11 Steps to Drastically Increase Your Digital Advertising Returns
Launching a digital marketing campaign without the right strategy can be a nightmare. Maybe you’ve never deployed a digital campaign before. Maybe your campaigns have continuously fallen short. Or, perhaps they’re on fire, and you’ve been asked to expand (or try something new), but now you’re worried about diminishing returns. Either way, follow these 11 steps to design, implement, optimize, and track profitable digital marketing campaigns.
Step 1: Qualify Your Traffic
You need to qualify your traffic before you start any marketing campaign. Otherwise, you risk burning through your advertising budget, trying to market to an audience that has no interest in your brand. By qualifying your traffic, even if your campaign falls short, you’ll still walk away with more in-depth insight on your prospective customers that you can apply to future campaigns.
Step 2: Avoid Over and Under Testing
Testing is vital to ensuring that your digital strategy will work before ramping up the efforts and the cost. But all too often, executive leadership skews into one of two directions with testing:
- Quick, Surface-Level Testing: Leadership will sometimes push a campaign to test without clearly defining or structuring any strategy. This approach leads to muddled results and missed opportunities as an immediate negative result shut down the strategy before it can be fine-tuned and deployed (possibly to great success).
- Over-Testing: Overly cautious execs (probably burned by previously unsuccessful campaigns) will want to test EVERY VARIABLE, burning through the marketing test budget without moving the needle. Often, this results in analysis paralysis where leadership feels that there are too many “unknowns” to try anything new.
Step 3: Identify the Purpose
Far too often, there’s a discussion missing between executive leadership, finance, and marketing about the goals of each campaign. But, that conversation is crucial because even though most marketing campaign goals are similar, the methods drastically differ. And applying the wrong approach to the wrong target will end in failure.
Successful advertising campaigns require a clearly defined purpose. And you can find that purpose by asking these questions:
- Are we looking to optimize for revenue growth (bringing on high volumes of customers)?
- Are we aiming to increase profitability (cherry-picking new customer acquisition or focusing on expanding CLV?)
- Do we want to steal or defend market share?
- Are we investing results tomorrow?
- Do we need to harvest yesterday’s investment to deliver results today?
Once you know the answers to these questions, you’ll be able to spell out the goal of your campaign clearly. That way, your senior leadership (including the CEO and CFO) can agree on it. Afterward, you can share that information with each department involved in the campaign (technology, customer service, etc..) to ensure everyone’s on the same page.
Step 4: Map Out the Channels and Integrations
For maximum efficacy, you’ll need to know which channels you’ll use and how you’ll integrate them. Each channel needs its own approach along with custom creative to maximize results. And some brands simply do better in certain channels than others. At the end of the day, if your customers aren’t there, you can’t force them to be there so you can reach them.
Define which channels you want to use first: Social, Email, Pay Per Click, etc. And then ask your team these questions to better map out the channels you want to explore you’ll want to integrate these platforms to optimize your retire:
- Is this social media (Facebook) with retargeting (Google custom audiences) and email nurturing?
- Is this paid search (Google) with retargeting (GDN, Adroll, and Facebook)?
- Will there be any non-digital component?
Step 5: Define Your Marketing Campaign Goals
Without clear goals for your campaign, you have no way of determining whether or not your campaign was actually successful. In fact, you could end up expanding a campaign you think is successful, only to burn through your marketing budget with minimal results.
Here are some questions to help you clearly definite your campaign goals:
- What are the goals of the campaigns?
- Generate leads?
- Generate sales?
- Increase web traffic?
Step 6: Map Out the Prospect’s Journey
If we don’t know where our prospect or customer is in their journey, we won’t have a clear line of sight to figure out how to move them to the next stage. That’s why mapping out the sales funnel, and the target audience’s experience through that process is crucial to achieving your marketing goals. By putting ourselves in their shoes and visualizing their experience, you can make sure your campaign gives them what they need to move forward in their journey.
Step 7: Determine the Operational Metrics
After you’ve mapped out the customer journey, you need to determine realistic operational metrics you think are necessary to drive success. These KPIs will help you evaluate the success of your campaign from start to finish. And you’ll need to define them at the start clearly.
Examples of Operational Metrics You Can Use to Gauge Success:
- Landing Page, Website, Social Media, and Mobile Traffic
- Conversion Rates for Each Channel
- Cost Per Lead
- Sales Revenue
- Customer Lifetime Value
Step 8: Map Out Operational Metrics
By mapping out the operational metrics, you’ll have better insight into the financial metrics. This is vital if you’re going to have insight into the cost required to move someone from a prospect to a brand advocate.
That’s because you’ll need a unique campaign to move prospects from one segment one step deeper into the funnel. And you simply cannot reuse the same material to try and move prospects deeper into the funnel. It’s not effective.
Step 9: Campaign Analysis
With clear goals, targeting, and metrics, analyzing your campaign becomes incredibly easy. You’ll have insight into campaign performance as you test out your campaigns. And you’ll be able to measure their effectiveness in relation to your overall goals accurately. Once your tests show that your campaign shows progress, you can quickly scale it to bring in more revenue.
Step 10: Don’t Stop Too Soon
Stopping too early is one of the most common mistakes in marketing. Leadership often fails to extend their campaigns past the post-purchase phase, missing the opportunity for the customer to buy more. This shortchanges the potential maximum CLV and can force you to run additional, needless campaigns.
Rather than ending a campaign outright. You should have a follow-up campaign ready to target newly converted customers with additional offers.
Step 11: Realize That Most New Customers Aren’t Profitable
Most new customers aren’t profitable at the start. This is a very hard rationale for leadership to come to terms with, but it’s essential to any marketing investigation. Instead, most customers only become profitable with retention (for subscription-based businesses) or from cross-sales (for a catalog business).
That means if you want your marketing campaigns to be profitable, you need to account for ways of generating revenue after the initial sale. And that’s something that most marketing campaigns don’t take into account. Instead, they run one-off endeavors hoping that by the end of it, they’ll have made more money than they spent.
And when you put it that way, it doesn’t really sound like a solid business strategy. Does it?
What Makes an Advertising Campaign Successful?
Any well-structured digital marketing campaign will provide valuable data and insights to the entire organization’s stakeholders. And it will give the C-suite more insight into their market, prospects, and customers.
While anyone campaign may fail to deliver the projected sales, revenue, and/or profits, by following these guidelines, it should never fail to deliver the data needed to make the next campaign more successful. This is the heart of test and learn. We test and learn to optimize each campaign towards maximum profitability.
This framework will allow you to engage other senior executive stakeholders, making it easy to highlight the necessary data points needed to communicate success even if financial metrics are not very positive at first.
DepositPhotos – marketing campaign