You might know you need to turn up your digital marketing game. And your question (naturally) might be, “how?” One really good answer: think in terms of campaigns.
A campaign is a detailed, step-by-step approach to meeting your marketing goals, whether those are to acquire a certain number of new paying customers, increase brand mentions and "reach," or achieve another measurable objective. As long as you have specific results in mind and numbers to shoot for — e.g., 10 new customers within the next 2 months, or increasing your website's conversion rate by 3% in the current quarter — the right campaign will be a roadmap for actually meeting those targets and keeping tabs on your progress:
Here, we’ll explore 5 different varieties of digital marketing campaigns. We’ll explain the purpose, benefits, and best practices for each, making it easy to choose which one you’ll go full-speed ahead with.
1. Social Media Marketing Campaigns
Social media is now an indispensable part of life. Read: every business needs to go “social” on some level.
Billions of people — not just Millennials — use social outlets like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn Instagram, and Snapchat every day to interact with friends and brands they trust. To take full advantage of social, your brand must engage authentically and build credibility. That’s what will lead to loyalty and trust among your fan base, and ultimately turn fans into customers and brand evangelists.
A smart social media marketing campaign offers up these benefits:
You’ll reach potential customers who wouldn’t otherwise know you exist.By posting insightful, attention-getting content in Facebook or Twitter, or an eye-catching picture in Instagram — especially with some paid advertising in the mix — you’ll get new eyes on your content. And some of those new people will want to learn more.
You can build loyalty by starting conversations with a “human” brand voice.The key word in social media will always be social. It’s a perfect opportunity to speak to your demographic in relatable language, while their guard is down and they’re genuinely open to a relaxed back-and-forth.
You can gather a gigantic amount of data about your audience by monitoring social media discussions.Social media is an amazing market research tool. With careful social monitoring, you can easily spot your ideal customers talking to each other about their pain points...pains that your products and services might soothe like no other. And as your brand gets more social “street cred,” you can track brand mentions and use them as opportunities to engage.
Social is the 21st-century way to connect with your market on a visceral level. In order to do it right, you’ll want to employ a few best practices:
Use Paid Social Advertising
By all indications, the “organic reach” of social — that is, the amount of people that will see the content you freely post to social profiles without paying for advertising — is falling fast. And we can expect that trend to continue.
For this reason, you’ll want to consider investing in social media advertising. All of the major platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, have powerful targeting options that enable you to direct your ads to the exact audience you’re looking to engage with. By paying for social ads on some level, you’ll ensure that your brand will be seen.
Be Consistent & Responsive With Social Posts
There’s nothing worse for a brand on social media than to fall off the face of the earth. (AKA, not posting consistently, and not being responsive when people leave comments or ask questions.)
How do you avoid “ghosting” your potential customers? First, create and stick to a posting schedule. As far as when and exactly how often to post, try to go by what your buyers typically prefer and how they use social outlets throughout the day and week — insights you might gain from fleshing out a buyer persona in detail.
Then, once you’re posting on the regular, follow up. When your social followers respond to your posts, engage by responding quickly and always keeping it positive.
Use Images & Video to Get & Keep Attention
On social, copy definitely matters, but visual content rules. Video and images should always be fully thought-out in your social media ventures.
Get attention with images that are highly relevant to your audience without being too clichéd. Whenever possible, use original photos, videos and infographics rather than stock images, which can be a little too obvious.
And to take engagement to the next level, consider including live streaming video (e.g., on Facebook and Snapchat) to show that your business is a living, breathing entity ready to bring on and serve new customers.
Need some inspiration? Check out a few brands whose social media campaigns made a huge splash in 2017, and be sure to take some notes.
2. Content Marketing Campaign
In digital marketing, as in life, being helpful goes a long way. A content marketing campaign will allow you to do just that.
Employ a content marketing campaign when you want to naturally attract the right audience, and time isn’t necessarily of the essence (because it does take time). It’s all about putting useful, helpful content right in front of customers — content that solves their problems and answers their burning questions. Ultimately, your brand will gain a reputation as a fountain of niche expertise, earning thought leadership in your industry.
Here are some of the advantages of running a carefully-devised content marketing campaign:
You can build authority & loyalty through education.When you teach your prospects how to do something, unlock some hidden insights, or shed completely new light on a situation, you begin to earn their trust. At the same time, you build up your brand as an authoritative source of knowledge.
You can capture new leads, no matter where they may be within the buyer journey.Some of your prospects are aware they have a problem and are starting their search for the answer, others are considering and evaluating potential solutions, and yet others are ready to buy now. With content, you can meet needs at each stage and subtly present your product and services as the answer.
Your can give value and earn “brownie points” from prospects upfront, instead of interrupting your audience with advertisingWhen you publish great content, it's there 24/7, subversively building goodwill without being “pushy” or running the risk of turning people off with overt advertisements.
A content marketing campaign can do a lot of good without appearing to sell anything, simply by leveraging your leads’ desire to learn and grow. To maximize the potential of your efforts, be sure to do the following:
Target Content to Buyer Pain Points & Desires
In order for your content to work these days, it has to speak directly to the issues that keep your customers up at night.
Start by creating an editorial calendar that provides oversight of how you’ll meet your audience’s needs with each content piece over time. (It will keep your content production humming along, as long as you stick to it). Then, follow the script, create the content, and be helpful!
Use On-Page SEO to Extend Content Reach
Search engine optimization (SEO) enables people to find your content organically, when they type keywords into search engines. And, you’ll want that to happen as much as possible.
Find some relevant keywords and phrases that your prospects are using in Google and other search engines (the Google AdWords Keyword Planner is an indispensable tool), and weave those phrases naturally into your written content.
You’ll also want to make sure the more technical aspects of on-page SEO, such as your website’s loading speed, a persuasive, keyword-optimized meta description, internal linking, and image ALT tags are all taken care of.
Use Calls to Action
It’s great to be a helpful friend to your audience, but the relationship will go nowhere unless you gently nudge them towards some sort of action.
Whether it's prompting them to respond to a question posed in your blog, download a report in which you’ll share even more useful stuff, or grab a “content upgrade” (which can essentially be the same content they've just consumed, but repurposed in a more convenient or illuminating form), you should always motivate prospects to “do something” and get closer to becoming customers by telling them to take a specific next step.
Diversify Your “Content Portfolio”
You don’t want your content marketing campaign to be a one-note wonder. It’s important to produce and distribute content in a variety of formats — or else, you seriously run the risk of your campaign falling flat.
Blog posts, ebooks, white papers, podcasts, videos, and infographics are all valuable content formats. Creating a good mix will increase the chances of the right people becoming aware of and interested in your brand at the right time.
Plan Your Sales Enablement With Relevant Content
One of the most valuable uses of content is to employ it in the sales process. An informative blog post, case study, or brochure can be an amazing tool in the hands of your sales reps.
Create enough content that’s helpful to leads quickly approaching the “decision” stage of the buyer journey. The right content, shared by a sales rep whom the buyer has begun a fruitful relationship with, can make all the difference — and lead to more closed sales.
3. Off-Page SEO Campaign
There’s on-page SEO, which involves everything that your audience sees on your website. And then there’s off-page SEO, which is every bit as important.
In order to be found online these days, it will take more than self-hosted blog posts with keywords thoughtfully woven-in. Off-page is all about having your content appear in the right places, and building up goodwill with the the big search engines (namely Google, Yahoo!, and Bing). Done well, your digital properties will have an ever-increasing chance of being found, both by humans and search algorithms.
The benefits of off-page SEO campaigns are numerous:
You’ll create a self-sustaining PR engine that puts a digital media spotlight on your brand.By engaging in the type of outreach a good off-page SEO campaign requires, you’ll make it possible for content creators and journalists to spread the word about you, increasing both your brand’s search rankings and public footprint.
You’ll earn even more credibility to your brand.Off-page SEO is essentially a way of taking your content marketing to the next level — and in doing so, showing off expertise where it will be found, appreciated and shared by interested parties..
You get to edge-out the competition online.On the search engine results pages (SERPs), somebody’s going to take the top spot, and only a handful get to be on the first page. By employing some link-building and relationship-building tactics, you can get ever closer to that coveted #1 position for strong search terms.
Off-page SEO campaigns require reaching out to content publishers, and considering how your digital marketing ecosystem will keep chugging along behind the scenes to build awareness and traffic. Be sure to implement these best practices to make it all work:
Identify Your Best Outlets for Content Syndication and Link Building
Blogs and online magazines exist for a reason — people want information that’ll help them. So what could be better for your brand awareness than appearing in the most popular and relevant outlets, whatever they happen to be for your defined audience? (Answer: not much.)
To get there, start by listing the most authoritative websites and blogs in your niche. These outlets are where you'll want links back to your website and landing pages to appear — and thus, the owners and editors are who you'll be reaching out to for guest blogging purposes
While compiling that list, you’ll want to add outlets your competitors have gotten links from as well. (It’s a smart, subversive way of taking advantage of already-done market research, enabling you to insert yourself into already-fruitful conversations and popular websites in your niche.) Tools like SpyFu and Open Site Explorer are perfect for revealing those hidden treasures.
Finally, reach out to each site on your list, learn their guidelines for contributions, and start producing good stuff for their audience (a sizeable segment of which might become your audience). Having backlinks to your website with keyword-rich anchor text will greatly assist your SEO and brand exposure.
Publish Press Releases and Leverage Media Outreach
Off-page SEO is where PR holds hands with digital marketing, and can lead to beautiful things for your brand.
Consider creating press releases around the most newsworthy happenings in your company (for example, a prominent hire or the launch of a big new product line). Then, publish them on a reputable press release distribution service, like PR.com or PR Newswire.
Remember that with press releases, your audience is not casual web surfers/searchers — it’s journalists, content creators and owners of news media outlets. A great tool that enables you to connect with professionals and experts looking for great stories to tell is HARO (Help a Reporter).
Build Mutually-Beneficial Relationships with Influencers
The “influencers” in your niche — the social-media savvy content producers that are followed, even adored, by the people you want to attract — are quite busy people, and they’re highly in-demand. So, to start a relationship that will power your off-page SEO efforts, you’ll have to reach out to them.
At least in the beginning.
Your influencer outreach efforts can be quite similar to sourcing guest blogging opportunities: put together a list of industry VIPs, and initiate conversations. You might offer value by featuring influencers in syndication-ready blog posts, interviewing them in podcasts, or offering them a premium “sample” of your product or service (if they’re a particularly good fit, or have an very relevant need). Then, you’ll have leverage to discuss brand promotions through content or paid advertising.
4. Email Campaigns
Email campaigns are the perfect way to get in front of your prospects and customers repeatedly — and with their permission.
While most of us might check our favorite social media networks every day, checking email is arguably even more embedded in our daily lives. Marketers who leverage this and run high-quality email campaigns set the stage for strong lead generation, sales, and enduring relationships with customers.
Email marketing campaigns offer these benefits:
You’ll stay “top of mind” in your leads’ and customers’ lives.Because your leads and customers are constantly checking email (we can safely presume), timely, consistent and relevant emails are a great way to keep your brand on their minds.
You can nurture leads for as long as needed to convert them to buyers.If you execute your email sequences well and give enough value over time, your leads will grow in comfort with your brand, look forward to what you’ll share with them next, and slowly warm up to the point of conversion.
You can sharply refine your targeting over the course of the email series based on behavior, leading to higher ROI.“Behavior” can be anything trackable, from how your leads opt in to your email sequence or interact with your website, to which emails they open or what links they click.
Email is, hands-down, the best way to keep showing up on your leads’ radar. It’s a tool that makes the budding customer relationship stick. Here are a few ways to ensure you’re doing it right:
Use Helpful, Persuasive Email Copy for the Best Engagement
Think about what specific messages will build trust, moving your leads closer and closer to the decision to buy. Then, construct messages accordingly. Share content that helps your readers, builds trust, and paints the picture of your brand as the friend they’ve been looking for.
For example, it’s important to employ storytelling in some form throughout your email sequences. This can be anything from telling the relevant personal growth story of the business owner (if you’re a professional service provider), to sharing a compelling case study or the “heart” behind your product or service development if you’re a B2B brand.
We’ve gathered some awesome examples of B2B storytelling that got it right and made their marks — check out some of those ideas to help spark your own.
Mix Educational Content with Direct Offers
Since your leads might be ready to convert at any time, make sure you provide clear opportunities to buy or hop on a sales call. But be warned: selling all the time will hurt far more than it helps.
It’s important to keep a balance between educating and selling via email — and a strong bias towards being educational is right for most businesses. Different online marketing experts have suggested different content/sales message ratios and frequencies for email messaging, but as with all things in marketing, lean on your audience research to understand their needs and habits, and test over time as you run campaigns and gather data.
Personalize Your Campaign
Personalization is one of the most powerful aspects of email marketing. Not only can you use personalization tokens, which automatically plug in user-furnished names to your email salutations — but you can increase email ROI through behavioral segmentation.
Using marketing automation software and your web analytics, make a note such things as which emails are being opened, your CTR, and conversion trends. Then, tailor your emails around those things to make a much more personal connection with them.
5. Omnichannel Marketing Campaign
Your customers consume content everywhere online, from social media to blogs to podcasts to their own email inboxes. And they access content from a range of devices: smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktops.
So to reach them, your brand has to go the way of omnichannel — literally, an “every channel” outreach. An omnichannel campaign is essentially a mix of any (or all) of the campaign types we’ve discussed above — but when done right, it’s much greater than the sum of its parts, and can yield huge returns in the form of brand awareness, customer loyalty and new sales.
With an omnichannel campaign:
You get the best of all worlds for lead generation and sales.The omnichannel approach makes it easier to attract, serve and convert leads wherever they are at any given time.
Your brand will come off as more “established”.Older, bigger companies usually acquire a presence on multiple channels over time. By launching an omnichannel campaign, you can quickly create the impression that your brand means business.
Personalization is “built-in”.By being in more than one place, you’ll automatically reach more of your prospects via their channels of choice. (Which means you get to personalize the experience in formats your customers are already used to and comfortable with.)
You can keep all customer-facing parts of your business unifiedFor example, if your business is large enough to have a customer service department and a sales department — each with their own social media profiles — thinking “omnichannel” from the start helps unify the messaging of those departments around core brand values. And that helps push a consistent, easy-to-understand message to leads and customers.
Omnichannel campaigns will be how brands dominate digital marketing in 2018 and beyond, if the way we demand and consume content is any indication. Here are a few best practices to consider and implement:
Keep the Brand Message Personalized & Consistent
Personalization is absolutely key when starting an omnichannel campaign. From the beginning, you’ll want to plan out how your leads will move between various channels...for example, from a post on Facebook to your blog, to an email opt-in form.
With your content plan in mind, make sure the flow is a logical progression that eliminates all friction. Messaging should pick up where the customer left off. A big part of this is keeping your branding consistent — everything from the logos to tone of voice should be essentially the same across channels, while following the conventions of each.
At every point, things should be easy and the next step should be obvious. When your leads are near the point of sale, keep your contact info, call to action — and if relevant, your shopping cart — within easy reach. When they’re currently consuming content, make sure the content is easy to read, mobile-friendly (and thus looks good on any device), and easily shareable (e.g., with social sharing buttons or links).
And when warranted, take the personal touch even further with a highly-engaged lead by reaching out in person via social media, email, or phone.
Optimize Channel “Intersection Points” Over Time
Because omnichannel campaigns can get rather big and complex, you’ll want to stay on top of two things to keep them on track and ensure prospects are smoothly moving from one channel to the next: organic feedback from your customers, and your analytics.
First, make sure that your leads and customers can easily get in touch to share questions, comments or concerns. You might even be a little more intentional here, and conduct surveys to learn what’s inside your customers’ heads. Then you can craft the customer experience accordingly.
Supplement that knowledge with a close eye on your site metrics. Take note of such things as the links and search terms that are leading people to your website, as well as your churn rate and conversion rates. And, test, test, test...conduct A/B testing on as many elements of your digital properties as possible.
Gathering data and testing, together, are the only surefire way to keep your omnichannel campaigns on the rails and improving with time.
Digital marketing campaigns, at their heart, are ways to take your business from point A to point B. Every business has different priorities for the week, the month and the year...and so, your A and B will look different from those of your competitors at any given time. Check out this resource to help get you started.
By picking the campaign type that suits your immediate goals, understanding how it will specifically benefit your business, and implementing best practices to make sure you get your time and money’s worth out of your chosen campaign, your business will get where you want to take it.