This guide is intended for the following audience:
- Startup founders and decision-makers
- Small business owners
This document includes the following:
- Broad overview and implementation strategy of online campaigns
- Practical approach and tips for generating ROI for your campaigns
What this document does not cover:
- In-depth analysis of different kinds of online campaigns
- Training to use different tools for running campaigns
Of the 1000 businesses that were surveyed, 78% stated that they would want to invest more in digital marketing, 73% wanted to invest more in their social media and 57% wanted to increase their investment in email marketing (https://www.mayple.com/blog/marketing-statistics-for-startups)
B2B companies with blogs generate 67% more leads per month on average than non-blogging firms (https://blog.hubspot.com/agency/5-must-know-stats-pr-pros)
Millennials are 247% more likely to be influenced by blogs or social networking sites (https://blog.hubspot.com/agency/5-must-know-stats-pr-pros)
Driving sales (51.3%) and building brand awareness (48.4%) are the two top digital marketing priorities for small businesses (https://www.bluecorona.com/blog/29-small-business-digital-marketing-statistics/)
70% of consumers prefer to learn about products and services via content and articles than ads (https://www.bluecorona.com/blog/29-small-business-digital-marketing-statistics/)
Digital marketing can be immensely powerful if used correctly. There are a ton of success stories of companies leveraging digital marketing to create a significantly huge brand presence spending a fraction of the traditional advertising budget. Here are a few key benefits that you don’t want to miss out on:
Identify the correct target audience by running online campaigns
Nurture leads for driving conversions
Create warm lists before the product launch
Create interest among the stakeholders
Create brand/product awareness
Understand the customer behavior so that it helps you to segment and promote your product later on
Create conversations on social platforms to drive brand objectives
Although you might acknowledge the need for promoting your business or the product you are developing, the reality is that the execution might still suffer due to the following reasons:
Lack of experience in running online campaigns
Not aware of the industry best practices
Online marketing is an ever-moving target and even the experts have a hard time keeping up with the dynamic nature of the industry
Marketing requires hiring and managing a team of diverse backgrounds which may not be the right use of your time and attention
There are different components like social media, paid and organic ads, email marketing, and the list go on. It is not easy to tie everything up and still be able to align everything with your brand objectives.
You have to be consistent in your messaging across all the channels and at the same time optimize your campaigns based on customer data and feedback
Digital Marketing Strategy
It is important to have clear objectives while running online campaigns and not get swayed away with factors internal or external to the campaigns.
The following factors will help determine the objectives:
Stage of the product life cycle you are in
Are you trying to market your product v/s ascertain preliminary interest in your product?
What is your overall budget and what percentage of it you would like to spend on campaigns?
What is your potential audience size, segments, and geographical distribution
What is the intended ROI that you want to drive?
Define KPIs and set the success criteria for different stages of the campaign
Based on the complexity and the scale of the problems you are trying to solve, you have to decide whether you can solve them in-house or need external help.
One of the key pieces in the puzzle is identifying your competitors and understanding their approach when it comes to running campaigns. This is often the most overlooked aspect when it comes to campaign design and execution.
The following is a checklist to understand what your competition is doing:
Identify your key competitors
Find out what kind of campaigns they are running
Try to decode their positioning, target audience, and approach
What kind of marketing channels they are using and for what duration
How is the audience reacting to the campaigns
We understand that not every piece of information is readily available but keeping a finger on the pulse of your competitors will help you design effective campaigns for your target audience.
Following are the key design elements for a successful campaign:
Ensuring design consistency for a smooth experience
Identification of the correct color palette that goes with the brand, product, and messaging
Making sure the typography is as per modern acceptable trends
Identify template (landing page/email/ads etc.) frameworks to drive across the message suitable for the target audience ensuring the template best practices
It is essential to optimize the design elements as per the marketing channel
Preparing multiple templates for running A/B tests
Setup Campaign Infrastructure
Following are the technical requirements:
Campaigns should be designed in a way so that it lends itself to A/B testing wherever possible
Create static websites and host on CDNs to ensure fast loading times
Website security should be of utmost importance
There should be API integrations available with both middleware services (e.g, Zapier) as well as directly with various apps (e.g. CRM)
Setting up and maintaining a seamless flow of information between various components of the campaign to ensure campaign success forms the backbone
Following are the main objectives of content strategy:
- Inject high-quality content at a predefined frequency to ensure creating and retaining audience attention on one or more topics
- Content formulation strategy should include all the key answers that the audience is looking for
- Real-time content optimization is crucial to the success of the campaigns based on the metrics as well as the customer feedback
- Thorough keyword research continues to provide benefit in creating meaningful content with a probability of better ranking
- It is not advisable to experiment with a lot of keywords or spend money on high bid keywords to generate attention
Once the campaign background and objectives are clear, it is time to proceed with setting up the actual campaign. And the most important thing is to not lose the context of the overall campaign objectives while dealing with individual components of the campaign.
There are broadly three things that you have to be aware of:
Based on the campaign decision, budget, and other criteria, a decision needs to be made on how much time, money, and resources will be spent on the channels like social, email, search, etc. campaigns
Your assets like website, apps, landing pages, payment gateways, etc. have to be set up to capture the customer data or make a transaction as the case may be
Apart from the categories mentioned above, you will be dealing with a lot of third-party apps for creating graphics, third-party tools for posting on social media, running ad campaigns, running email marketing campaigns, capturing leads, and so on
The timeline to set up a campaign may vary depending on the complexity and the goals of the campaign. It can be as early as two weeks from conception to even six to eight weeks. Also, keep in mind that some of the campaign tasks will be dependent on the completion of the tasks from a different track. For example, the development of a landing page cannot be started before the landing page templates are ready.
It is advisable to stop running a particular once the campaign has reached the threshold beyond which it will provide diminishing returns for the resources spent. But it is important to branch out campaigns into logical flows to not lose the good work done via previous campaigns. More often than not, these signals can be obtained using proper campaign analytics.
Analytics & Reporting
Once the campaign execution is in full swing, the single most important factor that determines the success or failure of your campaign is data and analytics. It is very easy to get lost in the day-to-day activities to either ignore or overlook the campaign findings in real-time.
Following are the key recommendations to get the most out of your campaigns by keeping an eye on the analytics:
Setup daily automated reporting and monitor the results
Based on daily/weekly/monthly charts, prepare to tweak the campaign parameters
Do not change several parameters at the same time as it makes it hard to pinpoint the key influencing factors
Run A/B testing based on the findings
Double down on the strategies that are working
While doing all this ensure that the focus is still on the campaign objectives and everything is within budget
While designing a campaign strategy, it is important to make sure that you have the best team in place for ensuring campaign success.
The following are the key specializations that are required for performing various campaign responsibilities:
Note that not all roles are required during the entire duration of campaign execution. Also, within each profile, there are varying degrees of expertise and experience required during different phases of the campaign.
Based on the phase of your company and product consider the following while coming up with the budget for running online campaigns:
Are you at an initiation phase or growth phase?
How aggressive is your overall strategy?
Who are your key competitors?
Who is your target audience?
What are the marketing channels you are targeting?
What is the proportion of your paid v/s organic marketing?
How long are you going to run the campaign?
What are the supporting apps that you have/intend to use?
What is the type of campaign you are planning to run (brand awareness, conversions, etc.)?
What proportion of your overall budget are you planning to spend on the marketing initiatives (approximately 10% is the industry standard but it depends on your objectives)?
Why Hire An Agency
The following would probably define you as a startup:
- Focus on product development
- Identify and hire talent to meet your goals
- Coordination with present and future investors for fundraising
- Networking within and outside your ecosystem
- A hyperactive environment of small team size
With so much going on, the last thing you want is for your competition to hog the limelight and get ahead in the game. Unless your needs are very simple (which probably isn’t the case), we would highly recommend you to consult an agency.
Below is a checklist that will help you identify your digital marketing agency:
How familiar is the agency when it comes to the entire ecosystem of apps, marketing channels, and access to high-quality resources
Ask for an initial consultation which will give a sense of the depth that they can bring in
How comfortable are they in understanding your business model and more importantly culture?
Are their focus around providing services at a cheap rate or adding real value
What drives the decision making process, whims of the agency experts or analytics and data based on best practices and capturing the voice of the customer