When I was studying for my CAM Diploma in Digital Marketing I came across a rather simple, yet confusing question: How would you create and manage a digital campaign? But the answer wasn’t as straight-forward as I thought, especially because I wasn’t sure where to start.
So, here’s a simple (though slightly long) guide to follow, which should cover the basis for the launch of your digital campaign.
1. Integrated approach
I won’t pretend I know it all when it comes to digital campaigns, but from my experience, what happens digitally is a mirrored version of other offline marketing activities. So usually, when a campaign is launched, it is communicated both online and offline.
Therefore, the first step is to make sure your digital plans are in line with the bigger campaign and, in fact, with the overall strategy of your business.
2. Set up your goals clearly
What do you wish to accomplish through your digital activities? Increase brand awareness, get more sign-ups, increase sales, launch a new product? (obviously the list is a lot longer)
Whatever your goals, think of what this means in terms of your digital campaign. For example, if you want to launch a new product and get people to read about it or trial it, digitally you want to see people visiting your site in much greater numbers, spending some time on the dedicated page, and hope that will be enough to get them to purchase it, although that is a very difficult goal to achieve for a new product. Unless you are already a well established brand.
You also want people to talk about it, spread the word, share content, recommend the product. All this involves monitoring brand mentions and social media activity, which can all be set up in Google Analytics or other third party tools (not always free), like Brandwatch or Social Media Bakers.
This is a much longer and complex conversation, but if you have any questions, feel free to ask me in your comments and I will do my best to answer them or direct you to some really useful blogs and resources.
3. Digital trends
Before you start putting together your plan, take a look at what’s happening in the wider digital space. What are users most keen on these days? What’s predicted to have a bigger impact on how people consume marketing campaigns?
And that is how you’ll probably come across:
Mobile usage will increase
Content is still king
Visuals are the new text
Responsive media/design (including face recognition technologies)
And a few more you can read about here.
Digitally speaking, what we’re all trying to achieve through a digital campaign is to reach more people. This is the most amazing advantage of this platform, it can reach a much wider audience than most of the offline marketing activities, and it’s usually cheaper or even free.
But to take full advantage of this potential, you have to have a killer digital plan…and think of everything. Where? What to share? When to share? Who’s my audience? How do I measure results?
So here are some things to consider:
- Setting up a dedicated campaign page or microsite – easier to monitor and measure results based on traffic to a dedicated page
- Which Social Media platform is most suitable for this campaign? Yes, it is a good idea to create multiple points of contact and communication. No, you don’t have to actually launch your campaign on ALL social media platforms. Depending on what works best, lead with your most popular channel, and use common sense to decide where else it’s appropriate to talk about the campaign. For example, your campaign is based around the latest aeronautic technology that will revolutionise the industry. Will anyone want to read about this on Facebook? I don’t even think such a company should have a presence there. Instead, create a niche blog, where such expertise can be read by those interested. It’s ok to be on Twitter, mainly to interact with clients and suppliers. But Pinterest? Probably not. YouTube – yes, if you can show how the new technology works. Linkedin could be a good platform to engage some industry CEO’s that would be interested in this technology… You get the point.
- Are there any influencers that can be persuaded to become brand ambassadors? If you’ve been doing your job properly on social media, engaging with your fans, responding to queries, you would’ve already noticed people who love your brand, always comment, like, share, tweet, Pin, etc. Those are your influencers. They already like you, and they are more likely to help you spread the world. But if you have the budget, you can always approach influential bloggers, celebrities, individuals that might like your brand and want to talk about it. In other words, a bit of paid endorsement never hurt anyone. Bloggers will always (almost always) stay true to themselves, so they will only talk about your product/campaign if they genuinely like it, paid or unpaid.
- Video, Vlogging, Visuals. My three favorite V’s. Can you make any use of them? You should definitely make use of visuals at least. Your campaign’s theme/concept should be present on all your online hubs. (website banners, Facebook cover image, Twitter background, etc) Make sure you have a selection of images to accompany your Social Media posts.
- Optimise PPC (Pay per Click) campaign(s) with keywords related to the campaign – this is a whole other kettle of fish, which I might cover in a separate blog post.
- Create content that is likely to have wider implications, appeal and usage. This is a tricky task, but if you can integrate your campaign’s message into the bigger picture, and tell the story from the outsider’s perspective, you are more likely to spark engagement. People will relate to it more easily. Especially on Social Media where you should be encouraging conversation, not just broadcasting.
- Optimise page/microsite for mobiles – following the main digital trend.
*On a separate note, if you use a QR code, make sure its URL is included into your Google Analytics measuring/monitoring dashboards.)
5. Monitor and manage
So you’ve launched your campaign, traffic is coming in (hopefully), data is starting to gather. There’s one simple trick to save you some time in checking data every day – in the form of Google Alerts. Say for example you suddenly get a flood of visitors well above your predictions. You can set up an alert using Google Analytics to receive an email/sms when this happens. You might want to investigate in case it’s due to negativity towards the campaign, or an unexpected referral source that you need to acknowledge (and nurture).
On top of this, keep an eye on your Social Media stats, your mentions (through free third party tools, of course) and your AdWords (whether your bids still stand, which key words people are using).
Generally speaking, you will get all your data through your analytics services which usually come in the form of mini-reports. Pick and mix the ones relevant to the objectives of your campaign.
6. Interpret the results
This is where the fun begins. You have all this data and now you need to make sense of it. Was your campaign successful? Did it deliver and justify the allocated budget?
You have to go back to your goals and look at what you predicted and what you got. Did people do what you asked/expected them to do? The answer should be yes.
Most importantly, this is the part where you learn. A lot. You learn what works best – maybe the majority liked to tweet about your campaign, but no one shared it on Facebook. There is a reason. Find it. Maybe you saw a massive increase in traffic to the website, but people completed only one goal out of three. Find out why? Maybe the content was ambiguous, maybe the navigation sucks, was there an error on the page?
Or perhaps you over performed on all goals – video views through the roof, purchases on top of purchases, everyone loved your campaign.
Whichever the case, there is something to take away from each digital campaign. You learn about your audience, you learn how they behave, you discover where they come from. Hell, you can even find out what age they are and where they live. This is all very useful information that will help you tailor your next campaign even better.
There are so many aspects to consider when you plan a digital campaign. Elements change with each scenario, but the main things to remember are:
- Clear and realistic goals
I hope you found this blog post useful. I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas on the things I didn’t mention. Is there a crucial step you would add?