Let's paint the picture. You're a new startup entering the market. You have top-level products to sell. Your business could take off and expand. Sounds awesome, and it'll only happen if you advertise. Otherwise, who's going to know? You'll be the best kept secret around--literally.

Your marketing campaign is just one of those things you have to perfect. You reaching your audience is vital for an effective marketing campaign. This includes your current and potential clients.

The difference between just one advertisement and a campaign is the volume of existing touch points. You need to get your message across by grabbing the viewers' attention. Your line of business could be B2B, B2C, or employer to candidate--but the fundamentals of marketing campaigns remain the same. You need to:

  • Initially show who you and your brand are.
  • Explain your products and services in as much detail as you can.
  • Maintain engagement with existing contacts.
  • Attract and build new relationships.

The ideal campaign is cost-effective, has the largest reach possible to the audience, and functions to attract new customers. Here are my tips to nail down the most effective marketing campaign:

Planning

Firstly, you need to know what you're doing before throwing your marketing activities in the air and hoping they're found in the right places by the right people. You need a plan.

Your marketing plan should outline how you're going to achieve your marketing goals. Your marketing campaign should fit into this but be product- or service-specific and designed to meet an objective contributing to your overall goals.

Shoe e-commerce leaders Zappos did a great job with its marketing campaign. It was all in the planning. Zappos' strategy is based on listening to its audience and planning accordingly. 

Specific metrics are needed. The objective can't be broad, like "make more sales." Put a realistic number on it with an achievable timescale. This way, you'll be able to measure how effectively the campaign is running.

Testing

Testing your promotional activities can be timely and costly. However, if your campaign is your first ever attempt, it could be more cost-effective to do the groundwork.

A good way of doing this is to invest in focus groups. This way, you can test your adverts on other people before the launch. Surveys and feedback questionnaires are a cheaper option and can be quite useful. You'll need to spend time analyzing the results.

One of my favorite examples of test-marketing is Innocent Drinks. When it was first starting out, it asked customers whether the founders should give up their day jobs to make smoothies. The test consisted of two bins labeled, "yes" and "no," asking the customer to throw their empty bottles in the bin answering the question.  

Find which method works well for you. Either way, you need insights that prove your messaging is well understood and accepted. The negative feedback will help, as it allows you to make improvements that might have been detrimental to the effectiveness of the campaign.

Monitoring

Another simple way to ensure your campaign is effective is to monitor it. Particularly the advertisements you're putting out there.

Asking your clients or customers where they heard/found you is an easy step to take. The key is to put in place a process. Ask your new leads within the first stage of contact.  

It's not uncommon for many newcomers to the market to overlook this crucial task. Usually they're focused on the actual engagement. It's majorly beneficial to see which of your activities are the most efficient. This will shape the outcome of your campaign and help develop future ones too.

According to Statista, Coca-Cola spent $3.96 billion on advertising in 2017--its revenue for that year was $35.41 billion. Coca-Cola is known worldwide with such an impressive brand awareness. These figures show the level of advertising the company devotes to upkeep pays off. It knows what works well and where to attract customers. 

Execution

A marketing campaign shouldn't be generic. It needs to be targeted to your niche market. This will determine the language, messaging, content, and place of reach. Bottom line: Make sure your promotion reaches the audience on a personal level.

Without legitimate research, you're just going to be working off guess-work. Which isn't necessarily wrong if you have the expertise.

While price plays a big part in where you're going to advertise, you need to be diverse. Spread out your promotion across different platforms, not just the cheapest option. With your budget in mind, try reaching your audience in various media--this could improve your rate of returns.

You have to spend money to make money. 

Like I said, if you don't advertise, you won't be known. Budget properly. Check forecasted trends in the market and anything that could affect the success of your campaign. Do you have seasonal highs and lows? Budget to your companies' needs while attracting the customers or clients you want.

Published on: Mar 19, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.