Starting Your First Digital Marketing Campaign as a Small Business
This is a guest post from Jori Hamilton (see her info at the end of the article) – Thanks Jori.
As a small startup business, marketing is likely the last thing on your mind. Understandably, there is much to deal with as a new business, and your biggest concern might be simply staying afloat and pleasing your customers. But marketing is crucial no matter your budget or what phase you are in.
Starting a new marketing campaign as a startup business, however, isn’t easy. If you’re going to do it, you need to genuinely put the effort in to ensure it’s effective and not a waste of time or money.
It’s easy to get lost or confused when you start venturing into the realm of marketing. There are a lot of options and methods, which can feel overwhelming. But if done well, a solid digital marketing campaign can significantly improve the performance of your small business.
Why You Need Marketing as a Small Business
The biggest issue most small businesses face is struggling to attract enough customers in order to make enough sales to achieve a return on their investment. This is where marketing becomes essential.
A good marketing campaign can help you expand your reach and attract new customers so that you can meet your sales goals. But it does so much more than that too.
Some of the primary benefits of digital marketing for small businesses are that it:
- Helps you get to know your customers better so you can build customer relationships and gain a loyal following;
- Expands your reach to new audiences without geographical barriers;
- Helps you target the right audience at the right time;
- Drives engagement and better customer experiences;
- Saves you money by enabling you to reach more customers for less;
- Allows you to track your performance with metrics.
And a good digital campaign can be flexible. You can make adjustments along the way, as needed according to the analytics you are tracking.
What Are Digital Marketing Campaigns?
It’s important to understand that launching a marketing campaign is not the same as general marketing. Marketing can involve a wide range of tasks that market your brand to your customers, whereas a marketing campaign is a very specific initiative that is done in addition to your everyday marketing tasks.
For example, posting on social media is something you should do every day as a part of your ongoing marketing, but a campaign is something that typically has a start and an end date and is done with very specific goals in mind.
As a small startup business, your first campaign can simply be about spreading awareness about the launch of your small business. Or you can come up with another focus with a specific desired outcome — it’s up to you and what you decide your goals are.
How To Create Your First Marketing Campaign as a Small Business
Now that you know what marketing campaigns are and why you need them, let’s jump into how to get started creating your first digital marketing campaign.
1. Define Your Goals and Strategy
Every good marketing campaign needs clearly defined goals or objectives. What is the campaign for? What do you hope to achieve by launching the campaign?
Having defined goals or a marketing strategy for your campaign is essential as it helps guide you as you decide what exactly to do. Instead of just aimlessly using various marketing tactics, you will have a better understanding of what you need to do in order to achieve your desired outcome.
2. Come Up With a Budget
Budgeting is also crucial when it comes to developing a marketing campaign, especially for small startup businesses. You probably don’t have a huge budget to begin with, so you want to spend your money wisely by making sure you are spending it on the things that will be most effective.
So, determine your budget, and from there, look into what you can do with that budget. This includes what channels you want to use for marketing, what kind of ads you want to run, and what kind of content you want to create, like email content and social media content.
As most consumers are active on social media today, budgeting for social media marketing is crucial. But where else you spend your money will depend on your market and your target customers, so you will need to do some research to help you determine where it would be most effective for you to spend your budget.
3. Conduct Market Research and Identify Your Target Customers
Research is essential as it helps you identify what your competitors are doing and, thus, what you should be doing as well. It also helps you identify who your target audience is.
If you create a marketing campaign blindly without knowing anything about your market or your audience, it’s like taking aim at a target with your eyes closed. You could hit the mark, but you are more likely to miss.
So if you want your money to be well spent, you need to do your research to know specifically who to market your brand to and how best to market to them.
4. Determine Your Marketing Channels and Create Your Content
Next, after doing your research, you’ll need to decide which channels to market through. For example, if you discover that your target audience is primarily younger consumers, social media should be your primary focus.
Other channels include email marketing, print, TV/radio, online ads, and website marketing. If you have the budget for it, multi-channel marketing that utilizes multiple channels is best. But if you don’t have the budget, choose the channels that will help you best reach your target audience.
5. Launch and Monitor Your Campaign
Finally, all that’s left to do is execute your plan and launch your campaign. Once you’ve launched, it’s important to keep track of your campaign’s progress by using analytics to measure certain performance metrics.
For example, if you still aren’t seeing an increase in traffic after the campaign launches, you might need to adjust some things, like the channels you are using or even the time of day you are sending out your content.
Analytics are important because they help you measure your performance along the way so you can make improvements as you go, rather than waiting until the campaign is over only to discover it didn’t work.
Things To Keep in Mind as You Start Your First Marketing Campaign
While there is no one right way to create a marketing campaign, there are some best practices for new businesses to keep in mind.
Cybersecurity, for example, can suddenly become an issue when you start putting your company out there more on the internet. When you start marketing your company and attracting new customers, you can also attract unwanted attention from cyber criminals. So it’s important to take cybersecurity precautions to protect your small business’s proprietary info, such as making sure you are keeping sensitive data secure and using firewalls and anti-virus software.
Making sure you spend your marketing budget wisely is also crucial, as previously mentioned. So if, after doing your research, you still aren’t exactly sure about who your market or customers are and what channels to use, it might help to take a digital marketing class first.
There are many affordable marketing classes online that can give you a better understanding of marketing campaigns. And once you gain more knowledge, you can feel more comfortable knowing how and what to budget for when creating your first campaign.
A good marketing campaign takes time, but it’s not impossible. And if you do take the time and put in the effort, it can significantly improve your business outcomes in the long run.
Marketing campaigns can also be small and simple. If you don’t have the budget for something big, that’s okay. Just getting your brand name out there and putting in some sort of effort is better than nothing. Once you start making more money, then you can start growing your campaigns and your overall marketing efforts.
Jori Hamilton is an experienced writer residing in the Northwestern U.S. She covers a wide range of subjects but takes a particular interest in covering topics related to business productivity, marketing strategies, and HR solutions. To learn more about Jori, you can follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Shawn Kinkade Kansas City Business Coach