Eight Crucial Steps to Planning an Online Marketing Campaign

Eight Crucial Steps To Planning An Online Marketing Campaign

Looking to get an online marketing campaign going, but have no idea where to start?

The feeling is understandable – there is, of course, a lot of planning that goes into any marketing campaign, online or otherwise, and a lot of strategic and creative decisions to be made in the process.

But although it can feel stressful at first like your brain is pulling you in a million different directions, it doesn’t have to be that way – we’re here to offer you an eight-step guideline to planning out your campaign and ensuring its execution goes smoothly!

Step 1: Define and understand your target audience.

Knowing who your campaign is meant to target is the first and probably one of the most important steps. After all, how will you know what channels to use, the specific objectives to strive for, and the keywords to focus on until you know who you’re targeting and what they’re looking for?

One place to start would be segmenting your audience into smaller groups based on purchase intentions, interests, subcultures they might be part of, etc. Tools like Google Analytics or Facebook Insights are a big help in this area since they break those things down for you in a clean, organized way.

Social media analytics can do a lot of good here, too. With these, you can see the types of content your audience is most interested in, which can help you target a certain segment more accurately and effectively. You’ll want to do this for each one of your platforms, though, because your audiences could be slightly or even drastically different across them.

Finally, you can gather data by engaging directly with your audience and obtaining feedback on the things you’re doing so far. This helps give you a better idea of what works well and what doesn’t, and how to properly capture the attention of each segment.

Once you’ve used all this data to segment your audience, you can choose which group to aim for in your campaign!

Step 2: Assess the current marketing environment.

This can be done by performing what is called a SWOT Analysis to examine both internal and external factors. The acronym SWOT stands for Strengths, weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats.

Strengths are considered internal factors; they are the things your business does well and the advantages it has over competitors. Weaknesses are also internal, but they are the spots where your company struggles with or needs to improve upon. For instance, maybe your social media strategy is solid (strength), but your branding colours or logo could use some work (weakness).

Opportunities are external. These could be things like new trends for you to add to your strategy, previously untapped market segments you could reach out to, or new developments in technology or marketing practices you can take advantage of.

Supply chain problems, competition, and other obstacles are perfect examples of external threats since in a SWOT analysis these are the forces that could be detrimental to your business from the outside. Threats can also directly relate to your weaknesses as well, though, so you’ll want to look out for that.

After completing your SWOT analysis, you’ll want to keep your findings in mind as you continue planning, especially if you find opportunities to mitigate any of your weaknesses during your campaign.

Step 3: Determine your objectives, KPIs, and metrics.

Now that you have a solid understanding of who you’re targeting and what’s going on in and around your business, you have enough information to start setting objectives for your campaign. A good method is to start with a broad purpose and get more specific as you go. Eventually, you’ll want to have a good number of S.M.A.R.T. goals set. This acronym refers to the objectives that are:

1. Specific

2. Measurable

3. Attainable

4. Realistic

5. Timely

Timeline setting is part of objective planning, too, and for this, you’ll want to set predictions and forecasts for how long it will take to fulfill the objectives you choose.

Those objectives can be anything from promoting a specific product or service you offer to driving sales, obtaining feedback from existing customers, retargeting those customers, and more. Just be sure to make them S.M.A.R.T. For example, rather than simply, “Increase sales for my new book,” say something like, “Increase sales for (book title) by 3% in the next two months.”

Next, you’ll need to figure out which KPIs and metrics you will use to measure and track your campaign’s performance. There are a lot of these you can choose to monitor, including but not limited to:

1. Sales per month (or another time frame).

2. Total revenue per month (or another time frame).

3. Rate of new customers over a specific time period.

4. Organic traffic and number of leads in a given time frame.

5. Amount of audience engagement in a given time frame.

6. Conversion rates for specific platforms over specific time periods.

The ones you choose to focus on most will be dependent on the objectives you pick, so ensure you set those first.

Step 4: What channels and content types will you use?

There are many options for online channels and content types to use in your marketing, even with the above steps helping to narrow down the list.

Channels for online marketing include:

1. 2. Social media platforms (Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.).

3. Your business website.

4. Blogs.

5. Pinterest (a visual search engine).

6. Email marketing.

7. Influencer marketing.

8. Paid search ads.

…and more!

Of course, each channel has its own set of content types to make use of. For instance, Instagram has multiple types of Stories, carousel posts, video posts, live videos, and more. On Pinterest, you can use regular pins, Idea pins, carousel pins, or video pins.

Different channels and content types work better for fulfilling different objectives, so pick the ones that work best for yours.

Step 5: Keyword research.

This is crucial to any campaign no matter what your goals, content, channels, or target audience are. Keywords are everything!

Put simply, keywords are what users type into search engines when looking for information.

Tools like Google Trends and the keyword magic tool on SEMrush can help you a great deal with this step. The former not only helps you with keywords for SEO on Google, but it can also do the same for YouTube, which makes it a bit more versatile.

Google Trends gives you some general information on trends happening in your country, but you can also use the search bar to research a specific term. When you do, you will see a list of terms related to yours. There will also be a ‘compare’ button beside the one you entered, letting you make comparisons between the data for different keywords.

Instead of keyword volume, Google Trends measures the popularity and relevance of the keyword over time. You can see this on a global scale or you can filter by country, subregion, city, etc.

As you do your keyword research, make sure you’re compiling a list of the ones you plan to use in your content, along with any other important findings you come across. That way you have everything available in one place and can keep better track of your keyword usage

As for your content, be sure to use as many keywords as you can, but do so in a way that flows smoothly and well, and that feels like you’re conversing with the audience.

Step 6: Figure out your costs and budget.

This section assumes you have already determined your overall marketing budget and are now considering the portion to be directed toward your new campaign.

That said, when developing the budget for your campaign, you’ll need to consider how much of your overall marketing budget is available for use, and how much of it has already been allocated elsewhere.

You’ll also need to estimate how much each element of your campaign is going to cost you, as this can help you set the parameters of your budget realistically.

Having both these things established beforehand gives you a better understanding of what you have to work with and thus, you can begin piecing together your budget and allocating each portion where it needs to go.

Step 7: Start implementing!

Now is the time to start posting the content you have created, and the best way to do this is by making use of one of the many scheduler tools available. This way, instead of trying to post everything in real-time, you can schedule things to be posted automatically when they are supposed to go out.

As usual, consistency is the most important thing here, which is why having a set schedule is such an essential component. Tying directly into this point is the saying ‘quality over quantity’. If you put too much emphasis on trying to push out as much content as you can within a given time frame, the quality of your posts will suffer, and they are likely to be less effective as a result.

It’s better to schedule your posts in a way that allows you to put as much quality as you can into each one – though, of course, there is no ‘one size fits all’ time frame for this – make your scheduling choices based on what will work best for your campaign and its content.

Step 8: Monitor the campaign and adjust as necessary.

Even after you’ve started scheduling and posting your content, your job’s not done! This is where all those metrics and KPIs from before come in since you’ll want to make sure everything is running as smoothly and successfully as possible.

This step also includes tracking the budget you developed for this campaign and revising elements of it where necessary to make sure you’re not overspending.

In short, if there’s a piece of your campaign that’s not performing as well as it needs to, this is the time to adjust and optimize!

We hope this guide helps you figure out the details for your next campaign, and if you need online marketing assistance, feel free to contact us today!

Scroll to Top