As a small business, marketing is one of the top essentials to running a profitable business. Not only does it help people gain an understanding of your overall brand message, but you can also use campaigns as an opportunity to showcase your products, increase brand awareness, and even rebrand.
What is a marketing campaign?
If you want to reach out to your customers, then running marketing campaigns is the way to go. You have a myriad of ways to reach out to both potential and existing customers. A marketing campaign is something with a specific goal in mind. It often has a set budget and looks to gain traction for your business. Marketing campaigns can be used to increase awareness about a business, promote new products, improve customer relationships and increase customer retention. Now that we have established what a marketing campaign is, let’s dive further into how to execute the perfect campaign to build your small business.
If you don’t have one already, ensure that you develop a brand image that people can recognize as uniquely you. You want to make sure that when you run your campaign that you don’t get lost in the oversaturated marketplace that is the internet. If you do have an established brand image, make sure you can effectively communicate that with your target audience and maintain consistency throughout all channels of your campaign. Ask yourself what is your message? What is does your business stand for?
Strategy and campaign goals
Prior to starting your campaign, it is essential to create a strategy so you can a have a proper direction. The first part of your strategy will be to understand what you want from your campaign. Are you looking to increase your customer base or are you more well known and simply want to promote new products? Answering these questions will be the first step to moving in the right direction of executing a successful campaign. Next, you need to decide what your budget will be. If you are new to marketing campaigns then low-risk high reward is what you should aim for. Try investing a small amount of money in your campaigns, so that if it does not pan out the way you expected it will not be harmful to your business. Remember that any new endeavor will involve trial and error. Your next step should be to establish your target audience for this campaign. Each campaign you run will have a different audience, so do not skip this step. You can determine your audience through analysis of age, gender, location, demographic, and income bracket. Below is an example of how to effectively plan out your marketing campaign.
Try the common SMART strategy
S– stands for specific. Keep your goals focused on your specific areas of improvement. For example, you may want to increase traffic to your website, or foot traffic into your brick and mortar.
M– stands for measurable. Make sure that your goals can be measured by data.
A – stands for assignable. Who do you want to assign these goals to?
R– stands for realistic. Establish realistic goals to ensure that you have success.
T– stands for time. Create a timeline for your campaign. Make sure you give you give yourself enough time to set up, promote and distribute your campaigns. It is essential to making sure that your campaign reaches the audience you want to target.
Another important portion of strategizing for a campaign is to determine the type of campaign you want to run. There are so many options for campaigns depending on your budget and level of experience. Let’s break down the different types of campaigns and what they accomplish.
Types of campaigns:
- Social media campaigns- You can run ads through Facebook and Instagram, a bonus it only costs a few dollars to boost a post and increase your reach. If you plan to run a social media campaign, be aware that it is important for you to have built up a following. If you use your social media only to run campaigns, you are performing for an empty audience so to speak.
- Product launch campaigns- this type of campaign will help your business gain attention for new releases that you want your customers to pay attention to.
- Trade shows campaigns- this campaign gives you the benefit of marketing your business in person. They also allow you to demonstrate your product or service. The unique aspect of this campaign type is tangibility.
- Promotional campaigns- actionable campaigns that can be run on TV, radio, social media, or email
- Educational campaigns- these campaigns are best utilized for services that are complicated to understand. These campaigns help consumers understand how your product or service works and what they are investing in.
- Rebranding campaigns- if you are looking to change your image then you need to run a rebranding campaign.
- Brand Awareness campaigns – you can create this campaign through email or via social media. A brand awareness campaign is best for small businesses just starting out.
- Print campaigns- you can create flyers, or even try to get into local newspapers or magazines.
- Radio campaigns- these campaigns can still be effective in targeting commuters who listen to the radio. You can run an ad with your contact information, or host a promotion.
- Referral campaign- This is a great option to engage your customers. You can ask your customers to refer you to friends and family. As an incentive, you can offer a discount on their next product or service.
- Banner ads- can be used to accompany your main campaign and boost interest in the campaign
Research your competition
Another essential part of your strategy should be to research your competition. Subscribe to their email lists, blogs, and print subscriptions and look at what strategies they use to draw in customers. Who are they targeting? Is their message effective?
Understand your customer needs
Keep in mind the habits of your target audience, as they may be avid television watchers, but seldom listen to the radio. Or they may be an older audience that still appreciates direct mail offers, as they may lack online experience.
Design your campaign
Understand that the campaign is one piece of a much bigger marketing plan Once you decide what kind of marketing campaign you want to execute, you will want to design and conceptualize your content. This design should contain a few essentials, a call to action and your message. Creativity is important for your campaigns. Create unique visuals that will capture the attention of scrollers. You can use tools such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator to execute your ideas. If you feel that you are not the most creative person, then draw inspiration from others. Look through successful marketing company campaigns and analyze the portions you feel apply to your company. If you can, capitalize on trending topics that are sweeping the nation. If you can incorporate your product or service into something that is already on the mind of the consumers, this may have a positive impact on your campaign.
You have taken a significant amount of time to execute a design you think will reach a lot of people, but will it? There is no way to know for sure until you release it, however, you can take steps early on to gain interest from your audience. Gaining interest is very important for your campaign to have the effect you want. Gaining interest in your campaign will come from sticking to your brand message and cross-promoting.
Show them your unique value proposition
It is important to show your customers what unique value you are bringing to their lives. According to Unbounce, a unique value proposition is “a clear statement that describes the benefit of your offer, how you solve your customer’s needs and what distinguishes you from the competition.“ What are you offering that others do not? Is it convenience, is it proprietary software, or a unique experience?
Make a connection with your customers
If you want to make a sale, then forming a relationship with your customers is key. If you want to do this with a campaign, then talk to them directly. Make your audience feel like you don’t think of them as a number, each customer is an important aspect to the success of the business.
Get ahead of their questions
Make sure that you provide vital information with every campaign you execute. You don’t want to run a campaign, only to have customers left with questions on what you are offering, how to contact you and the price of what you are selling. These factors can be a determining factor of whether or not a customer chooses to pursue your business.
If there are any perpetuated myths about services or products like yours, take the time to show the truth. In your campaign, you can provide testimonials or helpful statistics. Also, take the time to dispel myths about the type of customer you might have and open your market up to a wider range of people.
Create a distribution plan
All of your hard work has one main goal, to gain customers and profit. If you create a campaign, remember to create a distribution plan. People will need to know how to purchase from you. Will they purchase through your website? Or will they purchase through a second party.
Monitor your progress
Make sure you monitor the progress of your campaign, see how many email responses you get, or see how much engagement you have through social media campaigns. You can monitor your progress of print flyers by checking to see how many are left at your place of distribution.
See where you can you improve
If this is your first marketing campaign, look for where you can improve for your next campaign. As you gain more experience in running campaigns you will be able to determine your strengths and weaknesses. As for your first campaign you can keep a running list of your successes and failures. Remember that marketing and capturing the attention of consumers is an ever-evolving process.
How to understand if your campaign was effective
As we stated earlier it is important to make sure that your results can measure. You can determine the effectiveness of your campaign in a few ways. One way is to run an A/B test in order to see what techniques your customers respond to best. Second and most important is to calculate your return on investment, if you gained significant traffic or profit, you have been successful. You can also set cost per customer acquisition goals to track.
Marketing campaigns can help your small business gain more attention, more customers and retention. It all depends on what you are looking for from your campaign. Follow the suggested tips above and you are on the way to success.