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  • Victoria K. Sicaras

How to Create a Digital Marketing Campaign

Marketing in a digital-first world involves leveraging various online channels and tactics to reach your intended audience. These can include social media platforms, search engines, advertisements, email and content marketing (see sidebar below). Before sending your message into cyberspace, you’ll need to know where your audience spends their time online and how to use those platforms to get their attention.


It all starts with a plan!

Enter the Digital Marketing Campaign

Your digital marketing campaign should be a coordinated series of online actions to achieve a specific objective or set of objectives. In business, these objectives can range from increasing brand recognition and driving website traffic to generating leads or boosting sales. For industry associations, the goal is often to increase membership and provide value to existing members. For local chapters and state affiliates, campaigns are generally more targeted and strategic, given their budget constraints, volunteer-driven operations and localized focus.


Below is a quick, step-by-step guide to launching a digital marketing campaign. We will focus on five phases: planning/research, content creation, execution, monitoring/adjustment and assessment/future planning.


Phase 1: Planning and Research. Are you looking to boost leads and sales, grow membership or perhaps recruit new employees? Do you know where to find your target audiences online? Establish clear objectives to guide your campaign.

  1. Outline Campaign Objectives: Set clear and measurable goals, such as increasing web traffic or membership by 20% within the fiscal quarter. (These goals will help you establish benchmarks to assess how the campaign is performing.)

  2. Identify Target Audience(s): Determine who the target audience is, including demographics and online behavior patterns. Use surveys or past data to understand the problems or needs that your organization can solve for them. This will help you tailor the campaign message accordingly.

  3. Research the Competition: See what similar organizations are doing online to attract and engage audiences. Look for best practices as well as mistakes to avoid.

  4. Select Digital Channels: Based on your objectives and target audience(s), choose the most effective platforms for reaching them, such as social media, email newsletters, search engines for paid or organic searches, etc. Always keep in mind that you want to meet your audiences where they are.

  5. Set Campaign Budget*: Allocate the necessary resources (financial, human, time) to run the campaign effectively. Determine who will be responsible for what. Decide what can be managed in-house and what should be outsourced to digital marketing professionals like AOE.

*For nonprofits and industry associations that don’t have dedicated marketing teams or have a limited budget, volunteers can help with specific tasks like content creation or social media management. Leverage free resources to create and distribute professional-looking content, such as free versions of graphic design tools like Canva, website builders like WordPress, marketing platforms like Mailchimp and social media management platforms like Hootsuite.


Phase 2: Content Creation. Create content that communicates your value proposition in a way that attracts and engages targeted audiences. Show how your organization can help them meet and resolve challenges.

  1. Generate Content Ideas: Based on your target audience’s interests and pain points, brainstorm topics that will resonate with them. Some ideas include how-to guides, testimonials, employee profiles and highlights, case studies and market insights.

  2. Develop Content Types: Consider a variety of content types like blog posts, videos, podcasts, monthly newsletters, infographics and webinars. At minimum, you should have a simple, mobile-friendly website that provides contact information and clearly outlines your services and value proposition. Associations should list member benefits.

  3. Optimize for SEO: Use relevant keywords, meta-descriptions and quality inbound and outbound links in your content for better search engine ranking.

  4. Create an Editorial Calendar: Schedule when and where each piece of content will be published.


Phase 3: Execution. This is the action phase in which you roll out your campaign according to the plans laid out in phases 1 and 2. Execution involves publishing content, running ads, sending emails, etc.

  1. Engage on Social Media: Share content regularly on platforms popular among target audiences and ask employees or members to share your organization’s posts. Promptly respond to public comments, private messages and emails.

  2. Deploy Email Marketing: Use email newsletters to deliver your message straight to the inboxes of existing contacts and new leads. Segment your audience for personalized messages and make sure you are complying with anti-spam laws and regulations—which can vary by state and country.

  3. Collaborate with Like-Minded Partners: Team up with other organizations or industry influencers to tap into their audiences and expand your reach. Collaboration ideas include free webinars, guest blog posts, live Q&As and co-hosted events.

  4. Offer Incentives and Perks: To encourage sign-ups, offer time-limited or member-only discounts or provide special access to fee-based content and events.


Phase 4: Monitoring & Adjusting. Track how well your campaign is doing and make tweaks and adjustments as needed.

  1. Identify and Track KPIs: Monitor relevant key performance indicators like web traffic, engagement rates, audience growth, conversion rates, new membership applications and/or event attendance.

  2. Perform Analytics: Use tools like Google Analytics (GA4), HubSpot, social media analytics, email tracking and tracked links (i.e., UTM parameters) to gauge the performance of your campaign.

  3. Collect Client Feedback: Use surveys or direct outreach to get feedback from new members or customers on what influenced their decisions.

  4. Adjust Strategies: Use the data to refine your campaign. If something isn't working, don’t be afraid to pivot.


Phase 5: Assessment & Future Planning. What are your lessons learned?

  1. Assess Campaign Progress: After the campaign has concluded, review your objectives and see if you have met them.

  2. Document Results: Annotate what worked and what didn’t for future campaigns.

  3. Celebrate Wins: Share successes and milestones reached with your team and employees or members.

  4. Plan for the Future: Use the insights gained to inform future campaigns.


Through planning, execution, monitoring and adjusting where needed, you can develop a digital marketing campaign that helps to increase brand awareness, generate leads, grow your audience or membership and keep your current followers engaged. The key is to offer value, build relationships and maintain a consistent, quality online presence. AOE can help plan and implement your campaign. Contact us today!

 

Types of Digital Marketing Campaigns


Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Aimed at optimizing your website content with relevant keywords to improve the site’s ranking on search engines and drive organic traffic. May also include listing your organization in online directories.


Digital Advertising: Paid advertising campaigns, which often run on platforms like Google Ads or Bing Ads. Online audiences can be targeted via geofencing (physical locations), social media, their search engine keyword searches, visits to your website and more.


Social Media Marketing: Leveraging platforms like Facebook, X (formerly Twitter) and YouTube to build brand awareness, generate leads or drive website traffic. LinkedIn is more effective for reaching a professional or business-to-business audience, while Facebook and X are for business-to-consumer audiences. Instagram and TikTok are ideal for reaching younger users. Threads is a newer yet promising platform, but it is so far too early to determine long-term user demographics.


Email Marketing: Aimed at nurturing leads and driving conversions through targeted and personalized emails.


Content Marketing: Involves creating and sharing valuable content to attract and engage a targeted audience.


Affiliate Marketing: Promoting products and services through partners or affiliates who earn a commission for every sale or lead generated through their channels.

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