How to Launch Your First Online Marketing Campaign [A Step-by-Step Guide]
January 30, 2018 | Nabanita Nag
Effective marketing is one of the key aspects of operating a successful business. In the olden days, the preferred mediums for marketing used to be word of mouth, billboards, newspaper advertisements, television commercials and mails. On October 27, 1994, Wired.com, formerly known as HotWired.com launched the first ever banner ad on the web. It looked like this:
Well, it’s not much of a looker; is it? But, this not-so-good-looking banner advertisement from AT & T certainly generated enough excitement and curiosity among marketers of the time. Following this very first online advertisement, Hotwired launched banner ads for 14 leading companies, including Volvo, Club Med, Zima and MCI.
Digital marketing has come a long way since!
Today, digital marketing employs a wide array of channels and methods such as e-mail marketing, social media marketing, blogging, PPC advertisements, retargeting and of course the banner ads. With the evolution of search engines, social media and online marketing tools, digital marketing has become the bread and butter for most marketers, irrespective of the industry they are working in. And for good reasons too! Apart from being cost-effective and highly targeted, digital marketing offers a greater chance of personalizing the communication to ensure better engagement.
So, if you are a business owner or a novice marketer looking at launching your very first digital marketing campaign, then here’s a step by step guide for you. Of course, this guide will not make you a digital marketing wizard overnight, but when followed correctly, this guide will let you set up a successful digital marketing campaign, even if you have no prior experience.
Let’s get started!
Step 1: Get Your List Sorted
In the world of digital marketing ‘List’ usually means the contacts of your target audience, segregated as per interest, age, profession or any other criteria you may want. For example, if you are running a cooking school with separate classes for Baking, French Cuisine, Italian Cooking etc. and looking at running separate online campaigns for marketing each class, you need to sort out all your leads as per their interest and create separate ‘lists’ containing leads for each class. This way, you will be able to target the ‘Baking List’ or the ‘Italian Cooking List’ with marketing messages specific to their interest and thus, wield better result.
So, the first thing you need to do is to look into your CRM and sort out lists as per your product category. Cleaning out the lists to remove duplicated contacts and bad contacts are important here. In case, you do not have your leads updated in your CRM system, you can also update your spreadsheets and upload the same to your CRM to create lists.
Step 2: Build the Campaign
Marketing campaigns are built to promote a single product, offer or idea at a time. For example, you can launch a marketing campaign to popularize a particular product, a new product, a limited period offer, a free-trial etc. Once you decide on the focus of your campaign, it is time to build the campaign itself. There are two steps here:
Keywords: Keywords are the road signs in the world of online traffic. When a person runs a Google search with a particular phrase, for example ‘running shoes for men’, the search engine bots scour the web and pull up the web pages where the phrase ‘running shoes for men’ or a phrase similar to it is used. So, keywords are basically the words with which your potential customers are searching for your products or services. There are various free and paid tools that you can use to find popular keywords related to your campaign. Ubersuggest is one such free keywords tool that you can use.
While going for a highly searched keyword is indeed tempting, remember, they have high competition too. Thus, sticking to keywords with moderate search volume but low to medium level of competition is the best way to make your web pages rank in organic searches.
Landing Page: Once you have decided on the focus of the campaign and the keywords to be used, it is time to build the landing page where you want your visitors to land. You have three options here:
- Build a standalone landing page
- Divert the traffic to an existing website page
- Create a new page in your website
No matter what option you choose, make sure that the webpage is built to impress and is fully optimized for selected keywords. Another crucial aspect is the messaging of the page. No matter whether it is a standalone webpage or a part of your business website, the page must focus on your campaign idea alone.
For example, if you are offering a limited time discount on one of your products, the landing page must talk about the particular product and the exciting discount only. No matter how many more amazing products you have to offer, the landing page for this campaign must restrain itself from talking about those.
Step 3: Define You Campaign Goals
No matter what your project is, goal setting is always fundamental to success. It is same for your marketing campaign too! Depending on the nature of your products and the industry you are operating in, the goal for your marketing campaigns can be selling products or gathering leads. If you are operating in the B2B market or selling high-value products/services such as cars, modular kitchens, interior decorating etc then gathering leads is more likely to be your campaign goal. On the other hand, if you are an online retailer offering off-the-shelf products such as clothes, accessories, smartphones, small gadgets etc, your campaign goal should be selling products.
This is how the goals may look like for a B2B and B2C online marketing campaign.
Here, ‘Target Audience’ refers to your list size and ‘Visitors’ refers to the people who actually landed on your website or landing page and saw the products/offers. ‘Leads’ are the people who are interested in your products/offers and leave their contact details through a web form. The B2B marketers will then take these leads and follow-up to close the sale. In case of most B2C marketers, the visitors are likely to purchase the product directly (and become ‘Customers) or leave the website.
While defining the goals be brutally honest about your brand value, product quality, brand popularity and product demands. This is essential for setting high but realistic expectations.
Step 4: Decide on Channels
As mentioned in the very beginning, today there is a wide array of channels that you can use to promote your marketing campaigns. Here are the channels that you can use to make your marketing campaign a huge success.
E-Mails: When it comes to marketing campaigns, e-mail is still the king. Despite the fact that almost every one of us has unbelievably crowded inboxes, e-mails are still one of the most effective channels for digital marketing. What makes emails so effective? The personal nature of the e-mail. While every other marketing communication is directed towards an interested audience, an e-mail is addressed to a particular person. And this makes emails the integral part of marketing campaigns for almost all the industries.
Most e-mail marketing tools let you build and distribute beautiful email campaigns with pre-built templates and easy-to-create workflow rules. In case you do not have an e-mail marketing tool at your disposal, you can use your good old CRM to send out personalized e-mails to your lists. Although you won’t be able to create full-fledged e-mail campaigns with a CRM system, you can still send out personalized emails to support your overall digital marketing campaigns.
Simply make sure to draft an engaging e-mail and include a strong call-to-action to ensure a good click-through-rate.
Social Media: Today’s consumer cannot imagine life without social media, and not shouldn’t the marketers. With every passing day, social media is becoming more engaging for the users. Be it LinkedIn Videos or Facebook Live or Instagram Stories, social media today is all about making the communication more interactive. And this is why social media is a crucial part of digital marketing campaigns.
The choice of social media platform to engage-in is crucial. Understanding your target audience is the key here. For example, if you are a B2B marketer, your target audience is likely to be super-busy executives and business owners. Therefore, they are more likely to spend time on LinkedIn and not on Pinterest or Instagram. On the other hand, if you are selling make-up products and fashion accessories, your target audience is more likely to prefer Instagram or Facebook over LinkedIn and so should you.
Depending on the social media platform you are using, your marketing message can take the form of texts, pictures, videos or live videos. Here, one must think in terms of conversion. While an interesting Facebook video may go viral and reach millions of people, it may not have much impact on your marketing campaign. The smart thing to do here is to focus on your campaign and include a strong call-to-action to encourage users to visit your landing page. You can use different types of content simultaneously too to find out what works best for your audience.
Blogging: Blogging is THE best way of generating organic traffic for your website or landing page. When properly optimized for keywords, blogs are the most effective (not to mention cost-effective) way of making your web pages rank. But, blogs do more than just driving traffic! A well-written blog post usually offers an answer to the visitor’s question. And this automatically establishes authority for your business. The trick here is to generate blog posts that relate to your campaign but does not sound salesy. You can add your campaign link in the middle of the post or in the end, depending on the narrative.
PPC Campaigns: Pay per click advertisements are great for promoting your marketing campaigns. PPCs offer great control over the reach of your campaign. You can decide on the target keywords, target geographical location/s and can select negative keywords for which you don’t want your advertisements to appear. These criteria let you target a very specific section of internet users who are most likely to be interested in your products or services.
While the benefits may look awesome, PPCs can be quite costly. So, unless and until you have an accommodating campaign budget, going for PPCs may prove to be fruitless.
Step 5: Create Campaign Creatives
Once you have decided on the channels to employ, you can now start working on the creatives. Campaign creatives include everything such as e-mails, social media posts, videos, blog posts, PPCs etc. While creating these materials, pictures, videos, and content, one must ensure uniformity. Of course, the creatives will vary as per their medium and type, but core details such as information, color schemes, call-to-actions must stay uniform to generate a greater impact.
Step 6: Go Live
Once you have all the creatives in place, it is time to Go Live with your campaign. While running a major campaign, you can rightly expect an influx of visitors to your landing page. Make sure that you have enough bandwidth to accommodate this increased traffic. Customer support is vital during an on-going campaign. When visitors are coming to your landing page and reviewing your offer, they may have numerous questions about it. Make sure that you have an easy-to-reach way in place for your visitors to get in touch with you. Here, the Live-Chat feature can be of great value. A Live-Chat tool on your landing page not only lets you answer queries on the real-time basis but also captures leads automatically with each chat.
Another crucial point to keep in mind is the integration of web forms with your CRM system. This is especially true, if your goal is to capture leads that you can follow-up later. With proper web-form integration, yours leads with directly get stored in your CRM, saving you tons of time.
Step 7: Analyze, Improve and Repeat
Make sure to use a great analytics tool for your landing page. This way you can track how many visitors you’ve got from which channel and how many of them actually converted into leads or customers. This analysis is the foundation for improvement! Using these reports, you can figure out what works for your business and what does not. Once you figure out what is working best, it’s time to repeat!
Learning the arts of digital marketing is easier than you think. With the help of these steps, you can create your very first digital marketing campaign on your own. And if you are looking for expert help to turbocharge your marketing campaigns, get in touch with our team of Digital Marketers here.