Digital marketing involves numerous elements, from fresh content to engaging emails through to a finely tuned SEO strategy. In an ideal world, all this would be easy to coordinate. There would be no need to carefully plan anything - you could just go forth and execute a powerful marketing campaign.
However - as we are all reminded on a daily basis - the world is far from ideal. A great campaign takes a large amount of organisation and planning to be done effectively. A very large amount. Sometimes, it can feel as if you’re spending more time editing documents than putting campaigns into action. However boring it may seem, this background work is essential to an effective campaign.
Good planning is essential for two reasons:
- To create successful campaigns that raise awareness and increase conversions
- To get support behind your marketing efforts and to coordinate your marketing effectively
You should complete a range of documents that outline a high-level plan that you can use to guide your team’s campaigns, goals and growth.
A successful marketing campaign is usually the product of many hours of hidden work, involving many people across the marketing department. Shared documents are usually where this vital work is collated.
There are lots of planning documents out there for marketing campaigns. Here is a selection that you should be using:
1. A document that outlines our campaign goals
Whenever we start a campaign with a client, we complete a document that outlines their mission, business goals, marketing goals, USP and what their brand stands for.
By using this document, we get an idea of the overall direction of a campaign. The document guides us through the rest of our efforts. We keep referring to it throughout the entire planning process. When a copywriter creates content for clients, they will often come back to this document to make sure that the final piece of content is in line with the rest of the campaign.
If you’re planning a campaign, you should endeavour to do something similar. This document is so important because it ties together the campaign. You should have a solid idea of what you want the campaign to achieve and how it aligns to the rest of your business goals.
2. KPIs and data
For a campaign to be successful, you have to have some way of measuring whether it’s working.
KPIs - short for Key Performance Indicators - are quantifiable goals which help you to track and measure success. They mean that you can set expectations and actually prove that your work is having a positive impact.
The effectiveness of marketing has always been difficult to prove. However, having the right KPIs means you can accurately gauge the impact of a marketing campaign on what you want it to achieve, most often an increase in revenue.
You should have different KPIs for each marketing channel.
Post engagement could be a KPI across social media channels, while click-through rate could be a KPI for an email campaign.
Remember to be realistic when you set your KPIs. For example, it could be unrealistic to accurately determine how your social media efforts affect your revenue. Rather, it might be more appropriate to find metrics that measure your reach.
If you’re doing pay-per click (PPC) advertising, revenue can also be a misleading KPI because big changes in budget can have a large impact on your revenue.
However, this wouldn’t necessarily mean that your PPC activity is going well as you could be spending a fortune on ads to achieve a revenue boost. In this scenario, it might be best to measure the cost per acquisition as this would take budget out of the equation.
Having a document that looks at your key marketing channels and how they’re performing using your KPIs will give you great insight as to what’s working well and what needs attention. However, finding the right KPIs isn’t easy. Sometimes it can be worthwhile to get some support from an experienced marketing consultancy firm if you don’t have anyone well-seasoned in digital marketing in your own team.
3. Marketing Personas
Knowing your audience is key to a well-orchestrated marketing campaign. If you understand your audience, you’ll understand who they are, their problems and what makes them tick, meaning you can develop your marketing efforts accordingly.
A marketing persona refers to a fictional, generalised character that encompasses the various needs, goals and observed behaviours among your customers or clients. Most businesses have more than one type of client, so developing multiple personas is necessary.
If you have a content marketing strategy, you should design content to resonate with your marketing personas. Here’s a free persona template that we created.
This could mean that you have to create different pieces of content for each persona. For example, a law firm that has “40 year old Divorcee Daniela” and “Later Life Lucy” personas might find that they need to develop separate content to engage each persona.
A copywriter, when writing an article for a client, would always keep a target persona in mind. It enables them to consider what this persona would want to know, and concentrates their writing.
This brings us nicely onto my next point - content planning.
4. Content planning document
Content marketing is one of the most effective types of online marketing.
With a few exceptions, most modern marketing campaigns involve some sort of content. Research by the digital marketing firm HubSpot suggests that almost 70% of all businesses are actively invested in content marketing in 2020.
Having a centralised area to plan content, keep a record of your personas and an inventory of live content is necessary when developing a content strategy. If you don’t have a well organised content plan, your content marketing efforts can quickly become as frayed as two year old shoe laces.
The fact of the matter is that better organised content marketing campaigns tend to generate more revenue.
When we begin working with clients, we sometimes see that they’re struggling to see the effectiveness of their existing content marketing efforts.
Normally, their planning (or lack thereof) is to blame.
We tend to find that their content is struggling to achieve traction because it is undirected. Usually a) it doesn’t speak to their target audience and b) it doesn’t align with their business’s overall marketing goals.
These problems can be easily solved with a proper content planning document. Content planning documents should be laid out in a spreadsheet format - we use Google Sheets - and should include publishing date, format, who’s responsible for creating it, target persona, title, and a live link.
If you want to start a content plan, here are some handy free tools to guide you.
Be flexible with your plans...
There are many planning documents out there and some created specifically for particular channels such as social media. We recommend that you build up a collection of document templates and update these documents for individual campaigns.
Strategy documents are, though, purely a guide - you are not bound to them. Try to remain flexible and update the relevant documents as you find out where campaigns are performing and where they could do better. Your documents shouldn’t remain stagnant. Think of them as ‘works in progress’ throughout a campaign.