How to plan an effective sales campaign with the SMART method?
No method 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 sector of activity in which your company operates, it is possible to list a few basic points without which it is difficult to succeed. That’s why we go back to basics at the beginning. Because in the dynamically developing world, we often think about success and forget about the foundation.
A sales campaign mainly means the performance marketing activities of the brand to achieve a specific goal. The objective can be, for example, sales within a store, but also the number of users in your newsletters, the generation of leads, or a first insurance calculation. It could also be an increase in the number of mobile app downloads or the number of appointments for a test drive.
Whatever the sector, a sales campaign must have a clearly defined objective, ie the answer to the question “What do you want to achieve?” There are many proven ways to set a goal. Whichever one you choose, be sure to start with this one. This will be the first signpost of your campaign. An example of goal setting is the SMART method. It states that an objective must be: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and timely.
Another signpost is your target audience. First, you must answer the question “Who is the audience for my product?” or “Who might be interested in my service and why?”. An accurate 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 could be interested in your offer will definitely increase the chances of reaching your goal.
The next step is to determine the budget you have. This will determine the reach 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 value of sales generated. In other words, the higher the value of sales generated by a given channel, the higher the amount of the invoice will be. Regardless of the amount of the invoice, these costs will always be at a constant percentage level, for example 10%.
In other models such as CPC/FF/CPM, it makes sense to define the target level of spend on a given channel upfront. During the campaign, you can decide on a possible reallocation of funds between channels, taking into account the analysis of the results.
Selection of media channels
With your objective, your target group and your budget defined, you can start selecting the channels you want to involve in your sales campaign. At this point, you can also specify which ad creatives you should use.
Regardless of your final choices, you should stick to the rule that a good sales campaign is one with diverse sources/channels. Relying on a single media channel is not a good solution, as it greatly 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 start an affiliate program where you can engage in several types of activities: email marketing, influencer marketing, loyalty, cashback, coupons, smart buyers, price comparison sites, offer aggregators, etc.
Pay attention to billing models when planning media. At this stage, you should refer to your assumptions resulting from the campaign budget. If you have decided on a goal that involves achieving a certain level of ROAS, you may prefer a CPS payment model that is secure 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 disadvantage of this solution can be limited targeting possibilities.
POINT: Therefore, I encourage you to extend this model to a hybrid model, for example, CPS + CPC, or run campaigns based on an open range of payment models (CPC/FF/CPM/CPS) with optimization for the expected level of ROAS.
Measure and optimize the effects
You should also know that there is no sales campaign without measuring its effects. If you have an affiliate program, you have an easier job because technology will take care of it for you. If you’re not working with an agency, you should take a moment to mark up your campaign to monitor and possibly summarize. It is a part of your technology of choice that measures the effectiveness of your marketing activities.
In the implementation phase, we must not forget the optimization and constant analysis of the results obtained. Don’t get attached to your media plan. If, during the implementation of the campaign, one channel performs better than others, you should move resources from the less effective channels. Keep track of your findings, as this will allow you to learn from your experiences in the future. A well-described and summarized campaign can be a good start for the next one.
Now an example. Imagine that you are responsible for the development of sales on the online channel of the amusement park “Dwarfland”. The park has the highest and fastest roller coaster in Poland and a modern and spacious area for children. Moreover, 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 have set yourself a goal: “Achieve a ROAS of 500% in Q2 2022”
S (specific)– refers to a specified ROAS of 500%
M (measurable)– based on the conversion measurement technology, I will know the degree of conversion
A (feasible)– I have experience running similar campaigns and based on historical data I know the goal is achievable
R (relevant)– achieving the goal will help achieve budget goals
J (time limited)– set a specific deadline to achieve the goal
You define a specific target audience:
· “The campaign is aimed at women and men between the ages of 25 and 40, with children between the ages of 4 and 10, living in Poland, within a radius of 120 km around the theme park.”
· “I target women and men aged 18-24, online shoppers, interests – ad-renaline, living in the Czech Republic, within 120 km of the amusement 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 marketplaces)
· Advertising by e-mail with the use of heat maps for a detailed analysis of the results and with specific target groups (payment model: CPC with optimization for the indicator of effective cost of obtaining the sale; markets PL and CZ)
· Métapic – influencer marketing campaign delivered in Instagram Stories by selected creators. Parental content creator profiles observed by mothers and fathers (payment model: CPC with optimization for ROAS, PL and CZ markets)
· Google Ads with the use of the Google search engine. Search for users who search for phrases directly related to, for example, amusement parks or the wider entertainment industry with elements of adrenaline (payment model: CPC, PL and CZ markets)
The example above is just a suggestion on how to plan a sales campaign. As said in the introduction, every campaign is different, and each time you have to go through the preparation cycle from the start, even if you are planning activities within the same brand. Either way, things like: objective, target, budget, channel selection, ad creative selection or optimization and summary are the basics that should always appear.
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