Using technology, the entrepreneur or small business owner can create affordable innovative campaigns to reach their target audiences in today’s marketplace. Small businesses can actually leverage their agility, quick decision-making, personal branding and niche marketing to position themselves easily over their competition, and many times can even compete on par with the bigger brands.
What is a marketing campaign and what are the benefits of creating one?
A marketing campaign is an automated process to retrieve, collect and build interest for a particular goal. It can be automated for both the end user and those setting it up, although the more automated the process, the higher the cost and the more time involved.
There are a variety of types of campaigns that can help build your mailing list, generate brand awareness, build community and create hype, including:
- Free downloads of e-books, whitepapers or full product e-demos (e.g. 30-day software access)
- Contests, quizzes and sponsorship requests (especially useful in fundraising events)
- Fundraising (donation requests)
- Search or display ads for new product or service awareness micro-sites
- Event awareness (Save-the-Date campaigns)
Campaign formats can be online, offline or integrated. An integrated campaign includes a mix of online and offline strategies and tactics. Examples of integrated campaigns include a radio or TV ad that drives traffic to a web page or a text campaign that drives customers into a store. Integration could also mean collaboration between a charity building awareness and a business-selling product – a win-win situation for both.
Ways to build and retrieve interest
Manual Process – A simple email form can be created to collect information from those interested in participating in the campaign, including an incentive, which may or may not be something the email recipient can download.
Automated Process – Services like Constant Contact, Infusionsoft and Hubspot have automated tools to make the collection and retrieval of names and emails easier. You can setup an auto-responder where you issue a set of timed email replies releasing more content each time, moving the interested parties throughout the buying process.
Direct mail, text messages, print advertising (brochures, flyers, poster), television and radio ads are all tools that can be used to draw attention to the campaign.
Image credit: Web Marketing Today
Let’s take a look at an integrated campaign example
The International Dyslexia Association
The International Dyslexia Association had set a goal to raise funds from their annual fundraiser and decided to divide up the acquisition targets. 40% was to come from in-kind gifts and corporate sponsors; a highly targeted promotional post mailer with follow-up phone calls was to be sent for a specific corporate sponsorship request to raise another 20% of the goal. The remainder was to be generated through an integrated program that segmented their mailing list and tailored specific personalized messages to each group.
Since the campaign was to draw people to participate in a huge fundraising event, the first email was to draw attention to “Saving the Date,” generating interest and offering a discount for the ticket price. It typically takes eight touch points to capture people’s attention, so they decided to divide up their subsequent messages, presenting various messages about the event, the venue, beneficiaries, program highlights and how the funds would be used. They provided heartfelt stories that showcased fund usage and continuous needs for funds.
A Facebook campaign page and micro-site (a mini- site with its own web address) was set up to specifically focus on event details with its own landing page content. The ticket pricing was highly discounted at the beginning of the campaign, but the discount lessened as it approached the event date, thereby providing a greater incentive to take action sooner rather than later. Another feature of the email campaign was to spread the word using an incentive to bring a guest. This helped with increasing their overall email list, which would aid them in future marketing and promotions.
With the help of an email service provider, statistics on the percentage of emails opened and click through rates helped the management to target their messages. Ticket sales for the event and overall general awareness of the organization increased considerably, and the organization exceeded its fundraising goal by 15 percent.
So how does a small business have competitive edge?
Utilizing a variety of resources and strategies outlined above not only level the playing field for businesses, but used consistently, they can give the smallest firms a real competitive advantage.
Entrepreneurs and small business owners can create a more personal touch with their clients and as demonstrated, an effective marketing campaign need not cost an arm and a leg, thanks to technology. Craft your online, offline or better still integrated campaign approach and don’t be afraid to test the waters.