Are you planning on creating an ad campaign for your business? There are now so many ways to advertise your business it can be overwhelming. So before you start you’ll need to take some steps to ensure you’re on the right track. Meaning that your ad is speaking to the right people, you’re in touch with their pain, and this messaging is clearly and concisely detailed in your ad copy.
So before you make another move in the direction of ad strategy, stop. Take a step back and do the relatively easy work that will ensure your ad campaign is focused on the right audience and has messaging that speaks to them.
Following these steps will not only ensure that your ad hits the mark. It will also help you think strategically so you pick the right advertising channels and setup a system to take full advantage of all the work that went into your campaign. Here you go…
Before you run an ad campaign, follow these 8 important steps.
1. Define and learn about your target market.
You should work to clearly define your target audience for any campaign. This is the only way to develop messaging that speaks to an ideal prospect (those you really need your products or services vs. content that is not targeted, appeals to a wider audience but gets you no closer to a sale.) This is also how you determine the best type of media to reach them.
Ask the following questions…
Who is your ideal customer for this campaign? What, specifically, will motivate them? Are there trade publications, blogs, and sites they frequently read? Are they on social media? And if so, which channels? And, if they are motivated to buy, what specific next step will you include in the ad?
2. Interview current and past clients.
If you haven’t interviewed your clients you should get started. The benefits are amazing: you’ll gather testimonials to place on your site but you will also learn more about your business. Things you may not have known. And you will learn why people hire you and stick with your company.
When you interview clients, ask them specific questions: Why did they buy from us in the first place? Why did they stick with our company? What sets us apart from the competition?
Create a short 2-3 sentence statement that describes your ideal client and how you want them to see your brand. This statement will not only help you create a great campaign it will also lay the foundation for copy direction and help with site structure and all online marketing. We call this a positioning statement.
4. Pick the channels you will use.
Based on the items above, decide which channels would work best for this campaign. Basically where your ideal customers will be. This might include social media and paid advertising through social channels like LinkedIn, trade publications, advertising on industry websites, etc.
Whatever social media channels you use, remember to track the results (see step 8 below).
5. Create a call-to-action and update your website.
If prospects are directed to your company website, where, specifically, do we want to point them?
If you’re running something like a Facebook campaign, look at it from an engagement perspective and focus on using the ads to promote your content and add value versus selling. People who successfully use ads on social networks work to create engagement giving them the ability to sell after trust is established.
Maybe the goal is to promote a blog post. If so, do you have a well-branded and valuable offer attached to it? Something like a free industry report? Consider options like detailed case studies, white papers, video, etc.
And if this is your goal, who at your company will handle incoming emails, calls, questions? Have you made this a part of the process?
If you plan to point them to a specific offer and want them to buy, you should create a highly-optimized sales page.
6. Create content.
After you have worked to define your ideal customer and created a positioning statement, develop clear, cohesive copy written for this ideal customer and crafted to be used on your website and the channels you’ve decided on.
Write copy that describes your company’s expertise and also tells a story—a story that speaks directly to your ideal prospect, defines what you will do for them, and helps define you as a leader in your space.
To learn more, take a look at this post describing how story can transform your business.
7. Design your campaign.
Develop a common look for the campaign using color, typography, and imagery. Make it cohesive across all media. The most important thing here—as with copy—is clarity and consistency. Even if your ad is a combination of print and online, it needs to have a consistent look across channels.
Consider a small focus group (maybe conducted online) before you run your campaign. This small group might give you the critical feedback you need to make design and copy changes before your launch.
8. Track the results.
Setup analytics on your site so you can set goals and track the results of the campaign. If you are directing people to a page on your website and that is the primary goal of the ad, setup a system to track campaigns in Google Analytics.
If your focus is Facebook, learn about Facebook ad tracking techniques.
Consider something like Kissmetrics as a tracking tool.
When a client contacts you, simply ask them where they found you.
Whatever system you use, remember that measuring where these leads come from is extremely important. This data will help you course-correct if something is not quite right and it will mold your advertising going forward.
Once you have your ideal customer details, interviews, positioning, have decided on channels, a call-to-action and site updates, have copy and design, it’s time to map out an integrated approach and start the campaign.
Treat your first campaign as an experiment. Learn, rinse, repeat, and keep perfecting the model.
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