When is it Time to Pull the Plug on Your Marketing Campaign?
When you create a marketing campaign, most people have great pride of ownership. Sometimes it’s hard to let go – but sometimes you have to – case in point, our online marketing webinar program.
When Good Isn’t Good Enough
For several months Why About Marketing offered webinars. We set a schedule of one or two a month on a variety of topics in online marketing. We received great feedback from the attendees. But guess what – the webinars didn’t meet our goals, and painful as it was, I decided to end them.
The primary goal was to get more clients (of course) and a secondary goal was to add more people to our house email list. We did OK on both goals, so what was the problem? Webinars consume significant resources. From promotion, to content creation, to creation of the archived media and follow up, they are one of the more time-intensive marketing programs that a small business can undertake.
Allow Time to Learn and Make Adjustments
Just because the first attempt doesn’t deliver results, doesn’t mean you should drop it like a hot potato. We gave the webinars almost 6 months. We collected data, analyzed results, and asked for feedback. We made adjustments. While we saw improvement, it still wasn’t delivering the payoff for the investment. We pulled the plug.
The Next Chapter
The feedback on the series was overwhelmingly positive. I’ve been looking for something that would let us continue to share, but allow more unstructured interaction. I think Google+ Hangouts might just be the solution. Look to hear more in the next few days about my first online marketing hangout event. Make sure you’re on the list to hear about it.
What You Can Do
Start your campaigns off right. Make sure that you:
- Have Goals – if you don’t have a yardstick, you can’t evaluate your campaign performance.
- Include Measurement – you have to measure what’s important (your goal attainment). If you have a goal that isn’t easily measureable, is it a useful goal?
- Show Patience – give yourself enough time to make a good evaluation. It varies by marketing campaign. Not sure how long? I can help
- Regularly Review – make sure you are reviewing your results regularly. Again, how often depends on the campaign.
- Keeping Learning – don’t just collect data, but learn from it, like what we learned about webinar timing
What are you doing to build your audience?
It happens to us all – we draw a blank for what’s next in our marketing campaigns. So you wait for something to come up – and you wait some more. No content gets posted. Your page or your site languishes.
Your Marketing can’t wait
Waiting for inspiration is fine for artists, but in an online marketing you have to continually capture attention. You have to collect your topics when you can, so that you avoid winding up with nothing to say.
Delivering content to your audience isn’t just about the topics. If you want to get the benefits of audience engagement and search engine attention, you have to publish regularly. The best content publishers deliver like clockwork. You know when to expect it, and if you deliver great stuff, people start to anticipate it. Over at Why About Marketing, we started Tuesday’s Idea (our Facebook page devoted to marketing ideas). While it doesn’t always make it out 1st thing on Tuesday, it shows up every week. The big challenge is to creating interesting and valuable topics for each week.
How to Get Into the Content Habit
For some folks, topics just seem to flow. For most of us, it requires some work. As Thomas Edison said: “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.” While you don’t need genius, you do need results. Unless you are one of the lucky few who can bang out a blog post every time you sit at the keyboard, you need to have some structure and work on gathering your ideas. Here are some ideas:
- Make lists. Have a place where you keep your ideas. While sticky notes will work, it’s better to have them in a place where they can be organized, sorted and backed up. I use an excel spreadsheet, because I like to rank order what I’ll say next. My list has over 100 entries collected over a couple of years. Topics aren’t a problem. But make sure your notes are clear. The other day I found a series of very intriguing titles on my list, but many months later I have no idea what I was planning – they ended up in the dustbin.
- Scan for what’s popular. Empty list? Read other’s blogs, newsletters, or aggregator sites (like Mashable for technology). Review their topics and see if you have your own spin. Add it to your list. Here’s some ideas on how to organize your scanning.
- Don’t forget what you do every day. Three are things that you could share – how-to advice; problems to avoid; even a typical day.
- Revive older topics. If you’ve been publishing a while, there are topics or themes that where popular. Some could be updated or revisited.
It took me months to get into the routine of capturing ideas throughout the day. There will be days when I collect several topics, and others where nothing materializes. Don’t sweat it. Have the list ready for when you are.
Real success comes from not only having a list, but having a regular structured routine. Set a goal for how often you will share, and build a routine that will help you meet that goal. I review my topics every Sunday (sometimes Monday morning if it’s a busy weekend), and plan out what I’ll be doing for the coming week.
What’s your favorite source of marketing inspiration?