How to plan an effective sales campaign with the SMART method?
No one way provides the answer to the question of how to plan an effective sales campaign. The reason is simple: Every business is different and different campaigns require a slightly different approach to planning. Regardless of the industry in which your company operates, it is possible to list some basic points without which it is difficult to achieve success. That is why we go back to the basics at the beginning. Because in the dynamically developing world, we often think about success and forget the foundation.
A sales campaign primarily means the brand’s performance marketing activities to achieve a specific goal. The goal can be, for example, sales within a store, but also the number of users in your newsletters, generating contact leads, or an initial insurance calculation. It could also be an increase in the number of downloads of the mobile app or the number of appointments for a test drive.
Regardless of the sector, a sales campaign must have a clearly defined goal, that is the answer to the question “What do you want to achieve?” There are many proven ways to set a goal. Whichever one you decide on, be sure to start with it. It will be the first signpost of your campaign. One example of goal setting is the SMART method. It states that a goal should be: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely.
Another signpost is your target audience. At first, you should answer the question “Who is the audience for my product?” or “Who might be interested in my service and why?”. A precise answer to this question will not only save you money. It will also save you time and nerves. Targeting your campaign to people who are or might be interested in your offer will definitely increase the chances of reaching your goal.
The next step is to determine the budget you have at your disposal. That will determine the scope of your campaign and the types of channels involved in your marketing efforts.
In CPS campaigns, the budget can be flexible as it is directly related to the sales value generated. In other words, the higher the sales value generated by a given channel, the higher the invoice amount will be. Regardless of the amount of the bill, these costs will always be at a constant percentage level, such as 10%.
In other models like CPC/FF/CPM, it’s a good idea to set the target level of spending on a given channel at the outset. During the campaign, you can decide on a possible reallocation of funds between the channels, considering the analysis of the results.
Selection of the media channels
With your goal, target group, and defined budget, you can start selecting the channels you’d like to involve in your sales campaign. At this stage, you can also specify which ad creatives you will need to use.
Independent of your final choices, you should stick to the rule that a good sales campaign is one whose sources/channels are diversified. Relying on one media channel is not a good way to go, as it significantly increases the risk of failure. If your chosen media channel fails, you won’t have other proven options at your fingertips. Therefore, a good choice is to launch an affiliate program where you can engage multiple types of activity: E-mail marketing, influencer marketing, loyalty, cashback, coupons, smart-shoppers, price comparison sites, offer aggregators, and more.
Pay attention to billing models when planning media. At this stage, you need to refer to your assumptions resulting from the campaign budget. If you have decided on a goal that involves reaching a certain ROAS level, you may prefer a CPS payment model that is safe from your point of view. You can be sure that you won’t pay more than a specific % of the value of each sale. The downside of this solution may be limited targeting possibilities.
TIP: Therefore, I encourage you to expand this model to a hybrid, for example, CPS + CPC, or to execute campaigns based on an open range of payment models (CPC/FF/CPM/CPS) with optimization for the expected ROAS level.
Measure and optimize effects
You also need to know that there is no sales campaign without measuring its effects. If you have an affiliate program, you have an easier task because technology will take care of this task for you. If you are not working with an agency, you have to take a moment to mark up your campaign to monitor and eventually summarise. That is a part of your technology of choice that measures the effectiveness of your marketing activities.
In the implementation phase, you must not forget the optimisation and constant analysis of the achieved results. Don’t get attached to your media plan. If during the campaign implementation, one channel achieves better results than others, you need to shift resources from the less effective channels. Keep a record of your findings, as this will allow you to build on your experiences in the future. A well-described and summarised campaign can be a good start for the next one.
Now an example. Imagine you are responsible for developing sales in the online channel at the amusement park “Dwarfland”. The park has the highest and fastest roller coasters in Poland and a modern and spacious area for children. In addition, it is in the southern part of the country, not far from the border with the Czech Republic. You are about to plan a sales campaign with your team.
You set a target: “Achieve ROAS of 500% in Q2 2022”
S (specific) – refers to a specified ROAS of 500%
M (measurable) – based on the technology of measuring conversion, I will know the degree of conversion
A (achievable) – I have experience in running similar campaigns, and based on historical data I know that the target is achievable
R (relevant) – achieving the goal will help meet budget goals
T (time-bound) – set a specific deadline for achieving the goal
You set a specific target audience:
· “The campaign is aimed at women and men aged 25-40, with children aged 4-10, living in Poland, within a 120 km radius of the theme park.”
· “I am targeting women and men aged 18-24, online shoppers, interests – ad-renaline, living in the Czech Republic, within 120 km from the theme park.”
You choose specific channels to achieve your goal:
· Affiliate marketing using publishers from the following categories: cashback/loyalty/coupons/smart shoppers/content/remarketing (payment model: CPS, PL and CZ markets)
· E-mail marketing with the use of heat maps for detailed analysis of results and with specific target groups (payment model: CPC with optimalization for the indicator of effective cost of obtaining sale; PL and CZ markets)
· Metapic – influencer marketing campaign run in Instagram Stories by selected creators. Profiles creating parenting content observed by mothers and fathers (payment model: CPC with optimization for ROAS, PL and CZ markets)
· Google Ads with the use of Google search engine. Searching for users who search for phrases directly related to, for example, amusement parks or broader entertainment industry with adrenaline elements (payment model: CPC, PL and CZ markets)
The above example is just a suggestion of how to plan a sales campaign. As said in the introduction, every campaign is different, and each time you need to go through the cycle of preparation from the very beginning, even if you plan activities within the same brand. Regardless, elements such as: Goal, target, budget, channel selection, ad creative selection, or optimisation and summary are the foundations that must always appear.
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