Would you be surprised to learn that only about 48% of marketers have a formal marketing strategy? It's true. But those marketers who document their planning process and put their strategy down on paper are more than 5x more successful than those who don’t.
That’s a pretty significant gap in ROI just for planning out your campaigns in advance.
That’s because a marketing campaign plan ensures that every part of the process is aligned to meet your business goals. It helps you deliver the right content to the right audience on the right platform, so you can achieve the right metrics for growth.
Executing without a plan is like heading out on a road trip without a map—it would be a miracle if you make it to your destination, and it’s guaranteed to cost you time and money along the way.
Planning is critical to achieving your goal of growing your business and to making the most of your resources. So how do you do it? What does the process look like?
In this article, we’re going to break down the steps of successfully strategizing your marketing campaign from A to Z. We’ll focus on the tried-and-true methods that we use and that we’ve seen work with hundreds of thousands of small businesses.
Sound like what you need? If so, let’s dive in!
What exactly are we calling a ‘marketing campaign’?
A marketing campaign plan is a strategy that promotes a specific company goal and consumer action.
You have a specific goal in mind. Maybe you are launching a new product, getting customer feedback, boosting brand awareness, or promoting an event.
[bctt tweet="When creating a #marketingcampaign you should have a specific goal in mind. This way your customers can easily take action and you can meet your desired goal." username="@Leadpages"]
You want your customers to take action so you can meet that goal. You want them to learn about and purchase your product. Or you want them to give you their contact info so they can be more engaged with your brand.
Your campaign is a focused effort to encourage that desired action. It uses a connected series of marketing platforms to promote this same result through multiple avenues. This includes email, social media, content, print, TV, radio, and search advertising.
If you see a bunch of ads promoting the same product or slogan, you’re likely looking at a marketing campaign. But if you see two ads from the same company with different actions—like one is selling a jump rope and the other is discussing the importance of healthy food—the company might be running two campaigns simultaneously, each with a separate goal.
Jump into action.
Let’s look at a couple of examples.
Let’s imagine Apple is launching the next iPhone. People already know about Apple’s brand and products, so their main goal is to sell, sell, sell. They use television advertisements, Facebook ads, press releases, and email campaigns to let customers know about the benefits of the new iPhone as compared to the older model or their competitors.
But now let’s take Annie’s Juice Emporium. She sells pre-made frozen juices online and in-store. But not many people know about Annie’s Juice Emporium, so her goal is to promote the brand first and foremost. She uses paid search advertising to gain visibility with local searchers, she uses social media to promote her juice website, and she partners with health podcasters to sponsor her business. The goal is to reach as wide an audience as possible.
After she’s promoted her brand with a marketing campaign, Annie may host a second one to spread the news about an event she’s holding or a specific pumpkin spice juice she’s launching. She might use the same platforms, or she might also include emails, social ads, and TV to reach the audience she’s already cultivated with the first campaign.
Different campaign objectives call for different platforms, content, and interactions. Planning this ahead of time is critical to ensuring success.
Why do I need a marketing campaign plan?
The planning part is just as important than the creation of the campaign itself. The strategy defines the goal, tells you what you need to make, and determines how you’ll get in front of your audience.
What are the benefits of planning your campaign before diving in?
Build your brand brick by brick.
Campaigns help you create a strong brand identity and voice. They maintain consistency among your advertisements, so you’re promoting a unified brand message across all platforms. This consistency is critical to creating a brand, and customers are loyal to brands, not products.
Make a sizzling impression.
Most customers need 7 impressions before they make a purchasing decision. A campaign promotes the same message across a variety of channels, so you’re coming at your audience from all angles. The more often they see your campaign on different avenues, the more likely they’ll take the desired action. That’s why you’ll often see the same advertisement from the same brand name on billboards, on TV, and on Facebook—they want to permeate your life from all angles.
Psst… Don’t let your impressions go to waste. Turn impressions into leads by capturing them with landing pages and opt-in forms. Figure out how lead generation strategies can boost your marketing campaign here.
Show how awesome you are at marketing.
Campaigns focus on a single action or goal. They force you to establish that objective and define its associated metrics. This means you have a clear-cut way to measure your success—and prove to your boss that your work is showing results. Planning ahead of time defines your goal, so you can make sure you’re always hitting the mark!
How to make a marketing campaign plan
Now we’ll bring you through step-by-step of the planning process, so you can create a killer plan of your own.
1. Pick a goal and stick to it.
What’s your goal for running this campaign? What do you want to accomplish?
Example marketing campaign objectives include:
- Launch a product/service
- Increase brand awareness
- Enhance user engagement
- Promote an event
- Gather customer feedback or user-generated content
Start broad but then get specific. Which product are you launching? What kind of user-generated content do you hope to gather?
And then take it one step further. What does your brand hope to gain by meeting this objective? What will hitting this goal do to take your business to the next level?
Make your goals SMART: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. So a goal of “increase brand awareness” would be too vague. Instead, your goal might be, “To increase local searches by 10% by the end of Q1.”
2. Be specific about your goals… and how you’ll get there.
Once you have SMART goals, it’s easy to determine how you’ll measure the success of those goals. You want definitive metrics to gauge how well you’re doing.
Potential metrics based on the example objectives above:
- Product launch = pre-orders, sales, upsells, conversions
- Brand awareness = social mentions, press mentions, social engagement, NPR, business rating
- User engagement = blog and social shares, email interactions, social mentions, user-generated content
- Event promotion = sales, vendor bookings, sponsorships, social engagement
- Customer feedback = reviews, social mentions, tags in content, customer service inquiries
Learn more about the marketing metrics worth tracking with Social Media Today.
Let’s say you’re launching a product or service. You want 10,000 sales by the end of the third month post-launch. Some of your metrics could include:
- Number of pre-sales before the launch
- Number of sales after month one, two, and three
- Number of conversions after clicking on a digital campaign ad
- Revenue generated
Having a specific measurement for your end goal can help determine how you approach your campaign from the front end. For example, if you want 500 pre-sales, and your historic average email conversion rate is 10%, you know you need to send emails about the pre-sale to at least 5,000 people.
That’s all great, but you also need to be realistic in your decisions. You can’t say “we want 10,000 pre-orders” if you’ve never even made a single sale on another product before. You can’t anticipate 20 press mentions if you don’t have anyone on staff reaching out to the press. You may not even get the social shares you want if you haven’t previously established your social platform with a creative team.
So before you can even choose your metrics, you need to take stock of your current resources. What is your budget? Who do you have on your team? What skills and expertise are already available to you? Will you need to outsource or partner with another organization?
You want your goals aligned with your resources, so you aren’t overextending yourself. You want to reach for the stars--but you’re more likely to get there if you have a rocket, as opposed to a sailboat. Know where your business currently stands to choose your appropriate content format, channel, and marketing effectively.
3. Be friends with your audience.
You know what the goal is, and you know what action you want the customer to take. But how do you actually get them to take that action?
You could have a rockstar campaign with incredible content, but it won’t show results if your audience isn’t seeing or understanding it.
You need to first have an intimate understanding of your audience. In fact, companies that conduct audience research are 466% more successful than the 65% of companies that don’t. Companies that are meeting or exceeding their revenue goals are 2.4x more likely to have defined customer personas.
That’s because your customer is the foundation of your business. You need to have deep familiarity with your target audience in order to develop products that meet their needs and then market that product in a way that will appeal to them. Check out this free persona template by Hubspot to start diving in deep with your audience.
When planning a marketing campaign, you want to consider the audience for that specific campaign. Different campaigns may call for different audiences. Consider the following questions:
- What stage of consumer am I targeting? Do I want to attract new customers or engage existing clients?
- What are the demographics and psychographics of this section of my audience?
- What is my audience member’s biggest pain point? How will the objective of this marketing campaign solve their pain point?
- Where does this audience hang out online? Where and how would I be able to engage them?
- What kind of content engages this sort of audience? Do they prefer images, video, or blogs? Do they like a straightforward or humorous tone?
- What kind of message will stand out and resonate with this audience?
Your campaign is directed at a specific audience. So know who that audience is! Figure out how to find your audience here.
4. Get ready to perform on your stage.
Where and how are you going to reach your audience? On which platforms will your marketing campaign see the greatest success?
To figure out where you’ll publish your content, you’ll want to consider the type of content, where your audience hangs out, and your budget.
Focus on audience targeting. This means you look to those places your audience already hangs out online, so you can find and engage them in their natural habitat.
But then you also want to make sure that platform offers sophisticated tools for reach and engagement. For example, Facebook offers significantly more robust targeting capabilities than Pinterest. It also has more content capacities, like video, images, groups, communities, etc. But Pinterest has more advertising capacity than, say, Tumblr. So you want to balance where your audience is with the ability to pull them into your marketing campaign with that platform.
You’ll also want to determine how much you’d pay for that advertising. If it’s a low-cost platform, like social media, is there an opportunity to increase engagement with paid ads? How much would you be able to grow on this platform?
We typically recommend you stick to marketing channels on which you already have an established presence. Multimedia is an important approach to marketing campaigns, but you don’t want to reinvent the wheel every time. Focus on those areas where you already know how to rock it. If you’re great on social media, host a social media campaign. If you kill it with paid search advertising, get those ads moving.
If you’re not choosing to promote on all of your channels, you can at least mention your marketing message in passing. For example, if you’re not promoting your campaign on Instagram, you can still mention it in your business bio on your page. This is a great way to maintain branding consistency without spreading yourself too thin trying to hit all platforms.
5. Select and design your content.
It’s time to get creative! Now you want to determine what the campaign content will look like.
Your content should stay consistent with your overarching brand. Every campaign should be an offshoot of the parent brand, which will create an interwoven marketing network that encompasses the total brand. Basically, you want your campaign to be from and of your brand.
Designing and building content is the most in-depth step. You’ll need to think of all of the design elements from content form (images, video, written) to color scheme to written copy. Learn how to generate leads with gorgeously designed campaigns with our free educational marketing resources here.
This can be a complicated process, especially if you don’t have a design team in-house. If you do, make sure they understand the main goals of your campaign and the ins and outs of your customer persona. If you don’t have a team in-house, we recommend outsourcing to a professional design team or hiring a freelancer.
And don’t forget the design of your landing page! The best way to reinforce the desired action of the campaign is through a landing page. Landing pages and marketing strategies go hand-in-hand seamlessly. Get your comprehensive landing page guide here.
Your marketing campaign has a single desired goal, and your landing page has one single call to action. If your campaign and landing page have the same goal, you instantly have aligned reinforcement! Voila!
The campaign pulls them in, while a gorgeously-designed landing page ignites your brand and encourages the visitor to take the next action. That’s where Leadpages come in. We make it super easy to deliver on your marketing campaign plan goal. With our premade templates, you just need to customize the design and copy and you’re off! You can make your landing page perfectly match your marketing campaign, so they become a single unified message that starts hitting your target every time.
Check out our landing page templates to get started driving your customers to massive action and taking your campaigns to the next level!
6. Create a time-bound schedule.
Now it’s time to create a schedule. Action doesn’t happen until there’s a timeline. You want to plan out all of the specifics from creation checkpoints and deadlines to content publication and follow up. This is especially important to make sure you don’t fall behind the game for time-sensitive product launches or events.
What should your schedule include?
- Planning: When will you brainstorm? When will you make decisions?
- Production: How long will it take to create each piece of content? Who will work on each project?
- Promotion: How long will the campaign run for? How often will you “push” the content on social media? How will you align the timelines of all platforms?
- Measurement: How will is your campaign going? How frequently will you measure your success while it’s running? What adjustments might you need to make if you’re not reaching your numbers?
Create a schedule, delegate projects, and get it done!
7. Support your campaign with digital marketing.
You’ve spent a lot of time, money, and resources on your campaign. It can cost a lot to plan and produce great content that will actually show results.
So by the time the campaign actually hits the market, you’re spent. You don’t want to spend any more of your marketing budget.
And you don’t necessarily have to. There are a lot of organic digital marketing methods that can capture traffic for free.
For example, you’ve created a marketing campaign for Facebook and Instagram ads that send your visitor to a landing page. If you want more organic traffic, you can also post those ads on your Facebook business page, email the same offer to your customer list, or ask your customers to share it for a small incentive.
Not every advertisement has to be paid. In fact, most small businesses see more success paying to design the content while pushing with free traffic. Spend your money where it will pack the biggest punch and see the greatest return.
Figure out how to stop paying for leads as a service at all here.
Is there an easier way to make a plan?
This all sounds like a lot of work, right? You may be wondering if there's an easier way. The answer is yes... and no. Some companies make marketing campaign plan templates that can help you organize your ideas, which is helpful if you've never created a strategy before. However, the issue with marketing campaign plan templates is that they're not a substitute for the thinking that needs to go into a plan in the first place—they're only useful when you've done that work first.
Building a marketing campaign plan can feel a bit overwhelming (if not totally and completely overwhelming, right?). But the purpose of planning ahead of time is to reduce stress and increase success. Going through the steps can be as easy as cake if you take your time, focus on your goals, and leverage your resources.
Do you feel ready to take on your marketing campaign planning? What step do you get stuck with? Let us help in the comments below!
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