“A smooth sea never makes good sailors.”
The same goes for digital campaigns.
You have probably already heard of the 80/20 rule, which states that you will find it necessary to invest more than 80 percent of your time maintaining and improving campaigns rather than launching them.
That is very much like when building a house. You want it to withstand any possible event in the future without affecting its beauty and functionality. A smooth and flawless start of a campaign is like building a house with the foundation under sea level.
While there are more than enough digital marketing agencies that can help you get the basics right, if you want to make it big (or at least get on the good side), I am here to guide you through what might become one of your toughest challenges yet.
Before we get to the main parts of a digital campaign, let me begin by mentioning that one thing that drives us crazy while reading articles about this stuff — it’s the vast amount of unnecessary information and advice.
Let me make it perfectly clear: There are no golden rules in digital marketing.
Every campaign is different. Every client is entirely different, and every website has an entirely different target audience, approach, and story to share.
So now that you are clear on what I am trying to say, let’s stop the lecture and get down to business!
The Foundation of a Digital Marketing Campaign
Although I cannot provide you with a clear and concise list of ingredients that will turn your campaign into a certain number of dollars, I can give you some hints on what to focus on.
First and foremost – testing.
You wouldn’t want to spend several thousand dollars (or euros) creating a website that nobody will visit or buy from. You wouldn’t even want to spend a few dollars on a Facebook advertisement if it wouldn’t bring you any results.
In fact, I cannot stress how important testing is because no matter how good you think your idea is – it might just not be working as well as you thought.
Testing can also present an excellent opportunity to get ahead of your competition. Imagine running several successful campaigns while your competitors are still trying to get the basics right (and failing, most likely) — a priceless opportunity you wouldn’t want to ignore.
Starting a campaign is like starting a journey. You will not know the final destination (or result) until you reach it, and even then – there might still be room for improvement.
It boils down to this: If you want your digital marketing campaigns to work, test them as much as possible! With every business, situation, and target audience being different, there are no clear guidelines or directions on what you should be testing.
Instead of giving you a raw list of tools to use, I have compiled three sections that can help you get started with testing your campaign:
- Website Testing – Whether it’s the colour scheme, layout, or entire design that needs improvement, you should always find a way to test it, especially when launching a new campaign.
- Landing Page Testing – A landing page is your website’s equivalent of a sales pitch. It might be the only chance you have at convincing someone to take action and visit your website; therefore, it has to be perfect.
- Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Testing – A “pay per click advertising,” like Ads or Facebook Advertising, is a more recent and subtle way of marketing your business. Although much more expensive than organic marketing (regular SEO), it can bring amazing results if done right.
How Much Will the Campaign Cost?
Now that you know what to focus on let’s discuss how much your campaign will cost. As I mentioned before – every campaign is different, and so is the cost.
I cannot provide you with a general calculation on how much money you should spend (or waste) on your campaign because none of us knows how much you are willing to invest into it.
What I can do, however, is provide you with some advice on ways to save money when launching a campaign:
- Create A Lean and Mean Campaign – You don’t have to try and convince the world that your business is good at everything; just focus on two or three things that you are best at.
- Think Long-Term – “Get rich quick” schemes rarely (if ever) work. You might get lucky once or twice, but it won’t last for long. Instead of focusing on short-term profit, your focus should be on developing an online business that can bring consistent income in the future.
- Keep Things Simple – You don’t need to spend money on expensive software for your campaign; there is a wide array of free and low-cost software that works just great.
- Invest in Yourself and Your Resources – The more passion you put into your business; the more people will see it. The more useful tools you develop for yourself and share with others, the more you’ll enhance your chances of success.
- Don’t Overdo It – Of course, you want to do as much as possible when launching a campaign, but no matter how determined you are – you should know your limits. For all we know, spending all your time and energy on a digital marketing campaign with little to no result is as useless as not trying at all.
- Take A Short Break – Sometimes, all it takes is a short break from your campaign to figure out what needs to be done differently. Whether you need a fresh mind or simply a little bit of time away from the computer – taking a break now and then might do wonders for your business.
- Research Your Competition – You can learn a lot from the companies running similar campaigns, so always keep an eye on them. It might not seem like a very cost-effective way of saving money, but if you don’t do it, your competitors will.
How Long Will It Take for The Campaign to Bear Fruit?
To be honest with you – I have no idea. Without knowing your goals and resources, I cannot tell you how long it will take for the campaign to bear fruit, but I can provide a few tips on what you should be doing until then:
- Promote Your Campaign – If no one knows about your campaign, there is no point in having one. Nobody will visit it or sign up for your newsletter, so always promote it as much as possible.
- Be Patient – Don’t give up too quickly on your campaign; results can take time to appear. As I said before, every campaign is different, and so are the results.
- Measure Your Efforts – How would you know if your efforts are working if you don’t measure them? It helps to start with the basics (like the number of visitors), but be prepared to invest more time into research when necessary.
- Get Creative – You don’t have to stick with the same old marketing methods; there are new and unique ways of promoting your campaign all the time.
- Don’t Burn Out – Working too much on a single project can burn you out, so be aware of how much effort you are putting into your campaign.
- Continue Learning – The more you learn about digital marketing, the more chances you have of success.
- Hire A Professional – If you feel that your campaign is not going anywhere, you might want to consider hiring a professional.
What are the biggest mistakes I can make when running a digital marketing campaign?
- Not Measuring Your Efforts – Digital marketing is all about numbers, so you have to keep track of how it’s going at all times. Without knowing what is working and what isn’t, you won’t know how to progress in the best possible direction for your campaign.
- Working Without Strategy – If you don’t know where you are headed, it is impossible to get there. You need to have a clear goal in mind and do everything you can to achieve it.
- Not Having a Plan B – If you don’t have a backup plan, there is no point in starting your campaign. You have to be prepared for the worst-case scenario and know what you should do if it happens.
- Not Doing Your Research – There is a reason why so many people fail at digital marketing: they don’t do their research, and as a result, they end up making decisions that can hurt them in the long run.
- Lacking Creativity – Digital marketing is all about standing out, so you are bound to fail if you don’t bring something new to the table.
- Not Taking It Seriously Enough – Running a digital marketing campaign can be time-consuming and hard work; if you are not ready to put in the necessary effort, you shouldn’t bother starting one at all.
- Not Investing Wisely: Don’t just splurge your money on anything that comes your way. Only invest in tools that will help you achieve your goals more efficiently.
- Not Building a community – Digital marketing is all about making connections, so don’t overlook this critical aspect of the job. It helps to have a community of supporters behind you, so always try to get as many people interested in your campaign as possible.
- Refusing to Change – If something isn’t working, you have to change it – no exceptions! Not changing can lead to failure, which is not an option if you want your campaign to succeed.
- Not Believing in Your Abilities – Nobody else will if you don’t believe in yourself and your abilities. You have to be confident in your skills if you want other people to believe in them.
- Not Learning How to Use Digital Marketing Tools – The number of tools at your disposal is dizzying, so you must learn how to use all the relevant ones. Don’t be afraid to try something new, as you never know when it might come in handy.
- Not Taking It Seriously Enough – Running a digital marketing campaign can be time-consuming and hard work; if you are not ready to put in the necessary effort, you shouldn’t bother starting one at all.
What are the best ways to measure digital marketing success?
- Website Traffic – Without traffic, your campaign can’t succeed. The more people visit your website, the better it will be for your cause.
- Social Media Engagement – social media is an excellent way to engage with people interested in what you have to offer. More engagement leads to more success, so try to focus on this aspect of marketing as much as possible.
- Conversions – This one is closely related to website traffic, but it focuses specifically on the number of visitors who end up becoming your customers.
- Lead Generation – This is similar to conversions, only that it focuses on gathering information about possible clients and leads rather than converting them into actual sales.
- Keyword Ranking – You can use tools to check how well your campaign is doing in terms of keyword ranking. The point is to try and right for as many relevant keywords as possible.
- Brand Mentions/Recognition – Another excellent way to measure your success is by counting all the mentions and awards your brand gets. You can use a special tool such as www.mentions.com to track this data for free.
Is digital marketing expensive?
- Paid – If you hire a professional, they will have to be paid, so you need to consider how much it will cost before starting your campaign.
- Time – As I mentioned earlier, digital marketing can be highly time-consuming. If you don’t have enough time to spare, then it might be better to postpone your campaign or hire someone else to handle it for you.
- Knowledge – To run a successful campaign, you need to know how it works and what tools you should use. If you don’t have this knowledge or don’t even understand the basics, then I suggest that you hire someone who does before starting your campaign.
- Creativity – Digital marketing is all about being creative, so if you are not ready to experiment with new ideas and come up with unique campaigns, it is best not to start one at all.
- Concentration – Digital marketing can take up your entire attention, so if you already have some problems with concentration, running a campaign might only make things worse for you.
How can digital marketing affect my business?
- It Can Improve Your SEO: – SEO (search engine optimization) is all about increasing your online visibility, making it easier for people to find your website, which is exactly what digital marketing helps you do.
- Increase Your Brand Recognition: – Brand recognition comes from being popular and successful. If your business is constantly in the limelight, more people will know about it, thus increasing their likelihood of becoming your customers.
- Targeted Reach: – Digital marketing allows you to target audiences using geographic, demographical, and psychographic filters.
- Added Opportunities for Sales: – With these filters, you can reach your audience with targeted adverts; in fact, some forms of digital marketing (such as paid ads) only allow you to show ads when certain keywords are searched for. This makes it much easier to sell your products and services.
- Increased Conversation with the Customer – This is one of the best advantages of digital marketing, as it allows businesses to communicate with customers in ways that weren’t possible before.
- Cost Savings – Digital marketing costs less than other forms of advertising, allowing you to save money while still achieving your goals.
How to Create a Digital Marketing Plan (in 10 Easy Steps)
- Plan Your Budget – The first thing you need to do is determine how much money your campaign will cost; you can look up some prices if you want an estimate; however, keep in mind that it often depends on the nature of your business and the duration of your campaign.
So, how much does a digital marketing campaign cost?
It depends on your budget and the kind of campaign you want to run. Most online advertising companies charge as low as $400 per month; however, if you want to promote your brand on a larger scale, you can easily spend $1000 per day.
It also depends on whether you’re going to hire a freelance specialist or a big agency. Suppose you only need to market your business on social media. In that case, you can find some specialists for as low as $100 per month (I suggest Fiverr).
Don’t forget that digital marketing isn’t limited to spending money on advertising; it also includes the time you invest in it.
Be realistic when making your budget; if you can’t afford to pay for a large agency, hire someone on Fiverr (thousands of people are offering their services there).
Here’s a simple breakdown of the cost:
|Freelancer||$80 to $150 / hour|
|agency retainer||$750 to $1500 / month|
|One-off campaign||$1000 to $7500|
The good thing about running a digital marketing campaign is that it’s flexible enough to accommodate any budget. All you need to do is set aside a budget and break it down depending on what campaign you intend to run.
- What Are Your Goals? – A marketing plan without any goals is like having no direction at all, which means you won’t know whether or not you’re moving in the right direction; this is why your campaign must have specific goals.
Start by determining your marketing goal, whether it’s to increase brand awareness, profit, or website traffic. Having clear objectives for your campaign makes it easier for you to track progress and improve your chances of success.
- Set Your Timetable or Calendar – Give yourself time to prepare your campaign, otherwise it will be too rushed, and you’ll have to settle for less.
If you want to launch a social media marketing campaign, you need at least one month of preparation; if you plan on running a search engine optimization project, it can take up to 6 months, depending on how competitive your industry is.
- Choose Your Digital Marketing Channels – When deciding on which channels to use, you might want to consider a few things:
- a) Your industry and target audience.
- b) The most used digital marketing channel for your campaign (e.g., social media might not be the right channel for you if you’re looking to engage with bloggers).
- c) What your goals are.
The digital marketing channels you can use include:
- Social media advertising – If you want people to see your ads on social media channels (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter), this is the solution for you.
- Search engine marketing – If you want your brand to be visible on Google, Bing, and other search engines. Unlike SEO, SEM is a paid strategy for increasing your search engine visibility.
- Email marketing – Get people interested in your products or services by sending them a series of informative emails.
- Mobile marketing – With the rise of smartphones, there’s a great opportunity to reach your customers in their own time when they’re on the go. That is one of the most cost-effective methods for promoting your brand.
- Content marketing – Create informative content material that will build trust in you and your products/services. That is one of the most popular digital marketing techniques to date.
- Affiliate marketing – This is when other sites publicize your product or service in exchange for a commission (the more sales they make, the more you’ll be paid and the more they earn). You’re simply splitting the profit with your referrers.
- Map Out Your Strategy – You need to know what you’re going to do before starting any campaign; this will make it easier for you to visualize the different steps of your project.
So, how do you map out your digital strategy?
Here are the steps you need to follow:
- Buyer Persona: First, create a detailed buyer persona (where you get to know your customers and their needs). Be sure to include their age, gender, interests, and why they would be interested in your offer.
- Competitive Landscape: Understand your competition by researching similar brands/products/services and find out what strategies they’re using and whether or not they’re successful with them.
- Customer Personas: Figure out the demographics of your customers (e.g., how many of them are male/female, young/old, how much do they earn, etc.).
- Goal Setting: Set goals for your campaign by determining the main goal you might want to accomplish (e.g., increase sales) and secondary goals that will help you get there (e.g., increasing website traffic, generating leads).
- Current Situation Analysis: This is where you’ll analyse your current situation and see what needs to be improved.
- SWOT Analysis: Figure out your company’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats.
- Brainstorm Creative Strategies – Digital marketing is much more about creativity than running random promotions. Outstanding content, innovative strategies, and seamless integration are what make your brand stand out online.
What makes you different from the competition? Can you set yourself apart by being more entertaining or thought-provoking? How uniquely are you planning on targeting your audience?
This is where you put your thinking gear on and work on something that only identifies with you. Note that you have to think holistically, know how to tie different digital strategies and make them work together
Here’s how you do it:
Market segmentation – If you have a variety of products for different target groups, then you need to create a separate strategy for each. If your company targets everyone, then go ahead and brainstorm ideas that appeal to a broader audience.
The point is to try and look at each group individually and find the best way to make them like your brand or product instead of trying to fit them into a single campaign. For example, if you want to get young people interested in your brand, it helps to just focus on that particular group of Gzers instead of making an older generation feel the same way.
- Create Your Team – As mentioned earlier, digital marketing is not limited to social media and search engine optimization; there is so much more, which is why you might find it helpful to have a team of experts at your disposal:
- Social media managers – If you need help creating, curating, and sharing content on social media channels.
- Web design experts – Keep your website looking fresh by updating it frequently with engaging material.
- Digital marketing experts – Help you run successful SEM, SMM, and email campaigns.
- Video content creators – With the boom of social video, more and more brands are beginning to upload videos to Facebook and YouTube. You can’t ignore this!
- Monitor Your Campaign – Here’s a simple way to stay on top of things:
Create a spreadsheet with columns for your campaign, status, action, and due date
Then, add the relevant data in each cell (e.g., name of campaign, what you’re doing if it’s active, or what you need to do if it’s completed).
Now, you can easily stay on top of things and find out if something remains undone.
- Integrate Your Campaigns – Marketing is nothing without proper integration. So, if you’re creating videos for YouTube, it helps to share them on Facebook and Twitter as well.
What do I mean by adequately integrated campaigns? Think of different types of posts (e.g., pictures vs. video) and make sure they complement each other. Does your audience prefer to watch, read, or listen? When writing a blog post, include links to different social media channels as well as your website.
Just think of how many integrated campaigns you see daily and imitate their strategy, of course with a twist of your own.
- Measure, Learn, and Adapt – Don’t expect your campaign to be perfect on the first try! That’s why it is crucial that you measure, learn from your mistakes, and change your approach if necessary.
You can do so by setting up a specific metric to measure the success of each campaign you run. Then, depending on your findings, use what you’ve learned from it and improve next time around.
Also, pay attention to customer feedback! Are people liking your pages? What are they saying in their comments? Is there anything to improve on?
If so, use the insights you get from monitoring your campaigns to adapt and improve upon next time.
So, there you have it! The perfect blueprint for creating the perfect digital campaign no matter what business you’re in or who your target audience is because this process will get you closer to that goal every single time.
Example of a Digital Marketing Plan
A FULL EXAMPLE OF A DIGITAL MARKETING PLAN
Strategy and Consulting (Weekly meetings)
The marketing team or the outsourced marketing team must continually meet to discuss the campaign and ensure it’s on the right track. During the meeting, it’s important that they review analytics, go through reports, disseminate information, and make critical business decisions.
Growth-Driven Website Design (1 Website Page Per Month)
The marketing team has to develop at least 1 page of the website every month. The more pages on the site, the better it is for them, as this gives them more opportunity to incorporate various types of content and design layouts.
Lead Generation (One landing page every other month)
The marketing team has to launch at least one promising lead generation campaign every other month. This helps them generate new potential clients, which translates to generates more revenue for the company.
Blogging (1 per week)
The marketing team has to post at least one blog every week. They can write about anything: case studies, anecdotes, upcoming events or projects, and technology updates. This is meant to help the company stay connected with its audience and leave a footprint in its prospects’ minds.
Social Media Updates (3 posts per day)
The marketing team has to update all the social media platforms at least three times a day. They can do this by sharing posts from their website to their Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google Plus accounts. They can also share posts from other popular blogs in their industry to build awareness about them and get their company out there more!
Consumer Interaction (5 per month)
The marketing team has to interact with at least five customers every month. They can do this by responding to reviews, providing feedback, or sending out surveys about their service experience. This activity helps them keep the conversation going and get enough feedback for future campaigns.
Content Marketing (20 articles per month)
The marketing team has to publish 20 good articles on their blog every month. This is mostly content the company has written themselves as it provides the best ROI. The good thing about this activity is that it doesn’t cost them anything as they can just use resources from within the company!
Email Marketing (weekly newsletter)
The marketing team has to send out a weekly newsletter every week. That is meant to help them keep their audience updated about what’s happening in the industry or company. They can also use this as an opportunity to promote new campaigns, target specific clientele, and make important business announcements.
Paid Advertising (3 campaigns per month)
The marketing team has to launch at least three successful paid advertising campaigns every month. It is a great way to gain exposure and generate more sales for the company. They have to do it smartly, though, as this type of campaign can get expensive if they’re not careful!