Whether you’re starting a company from scratch, rebooting an existing brand or just beginning a campaign for one specific initiative, there are several things you’ll need to get going. Without these key pieces in place, you’ll find yourself struggling to reach the campaign’s full potential. So don’t make things up as you go along—check out these four key steps to starting your next marketing campaign.

1) Define Your Goal(s)

Defining the goal(s) of your campaign should always be your first step. The more specific the goal, the better you will be able to measure the results. Even if your goal is simply increased awareness of your company or brand, you can still narrow that to a specific number within a specific time frame (e.g. 100,000 impressions in one month). So think about your end game: what are you trying to achieve? What does your business need to grow? Having a clear picture of what a successful campaign looks like (and how it will be measured) beforehand will make it vastly easier to accomplish those goals.

2) Know Your Audience

You likely know exactly who your audience is—you probably talk to or interact with them every day. But have you ever quantified them into Buyer Personas? By going through the process to create official Buyer Personas, you can help separate your ideal customers from those who may not be as profitable or as good a fit. You’ll be able to identify potential customers earlier in your marketing funnel and separate them from leads who might not ever convert into customers. Using these insights, your campaign can not only be more targeted, but the messaging and creative can be tailored to the specific challenges and language of your ideal customers.

3) Set Your Budget

Setting a budget is often the most difficult piece of the campaign to establish for many marketing teams. There is a process you can follow to help your sales and marketing teams define what your overall budgets should be based on, sales targets and how many new customers you need to achieve them. Another way to get started is to set a “not to exceed” dollar amount and develop an ideal plan based on that figure. That plan can then be further refined into the most effective tactics, leaving a contingency fund for new opportunities that may arise.

4) Gather & Leverage Your Existing Assets

Lastly, as you develop the campaign plan, it will be useful to know what types of assets (photos, videos, infographics, blog posts, etc.) you already have. That way, you’ll be able to decide what (if any) new assets you might need to best engage your buyer personas. Similarly, if your existing assets don’t necessarily suit the distribution channels you’re exploring (social media, radio, print, etc.), you can adjust your campaign tactics to fit.

Once you’ve got these four pillars in place, you’re ready to begin the work of getting your campaign up and running. If you’re looking for a partner to help get things moving, we’re always excited to tackle a new challenge!

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