As a small business owner, writing a digital marketing campaign can seem like a daunting experience, but it doesn’t have to be! Read our 5 simple steps on how to create your first campaign and target potential buyers.

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But first, let’s understand what a campaign is and is not.

What Is A Digital Marketing Campaign?

People frequently confuse marketing campaigns with marketing strategy. A marketing strategy is the portion of your business plan that focuses on the business goals you hope to achieve through market research. A marketing campaign focuses on short-term business objectives. For instance, you may have a product you would like to sell during the Christmas holidays. Or, you have just launched a new service and would like to attract new clients.

To learn how to build a marketing strategy, read our Business Plan in 5 Simple Steps.

A digital marketing campaign directs your promotional efforts online. Small business owners generally choose this route because they have a smaller marketing budget and limited resources. Thankfully, there are many free tools on the world wide web that can be used to produce ad creative and to measure data effectively. If a campaign is not working, for example, you can see it immediately online. You’ll then decide whether to modify it, or to pull the plug altogether. This cannot be done as quickly through print or other mediums.

We’ll go through some of these tools in this blog, but first, we’ll begin with deciding what your objectives are for your digital marketing campaign.

Step 1: Write SMART Objectives

Set objectives that will assist in evaluating the success of the digital marketing campaign and your broader business goals. Ask whether your objectives are:

  • Specific – Do they detail exactly what you want to achieve? For instance, “I want to sell 500 yoga mats in the month of December.”
  • Measurable – Can you measure them? For example , do you have Google Analytics on your website and do you understand how to use it? If not, read this handy resource.
  • Attainable – Is it realistic to set this objective at this time? In this case, do you have enough product to sell 500 yoga mats and have you sold anything near to this number before?
  • Relevant – Is your objective relevant to your business goals? Ask yourself, is selling 500 yoga mats in line with your business goal of becoming a destination store for the new age yogi in search of holistic products?
  • Timely – Is this objective time-oriented? Do you have a specific start and end dates?

Beginning your digital marketing campaign with SMART objectives sets a path for you and for the rest of your plan.

Each step from here should reflect the strength of your objectives. This includes researching your customers and your competitors.

Step 2: Create A SWOT Analysis

Pre-plan your strategy and flag any issues you may run into ahead of time. SWOT Analysis stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats and is used to divide the internal strengths and weakness of your company, while also highlighting the external opportunities and threats that could make or break your business.

Consider these questions:

Strengths

  • What sets you apart from your competitors?
  • What do your customers like about your business?
  • What wins have you made through current or previous marketing and advertising efforts?

Weaknesses

  • What inefficiencies are an internal weakness? Will this affect your marketing efforts?
  • What are your customers’ challenges when dealing with your business?

Threats

  • What gaps do you have in your business that could cause you to lose customers?
  • Have any complaints been posted online or in print that might affect your customer ratings?

For Opportunities:

  • Are there gaps among your competitors that you could help fill?
  • Are there real opportunities online through friends, family, acquaintances and customers that you could capitalize on? This could be testimonials in blogs, from influencers, sponsoring events, or product placement.

Bring greater clarity of the resources you have available and what your limitations are. A SWOT Analysis paints a more realistic picture of your SMART objectives and builds the basis for your strategy.

Third Step: Build a Campaign Strategy Using Owned, Earned and Paid Media

A strategy for a digital marketing campaign begins with an audit of your own assets, which include:

  • Owned Media: The media that is completely controlled by you. This includes your social media accounts, your newsletter, your blog, and any templates, e-books, webinars you have shared.
  • Earned Media: The media you have earned through other channels, whether that means you have been quoted or tagged in a magazine, other blogs, social media accounts, newspapers, and video. Any source that links to your owned media.
  • Paid Media: The media you have paid for in the form of advertisement. This may include Google ads, social media ads, influencer advertising, or print media and product placement.

In each category, consider what went well and what did not by rating your media. Did you receive a spike in newsletter subscribers after you boosted a blog post on Facebook? Did you receive an increase in Instagram followers after posting a photo of your new storefront? Incorporate popular channels where you’ the most reach in your campaign.

Once you’ve made inventory of your assets and considered which media will provide you with the most engagement, it is time to begin planning your content calendar.

Fourth Step: Get Tactical Using a Content Calendar

Using a spreadsheet for every month, outline ahead of time when you will be posting content, an advertisement, and engaging with your audience.

With your inventory of owned, earned and paid media, fill your spreadsheet with:

  • The type of media you’ll be using – whether it is a blog, Linkedin, Facebook, Video, podcast, email campaign.
  • The title of your content the headline that will grab your audience’s attention
  • Your content – the type of content you will be filling the space with
  • Date and Time – the date and time it will be published
  • Other – this may include hashtags, mentions, locations, product tags, keywords
  • Link – what is the link this content will direct to? (Hint: Make it measurable by linking it to a landing page rather than the home page.)

Using our yoga mat example, you may decide to post a series of Instagram stories and images of local yoga instructors using your mat while practicing their poses. Your spreadsheet might begin to look like this …

Example_Content_Calendar_Digital_Marketing_Campaign

Your content calendar is crucial in preparing you with SMART tactics for your digital marketing campaign.

The final step focuses on how to measure your campaign in meeting its objectives.

Fifth Step:  Analyze Your Output Using Google Analytics

Once you begin posting your content, you  want to watch how it creates conversions. Begin with Google Analytics and contact your Google Ads Account Manager to create goals specific to your objectives, whether it’s the number of people subscribing to your newsletter, or the number purchasing a product.

In Google,  Facebook and Mailchimp you have the opportunity to experiment with your creative and see which works better by using a/b testing. Try using a variety of images, headlines, and paragraphs to see which will attract more online attention.

Every social media platform provides insights of your reach and who your audience is, which is valuable information to back up your own marketing research.

Measuring digital marketing campaigns is easy now that we have access to insights and analytics from search engines and social media platforms. The best part is that majority of these platforms are free to use.

Register for Digital Marketing Essentials

Write your first digital marketing campaign by following these 5 simple steps to success. Learn how your website, social media and email marketing work together to achieve your business goals by signing up for our online course in Digital Marketing Essentials.

You’ll leave this course with:

  • A Digital Marketing Glossary
  • Target Persona Worksheet
  • Website Assessment Checklist
  • SEO Worksheet
  • 5 Steps to Create the Perfect Call to Action
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