Thinking about a marketing campaign is sort of like seeing the old tractors and machines at the state fair. There are so many moving parts. You zoom in on one area to see how this gear moves that axle which connects back to the motor that produces its drive by doing this thing. You zoom out and you how the whole thing works together to produce the intended results, but to get any detail you have to zoom back in on something. Marketing campaigns have just about as many moving parts and require just as much attention to detail in order to grasp what is really happening.
Not only this, but campaigns have to be adjusted on the fly. If something isn’t working right you don’t want to wait until the campaign has run its course to adjust it – if an ad isn’t performing as it should, change the copy and design to something that’s worked historically!
When you set out to manage a campaign, there are four major parts that you have to keep an eye on. In no particular order, these are the ad metrics, budget, messaging, and conversions.
We covered a list of the main ad metrics when we discussed setting campaign goals and KPIs earlier this month. These will need to be tracked and regularly monitored to ensure the campaign is delivering on its goals.
There are a number of software dashboards that companies can buy for tracking campaign metrics, however most small businesses get by without them. At BIG, we already use Salesforce for our sales wing, so we have access to the marketing campaign features that it offers, such as email tracking and analysis. Fear not, as you don’t need a fancy customer relationship management (CRM) software package to get started! In our early days, we were able to use Excel for this task. Small businesses that already use some sort of CRM system or method probably already have access to crucial information for marketing insights, so this is the first place to look. For example, you can analyze past campaign performances to see what an X% rise in one metric would do to the ROI of your next campaign.
Dining out is always fun until the bill comes, and marketing is similar. When setting your marketing budget, BIG recommends 7-8% of your overall revenue, as this is what the SBA suggests. So, consider how many campaigns you plan on running in a year (or if the year will be one big, ongoing campaign) and divide out your budget accordingly.
Most social networks provide a real time count of your ad spend, so this is another key metric that you need to track. There is a margin of error – as high as 20% on LinkedIn – between your daily budget and what the network actually charges you. These sorts of things are easy to let slip, but they can be disastrous for your company if they do. Monitoring your budget also allows you to see the real time ROI of your campaign based off the number of early leads that come in combined with your sales funnel attrition rates and lifetime value of a customer.
We recommend running multiple variations of ads, regardless of what network you are on. This allows you to see what messaging and design choices work best, so while your campaign is generating leads it also generates data for your business for future marketing efforts. This sort of information is also transferable to other areas. Think of a marketing campaign running social media ads like a live focus group, where you can see what really appeals best to your target market and then transfer this over to other areas.
Messaging also needs to be consistent across not only the entire campaign but also the entire brand. If a prospect navigates off the landing page onto another page on your website, will the messaging they see be consistent with what they have been exposed to so far? If they see another ad from your company, does it fit with the overall messaging? Once again, having a centralized form where all this information is stored will be necessary for this. Every piece of collateral need not be here, but the general messaging and style should be easily accessible to ensure they’re consistent.
These are, after all, the primary goal of most campaigns. Tracking conversions is key to comparing this campaign to all the others. While conversions are themselves a metric, they deserve their own treatment because they are the metric.
Conversions per dollar spent is the single most straightforward way to measure two dissimilar campaigns against each other and decide which is better. This of course ignores campaigns where exposure was the primary goal, but assuming most campaigns are seeking leads this is the standard conversion metric.
Most social media networks allow you to enter an API – basically a plugin – on your website that allows you to track who is coming from where and whether or not they are converting. These can be really useful, especially when you have multiple sources of leads coming in at the same time. After the lead converts, it’s up to you to track it going through you funnel. This is something often overlooked that’s actually really important in its own right, because different sources of leads can provide different quality leads. One more metric to complicate the overall picture!
There is a lot that goes into a marketing campaign. A whole lot. Firms like BIG exist to provide help to those struggling to handle all of this. If you’ve benefited from this month’s blogs and would like to talk more, give us a call or send an email.
Sneak Peek Ahead…
Next month we will be leaving campaigns behind and going on to discuss marketing to your niche. BIG works with clients to help identify who their niche market is through personas, how to target them, and how to communicate value to them. We will be writing about all these topics and then some in the coming weeks!