Ready to Start a Marketing Campaign?

Marketing and advertising are exciting opportunities for a small business. This is your chance to widen your brand exposure, generate new interest, and hopefully, increase your revenue streams too. Unfortunately, marketing isn’t magic; you can’t throw money at your business and hope to make it grow.

So before you spend a penny on your next marketing campaign, there are some important questions you’ll have to answer first.

The questions

Only go through with your marketing campaign if you can confidently answer all these questions:

1. What is your brand like? Your brand is going to be the focal point of all your marketing and advertising materials, so you need to have a clear understanding of what it is, what it represents, and how to use it.

That means understanding how to use your logos, color, tone, and values throughout all materials; 99designs recommends creating your own style guide so everyone in and out of your marketing department can be aligned here.

2. How is your brand going to be displayed? Most online services, including website builders and other platforms, offer customizable themes that you can use to upload your logo, adjust colors and fonts, and display an image that falls in line with your brand. But what will you do if you’re marketing using tools that don’t allow such customisability? Can you convey your brand through your wording or direction alone?

3. Who is your target audience? Who are you trying to communicate with? You won’t get very far if your target audience is “everyone.” If you aren’t sure who your target demographics are, or if you need to learn more about your audience before you continue, you’ll need to do some research; the Census Bureau is a good place to start, but make use of surveys to gather more qualitative data from your own samples.

4. What is your competition like? Look at your top competitors and get a feel for what kind of marketing strategies they’re using. Do these tactics seem to be effective? What’s working and what’s failing? Think of your competitors as scientists running experiments; use their data to improve your own approach.

5. What are the most profitable advertising methods in your niche? There are hundreds of marketing approaches, from buying billboards to optimising for search engines. Which methods have the highest ROI in your niche? KissMetrics offers a general breakdown, but these stats may vary based on your industry.

6. What marketing channels are getting ignored? Don’t just look at channels that are being popularly used. You’ll also want to look at channels that are getting ignored; these are often opportunities to gain some easy visibility.

7. What is your budget? How much are you willing to spend on a campaign? For the most part, you’ll pay for quality here; the more you spend, the bigger your reach and the better your eventual work will appear.

8. What is your end goal? What are you trying to accomplish? Do you want more conversions on your website, or just more traffic? Do you want higher-quality leads, or just greater brand recognition? Your campaign will evolve very differently depending on your answer to this question.

9. How will you measure success? What KPIs will you be using to gauge the success of your campaign? This will help you choose the right analytics platforms, and gather the initial information necessary to keep track of your progress. It’s also a good time to set some measurable goals.

10. Who’s responsible for the success of your marketing campaign? Who will you designate as the director of your marketing campaigns? If you’re running a business by yourself, it might be you, or if you have a team of people, you might appoint a marketing manager to take lead. You could also defer authority to an external source, such as a marketing firm; keeps a superb record of marketing agencies in the United States to choose from.

11. What happens if you fail? This is an important question to ask because even the best-laid marketing plans can go awry; one missed piece of research or a streak of bad luck can compromise an otherwise solid plan of attack. So what will you do if you hit a dead-end? Do you have a backup strategy to work with?

The conversion factor

You should also be aware that no matter what type of marketing strategy you have in place, you’ll still need a strategy to convert your web visitors as quickly as possible; once on your landing page, you’ll only have a few seconds to a few minutes before a visitor loses interest. For example, a booking button on your home page, like one built into the themes offered by, will allow clients to book appointments with you immediately.

If you’re selling products, you’ll want a “buy now” button on some of your top sellers. The key is to lead customers to a purchasing decision—or at least the next step of the sales process—at the first sign of interest.

Making decisions with data

As much as possible, you should be answering these questions not with your assumptions or beliefs, but with real data to back up your points. This will help you avoid some of the cognitive biases that might otherwise affect your decisions, and will start you off in a more logical direction.

Of course, you won’t always have data to fuel your choices here, so don’t hesitate to answer some questions the best you can and be ready to change your answers later as you gain more information. Marketing is a world of constant change and evolution, so you need to be ready to adapt.

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