Although, Nike’s famous slogan “Just Do It” is a great line, it is however really bad advice when it comes to putting a marketing campaign in place.

But unfortunately this is what a lot of businesses do. 

They place an advert here and there, create a website or a Facebook page, and call it done.

Unfortunately, this kind of “doing-a-little-here-and-there” marketing approach wastes a lot of time and money. It’s most unlikely it reaches your specific target market, there are no clear objectives and measurements of success, and it might feel like “Marketing just doesn’t work for my business” – But how wrong are you!

Follow these nine steps to run a successful marketing campaign.


  • The marketing plan is your master plan. It provides the full picture of your marketing objectives and strategies to get your target market interested in your products and/or services.
  • The marketing campaign is one small piece of your marketing plan, a marketing action designed to achieve a particular objective.
  • When you know how your marketing campaign fits into your overall plan, you know who your target market is and how you might best reach/communicate with them.
  • So ideally, you have a marketing plan for your business before you plan a marketing campaign.

What do you want your campaign to achieve?

  • That’s the objective. Be as specific as possible. Not just, “I want more sales”, but how many and of what product or service?
  • You can think of parameters as the details of the marketing objective. Time is the most common parameter, as marketing campaigns lose their effectiveness over time.
  • So a common marketing campaign objective formula is: what will be achieved + how long will the marketing campaign run?

For example: Sales of Yoga sessions will increase 50% in three months.

How will you know if your marketing campaign has been successful?

  • If your objective is: “Sales of Yoga sessions will increase 50% in three months” the metric you’re going to use is the number of sales made over the three month period.
  • But that metric may not be appropriate if your objective is to increase the awareness of your brand or improve your website’s search engine page ranking.
  • For tracking online marketing efforts, you can use Google Analytics.
  • You can also track offline marketing efforts through specific landing pagescall tracking or simply asking people where they found out about your company.
  • Don’t forget to make sure you have a baseline for whatever metric you’ve chosen; you’ll need it to measure your progress.

Allocate a budget to keep to

  • Your budget will influece the marketing strategies/channels you choose, so set it first. Obviously, a printed advert is much more costly than an ad on social media.
  • Don’t depend on free advertising and promotion strategies for your small business. This is one of the biggest mistakes small business owners make.
  • That doesn’t mean however that all free marketing strategies are bad. But remember that there is always a cost to marketing, even if the cost is only time and your time may be better spent doing other things.
  • Always think first; is this the most effective/most convincing/best way to reach my potential customer?
  • You really don’t have to spend a lot, but you do need to spend some, so budget for it.

What communication channels are you going to us?

  • Email? Direct mail? Pay-per-click online advertising? Printed adverts? Sponsorship?
  • Some communications channels are going to be better suited to your target market than others. For instance, placing radio ads may be a waste of money if your target market doesn’t regularly listen to the radio.
  • Think about your target market’s favourite meeting places and habits, when you’re choosing channels to reach them.
  • Where do they spend their time? Coffee shops? Hair/Beauty Salons?
  • Where are they most likely to see or hear and pay attention to information about your products and/or services? In a magazine? By a bus stop? On their smartphone?

Write down what exactly you’re going to do and when

  • It can be simple but writing it down will certainly increase the chances that you follow through and gives you records for when you evaluate the success of your campaign.
  • For instance, suppose you are selling reflective cycling accessories designed to be seen in the dark. Your campaign plan could be this:
  • Sponsor local bike race in September (£500 to become sponsor).
  • Send out a press release when you first become a sponsor (free if you do it yourself). Send out another pre-race in late August.
  • Place a series of ads in local newspaper, one in June, one in July, two in August and one post-event in September (5 x £125.00 = £625).
  • Post sponsor info on your business Facebook page.
  • As you can see, a simple marketing campaign is fine. They can be simple, if it gets results.

You can also Jazz it up a little……

  • For instance, suppose that there was a local person who was taking part and who was willing to wear a jersey with your business name and logo on it for the cost of some free product.
  • She might even be willing to be the face of an online marketing campaign, whether free or for a price. You could then set up a blog on your website and / or a Facebook page and Twitter account about her training for the race (and, of course, promoting your products). On race day, you could tweet about her progress. See how easy?
  • You could also get more promotion benefit out of your race sponsorship by advertising in more places, such as buying banner ads on bike-related websites, and/or ads in appropriate magazines.

Planning is the start, doing it will bring you success

  • Write your advert copy. Confirm your dates. Place your adverts. Search for and approach someone to be the face of your online marketing campaign. Whatever actions your campaign involves,
    execute; do; activate.
  • Go back to your action plan timeline and check items off, writing in the date that you complete them. It will keep you organised and you’ll love the feeling.

Metrics, metrics, metrics

  • When the campaign is over, it’s time to see how successful it was. Go back to your marketing objective(s), measure what you’ve chosen to determine the campaign’s success and see how it’s done.
  • If your campaign’s objective was to increase sales by 20% over a three month, you would compare three months sales figures and do the math.
  • Depending on your objective most goals can be measured effectively using one of three methods. These methods include:
  • Cost per sale
  • Cost per qualified lead
  • Cost per visitor or response

How successful was it? Will you run the campaign it again?

  • Once you know the results you can decide which marketing strategies to use next time. Suppose that your campaign increased sales 41%. You’d repeat it next year, wouldn’t you?
  • With the tracking in place to know which strategy produced which results, you could tweak your campaign accordingly. If the data showed only 2% of increased sales from social media, you might decide not to repeat that. Or you might decide to repeat the whole campaign as is and see if the results improve.
  • Of course, your sales results may show no improvement or even a decline. That happens sometimes, too. If that’s the case, you might have to go back and do some serious revamping or even scrap the whole bike race sponsorship campaign.
  • But if you’ve set up your marketing campaign properly and kept records of what you’ve been doing, at least you have data to make these kinds of marketing decisions.