1. CAMPAIGN STRATEGY
Your marketing calendar (or perhaps your boss) tells you it’s time for a sales promotion. Before you start brainstorming with your team about a campaign theme, special offers, and which channels to use for spreading the message, do some (not as fun) planning on your own first. Start by asking yourself…
What problem are you trying solve?
Before you can even start thinking about planning a marketing initiative, you need to figure out what problem you’re trying to solve and what you’re trying to accomplish. This sounds like a no-brainer but “we need more sales” is just too broad, even if that’s the end goal. Ask yourself why you need more sales. Is it because sales have dropped? Or goals have increased? Or maybe you’ve got a new product that’s not living up to its potential and taking up space in your warehouse? Whatever the reason, you need to define it up front.
Have you defined your specific goals and KPIs?
Once the problem is defined, you’ll need to set specific goals to shoot for (and to measure your progress against). If getting more business from your current customers is your goal, define your goals around those sales. Will they come from specific products? Or specific customers? How many sales need to be made to call it a success? How long does it typically take to make a sale? Get specific and be ready to measure when the time comes.
Who is your audience?
With your goals set, you should have a clear picture of who you need to get in front of. The more you know about these people, the more tailored you can make your message. And the more effectively you can reach them. Personas or other profile data are a good start. If you don’t already have personas, or the ones you have are outdated, there are companies that can help. HubSpot has a great template that will get you started, and it’s free.
What’s the best way reach your customers?
You already have access to this group—you just need to determine the best way to reach them. Do they prefer emails? Text messages? Phone calls? Social media interactions? You should have data on their past behaviors. Take a look and see what works. If not, you could do some testing. Or you could ask them. Online surveys are easy to administer, or if you’ve got sales or customer support reps, they could ask them in person or on the phone. You know your customers are your most valuable asset—use the data and tools you have to nurture them in personal ways to keep them happy and loyal.
Do you know how to find prospects?
This one will keep you up at night. If it helps, you’re not alone—everyone struggles with it. Start with the basics. How is your SEO working? This is the fastest and least expensive way of making sure you’re getting found online. It takes time to get results, but it’s worth it. If you’re doing PPC (pay-per-click), are you getting good leads? Calculate your CPC (cost-per-click) and determine if it’s worthwhile. Read more on that here.
Then, think about all the other channels you could utilize to find prospects. You learned a lot about them when you created your personas. Use that information to figure out which tactics will work best to reach them, whether it’s through social media, email, direct mail, advertising (online or offline), trade associations, trade shows, referrals, etc. If they need several encounters with your brand before they interact with you (and they will), mix up your channels. Prospecting can be a long game, especially for B2B companies with long sales cycles. Research and testing should be ongoing and learnings should be used for constant optimization.
Even if you know your product is a gamechanger, don’t fool yourself into believing it will sell itself with one email to a group of people who’s never heard of you. According to multiple experts and articles, including this one from Hubspot, it typically takes 6 to 10 interactions (sometimes more) with a prospect to move them from the top of the funnel to the point where they’re ready to buy.
A lot of work can (and should) go into putting together a campaign strategy. First, you need to get specific about the problem you’re trying to solve and define your goals around it—this is the first thing an outside agency will want to know, and it’s how they will ultimately measure their success as your service provider. Agencies or other outside firms are great for conducting audience research, because they come with no preconceived (and potentially incorrect) notions about your audience. As a neutral third party, they might also get more honest answers than you can, which will lead to deeper, more useful insights.
Another added bonus of working with an agency is having access to specialized services from their vendors and partners, like digital service providers (DSPs), printers, marketing automation services, and consumer data platforms. With digital campaigns especially, there are rules and regulations around privacy and data, so you’ll need to be sure you’re working with reputable companies. Agencies have done their due diligence by vetting these companies beforehand and that can save you from a lot of headaches down the road.