
You might think that you have some fantastic ideas, but others may disagree. It’s important to do research and test your ideas before you start creating any marketing material. Good market research will help you to understand who your customers are, why they choose your product or service, and what problems they have that you can solve. You can then tailor your campaign to address these points.
Before PokerStars launched a brand refresh in summer 2020, the company did extensive research. It found that, despite having very different backgrounds, its customers all shared the same passion for adventure. The company’s I’M IN campaign was then created to reflect this, with ads featuring people in exciting and adventurous scenarios.
It’s not just big businesses that need to do their research either. Small businesses can benefit greatly from conducting research before putting together a marketing campaign. For SEO and PPC marketing, which can be incredibly effective for small and micro businesses, conducting keyword research is vital.
Sarah Gabriele, a professional organiser from Colorado used keyword research to discover the types of things her customers are searching for so she can use them in her content marketing. Several years on, her business, A Place For Everything, continues to thrive thanks to the keyword-focused pages and blogs she created following this research.
Ultimately, you run marketing campaigns because you want to increase your sales, but they don’t all have the same primary objectives. Some will be focused on increasing awareness of your brand, others will be designed to rank your website higher in Google for certain search terms.
Whatever your objectives, you need to be able to objectively measure the success (or lack thereof) of your efforts. To be able to do this, you need to set targets and define your “success criteria” before you begin any work.
Metrics should be quantitative wherever possible and you should take a baseline measurement before beginning. For example, if you want to increase the number of keywords that rank on the first page of Google, you should first check how many you currently have.
Set a Budget
Next, you need to set a reasonable budget. Your budget will help you from overspending, keep your campaign affordable, and allow you to allocate sufficient cash to actually achieve your objectives.
Small businesses often have a tendency to focus on free advertising like posting on social media sites, but they often forget that the time involved in doing this is being taken away from other important tasks.
Select the Channels You’ll Use
You now need to choose which communication channels you will use. This will depend on the demographic you’re targeting, your objectives, and your budget. For example, if you only have a $500 budget, television ads are out of the question, while if your campaign is designed to re-engage existing customers, then email might be more appropriate.
Based on your research, you’ll want to think about the places that your customers spend most of their time. If you’re selling a business service, LinkedIn might be a good option, but if you provide transport services to the elderly, then an ad in a local newspaper may yield better results.
Create a Plan
Next, you want to outline the exact steps you want to take. Your campaign will likely consist of a mix of different activities, so you may want to create a to-do list or a timeline of tasks that you need to undertake.
This will help you stay on schedule and ensure that all of the steps you need to take are completed, and create some accountability.
After your plan has been implemented, you need to review the results of your marketing campaign against your success criteria. Don’t worry if you don’t quite hit your targets, it is likely that you can learn valuable lessons from anything that didn’t go to plan so that you can improve your next campaigns.