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9 steps to planning the perfect ad campaign

How to maximise sales and results through effective campaign planning.

Whatever’s happening in the world, or affecting the economy, businesses must continue to advertise. Advertising creates awareness, adds credibility to your message and basically amplifies everything else you’re doing. Without advertising you might as well shout about your business in an empty room.

If you’re thinking about a campaign for next year but you’re not sure of the best way forward, these nine steps reveal everything you need to know. And don’t forget, if you need help with any aspect of campaign planning, we’re here to help.


1: Create a timeline

Throughout the year there will be a number of key dates you need to plan your campaign around. There are the seasonal events like Easter, Mother’s Day and of course Christmas, plus those periods where what you offer is in demand (use Google Trends to help here). Creating a timeline will help you build your plans around these key dates.

We’d also recommend creating a project plan to help plot out all of your campaign deliverables. This will help you stay on track and organise your messaging and offers well in advance.

2: Review your target audience

Your second task is to identify that specific group of customers most likely to respond positively to your promotions, products and services. You should review the demographic and behavioural data you have on your existing customers, as this will help identify any new behavioural trends emerging and help determine exactly who you are looking to engage with. One of the biggest failures we see is marketing campaigns that are aimed at everyone and the message gets watered down. Creating buyer personas is a smart way to move beyond a one-size-fits all approach.

Make sure you evaluate all of your decisions. It’s easy in the planning phase to to lose track of your goals, so hit reverse and work your back, reviewing each detail.

3: Consider your channels

It’s important that your campaign is delivered consistently across all relevant channels, as this helps to build a seamless customer experience. Depending on your chosen audiences, this will have a major influence on what channels will give you the greatest response. Your campaign may have a specific message, depending on whether you are communicating with existing customers, previous customers or a whole new audience all together. Channels you may wish to consider include: your website, social media, video, content marketing and pay per click. Don’t be afraid to try something new. Test them out, and see what works best for you in order to determine your personal ideal marketing mix.

4: Craft your message

This is the creative aspect of your campaign and it often absorbs valuable time when developing an idea. At this stage you simply need to determine your overall campaign message, taking into account your target audience and your goals. We recommend considering the needs of your audience, your brand values, how you differ from your competitors, and how you deliver value to customers. Find an overarching narrative that communicates these elements in a way that drives customers to conversion.

5: Get creative!

Now here is where we get to have some fun. Once you’ve planned your message, it’s time to consider the creative vehicle by which your message is delivered. Find something simple that works well across multiple channels and that will resonate at a glance. Avoid getting too complicated — complex themes can dilute your message. Every ad should contain four fundamental components:

  • Your logo or company name
  • A value proposition
  • An image or visual representation of your service
  • A prominent ‘call to action’

Our clients are fortunate to have access to an in-house creative team comprising of expert designers, copywriters and digital developers who are skilled in the principles of advertising. This means we know how to attract attention, engage a reader and drive them to respond to your business. Watch the short showreel below to see how our creative experts bring campaigns to life.

6: Introduce offers

Which offers will you use to tempt customers to spend more throughout your campaign? The offers you choose need to align with your message and theme. Now, more than ever, it’s imperative that you take every opportunity to stand out. Whether your leading with a discount, free gifts, gift cards, free shipping or a competition, adapt your campaign to prominently to feature your main message.

7: Use personalisation

Consider how you can use personalisation throughout your campaign. For example, you can including product recommendations in emails based on past purchases, or personalise digital ads based on each customer’s browsing history. Yes, you can intelligently target prospective customers based on their online interactions. Sounds complicated, right? Not so much – programmatic advertising simply means buying advertising space using an automated process.

8: Create and optimise your content

Now you’ve laid the groundwork for your campaign, it’s time to get started on content creation. Map out every campaign touchpoint across each channel and decide what assets you need to create. Ensure that your copy and design reflect your theme and deliver your message consistently across every asset. When you’re creating content, consider whether there is any supporting content on your website that needs optimising. Think about which pages your campaign directs people to for additional information and make sure their experience is consistent throughout their journey.

9: Go live and monitor

Before you push the button, plan how you’re going to respond to any hiccups (damage control!), then create a clear process to measure results and make changes accordingly. Be reactive and ready to refine key elements throughout the campaign. A test and learn approach will help you maximise your success. And of course, if you’re using a marketing partner, they should be communicating with you regularly and providing clear and accurate reports on your campaign performance. Overall, just make sure you focus on consistently delivering clear messaging through a simple theme, across your key channels, and you campaign has every chance of success.
Seeking a marketing partner? Creating and publishing engaging content and running digital marketing campaigns is akin to an art form, and doesn’t have to cost the earth. Working with us can save you a huge amount of time and allows you to consolidate your marketing plans, giving you the highest possible outcome from your investment.

This blog post is featured as part of our Business Bootcamp programme, designed to get your business in the best possible shape for the future.

Written by Nigel Black on 8th December 2020