When we’re launching a brand or a product, it’s easy to jump straight to the execution of the marketing campaign and its tactics. We think of a contest idea for Instagram, or start planning budget for Facebook ads, or maybe we start creating some great video content for YouTube, or an email blast. There’s an important step missing here, though, that’s absolutely crucial: setting an objective.
Without an objective, we’re working in the dark. We can’t possibly choose the right tools for that objective if we don’t know what it is, and we certainly won’t be able to measure its success after the campaign has finished as we won’t have anything to measure against. Setting a clear objective will allow you to focus your time and money when faced with choices between different activities and platforms, and will ensure that you can assess your results against that original objective. If you’re working with an agency, this will also help you to hold them accountable (make sure you set the objectives together).
Ultimately, of course, what most businesses want is sales. That may or may not be the primary objective of a particular campaign, however. Let’s say you’re just launching a new brand – nobody’s heard of you, you haven’t established any credibility or built any trust – in which case asking people to buy from you right away is a very big leap.
Here are some different objectives that you may want to consider:
1. Building awareness
In the example above, when you’re launching a new brand – or a product, for that matter – then your objective is likely to be primarily one of building awareness that your brand, or product, even exists. This means getting to where your potential customer is receptive to your message and introducing them to who you are and the benefits that you offer. With an awareness objective especially, you’ll want to make sure you are targeting a specific audience and market so that your money works hard for you and so that you don’t spread yourself too thin.
KPIs (Key Performance Indicators): advertising impressions, number of new website visitors, social mentions
2. Generating leads
A lot of marketing advice for small businesses is about generating leads, often in the form of gathering the email addresses of prospective clients. This allows you to communicate with these prospects and build a relationship with them, continuing the conversation after the first contact, demonstrating additional value and, eventually, asking for that sale. The simplest way to get these leads is with an opt-in form on your website, offering helpful content such as a checklist, an ebook, a video course, etc. in return for the customer’s details. Of course these shouldn’t just be any leads but rather qualified leads, i.e. prospects who you will be able to serve with your products and services.
KPIs: conversion rate on your opt-in forms, number of opt-ins, size of email list
3. Increasing engagement
When we first started to use Facebook pages, managers were focused on simply getting more likes on the page; since then we’ve realised that those likes don’t mean anything if your followers are not engaging with your content. You can add further value and nurture relationships with your leads and followers by investing in content creation to entertain or inspire those prospects and so build your brand reputation. Education may also be a specific objective here, i.e. educating the prospect on the value of your products or services to bring them closer to a purchase decision. You might create content that compares your product to its competitors, or write “how-to” articles that add value beyond just talking about the product benefits.
KPIs: time spent on your website, bounce rate, pages viewed per session, video views, comments, shares
4. Driving sales
Driving sales may be the ultimate goal of everything you do, but even this goal can be broken down: Are you looking to drive volume (number of sales) or $ value? Do you want to drive acquisition of new customers, increase the average order value or basket size, or drive repeat purchases among existing customers? Which objective you choose will depend on the nature of your industry and your product, and will clearly drive different tactical choices: you might increase the basket size by offering complimentary products or up-selling at checkout; or you might drive repeat purchases by maintaining regular communication with past customers and perhaps sharing exclusive offers or discounts.
KPIs: number and value of total sales, average order value or baset size, repeat purchases
5. Building loyalty and advocacy
Of course, your work doesn’t end with the sale; once the sale is completed, there’s still a question of providing quality customer service, creating loyalty and driving advocacy to maintain and build your brand. What does your returns and repairs policy look like? How can you add value to a customer after the purchase? How can you encourage customers to leave positive reviews or testimonials, and to recommend you to their friends? In today’s world of online and social this post-purchase stage is absolutely crucial and you’re missing a big opportunity, or even damaging your brand, by neglecting it.
KPIs: customer retention rates, ratings and reviews, Net Promoter Score
Whatever you choose to focus on, you’ll want to get as specific as you can, quantifying the objective and setting a deadline where possible, alongside other more qualitative measures. For example, “Increase the number of visitors to the site from 10,000 to 50,000 in the next year”, “Increase the average order value to £50 per customer by the end of October”.
If you want to discuss how to set specific objectives on your business, get in touch via Clarity: Anna Lundberg, Branding & marketing strategy expert – Creating and Growing Your Brand & Winning in Social Media – Clarity.