Understanding how to run a digital marketing campaign is as important as ever. We are living in an era where the digital environment gets bigger day by day, and keeping up to speed with digital marketing is increasingly important. Acadium is here to help you learn the latest in digital marketing with our knowledge center and free apprenticeships. 

Remember how business owners used to put their products in front of you? Radio, TV, magazines, etc. Today, consumers are spending an increasing amount of their time online. In this post, we want to walk you through the basics of running a successful digital marketing campaign.


The nine steps of running a digital marketing campaign

  1. Identify your buyer persona
  2. Set clear objectives
  3. Set a campaign budget
  4. Analyze the competition
  5. Determine interests and/or keywords
  6. Determine content assets, timeline, and team
  7. Create the assets
  8. Publish
  9. Measure results

1. Identifying your buyer persona

Understanding who you are trying to communicate with is a critical first step to running a successful digital marketing campaign. If you don’t understand what kind of people make up your target audience, it’s going to be difficult to create compelling content for them. So when creating a buyer persona, we recommend you consider the following elements: 

  • Demographics: Age, geography, language, spending power, general interests, stage of life.
  • Pain points: What problems are these people dealing with, that you might be able to help them solve?
  • Online behavior: Which online channels does your audience use to collect information?
  • Goals and aspirations: What do the people in this audience want? What motivates them?

In our view, the best way to research these four areas is to talk directly with customers. We find that a conversation is the best way to get rich insights into who your customers really are. Surveys are another great way to collect insights, but make sure that you ask very specific questions if you want high-quality results.

Once you have collected enough information, assemble your results into a buyer persona template. Hootsuite has a great template available here.


2. Set clear objectives

For any digital marketing initiative, you should have a very clear set of objectives. Sometimes digital marketing can feel like something we just “have to do”, but it doesn’t get the measurement that it deserves. If you’re constantly experimenting, it’s important that you have clear objectives along with systems to measure results in order to make sure that you can make good decisions about where to invest in the future. We recommend using the SMART framework for marketing objectives:

Specific: Be as precise as possible.

Measurable: Ensure that your objectives can be measured through key performance indicators.

Achievable: Make sure your objectives are realistic.

Relevant: Is the objective relevant to what the organization is trying to achieve overall?

Time-bound: Set target dates for when the results of the campaign should be evaluated against the objectives.


3. Set a campaign budget

Marketing can get very expensive very quickly. Therefore, when launching a new digital marketing campaign it’s important to set a strict budget. If you’re experimenting with a certain channel for the first time, it’s best to keep a tight budget – the purpose of the experiment should just be to confirm that you can get an adequate return on your investment ROI. In consumer marketing, the lifetime value to customer acquisition cost ratio is a helpful indicator for measuring ROI.


4. Analyze the competition

The internet is a noisy place. Businesses are competing for consumers’ attention, and it can be very difficult to position your brand above the crowd. At the most basic level, you should think through who else is trying to speak to your audience and determine how you plan to set yourself apart.  This should just involve a bit of research that is reflected in your campaign strategy. Here are a few things that you can do to research the competition:

  • Keyword research: Type in some keywords that your audience might be searching Google, YouTube, Instagram, and other online channels. Analyze the results to get a feel for how competitors are trying to service these search queries.
  • Research known competitors: If you know who your competitors are, just head directly to their websites and social channels.

In your research, look for the types of content competitors are producing, the messaging they are using to communicate to the audience, and the channels they are choosing. These are three dimensions that you can play with to try and set yourself apart.


5. Determine interests and/or keywords

If you’re running a paid campaign on a platform like Facebook, you will start by targeting your audience through their interests. You should have a good sense of these interests after completing your audience research. If you’re creating content, you will target your audience through keywords. In order to identify which keywords to use, we recommend that you use a tool like Ahrefs and/or Ubersuggest. The topic of keyword research deserves more than what we can include in this blog post, so we highly recommend you check out those two tools to learn more about how to select keywords. All we’re saying here is that it’s a key step in the process.


6. Determine content assets, timeline, and team

You’re now ready to start planning out what you actually want to create. Based on all of your research, you should be able to determine:

  • Content-type: Are you going to create written, video, audio, or graphic content?
  • Distribution channels: Where are you going to publish this content?
  • Promotion: How are you going to put this content in front of your audience?

These decisions should primarily from your buyer persona research and competitive analysis. You want to publish content that resonates with your audience and sets you apart from the competition.

Once you’ve figured out what you’re going to create and where you’re going to distribute it, you need to decide who is going to help and when it needs to be completed. This step is simple but important! Make use of the resources at your disposal to delegate the different components of the campaign, and hold the team accountable to a timeline.


7. Create the assets

The fun part! Create the planned assets to the best of your ability. We recommend building a review process into this step; ask members of your team to review your work from the perspective of your audience.


8. Publish your digital marketing campaign

Push your beautiful content through the channels that you selected in step six.


9. Measure

Measure your results against the objectives that you set out. Once the campaign has had the amount of time you scoped out to achieve its objective, bring the team back together to discuss why it did/did not meet its objectives.


That’s it!

We hope that this simple guide is helpful to you as you learn digital marketing. Have fun!