Every marketing campaign needs a goal. Otherwise, you won’t be able to measure the success of your project. Yet, it’s not unusual for clients to answer me with a *shrug* when I ask, “What’s your campaign goal?”
They aren’t sure what to ask for.
Most of the time, people are used to paying for advertising buys and creative assets without a strategy. They are sold on vague “results” — not estimated metrics. Other times, the client isn’t sure what to reasonably expect. They are hoping for a successful campaign but, not sure how the activities will turn into sales.
In this article, I’ve put together a list of example marketing goals and outline the basic activities to reach them. Obviously, the creative (messaging, designs, etc) matters just as much as the strategy. But in this article, I’ve focused on the strategy portion of the campaign. Keep reading and you’ll learn how to pick the best marketing campaign goal for your project.
In this Article
How to Pick a Marketing Goal
Begin with Your Business Strategy
Identify the Maturity of Your Marketing
Separate Short-Term Needs from Long-Term Goals
Defining the Terms
Throughout this article, I will be using several marketing terms.
- The term “campaign” can be a bit confusing because (in a granular sense) each platform allows you to run a “campaign” — placing an ad or group of ads. In the larger sense, a marketing campaign is a bundle of activities focused on a goal. So you can have little “campaigns” on platforms inside one big campaign.
- The Landing Page is where the website visitor first hits your website after clicking through from another source. Often, marketing plans include a predetermined “landing page” created just for a specific campaign.
- A Conversion occurs when someone fills out a form or buys a product.
- The Conversion Funnel is the path a user takes from seeing your ad to actually taking the conversion action on your website. The percentage of people who go through each level shows the success of your campaign.
- Impressions (sometimes called frequency) are the number of times your message is seen, usually in the digital space. Typically, when media outlets measure these, they will compare it with reach.
- Reach equals the number of times your ad is seen by a single person or a household. So, that reach number will always be lower than total impressions.
- Engagement is when someone actually responds to your marketing and does something (usually measured digitally). For social media, this is measured in likes, comments, or shares. With email, you count forwards and clicks on an email. For websites, you record comments and clicks. This valuable metric is rapidly changing in definition because smart marketers (and value-driven ad platforms) are realizing that the quality of the engagement matters just as much as the quantity.
- Pay-per-click (PPC) ads push traffic to your landing page. In most cases, you will pay for a mix of impressions (ad views) and clicks on the ad.
- Calculate a Click-Through-Rate (CTR) by dividing the number of clicks by the number of impressions.
- The Call to Action (CTA) represents whatever you want your prospective customer to do.
- The Sales Funnel starts when marketing hands off a lead to a sales rep.
How to Pick a Marketing Campaign Goal
You can generate a marketing campaign goal by identifying key metrics, such as:
- Sales or contracts
- Website Visits
- Sign-ups or subscriptions
- Ad Clicks
- Post Comments
- Social Followers
Each marketing campaign goal should have a number based on reality. If you have never run a campaign before, use this first campaign to set a “baseline.”
If you have run campaigns in the past, determine whether your activities will be lesser or greater than the past promotion. Adjust the estimated numbers accordingly.
1. Begin with your Business Strategy
Your marketing campaign goals should support your business strategy. If you just opened a storefront, you’ll want to increase foot traffic. If you just created a social medial profile, you’ll want to increase followers.
More mature businesses may be looking to expand their customers to a new market niche or launch a new product. Use your business strategy to set a marketing campaign goal.
2. Identify the Maturity of your Marketing
If you have a strong, well-developed audience, you can jump right into promoting your messages. If you do not have an active, engaged audience you’ll need to build one. Do a short inventory of your audience.
Write down the following numbers:
- Social Media Followers by Platform
- Current, accurate email addresses and phone numbers in CRM
- Blog Subscribers
- Email Blast Subscribers
- Loyalty Program Members
This is your current “base.” If you want to reach outside these people, you’ll need to either pay for exposure (paid advertising) or earn it (organic).
3. Separate Short-Term Needs from Long-Term Goals
Marketing projects can quickly be divided into two lists — short-term needs and a long-term marketing campaign goal. Short-term needs appear suddenly like updating business cards or changing hours of operation on a website. Long-term goals are focused on capturing part of the market.
Those are the marketing campaign goals that you should set to guide and track. your campaign.
Example Marketing Campaign Goals
I’ve put together some example marketing campaign goals, including how to build and track them.
Most of these, even those that could use traditional advertising, hinge on having a website. This relies on the concept of the conversion funnel.
Whenever someone clicks through on an ad to your website, they reach the landing page. On the landing page, they click through on a form (or buy a product). This action logs information that you can use to finish the sale.
Each of my example campaign goals assumes your website can accommodate a conversion funnel.
Example Goal 1: Build Your Email Database
Building an email database starts with creating an offer. You’ll want to put together something that is attractive — worth handing over an email address.
- Coupon Code
- Content Subscription
- Guides, Tutorials or an eBook
Once you create that offer, you will host it on your website behind a form. This makes it a “gated” offer.
That form will live on a landing page and it’s where you’ll drive traffic.
Now, when you build your campaign around building your email address, you have a place to push them.
Select the appropriate areas to advertise your offer. Mention the offer as part of the ad to pique their interest. That ad will push them through to the landing page — which should encourage them to fill out the form.
Evaluation: You evaluate this campaign by how many email addresses you collect.
If you are not satisfied with the numbers, you can dig deeper into the metrics and the creativity to improve the results.
Example Goal 2: Generate Sales Leads (Service Business)
Services businesses need sales leads from marketing that they can hand off to sales representatives.
On your website, you probably already list your services. For this project, you are breaking them out into separate pages — one page for each service.
On Each Page
- Write excellent text describing your service. Use common phrases that people may search based on their needs or problems.
- Place wonderful photos of your team working. Avoid stock photos!
- Include helpful links, documents, and media related to the topic. Only use your own or ones from credible sources.
Use a similar format for each page for consistency.
From top to bottom, your content should go from broad to narrow. The headline and subhead should clearly state your service with relevant details. The body copy should focus on the customer’s needs.
The form should sit “above the fold” on both desktop and mobile. Anything below the form and main content should support the main CTA of filling out the form.
Each of your landing pages needs a separate form. You can use one of the forms that come with your website or you can install a third-party form. Explore the options and style to match your page.
- First Name *
- Last Name *
- Email Address *
- *required fields
Note: If this is B2B, you may want to add fields for “Company Name” and “Job Title.”
- An Auto-Response Email or Confirmation triggers as soon as someone fills out the form. Choose to redirect this to another page (See Step 2).
- The notification should go to the sales rep who will be handling the lead.
After someone fills out the form, they should get a sales email with key information about their request. It should prepare them to get a phone call and keep them “warm.” It can include contact information for their sales rep, in case they just can’t wait for a call.
Ideally, this is a generous email, containing something of value to the customer to reward them for filling out the form.
- A coupon or discount just for contacting you
- FAQ answers based on their stage of the process
- A free gift, branded with your logo
Overall, you want to associate your brand with warm, fuzzy feelings of appreciation. They gave you their email address!
Since you set up a notification email, you want to put in place a plan for a sales call. You just promised that someone would be in touch shortly. Ideally, the sales rep will call the lead within 30 minutes of form completion.
Each day that you wait, the lead grows cold and they look for other options.
You can automate a link between the email notification and the sales rep’s task management system. Or you can simply educate the sales rep to look for email alerts as they come through. Regardless, make this a priority for the sales funnel.
There is a large chance that someone won’t be ready to talk to a salesperson. So, I prefer to add a lower-commitment CTA on the page. It’s secondary and shouldn’t distract from the main CTA.
Instead, it’s a way to keep your prospective customer on the page longer and maybe get them to click a little deeper into your website.
Low Commitment CTA Examples
- An Article or Blog Post
- A free eBook
- A Tutorial
- A FAQ
- A Free Download
Flex your creativity on these to make something useful and engaging. Consider where your customer may be in their search for information.
Again, these are not hard sale-driven at all. They’re focused on creating a valuable experience for the user.
Above all, connect this CTA back to your original landing page. They may just need a little more time to loop back to contacting a sales rep.
After someone fills out your form, they will be redirected to a “Thank You” page. It should thank them for submitting the form and encourage them to stick around on the website.
Below that key message, fill the page with valuable information. It can keep them “warm” for the upcoming email and phone call.
Valuable Information Examples
- Blog Content or Articles
Ideally, they stay on the page for some time and click around. This is good for both your website’s reputation metrics (related SEO) and the customer’s experience.
Additionally, this page gives you an easier way to track conversions (setup in Step 3 and reporting in Step 4).
Although your pages may get some traffic from organic sources, the promotion will generate that traffic faster. As you place the ads, try to use a niche approach to marketing. Essentially, you’ll advertise to a lower amount of people who are more likely to be interested in your services.
- Aiming to retain converters keeps the focus on the whole funnel, instead of just generating a lot of clicks or impressions. So, you shouldn’t cast a wide net. Focus geographically, demographically, and by interest.
- Increase on-page time by clearly previewing the landing page content. It shouldn’t be a bait-and-switch. Your ads should match what follows when they click through.
If this is your first time setting up any of these ads, you may struggle to find your audience at first. Start with a low amount. Then, increase the amount on everything that performs well.
To set up your Google AdWords promotion, start by creating a separate campaign for each service. It should link to the appropriate landing page. Use keywords from your page to guide your ads, grouping them as needed.
Follow the steps that Google lays out in their tutorial.
- Do Adwords only, not display
- Choose “Leads” as your campaign type
- Make sure your ad extensions are correct
- Make sure you calculate your daily budget carefully with an “end date” for the end of the month.
Regardless of your keyword strategy, focus on the experience of your prospective customer. In general, I’ve found that the content on the landing page is the best place to start.
- Any relevant industry terms, certifications, laws, or regulations can be added as keywords. Just make sure you used them on your landing page so that people find the information they expect.
- Generate phrases that reflect your prospective customer’s needs
- Don’t just let the “sandbox” generate results without checking them. Even if they have a “high” search volume, they may not be relevant.
Once your Adwords are running, you can watch them closely (see Step 4). You can remove low-performing keywords and add more variations of the ones that perform well.
For B2B, LinkedIn offers Text ads that are a similar format to other PPC ads. They allow you to choose details based off of the user’s profession like their industry or job title. Create separate ads for each of your services, linking them to the related landing pages.
In general, I’ve found these ads have low impressions and clicks but, a higher-than-average conversion rate. The volume isn’t there but, LinkedIn is good for finding a niche audience.
Creating a promotional Facebook ad works well for small businesses that want to target according to geography. You must have a personal Facebook account and a linked Facebook Business page to place Facebook ads.
Start by creating a separate ad for each service type and make your landing page the destination URL.
- Allow the campaign to make connections with your followers and “their friends.” This is a good “trust-building” setting.
- Remember that the ads will push to the entire network (including Instagram). Check the format on your ads for each placement type. It’s available in the preview.
- Make sure you capture the “Pixel” and add it to your landing pages for each campaign.
Your objective should be “Website Traffic.” Also, you can set a daily budget or a total budget. Like above, focus the content, audience and placement to your niche audience and keep it relatively small. That will make your CTR higher over time.
Your Ad Budget
To determine your spend for each platform, start by calculating 5% of your total business budget. Divide that between the mediums. Then, divide that by the number of days in the month. This should give you an idea of what you should spend on your daily PPC budget.
Guidelines from U.S. Small Business Administration
- Small Business Trends reports that the average business spends 1.08% of its revenues on advertising, with variations from industry to industry.
- Web Strategies reports average marketing spending in 2018 was 7.9% of revenues, with B2B product companies spending 6.3%, B2B services companies spending 6.9%.
- B2C companies spent slightly more on average, with product companies spending 9.6% and B2C services companies spending 11.8%.
Also, make sure you’re comfortable managing the amount that you’re spending. With digital ads, it’s easy to start them and forget the credit card charges. You’ll get the most value if you can monitor and adjust them as they run. You may need to spend a smaller amount at first to make sure you can watch evaluate the traffic.
Read more about this at How to Build an Evergreen Marketing Campaign Around Your Business Services.
Example Goal 3: Increase Online Sales (Retail Business)
Imagine a great salesperson. They’re charming and friendly. They greet you as you walk in the door with the latest sale or inventory information– telling you to find them if you need anything. They don’t hover but, you can see them. Their vibe is good — no pressure.
If you have a question, they drop everything to help you. When you’re ready to buy, they tell you about the current offers and help you get the best value.
After you checkout, you almost feel like you made a new friend.
Your website should replicate that experience but, with UX (user experience) design instead of a human body and a physical shop.
I prefer to think of the process as a dialogue — especially when I’m putting together web content for a retail website. At each step in the process, you should anticipate the customer’s thoughts and answer their questions.
If you think about it, a lot of the first draft is common sense. You imagine the person who is purchasing the product and guide them from step to step.
Then, you go back through that draft and test it out. You can review it with other people or push it live in a testing phase.
Stay open to adjusting your content based on the feedback. That’s the beauty of creating in a digital space. You can edit it in real-time. In my example to the right, I show how your website, and competitor’s websites, can engage with a prospective customer. As they search for information, you should be able to deliver useful solutions.
This is content marketing 101. Make your content match the needs of your ideal customer. If you already have a retail website, there are several areas that you can optimize to improve your online sales. Make sure you have access to analytics for your website. It will help you spot areas of opportunity.
As you review your website, you need to look for the places where visitors leave your website. These are referred to as exit pages. If the exit is occurring before a sale, you need to research the reasons why they are leaving prematurely.
This is always a mix of audience, design, and content. Obviously, the website needs to function appropriately and look nice (design). Also, the information (text, photos, links, etc.) must push them toward a purchase. Finally, if you have a lot of traffic but low conversions, you may need to look at your marketing funnel to see what audience you’re bringing in.
On an existing website, you have a wealth of data to inform these decisions.
Your website should be goal-oriented, with all of the content supporting your main marketing campaign goal: sales. As you comb through the content, consider what content doesn’t support that goal. It may be a functional issue, like a form that doesn’t fill correctly. It could be an issue of design, like images that don’t represent your products well. Find these areas and improve them.
Online shopping is a user-guided experience. The “Behavior” tab in Google Analytics can give you some areas to spotlight. What are your main landing pages? Consider the most common paths from those landing pages. What are your top exit pages? Use this to start investigating what may be causing your prospective customers to leave before they buy.
Check your on-page time to see how long prospective customers are engaging with the page. If your on-page time is low, especially if it is less than 1 minute, you need to rework your page. It could be loading slowly (another metric to check.) Or the content could be turning people away. Or your advertising is bringing in the wrong person. Ideally, your average on page time should be long enough for people to both absorb the content and make a decision- several minutes at least. Regardless, page time will give you a place to start exploring.
The images on your page should represent your content well and be optimized. This means that the details like file size and alt text must conform most recent standards for search and load time. From a design standpoint, they should be high-quality, well-lit, clear, and creative. They are the first impression of your brand, from the colors to the details.
The text on your page serves a dual purpose. First, it needs to provoke a response in the reader. Ideally, it will make them behave according to your call-to-action. Also, it is the main element that search crawls. If your text isn’t written with SEO in mind, your website won’t get picked up. This balance requires all of the words to be both well-written and written-for-web.
Ensure that your buttons and links function easily. If they don’t, it quickly alienates your user.
Build landing pages that focus on one activity, in this case, shopping a sale. Even if your individual listings are great, you’ll miss an opportunity if you don’t group them together. This of it like a sales display at the front of a store.
You can learn more about this process at How to Build a Retail Website that Sells.
Measure Your Goals
When you focus your efforts on meeting a marketing campaign goal, you can more easily measure, evaluate and improve your projects. Then, you can link marketing success with your overall business strategy.