There is a reason why your marketing campaigns do not work. You are more focused on the idea of running a campaign than running a winning campaign. If you focus on staying busy and don’t focus on the outcome, you will always be disappointed with your marketing.
Running a winning campaign is a lot of work. It’s hard. It’s challenging. You’re always learning. You have days when you feel like you are the king or queen because you’re crushing it on the number’s side. Then there are periods and long spells when nothing seems to be working and you don’t know why, and that is an uncomfortable place to be.
Most people run to their comfort zone. Most people will set up a campaign with proxy indicators—things that make them feel good but, in fact, don’t actually help their business. This is what destroys the art of marketing.
Whether you are running your own business, working at an agency, working as a marketer, or working in sales, doing things that make you feel good but don’t actually help you achieve your goal is the number-one thing that holds people back, and we all do it. This is a really hard thing to face. This is because if you’re too hard on yourself, you will never be optimistic, you will never be hopeful, and you will never make the investment. However, on the other side, you run the risk of building crazy amounts of resentment toward your agency or your marketing team. You will feel bad about yourself because you’re super helpful and super optimistic.
You spend all of these dollars, and all the data is going to come in and say, “Look how many people are visiting our site!” But they’re not converting. “Oh, look at how many people are buying!” But they only buy once at a discount; they don’t buy a second or third or fourth time. “Oh, look at all the people who are signing up for my new SAS solution!” But after the free trial, they drop out, right?
You feel good about all these proxy things that are happening. However, after a year, you’re going to look and say, “I’ve spent all of this money. I’ve done all of this work. I’ve put my heart into this, and my business still isn’t growing. What is happening? Marketing must not be working. The sales team must be bad. I must be making bad decisions.” Then you’re not going to know what’s wrong—you were foolishly optimistic, and you didn’t look at the numbers along the way.
So what do you do? It’s really very simple. No matter what tactic, no matter how big or how small the thing you’re set to do, you need to work through a few key steps:
1. You have to have a really clear idea of what you want to accomplish.
Pretty much every brief that I’ve ever read never goes deep enough to actually say what it is they want to accomplish. So what do you want to accomplish? Do you want 10 new leads? That’s a clear idea. Do you want to increase your email newsletter list and hit 10,000 subscribers? You must have a clear, concrete, and SMART goal set for what it is you want to accomplish for your business.
Then the next level down from that is your campaign objectives. What is realistic for your campaign to actually achieve? We work with a lot of companies on company culture and recruitment to try to help them save money from crazy amounts of turnover. When people come to us and say, “You know what? It’s costing too much time and too much money to go through all these résumés that people are submitting. We want people to prequalify themselves before they submit an application for this job or this role. I just don’t want to look at 3,000 people when only 200 of them are good. Please make a campaign to get rid of 2,800 people. Only allow us to see the 200 people who are good.” Well, that’s like a really kind of crazy goal!
Is it realistic for a campaign to get more people to want to apply? Yes. Is it realistic to have more people self-qualify if we’re really aware of what makes a candidate a great candidate? Yes. But is it realistic to say we’re going to weed out 2,800 people and we’re only going to show you the people who are good? No! It’s setting us up for failure.
It’s unrealistic to assume that we would be able to get down to that finite number. It’s a great goal, if that’s our intention, if that’s the direction we’re moving, and if that’s what we’re hoping to do. Our corporate objective is finite. We want to achieve our campaign objective. It’s not about what we want to achieve; it’s what’s realistic to achieve. When you are planning your campaign, be crystal clear. Be self-aware. Be really honest with these different levels of what you want to achieve and what is actually possible.
2. You need to know enough about your target audience.
People are too vague with who they’re going after. You need to focus on your primary audience—those whom you’re speaking to, those whom you’re targeting. Have a clear idea of who they are, not only demographically (their gender, age group, geography, or household income) but also psychographically. What are the things that they care about? What do they fear? What do they love? What are their hopes? What are their dreams?
You need to have a deep and rich understanding of everything that drives the people that you’re going after. That way, you can tap into their emotional centre. That way, you can use stories or social proof to understand what it is that they are looking for. You have a clear goal, and now you need to connect that to the audience. You need to understand who these people are and what they want to accomplish.
You cannot trick your way into engaging them and then expect them to be like, “Oh, I didn’t even know that I needed this. This is amazing.” You need to know who these people are. Know what pushes them, what drives them, and what motivates them. Help ensure that you connect your brand and your offering with these people.
3. You need to respect the platform.
If you are doing an email marketing campaign, your objective would be different from someone who’s doing a cold outreach or a list-building campaign on Facebook. Marketing to people who know you is different from marketing to people who don’t. It’s different if you’re interrupting them with an ad and if they’re actively searching for you online. The type of action that you want them to take is totally different.
You can determine what platform you need to be on once you understand your target audience. That platform is where those people are. However, once you’re in that environment or on that platform, you need to respect the fact that everyone is different.
Let’s say that I’m an insurance broker and I want to work with doctors, high-net-worth individuals. A doctor who is online searching me has a totally different mindset from a doctor who just comes across my campaign and learns about me through my Instagram Stories.
Thus, you have to have a clear idea of the outcome. You have to have a clear idea of who you’re speaking to. You have to realize that every environment and every style of ad that you’re doing needs to be tweaked so that you’ll be saying the right thing to the right person at the right time. This is the only way to approach a campaign so that later on you’ll know what works and what doesn’t.
4. You need to know the importance of segmentation and lists.
If you’re doing an email campaign, the easiest thing to do is just to bucket everyone into a newsletter, right? You just send out a monthly newsletter, and that’s it. However, those who never open your newsletter versus those who do are different people. Wouldn’t it be valuable to know who among the people you sent emails to actually take the time to open them? After six months, wouldn’t you want to pull that group of people out and phone them or send them a special message? Those people are much more engaged in your brand, so of course, you would! If they come to your site all the time to read all your stuff, you would totally want to pull that little group of people out and give them a different message. Give them a different offer. Do something to engage them more.
This concept is the same when you’re running an advertising campaign on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google. The greatest thing you can do is to show people ads and then have them take action. Take a group of people who take action after seeing your ads and remarket to them a different offer and a different action. Then if they take action to your new offer, remarket to them another offer and another action, and so on.
However, you also need to segment out the people who didn’t take action. Try to save them and understand why they didn’t do so. Who are the people who went through your e-commerce site, got halfway through the cart, and then abandoned it? Let’s pull those people out. Let’s try to have an idea of why they didn’t push through with the purchase. Email those people. Then let’s say, of those who abandoned their carts and whom you sent a follow-up email, one-third of them came back to the cart but still didn’t purchase. Should you start a remarketing campaign for the next 180 days to try to remind them of who you are?
This is what marketing is about today. Now that sounds ridiculously overwhelming. It sounds really, really complicated. You don’t have to start here, but to make your marketing campaign work for you and drive crazy amounts of value at the end (whether that’s sales revenue, leads, or whatever you consider your end goal is), you need to start getting more advanced because simply throwing up a campaign will get you some results, but chances are, you’re going to be wasting money.
5. Track everything.
This is the only way to know what’s working and not working. It lets you know whether you should keep doing something or stop it, whether you should keep trying or completely blow up the entire plan and start from scratch. This is the last step. Track as many things as you can.
In your business, if you get a lot of phone calls, track them. You can record those calls, take those recordings, and give them to third-party software like gong.io to analyze all the bulk data. They can tell you who among your salespeople are doing well or who are not. They can tell you what points you need to improve and all that stuff.
There’s so much business intelligence out there. There’s so much data. There’s so much insight. No matter how small the campaign is if you’re spending money on setting up the architecture of your campaign and the planning, track everything. If you don’t have a way to measure what is working and what isn’t working, you won’t have any idea what is going on. You are going to have headaches in, say, six months, and then that resentment is going to build because your campaign seems to be not working and you don’t know why.
That is no way to run a campaign. You want to impress yourself. You want to be happy with your marketing campaigns. You want to feel good about the money you spend. Understand your objectives, understand the audience’s perspective and platform, and then segment the heck out of it.
Then while you’re at it, make sure you think big. Be bold. Say yes.