Interviews with Successful Online Marketers & Entrepreneurs

Your First Online Marketing Campaign: The Ultimate Guide

A meticulously organized and planned-out marketing campaign with rotation through a range of targeted sites can be surprisingly easy to coordinate, provided you understand a few basic elements that go into one. It doesn’t need to cost a huge amount of money, and if it’s executed properly it can bring in traffic and conversions much faster than SEO and social media tactics alone. While it can sometimes be tough to get really intimate with your target customer, most business owners can plan out and implement a decent online marketing campaign in a single, dedicated day. If you’ve never carried out an online marketing campaign before, then all the jargon which fills up marketing blogs can often be a little confusing and daunting. To make things a little simpler for you, here’s a guide to planning and executing your first online marketing campaign.

Define Your Customer

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Image: Pixabay

You might have an exceedingly detailed understanding of your brand and products, but if this isn’t combined with a thorough understanding of your customer, it’s all going to be for nothing! You’ve probably been operating according to a business plan you drafted a long time ago. Part of this should be a detailed marketing plan. If your marketing plan is thin on the ground or totally non-existent, you need to set some time aside to give some basic structure to your future marketing efforts. This should cover a lot of factors, from your unique selling position through to the tone you’re going to use in your advertising and promotions. Most importantly though, you’ll need to define your customer. Start by pinning down the most basic factors, like your customer’s age and gender. Then, think about their job profile. Are they a worker, manager, executive? Are they business owners or stay-at-home parents? What level of education do they have? What’s their average income? You should also be considering whether your customer has enough in their personal budget to pay for your product or service on a one-off, occasional or constant basis. Another big question to ask is how exactly your customers are going to be using your product or service. Will they be getting it for themselves, or as a gift for someone else? You should consider how much time your customer is spending online, and whether they’re more inclined to look for your product or service online or in physical outlets. After defining your customer in this much detail, it will become so much easier to see where you should be placing your materials and the tone you should use in your message copy.

Figure Out Your Targets

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Image: Pixabay

The next important phase to planning your marketing campaign is choosing where you’re going to place your ads. The catch-all answer to this is a range of sites and venues which are frequented by your ideal customer. When you’re seen often, and in a range of different places, you’ll retain a certain amount of visibility and your message will be a lot stronger. Complementary sites, which you can then cross-promote to your direct visitors, can also be extremely effective. Your visitors will see you there on top of all the other channels you’re appearing on, and your message will be greatly reinforced in their minds. Public holiday-specific sites, which are already well-promoted without any input from you, are also excellent places to put your message up. In this digital age, the materials you dangle in front of your target market are only really as good as the platform they appear on. Whenever you’re considering getting your message out on a social network, website, or online newsletter, make sure you’re carrying out a thorough assessment of it. Where does it appear on SERPs? How much traffic does it seem to be getting? How common are backlinks to the platform? How professional do the current ads they’re displaying seem and what kind of messages are they getting across? One sure-fire indicator that you’ve found a great platform for your marketing is if your close competitors are already on there, and their ads are presented in an eye-catching and complementary manner. Have a long browsing session of all your prospective platforms, listing any which are possibilities. After that, go back through your list, looking at these sites in more detail, and ranking them according to how well they fit your marketing message.

Leverage PPC

Pay-Per-Click advertising has become something of a cornerstone in modern marketing. If you’ve never heard of it before, then you’ve got a lot of catching up to do! Although this advertising niche is relatively new, it’s exploded in popularity and has given a lot of brands a lot of valuable leads. The feature that really makes it unique is in the name: instead of paying a flat fee for an ad that will appear for a certain amount of time, you don’t pay a penny until someone actually clicks on the ad. The benefits of PPC certainly don’t stop there though. You’re not only free from any fixed fees, but you’re also able to set an inflexible budget cap to control the costs. While you won’t reap any massive success if you set your budget too low, this feature will ensure that you never end up paying far too much for nothing but traffic. PPC also gives you a wide range of targeting and delivery options, meaning that you can have your ads displayed in front of a certain person in a certain place at a certain time of day. While this kind of advertising can certainly yield some great results, it’s not all that easy to leverage, especially if you’re new to the whole concept. If you’ve got little experience with PPC, be sure to keep your budget low, do your research and take things slowly. Another good way to learn about PPC is sending in the pros, and observing what their PPC copy is like. You can find out more online at www.webfullcircle.com/internet-marketing/ .

Measure Conversions

Keeping close tabs on your conversion rate is an extremely important part of conducting any good marketing campaign. To start tracking it, you first have to determine what exactly it is that you want your marketing campaign to achieve. Do you want your customers to place orders, subscribe to your blog, download an eBook? Once you’ve figured what you’re actually going after, you can start taking steps to measure it. A conversion rate is simply the number of click-throughs it takes for you to achieve your goal. Let’s say you measure 14 clicks and 1 subscription in a day, you can log your conversion rate as 1:14. This translates as 7.1% of the clicks on one of your ads are generating conversions. When you’re constantly keeping tabs on your conversion rates, you’ll be able to see clearly which marketing efforts are working and which aren’t. If you post an ad that you had a lot of faith in, leave it for a few days, and don’t see nearly as many conversions as you were projecting, then don’t hesitate to tweak and edit the ad. Good online marketing should be a constant process of trial and error, making little changes until you find the best possible fit. Remember that an ad is as much about the place it appears as the content, so make sure you’re toying around with this too.

Budget

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Image: Flickr

You, and many other business owners, may think that the “budget” section should have come at the start of this feature. However, I believe it’s always better to do your budgeting work once you have a clearer idea of the costs involved. This, of course, can only happen once you’ve pinned down your targets and figured out how much work needs to be done. You’ve probably got a rough idea already of how much capital you can realistically invest in your first online marketing campaign, so go back to your list of ad platforms and sum up the costs of all the ads you want to post. If the cost is spilling over your budget, you may need to eliminate some of the ad spots you had planned. This is where your prioritized list will come in handy. However, depending on your target market, it’s often better to have ads that appear on a variety of high-quality platforms, rather than a load which are all in the same kind of vein. Though you may not be able to pay for ads on certain sites right now, make sure you’re keeping them listed with all the other platforms you want to target. As your campaign starts to take wing, and the ads you’ve posted start pulling in conversions, you can always go back to the list and target a wider range of platforms. If your budget’s really wearing too thin, be sure to look into ad-swaps and other bartering schemes. A lot of sites will give you a banner ad in exchange for a spot in your newsletter, or vice versa. Ad swaps aren’t all that common, but it’s always worth asking!

About John-Shea

Internet Marketing Entrepreneur