Three Easy Steps to Ruin Any Digital Marketing Campaign
By now the majority of individuals in business understand the importance of marketing, both traditional and digital. Marketing is used to communicate and engage with audiences with a goal in mind, whether it is to increase awareness about an organization or business, be top of mind for certain products and services, or actually sell a product. Because the goals are different and the businesses and products also differ, the journey to reaching the goal is never the same twice.
Step One: Forget to Set a Goal
This is where digital marketing starts to distinguish itself from traditional marketing. Traditionally speaking, the goal of buying a billboard or TV placement is to sell more products, increase awareness, etc. but the only measurable metric you receive from the ad is impressions. (Of course, you also get SOV, frequency, and some other crazy data [infomercials not included].) All of this makes it nearly impossible to track a customer through the sales process. This is the benefit of a digital campaign (the best campaigns are a strategic mix of traditional and digital used in phases to accomplish the objective, but I’m not going to get into all that.) Choosing the goal or objective should be the first thing you do when beginning to plan a digital campaign. If you cannot answer the question “why?” then don’t go any further. Define your objective! Then lay out how to get there.
Step Two: Forget to Outline a Process
Typically, traditional campaigns only have a few pieces of content; billboards, TV spots, and billboards being repurposed for print in magazines, newspapers, etc. A complete digital campaign may have multiple pieces of content, each with its own objective but working towards that end measure of success. Each platform of a digital campaign is not a campaign in and of itself the way that a billboard in a traditional marketing campaign might be, but each piece of a digital campaign is an integral part of the overall process.
In marketing, most campaigns start with a client question or overall goal, so for this digital campaign example I’ll be answering the client question, "how do we increase sales in a market?" Now they don’t sell their product online, so that takes away a few of the possible avenues to solve this issue, but their product is available at many stores in the market so here is what we will present to the client. (I’ll explain each piece, and its purpose in more detail after I lay the whole thing out.)
A simplified version of this, as the image above depicts, is to use digital ads to drive traffic to a website. Once on the website, the goal is to get the user to provide their email address, which prompts an autoresponder email with the coupon. The final step (and goal of the whole campaign) is coupon redemption. This is the measure of success, but each piece of the campaign is going to provide you with valuable metrics that allow you to make strategic decisions to improve your campaign.
These ads could be social media, display, search, etc., but no matter what, the goal is to drive traffic to the website or landing page specific to the campaign. Audience metrics from the ad will allow you to focus your audience targeting to individuals who are most likely to click your ad, increasing click-through rate (CTR).
The website is the landing place for everyone who engages with the previous ads, and is the next place a user will take action: in this case, email signup for the coupon. If you are generating a lot of traffic with your ads but not seeing conversions, look at the information architecture. Make sure your objective of email signups is the most prominent thing on the page and draws the user's attention.
The email is arguably the most important item here from a digital marketing perspective, as you are now able to reach that individual at a later date with marketing content without repeating steps one and two. For this campaign, it gets the final step into their hands, the coupon.
In-store coupon redemption is the final step and goal of the campaign (measure of success) but is not normally considered an objective in digital campaigns. This campaign could have stopped at the email sign-up but by answering the “why?” question at the start and strategically laying out content pieces, the end goal of driving in-store sales of a product was possible and measurable.
Step Three: Forget to Ask Why
Proving that your work actually works is one of the most important aspects of digital marketing. If all you are showing is impressions and aren’t planning a campaign answering the “why?” first, using each piece of content to move to the next with the end goal in mind, the potential of digital is being underutilized and not moving beyond traditional objectives.