Consultants have many bad habits and one stands above the rest. Many times, we don't take our own strategic advice. I have been guilty of this frequently. When I am meeting with new or current clients, we routinely discuss content marketing.
For example, if you are a fashion designer, create content (blogs, videos, infographics, and more) which explain the fundamentals of fashion. Top 5 mistakes men make when dressing professionally, how to pick a perfect suit, where to find a tailor, etc. The list could go on for days and is the same for any industry. No matter your profession, you are an expert, tell me the foundational aspects of your job and you have me hooked, then you can pitch your product or service.
Why do I say all of this? Well, confession, I have been a bad consultant. Instead of taking my own advice, I try to come up with content for blogs and vlogs which go beyond the basics. What I should do is take an audience through marketing steps which I have done for years, but might be new to the reader. Perhaps you are starting a business, a budding marketing professional, advertising student, or just want to understand your marketing department better.
If so, I will walk you through a recent campaign I oversaw which had a 6,600+% ROI. We are still getting the numbers in, it actually might be closer to 7,000%.
Below we will quickly go through the steps we took to achieve the high ROI. Three notes:
- This campaign was small as our goal was right at $13,000 which is a contributing factor to our high ROI.
- My client has a decent online following, about 9,000 likes on Facebook, which helps tremendously. This means if you are just getting started, you can still use the techniques but will likely have different results.
- My client has a ridiculously amazing team. Seriously, any company would be thrilled to have this marketing department. I was simply the conductor and they did the heavy lifting.
Let's get started.
Phase One: Prepare for Launch
With this client, I have overseen multiple projects, yet when I first started with them we implemented a new way to launch campaigns. We developed a "creative brief," which is an online form filled out by departments requesting a campaign. This is vital! When you are starting a campaign, you need a creative brief to understand basics.
What is your goal (monetary, reach, something else?), what is your timeline, what resources do you have, what is being requested, who is your demographic, among other fundamental questions?
Your campaign must have these answers to be successful. It is actually fairly simple to do well when you have a detailed creative brief.
After a couple weeks of going back and forth with the department requesting a campaign, we had a solid creative brief. Then it was time for the marketing team to meet.
We determined a strategy which would take 6-weeks to complete. The highlights were:
- Establishing clear goals for success, $13,000 in profit
- Setting a marketing budget, we went as lean as possible and budgeted $200 for Facebook advertisements
- Building a reasonable timeline to launch, for us this was 2-weeks
- Developing captivating content, specifically with a catch phrase
- Designing initial graphics which would be used on social media and our website
- Building a landing page
- Writing content to be used for social media and placed in our content calendar
- Creating a newsletter to send to our email database
- Monitoring the campaign and adjusting accordingly
When we had our strategy down it was time to finalize preparations. Our marketing department spent time brainstorming catch phrases which would gather attention. Once we had multiple ideas in a Google Doc, we refined and asked others in the organization which was their favorite. There was an overwhelming consensus on the most popular. At this point the main written content was done. Note: do not get attached to anything you create, for example, our team was open to suggestions and edits. You have to be willing to make alterations as a marketer.
Next, we used Photoshop to design initial graphics. To keep costs down, we used our own photos and found free fonts on DaFont. Never underestimate the power of typography. Basic graphics were done.
With content and graphics complete, a landing page took about a couple hours to build. Web development is like a puzzle. When you have the pieces lined up, all you need to do is put them together. Landing page was done.
We used the initial content and graphics to make variations for planned social media posts. Essentially, we adjusted content to test different keywords, phrases, and made more graphics. The content was written in a Google Doc then placed in our content calendar which is just a robust Google Sheet.
The last main item was to create a newsletter. We use Get Response, yet there are many other options. See this article for a detailed list of marketing tools including newsletter platforms. The newsletter was made quickly as all our content and graphics we already done in the above steps.
Now we were prepared to launch. In sum, our preparation phase consisted of the following, specifically in this order:
- Creative brief was filled out by department requesting campaign
- Marketing team examined brief and asked for clarification
- Brief was finalized
- Metrics of success were set
- Budget was agreed upon
- A timeline with specific actions was created
- Content was written and adjusted until finalized
- First round of graphics was designed and then altered until finalized
- Landing page was built
- Additional content and graphics were made to be used for social media
- A newsletter was created
Those are the basic steps for any campaign. Bigger projects demand more planning, a larger budget, and additional advertising channels. However, we were confident in our approach because the goal was relatively small.
Phase Two: Launch and Adjust
Now it was time to see if what we had done would actually work. Our goal was to complete the project in 4-weeks, i.e. 6-weeks total with 2 in preparation and 4 in actual campaign mode.
We started our social media push with a call to action toward our landing page and sent our newsletter. At first, the campaign was not doing what we thought it would. We monitored for a week and made an adjustment. A blog was written as a way to pull in a larger audience. We saw a little increase in revenue. Nice.
Our social media posts continued to go out as planned and we decided to do another newsletter. The content was similar to the first with a few alterations. Again, we saw more revenue.
Now we were getting close to our goal, but we still had about 50% to go with 10 days left. What to do? We kept our cool and did something very basic, our team created a series of short videos (less than 2:00 minutes each) which highlighted our campaign in a very authentic way. No script or graphics. Just video shot with an iPhone. They were fantastic.
We scheduled them to be released over 6-days and they were a big success. We hit our goal with a couple days to spare! Then it was time to do a thank you post on social media to all the people who supported the campaign.
There were a few times of high-stress while in campaign mode, yet we were confident because of our preparation. Great planning leads to great results. During the campaign, we spent $100 twice on Facebook advertisements, one to promote the blog, and one to promote a video.
You do not need to spend large sums of money, instead, take the time to really plan your campaigns.
If you are new to marketing, the above might seem intense, yet this was really a simple campaign. The key steps in any good marketing project follow a similar path.
- Discovery: the first thing to do is understand the fundamentals of your campaign, i.e. what you want to say, your target demo, your metrics for success, available resources, and more.
- Strategy: take your discovery results and build an actionable strategy with a timeline, steps to take, goals, budget, and where you will advertise.
- Execute: get down to business. Write your content, design necessary graphics, build web pages, create a newsletter, fill out your social media content calendar, etc. Then launch!
- Analytics: monitor your metrics for success, is your strategy working? If so, keep going. If not, then it's time to adjust.
- Maintenance: don't stop, maintain the strategy, and if you did the above steps correctly you will hit your goal.
That's it! All marketing campaigns can be placed in the above five steps. How they are done will depend on the size of your business, your campaign goals, among other variables. Yet, the process stays the same.
This particular campaign had an extreme ROI. However, it's not as rare as you might think. I have been part of many teams over the years which have seen similar results. The key is to stay the course and follow the process. You can do the same with your business or marketing department.
For more detailed steps, feel free to reach out to my marketing business, Elisha Consulting. We are always looking to help organizations maximize their potential.