It’s not uncommon for people to want to jump right into the tactical execution of campaigns. Get the emails out, get the paid ads launched, get the landing pages spun up and start generating leads.
But if you haven’t taken a strategy before tactics approach to your campaigns, it’s very likely that you’ll be pouring all that effort, energy and money into a campaign that underperforms or doesn’t perform at all.
Instead, take a breath and follow the guidelines below to make sure your campaign strategy is set up correctly and includes all the necessary elements to drive results from every campaign you execute in 2023.
You MUST be able to answer yes to each of the following items before you launch any campaign.
This sounds easy, but you’d be surprised. You want to be talking to as narrow an audience as possible because you want your messaging, story, offers and content to be targeted to individuals, not a big group of people.
The more personalized the approach, the better the results, which means you need to know a lot about who you’re going after. You need to know their role, their industry and their challenges. More on that in the next section.
You need to be able to create a message that speaks to their specific backstory and current set of challenges. This is how you’ll get their attention when they are bombarded by other digital outreach.
The better you are at this, the better your campaigns will perform.
This is very important. Besides personalizing the messaging by role and industry, you have to speak their language and make sure it’s apparent from the first sentence that you understand their pains, challenges and issues.
The best way to ensure this is to list as many of your personas’ specific challenges as possible, then create messaging and copy for each of them.
This provides the copy assets needed to effectively test messaging across your campaigns. It also will help you optimize and continue the campaigns without them becoming stale.
Finally, it’s going to help you connect and engage with your prospects. The key to any campaign is driving results and business outcomes.
If you want your campaigns to really produce, you have to stop talking about you, your company, your products, your services and how great you are.
Instead, shift all your copy to be about your prospects.
You have to talk about their issues, their challenges, their pains and the solutions to those pains.
Campaign copy and campaign messaging need to be short and to the point. There isn’t time to go into long paragraphs or long sentences. We live in a TikTok world where 30-second sound bites rule the day.
You have seconds to connect, get them engaged and convince them to click, convert or consider learning more.
The more you make this about them, the better chance you have to get that coveted new contact.
I talk a lot about how science rules the day in marketing, but this is where art has a solid foothold, and this is also where most companies take only half measures.
If we agree that people are exhausted from the massive amount of digital outreach, then one of the only remedies to this exhaustion is to create a message that grabs prospects by the shirt and shakes them out of that stupor and into action.
Is the message in your campaigns measuring up? Does it drag them kicking and screaming into the light? Does it shake them up? If not, your campaigns are probably underperforming.
At the very least, start testing some more emotional, compelling and thought-provoking messages. Compare the performance and then move forward based on the results.
This also requires a deft touch and some experience taking your company’s big story and working it down into individual campaigns. Your campaign messaging has to support your company’s overall big story.
For example, if Square 2 is helping companies learn how to generate revenue with a system and specific execution support in four key areas, then our campaign execution should focus on telling that story while highlighting specific issues related to overall revenue execution.
Sometimes this can be tricky, but if it’s done as part of your overall strategy and built out for the year based on specific goals and objectives, it can be accomplished successfully.
Again, to try and illustrate this for you:
Company Big Story – Square 2 has a system for revenue generation, and we can teach it to you as well as help you execute it.
Our campaigns might look something like this:
Campaign 1 – Why you need a revenue generation system
Campaign 2 – How strategy is a critical component of any revenue generation system
Campaign 3 – Select the right marketing and sales tactics to fuel your revenue generation system
Campaign 4 – Designing campaigns inside your revenue generation system is the secret to lead generation
Campaign 5 – How technology makes running a revenue generation system easy and efficient
These five specific campaigns are tied back to our overall big story. You can do something similar for your business and see an improvement in overall results.
When it comes to revenue generation, the details are important. Most people aren’t going to simply click on your marketing and ask to speak to a sales rep. While that would be nice, that’s not how people behave today.
Instead, they want to get to know you first, and the best way to get to know a company is through educational content.
Most of the people coming to you will be early in their buyer journey and looking for information before even considering scheduling a call with your company.
The campaign assets that you use to make this connection and continue the conversation are critical.
You need to consider the stages of the prospect’s buyer journey when you’re thinking about and creating these educational assets. The Cyclonic Buyer Journey™ gives you a model and framework to use when creating your campaign assets.
Specifically, if you map out the questions prospects have at each stage of the buyer journey, you’ll be well on your way to answering those questions with content your prospects will find valuable and helpful.
There are still a few details that need to be worked out to have a successful campaign. These might seem more trivial than those items above, but don’t underestimate them.
What’s your budget? This should be part of the larger marketing budget, but nonetheless, you need to know how much you can spend to execute this campaign. If the budget is small, it might just be email and social posting. If the budget is larger, it could include paid social, paid search, remarketing or even some affinity marketing with partners.
Regardless, it’s challenging to plan a campaign, define the expected results, track performance, optimize performance (more on that later) and evaluate the overall outcomes if you don’t have a budget going into it.
Technology is an important pillar in any campaign execution. Certain automation and publication motions will be necessary. Also, you’re going to want to track the results and the specific actions your prospects take.
If you don’t have your technology set up properly before the campaign launches, you’ll find yourself wondering how it did and what parts worked, what parts didn’t work and how to make it better the next time around.
You’re also going to have a hard time reporting on the campaign and convincing your leadership that the data is accurate.
This technology is going to include tools for marketing like email, social, landing page creation, paid advertising and analytics. You’ll need these tools to execute your campaigns efficiently and then analyze their performance.
You’ll also need sales tools and, at the very least, your CRM to be working correctly. If done right, new prospects will be interacting with your company, and the right sales motions and plays can be executed to improve conversion rates on those new leads.
Both of these technologies need to be running optimally for your campaigns to produce business results.
Now we’re really getting into it. It’s going to be highly unlikely that your campaign nails it right out of the gate. You’ll probably need to make some adjustments or optimizations along the way, based on data, to improve performance.
Since that’s the case, you should plan on an optimization cycle. This is the timing associated with when you’ll start optimizing and when you’ll continue to optimize campaign performance.
When and how frequently you do your campaign optimization has everything to do with the length and scope of your campaign.
If it’s short (about a month), you might optimize it weekly. If it’s three months, you might not optimize it at all during the first month but consider optimizing every other week during months two and three.
All I’m advising is that you plan the optimization cycle and plan on doing the optimization work. This will improve your performance over time, and each campaign will get better based on what you learn.
Let’s talk timing. You should know how long you want your campaign to run for and how frequently you’ll be touching prospective customers. This should be documented as part of your campaign planning efforts.
The effort of thinking this out and documenting it is going to help you create better and more effective campaigns going forward. It’s also going to help you figure out other items on this list, like budget, performance expectations and resources needed.
Last, but certainly not least, you need to know what to expect and set these expectations at various stages of the campaign. Set high-level early-, middle- and end-stage expectations so you can track progress.
I know putting yourself out there and setting numbers is scary, but you should push yourself and do it anyway. Even if you miss your numbers, you should know why, as you’ll be better prepared to project and execute next time.
Even if you hit or exceed your numbers, you should know why and how to repeat this for the next campaign.
Campaign execution is extremely hard these days, so honing this skill is critical to getting your marketing and campaign performance to produce results for your company.
If you can’t answer yes to these 11 questions, then your campaign isn’t ready to launch. The time you invest in thinking out your campaign strategy is going to pay off big time in results and business outcomes.
Yes, this is a go slower to get better results approach, but it’s one we use regularly at Square 2. By building the foundation and strategy first, the campaigns always perform better than expected, so resist the temptation to skip the strategy work.