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Marketing Campaign Guide – How to Create and Launch a Marketing Campaign

Photo by chuttersnap on Unsplash.

Are you having a website traffic problem? Could the quality of your traffic be improved?

Website traffic is often a pain point for many marketing managers. They want more traffic so they can yield more sales.

Using technology, tools, and systems, website traffic is the piece that fuels it all.

I have good news: Marketing Campaigns can help.

This article will show you how professionals run marketing campaigns.

Day-to-Day Marketing vs Marketing Campaigns

People get confused about marketing campaigns. Isn’t it all marketing? Yes and no.

Marketing can be broken down into 2 parts:

  1. The ongoing day-to-day operations of marketing, and
  2. The concentrated efforts that are “Marketing Campaigns”.

Day-to-Day Marketing Operations are your typical social media posts, customer highlights, emails, and more. Marketing Campaigns are specific sets of activities that promote your business in a unique way. Also, Marketing Campaigns have a start date and an end date. Day-to-day operations are ongoing.

An effective marketing team runs both day-to-day operations and campaigns simultaneously.

The day-to-day operations keep the conversations and engagements alive, while your campaigns help you make large strides forward to grow as a company.

If you’re a small business, I suggest you aim for 1 campaign per quarter.

How to Plan a Marketing Campaign

Marketing Campaigns can be fun to plan, but watch out that it doesn’t consume all of your time. We suggest following the process outlined below to help your team stay on-track (and avoid compromising your day-to-day operations).

1. Determine Your Campaign Type: Brand Awareness or Lead Generation

Don’t choose both. Don’t choose both. In fact, don’t choose both.

The worst marketing decision you can make is to run a campaign that strives to accomplish 2 things. Do you want attention (brand awareness) or sales (lead generation)?

Of course you’ll want achieve both, but your campaigns should be setup separately.

It really sucks when you engage with a heart-warming campaign just to have a big giant “BUY NOW” call-to-action at the end.

So what’s it going to be? Do you want to increase your community size? Grow your following? Get people familiar with your brand? If so, choose a brand awareness campaign.

Do you want people to visit your opt-in pages? Sign up for demos? Schedule appointments? Use a lead generation campaign.

Don’t Choose Both Brand Awareness and Lead Generation

If there was only one thing I could educate you about today, tomorrow, or this year, it’s this: Do NOT run a campaign that attempts to achieve both brand awareness and lead generation.

Choosing both will confuse your audience. Your team won’t know which KPIs to track. The campaign performance will be mediocre. Plus, you’ll earn a poor ROI for the entire stunt.

Don’t choose both.

2. Selecting Your Campaign Objective

Your campaign objective will depend on whether you chose brand awareness or lead generation as your campaign type. Here are examples of both:

Campaign Objectives for Brand Awareness

  • Increase Facebook likes
  • Increase Twitter followers
  • Increase Instagram followers
  • Increase email subscribers
  • Increase social engagement
  • Increase blog engagement

Campaign Objectives for Lead Generation

  • Get visits to your product page
  • Get people to book demos
  • Get people to schedule free consultations
  • Get people to contact the sales team
  • Get people to create an account
  • Get people to sign up for free trials

Choose an objective that makes sense for your business.

If you’re new to the whole campaign game, you’ll likely need to do more brand awareness campaigns than lead generation campaigns. I typically recommend an 80/20 rule for campaign types: 80% brand awareness, 20% lead generation.

3. Crafting Your Unique Campaign

Have you ever engaged with a campaign like a prize giveaway or refer-a-friend contest?

What did you love or hate about these campaigns?

As innovative marketers creating unique campaigns, we want to make sure our campaigns engage consumers in meaningful ways.

If you’re not in love with your list of potential campaign ideas, don’t do them.

Creating new marketing campaigns should be an enjoyable experience for you, your team, and any contributors to the discussion.

Let the ideas flow and pick and choose what you like (and hate) about each one.

Challenging the Ideas of Others

There’s nothing wrong with challenging others’ campaign ideas. If you are a marketer, it’s your job to be thorough and to ensure the efficiency of your team’s time and energy.

Don’t hop on an idea just because your boss or CEO suggested it.

Make sure your campaigns carry merit in their meaning and execution. Otherwise, the entire campaign will become a joke that you and your colleagues sigh about to each other.

Don’t let ideas go unchallenged.

4. Creating Your Campaign Calendar

Using a calendar, create the schedule for your marketing activities.

What day will you launch your campaign? When will the press releases go out? What assets are you going to leverage? When will you turn on and adjust ads?

Sort out the details of what you’re going to share and when you’re going to share it.

This will create a clear picture of what assets need to be created.

5. Creating Your Required Campaign Assets

What assets are required for your calendar activities? Do you need to write a blog post? Maybe you need to build a list of press contacts.

Either way, this part the campaign planning process is where you and your team go create the assets needed for your calendar dates.

Work through this, check for spelling errors, and have a sole person who reviews all graphics, words, and copy to ensure the messaging is on-brand.

Typical assets needed for a campaign:

  • Blog Posts
  • Press Releases
  • Advertising Creative and Copywriting

Leverage Strategic Partners

Do you have any partners or investors who could help you share the word of your campaign? If so, reach out to them and share ways they can support your campaign. This would include what links to share, when to share them, and what sort of messaging to include.

Launching Your Marketing Campaign

By this point of the article, you picked a campaign type, selected your campaign objective, created a campaign calendar, and prepared all the assets needed to execute.

The next step is to tie all the pieces together for your launch date.

Once your campaign goes live, you’ll need to hop into response mode. That’s a whole other game, so make sure set up the following activities.

1. Create Tracking Links to Capture Campaign Analytics (UTM Parameters)

Before you start wildly sharing links across the web, use a tool like Google’s Campaign URL Builder to attach tracking to your URLs.

This tool attaches an extension to your URLs called “UTM Parameters”.

No UTM Parameters: www.marketingqualified.com

UTM Parameters: https://www.marketingqualified.com/?utm_campaign=my_campaign_name

Notice that this adds “utm_campaign=MY_CAMPAIGN_NAME” to the end of the URL. This means you can track it separately from your other traffic on Google Analytics.

Create trackable URLs wherever applicable for your campaign. This would be required for social media links, links within emails, links inside blog posts, and more.

2. Schedule Your Blog Posts and Social Media Posts

Launching a campaign shouldn’t require staff to manually publish posts at a specific times.

Using website tools like WordPress or Hubspot, schedule your blog posts to publish at a set time. Next use tools like Buffer or Hubspot (again) to load your campaign’s social media posts into a launch sequence.

Once scheduled, your campaign will officially go live to the public, audience, and community.

Publishing Unlisted Videos on YouTube

If you’re planning to use YouTube videos as part of your campaign, you’ll want to publish those in advanced as “Unlisted” videos.

Unlisted videos are visible to people who have the link. They won’t show up in search or alert your subscribers.

Unlisted video means your can safely publish your videos before launching your campaign.

Once on YouTube, you can embed the video on your campaign landing pages, or run them as ad creative leading to your opt-in pages.

Unlisted videos won’t be indexed on YouTube, but if your campaign has ended (or you want it available on YouTube, switch the video from “Unlisted” to “Public”.

3. Send Your Press Releases

You should send press releases early (but not too early).

Media outlets will require some time before publishing your press release. Be sure to give reporters enough time to discuss your press release with their team members and to reach out to you for additional context (quotes, interviews, images, etc.).

For hobby bloggers, I recommend you send your press release a week in advance.

Bloggers tend to have less time than full-time reporters and they’ll need more time to get everything together.

For media outlets, I recommend you send your press release 2-3 days before launch.

Media outlets run at a fast pace and prioritize their content based on what’s interesting or most relevant at the moment. Reporters tend to work faster than bloggers (in my own experience) and are quick to have meetings, make calls, and get what they need to publish your content.

4. Follow an Ad Schedule

When you tee up your campaign ads, it’s important to follow a schedule.

Good campaigns will feature multiple ads.

Think of the promotions for Marvel’s Avengers Endgame. They launch their official trailer, then they run ads “in 14 Days”, “in 10 Days”, “in 7 Days”, “tomorrow”, etc.

Each of these ads feature the same content, but it’s remixed into an edited version that reminds you of the initial trailer.

This is why you’ll notice professionals run video ad campaigns that are 1 minute, 30 seconds, 15 seconds, and 6 seconds.

This isn’t to say you need video ads, but the same principle holds true if you’re using images for your ad creative.

In short, know what you’re going to advertise and when you’re going to advertise it. Include your ad schedule on your campaign calendar. This will keep everyone on-track for expectations and when things are going to go online.

Include Remarketing Ads in Your Ad Schedule

Remarketing ads are a way to catch conversions that fell off during your campaign process. Serving ads to your audiences who’ve already visited your intended campaign opt-in page (but didn’t convert) works wonders.

5. Prepare Your Marketing Automation

Set up your marketing automation in advance.

Once your campaign goes live, the last thing you want to do is scramble to make sure things are working properly. This means that your ebooks are automatically sending. Your lead nurturing emails send. That your alerts and notifications are telling your when someone is warm, or ready for sales qualification.

Here are a few examples of things to double check for your campaign:

  • Forms have the right fields attached to them
  • Forms include the right hidden fields that segment people who sign up
  • Your submit button redirects to the right thank you page
  • When submitting a form, you receive the right offer that you signed up for
  • When book appointments, your team receives notifications they’ve been scheduled
  • That all the links work in your automated emails
  • That people properly enroll into your automated lead nurturing workflows

Managing a Campaign Once It’s Live

Once your campaign goes live, your marketing team needs to flip into a response team.

A big mistake marketers make is to set it and forget it.

Instead, marketers need to be watching engagements, reading comments, answering questions, and creating materials that address gaps in your campaign.

Do people have questions about your pricing? Create an article that explains it.

Are people not sure how to get started with your sales process? Create an article that explains it?

Do people have general questions about your offer? Include an FAQ section on your landing page.

Use tools like Hubspot’s social monitoring tool or Hootsuite to see what people are posting and if they have questions.

Make your campaign amazing and don’t let poor follow-up compromise all the work you put in.

Indicators of a Successful Campaign

There are a number of things to look at when analyzing your campaign.

If you chose to run a Brand Awareness campaign, your success indicators are impressions, likes, comments, and shares (or your engagement rate).

If you chose a Lead Generation campaign, your metrics are page visits, time-on-page, and form submissions. A really successful lead generation campaign would be one that yields marketing qualified leads (MQLs); meaning they’re ready to be engaged by the sales team and spend money.

Overcoming Common Pitfalls

If you run a lead generation campaign and no one signs up, do more brand awareness.

As for pitfalls, don’t be discouraged. The world of digital marketing is like clearing a pipe.

If you’re getting a lot of impressions but no clicks, you have an ad creative/messaging problem.

If you’re getting clicks but no conversions, you’re having a landing page problem.

If you’re getting form submissions but no sales conversion, you’re having a nurturing problem or sales problem.

Either way it goes, marketers need to be keep experimenting and adjusting the process to enable the flow of leads.

There’s no secret formula for the perfect funnel, only experience of what’s worked in the past and what your team is capable of doing right now.

  • Social proof is important for your landing pages
  • Make sure your ad creative and messaging align with your landing page messaging

Conclusion

This article has covered the entire procedure for planning, launching, and managing a marketing campaign.

We’ve addressed the importance of a campaign calendar, an ad schedule, marketing automation, and to manage a campaign once it’s live.

You’re bound to stumble onto problems along the way but I assure you, keep going.

The result of this entire process means increased website traffic, brand awareness, leads, and conversion.

Keep iterating. Keep learning. Keep working. It’ll pay off.

Mentioned Companies, People, and Sources

Companies:

People:

  • We didn’t mention any people in this article, but would have loved to. If you know someone whose story is worth sharing, please connect us with them via our contact form.

Sources:

  • There were no academic sources listed in this article. The tips and advice mentioned in this post came strictly from our marketing experience over the years helping startups, small businesses, and large enterprises build and engage their audience.

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