The average business spends a good chunk of money on marketing.
However, some campaigns are more successful than others, and the last thing anyone wants is to waste efforts — or money! What are the qualities that make one campaign successful and another one fall flat, though?
There are many different ways of reaching potential customers, but out of a worldwide survey of top marketing professionals, 20 percent believe content is most effective.
At the core of any successful promotion is the content behind it. When you drive visitors to your site, what greets them and moves them through the sales funnel? When they enter your brick-and-mortar store, how do they know the value of doing business with you?
A successful campaign is a well-rounded one that factors all the touchpoints with the consumer into the equation.
Of course, there are some things you can do that will help push a campaign toward a positive conclusion.
Here are 11 traits you can implement into your upcoming marketing efforts.
1. Set a Goal
The best marketing campaigns have a well-defined goal in mind. Your goal might be to gain subscribers for your newsletter mailing list or to make a certain number of sales.
No matter what your goal is, use a SMART goal strategy to specify an accomplishment so you know what you're working toward. SMART goals are:
Let's look at an example of a SMART goal for a marketing campaign.
ABC Restaurant decides to run a social media campaign where customers share a photo of their meal and use a hashtag to enter a contest for a free dinner.
They set a goal to get 400 shares of those photos and gain five new reservations by the contest deadline, which is their break-even point on the cost of the free dinner.
This goal is SMART because it checks off all the boxes. There's a defined deadline, it's specific and relevant to their business, and it can be measured by the number of shares and reservations made.
2. Speak to One Person
One mistake companies make is trying to develop campaigns that speak to everyone. The problem with this tactic is that it weakens your message, and you may wind up reaching no one.
Instead, figure out who your typical customer is and create a buyer persona that matches their interests and needs. Then, create ad campaigns that speak to that persona.
This technique works particularly well on social media, where you can define who sees your ad and narrow down your audience to your buyer type.
3. Give a Gift
When you give people a gift, they are much more likely to develop a sense of loyalty to your brand.
Around 50 percent of consumers surveyed said they're more likely to do business with a company that gives them a promotional bag, for example. Not only does branded merchandise make consumers more likely to buy from you in the future, but it gets your name out in front of others.
ABC Restaurant gives their most loyal patrons promotional tote bags featuring their restaurant name and tagline. Those people carry the bags around, which allows others to see the ad and inspires them to call to make a reservation.
4. Choose the Right Medium
Finding the right place to share your message ensures you'll have more success in reaching your marketing goals.
Think about where your typical customer spends most of their time, both online and offline, and then you'll know where to focus your efforts in reaching your target audience.
For example, if you own a furniture restoration business, you probably won't find many customers at the local strip mall, but if you participate in a furniture craft fair, you'll find the people most likely to use your services to restore old pieces they've picked up at the event.
5. Show the Value
At the core of every marketing campaign is some offer, even if it's just an invitation to join a list.
Spend time thinking about what unique value your offer provides your target audience. Your unique value proposition (UVP) should be something that solves a problem for consumers, which makes the product more desirable.
If you sell baby teething rings, what is unique about yours and why should parents care? Perhaps yours are the safest on the market or the only product that is made in the U.S.
Whatever your UVP is, a well-thought-out marketing campaign highlights the advantages.
6. Express Your Personality
Each brand has a unique story and personality all their own. How do you express your personality?
If you run a bath supply store aimed at millennials, you might create a fun, hip vibe in all your marketing campaigns. Your customers should instantly recognize your voice.
Once you find a niche way of sharing your personality, make sure you repeat that effort across multiple campaigns. Each marketing campaign has a goal but should also build your overall brand recognition.
7. Educate Customers
Do your leads understand what your business does?
Part of your job with promotion is explaining what your brand does, your background story, and the different product use for the consumer. Going back to our example of a restaurant doing promotion, we can look at how educating consumers works in an actual campaign.
ABC Restaurant sources only local, organic products that are GMO-free and also offers gluten-free options for those with allergies.
However, for the restaurant to thrive, they also need to reach the average consumer, which means teaching others why GMO-free is healthier and why locally sourced ingredients taste better and how they help the local economy.
With this in mind, ABC Restaurant creates a video series where the head chef explains why he uses locally sourced ingredients and top customers share a short testimonial about the taste. They also go into basic GMO information without overwhelming the layperson with too many details.
8. Grab Attention With Design
The images and photography used in ad designs matter. Around 46 percent of marketers feel photography is one of the most critical factors in promotional efforts, and another 47 percent state it's essential.
If you want your marketing campaigns to be successful, you must include highly relevant, personalized photographs that speak to the user.
Social media marketing, in particular, relies on images to drive traffic to your posts and eventually to your website.
9. Embrace Mobile
There are many reasons for embracing mobile responsiveness for your website and advertising directly on mobile to your audience.
More and more people are using smartphones to access the internet and downloading apps for a better shopping experience. One study of 1,100 consumers found mobile ads drive sales for products with a short purchase cycle, such as entertainment or clothing.
About 13 percent of those surveyed said they had made an entertainment purchase because of viewing a mobile ad. Another 12 percent bought physical goods because of a mobile ad, and 10 percent purchased electronics or apparel.
Of course, mobile ads didn't work for all industries, and seemed rather ineffective for significant, long-term purchases such as automobiles.
Still, people might consult their mobile devices for information-gathering before making a big purchase, so creating a mobile-responsive site is a must for marketing.
10. Diversify Your Ads
You're competing against every other company out there marketing to consumers, including those not in direct competition. Because consumers see so many different impressions a day, it's challenging to get their attention and make an impact.
Don't put all your efforts into just one platform or one type of ad campaign. Mix things up and try different methods across different channels.
If you own a candy store, offer a tray of goodies for Mother's Day on your Facebook page along with gorgeous photos and an invitation to pre-order. However, you might also want to attend a local bridal fair to offer samples and suggest brides provide candy bars at their reception, which they can order from your establishment.
Think about ways of reaching new customers in different locations and in unique ways so you stand out from what other marketing teams offer.
11. Write Clear Copy
You can have the most eye-catching ad design in the world, but if the actual text falls flat, you risk losing the attention of potential customers.
Your copy should be as concise as possible to still get the message across. Think about each word you use in the content, and pay particular attention to headlines.
The best way to highlight how one word changes the entire feel of an ad is with an example. Let's look at the mock ABC Restaurant again, who decides to run a social media campaign inviting local people to dine with them.
The first ad reads, "Enjoy Dinner" and includes an image of one of their most popular dishes, along with the phone number to make a reservation. The promotion sees little attention, and they get only one reservation, falling short of their goal.
Next, they decide to tweak the words a bit, changing the text to "Savor Your Dinner Experience" and adding "Make My Reservation" in front of the phone number. The changes are fairly minor, but the word "savor" is a bit different and grabs attention.
Adding the word "experience" also gives the ad a different feel than before. Finally, using first-person phrasing in the call to action encourages the user to reserve their table. The new ad is successful, and they get six new reservations from it, surpassing their original goal of five.
Powerful Tactics Yield Powerful Results
With a little focus on your marketing campaigns, you'll have a powerful tool that drives traffic to your website and results in conversions.
Ideally, apply all the traits above to each campaign and figure out how to best speak to your specific users. At a minimum, begin applying the traits that make the most sense to your business model.
With specific goals in mind and a little savvier strategy, your marketing will pay off in higher profits and more loyal customers.
Lexie Lu is a freelance graphic designer and blogger. She keeps up with the latest design news and always has some coffee in close proximity. She writes on Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner.