So you decided that you want to start an online marketing campaign. You have all these wonderful ideas and can’t wait to begin. Great! But wait… before you begin running with that awesome idea there are a few important things you should do. Successful Internet marketing campaigns begin with thoughtful planning of goals and objectives that will define your marketing strategies.

Reach your marketing campaign goals by SMART planning

Photo credit pierodemarchis

How to Plan & Define the Goals & Objectives of Your Marketing Campaign?

Planning an effective Internet marketing strategy is hard work. Without specifically defined goals and objectives your marketing campaign is likely to fail; how will you know if and how successful (or not successful) your campaign was if you did not set specific quantifiable objectives you can measure?  If you want to have a winning campaign you need to think about how you will measure its success; how will you show your boss that your marketing efforts were effective?

Also keep in mind that strategies for your marketing goals should not be limited to only one channel.  SEO, Social Media Marketing and PPC should be combined to help you maximize the potentials. I offer some help in my blog post about integrated online marketing strategy.

What do You Consider a Success?

The definition of a successful marketing campaign will be different for everyone. While for example, Company A might consider achieving a Twitter follower base of 500 people a success, Company B could be very displeased with this same marketing campaign result.

While there are many ways to approach planning and setting marketing goals and objectives one of my approaches to get started is to ask:

  • In a year from now, what goals would I like to have achieved with our efforts?
  • How will I measure the success of this campaign?

The answers to these questions can help you start laying out the goals and particular objectives of your marketing campaign.

My boss likes to ask: “We are opening a bottle of Champaign to celebrate your success. What would that success be?”

What would make you feel like opening a bottle of Champaign to celebrate you campaign’s success?

4 Steps to Get Started with a Strategic Internet Marketing Campaign

4 steps to a strategic internet marketing plan

Here is an outline of 4 basic steps with some examples you can use to start planning your online marketing:

1.    Line up some goals

What do you want to achieve with your marketing campaign? What is/are the top-level goal/s? Your marketing goals can focus on long or short term and will be more vague.

Example Goal:

  • Establish our brand in social media
  • Build up our website’s visibility

2.    Develop specific objectives for each goal

You will likely have multiple objectives for each goal. To be successful you have to make sure you set SMART objectives:

  • Specific – what is your objective exactly?
  • Measurable – the objective has to be measurable
  • Achievable – is it realistic to expect to achieve the objective?
  • Reasonable – are the expectations reasonable? Do you have the resources? Will you do it in-house or will you outsource it?
  • Tentative – When do you want to reach your objective? Is it achievable in the campaigns time frame?

Example Objectives:

  • Get 1,000 Facebook fans
  • Get 1,000 Twitter followers

Depending on your goals you will have many different objectives. Here are some common online marketing objective and goal examples.

3.    Work out specific strategies

Following our internet marketing campaign example plan your first step for achieving the 1,000 Facebook fans objective is of course to create a Facebook fan page, if you don’t have one yet. Just like having multiple objectives for each goal; you will have multiple strategies for each objective.

Example Strategies:

  • Provide reasons for people to become Facebook fans
  • Engage with the community

4.    List your tactics

Brainstorm and create a list of very specific tactics you will utilize to achieve your marketing goal – where does your awesome idea that inspired planning this marketing campaign fit in here?

Example Tactics:

  • Offer special deals
  • Share news and buzz
  • Find and follow relevant people
  • Tweet and retweet regularly
  • Participate in conversations

Visualize Your Campaign Strategy

I am a very visual person. Visualizing my plan helps me grasp it better and keeps me focused on my campaign. If you are like me, I’d suggest taking your well though out and outlined online marketing campaign and creating some illustrations. They don’t need to be complex at all.

Visual outline of intetnet marketing goals, objectives, strategies & tactics

My graphic above is a very basic way to outline a marketing campaign visually.

Mind maps like the one below are a great way to help give you and your team a visual overview of your project.

Visual marketing goal planning

Image credit gideonking

Additional Things to Consider When Planning Your Internet Marketing Campaign

  • Benchmark – Where you are starting. If your objective is to attract 1,000 Facebook fans in the next 12 months, record the number of fans before you start your marketing campaign. If your objective is to increase visitors to your site by 20%, document the number of visitors to your site. You will need these numbers to measure the campaign’s progress.
  • Dedicated Team – Oh, yes… who will execute your marketing campaign? Do you have the resources in-house or will you outsource the campaign? Make sure you have a dedicated team working on your campaign if you want to succeed.
  • Time & Budget – How much time are you designating to the entire marketing campaign. What is the budgeted time for each strategy and tactic? Once again, make sure you have a S.M.A.R.T. plan with realistic expectations and reasonable time frames.
  • Tools – What tools will you be using for each strategy, tactic and measurement? Use social media monitoring tools, analytics tools, etc.
  • Track & Measure – How will you track and measure your campaign’s progress and success? As you may know by now, CEOs LOVE numbers and it often appears that they only understand numbers. Define how you will measure each objective so you can crunch the numbers and make your CEO happy. Some marketing objectives are easier to measure than others. For example there is a lot of talking about how to measure your social media marketing success. Ric Dragon, our CEO, built a social networking media ROI calculator where he took a stab at identifying some of the costs, such as infrastructure, training, value of employee time, etc.  These costs are going to be different from organization to organization.
  • Test – Test your strategies and tactics continuously, track, measure your achievements and test again
  • Tweak & Start Over – Learn from each marketing campaign. What worked, what didn’t? Why? Adjust the goals, objectives, strategies and tactics of your marketing, plan a new campaign and start over
  • Keep testing, tracking, measuring, planning and adjusting to the infinity…
  • Deliver What you Promised. No matter how successfully you will market your business online, your true success will be based on providing your customers with superior customer service and products/services. You can develop the best marketing plan and get masses to your site but if you do not deliver what you promised, you will fail.

Internet marketing campaigns can be extremely powerful and successful. The key is to plan your marketing goals, objectives, strategies and tactics thoroughly.

Keep in mind; online marketing is never completed. When your specific goal is achieved you need to start over with a new plan and goal. Learn from each campaign and apply it to your next marketing goals and strategies.

Do you have an Internet marketing campaign goal or strategy you found particularly effective? Any that were not so successful? Why? What are some of your challenges with your marketing campaign goals?

This entry was posted on Tuesday, April 13, 2010 and is filed under Integrated Marketing, Social Media in Marketing.

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