7 Essential Ingredients to Cook a Successful Digital Marketing Campaign
You might remember the trending #thissummer hashtag on Instagram that earned Red Bull a reach of 1.2 million customers for the promotion of their Summer Edition tropical-favoured energy drink.
No? It doesn’t matter.
This hugely successful campaign was all done through the powerful medium of social media, requiring careful strategic planning and execution.
With Red Bull’s vision to drive brand awareness underpinning every aspect of their summer campaign, they were able to leverage digital marketing to their advantage and gain twice as much recognition as their competitors.
Instead of taking you through a step-by-step guide on how you can unleash an explosive social media blitz (we can’t guarantee you’ll go viral just yet), this article looks at the overarching elements you should always keep in mind when implementing a successful digital marketing campaign.
- Prioritising Planning
Planning is the first ingredient for success. Without it, your digital marketing efforts will become unhinged.
First and foremost, establishing target personas is a must. This refers to building detailed profiles of your ideal customer including age, geographical location, interests, education, and career. Ultimately, your digital marketing campaign should be tailored towards meeting the researched characteristics, needs and preferences of your target persona.
Undertaking a competitive analysis is also a huge priority. By researching what 5-7 of your (indirect or direct) competitors are putting into their digital efforts, you can improve your own positioning and be informed on how to stay ahead. This also provides an avenue for you to develop your own unique selling proposition (USP) which differentiates you and your promotional offer(s) from that of your competition.
Online tools like ‘Hubspot’s Marketing Grader’ allow you to take a peek at your competition’s digital marketing schemes. Alexa’s Toolbar is another great service to see how your digital marketing ranks next to your competitors.
Determining the budget within which your campaign should be implemented, as well as the phases, goals and smaller objectives of your campaign, are other crucial factors you should think about when planning.
- Having Direction
Determining the ‘Big Idea’ of your campaign also gives food for thought: what do you aim to get out of it: brand awareness, growth, customer acquisition or retention?
Once you figure this out, you should devote effort into driving traffic toward a specific target. This includes getting newsletter subscriptions, purchases or reservations on your website, or engagement on a social media network like Facebook.
Fundamentally, your digital marketing campaign should always align with the broader goals and vision of your digital marketing strategy.
Think of the stages within your digital marketing campaign as the components of a vehicle and your digital marketing strategy as the production line where they’re assembled. Ultimately, the car can’t come into operation (the successful implementation of the campaign) without the vehicle components (stages of the digital marketing campaign) being directed together by the moving assembly line (digital marketing strategy).
While this appears a bad analogy in hindsight, it hopefully gives you an idea of how the strategy, or long-term vision, should guide and govern your digital campaign, including your chosen target audience, voice and messaging, budget, and channels of execution.
Direction is important for a successful campaign: without it, you won’t see growth if you don’t know where the campaign is heading, or how it fits into your broader strategy. That’s why having a marketing campaign calendar to map out when to carry out your initiatives is another keystone for effective planning.
- Comprehensive Research
‘Comprehensive’ entails knowing the ins and outs of your campaign, including:
- What is being targeted
- Who to target
- When to target
- Where to target
- How to target
These points emphasise the importance of undertaking extensive market research on the product or service you’re offering. This includes looking into key features such as price, distribution and placement.
Understanding the wider web of market dynamics (what’s in supply and demand), organising potential suppliers and partners, and gaining an insight into industry benchmarks are also vital steps to implement a great campaign.
Comprehensive research further incorporates the logistics and data analytics behind digital marketing, such as metrics and engagement statistics. A truly well-researched campaign uses targeted search engine optimisation to advance inbound (specifically content) marketing.
Dedicating your time, research and effort to compile a list of relevant and attainable keywords with which to optimise your content, goes a long way to ensuring improved rankings and traffic. Start with Google Adwords or Hubspot’s Keyword Tool: think about what your client is searching for and how they can come across your solution.
You can do this by checking how many search results each keyword gets, what related keyword suggestions they generate, and the keyword’s average monthly searches. Reducing this list to 3-5 targeted keywords is regarded as best practice.
- Streamlined Coordination
Your digital marketing campaign is like a beating heart: the different valves and arteries must be in sync and in rhythm to keep you alive.
This is why coordination across channel integration is important to keep your business thriving. This doesn’t just refer to the phases within which the promotional activities of your campaign are carried out: if your email marketing is inconsistent with the messaging and branding of your social media posts, then you’re doing digital marketing wrong.
Not only does inconsistency affect how credible and authoritative you are as a business, but it affects how your audience receives your message. The ultimate aim of campaign should be instilling a holistic awareness in your target customers, not just gaining short-term attention.
Ultimately, consistency means telling your brand’s story. Story-telling cultivates a relationship between you and your customer that goes beyond buy-and-sell: your core values ring and resonate with your customers so that you become an inspiration.
Take TOMS Shoes for example: at the heart of their annual May campaign ‘One Day Without Shoes’ lies philanthropic charity. Raising awareness for children’s health and education overseas, the company uses social media to encourage people to go barefoot for a day and then tag photos of their bare feet on Instagram, leading to the donation of a pair of shoes. TOM Shoes’ thought-provoking and innovative initiative successfully led to 27,435 donations last year.
Their ‘One for One’ campaign is another example of coordinated (and inspirational!) digital marketing, using YouTube to share their donation stories, and updating their Facebook and blog about the real-world effects of their movement.
- Sustained Activities
Similar to coordination, sustained activities refer to the implementation of phases within your campaign that builds momentum.
If plans aren’t carried out on time or don’t build on one after the other, how will your campaign get its foot through the door?
You have to ask yourself:
- What is my overall campaign goal?
- What are the steps of the campaign that will take me there?
- How do I make sure they align with one another?
- How will my branding and messaging carry across these smaller initiatives?
By ensuring your digital marketing efforts are sustained, you get greater brand awareness and ongoing traffic.
One way to do this is by organising and coordinating teams across your business. Make sure internal communications between your directors, sales and marketing teams, as well freelancers whom you’ve outsourced the creation of your content to, are efficient and transparent.
When everyone is informed of specific deadlines, of the content being published, what resources the business has, and how to use them cost-effectively, this builds sustainment.
How well you do this will materialise through the execution of your campaign.
- Nourishing Authenticity
This isn’t necessarily an ‘essential ingredient’ but it’s certainly a factor to consider when differentiating yourself from other businesses through digital marketing.
Unlike the professional vibe you often get from print or TV ads, there’s a certain charm in showing ‘authenticity’ through your social media campaign.
There’s simply more room to be honest and playful. It all comes down to creating a relationship with your customer that is personal and familiar.
For many businesses, they don’t want to be seen as a brand but as a human.
Whether that’s through the vibrancy of a brand’s personality, their use of witty light-hearted humour, or getting onboard the meme bandwagon, authenticity is created when your values speak volumes about what your business/brand stands for.
International cosmetics company Lush embraces its mantra of authenticity by vowing to only prioritise organic reach, engagement and PR. They have a ‘no global advertising policy’, meaning a lot of what they do is digital and social-media-reliant. Even their products are organic, “making effective products from fruits and vegetables.”
This commitment to natural organic products and sustainability, values which make Lush essentially come from an ‘authentic place’, manifests through everything they do: their sharing of user-generated content, their interactive ‘let-me-be-your-friend’ approach across all social media channels including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and their interesting product promotion/blog-post blends, which currently have a thematic focus on essential oils.
They’re also a prime beacon of consistency: just take a look at their website design, captions, and choice of graphics and visuals. They translate wonderfully to appropriate offline marketing efforts including packaging and store displays.
In the competitive arena of social media marketing, Lush’ authentic persona and consistent branding definitely places them in the win-zone.
- Relevance to Target Audience
This relates back to the idea of building ‘target personas’.
If you’re not communicating something of value, you’re already wasting your digital marketing efforts.
Your target customer should always be at the back of your mind when carrying out your campaign and integrating channels.
This means you should spend time understanding how to properly connect with a customer, and particularly how to verbalise and position your content more uniquely compared to your competitors.
Research is one thing but tapping into human psychology is another. Navigate their mindset and map how they use online platforms so your message and promotional offer(s) will be reached. This includes knowing:
- Their preferred channels
- Modes of communication
- What content they like/dislike
- Their common buying objections
When you do this, you’re not just driving traffic, but converting that traffic into leads.