It’s easy, in a world with so many channels for advertising and marketing, to lose track of what you really want to say. Some organizations end up pouring time and resources into generating enormous campaigns, only to discover that the goals of the campaign weren’t a fit for the single platform they selected. Others launch many expensive campaigns without considering how each campaign should build on the past ones, saving you time and money along the way.
This six-step process will help you pay attention to how every single message you create actually can reach many different audiences with minimal tweaking, as long as you know what works on each platform or channel. While it is easy to say, “this channel or this platform isn’t relevant to my business,” it is possible to do small-scale testing with a campaign message or two that may reveal surprising places that do a great job promoting your brand.
Step 1: Understand Your Primary and Secondary Platforms/Channels
Most likely, there are more channels with substantial viewerships than you think, no matter how many you already employ. Whether you are looking at influential websites, social media, or other methods of marketing, dig up as many options as you can possibly find. As you go, make sure you are noting:
- Demographics – does this channel have a documented reach to your target market?
- Use habits – how do people interact with the site? Do they read for 10 minutes or scroll through a post in 3 seconds?
- Pricing – some channels charge steep fees to get in the game, but others let you budget a very small advertising spend to get your feet wet.
Knowing these things helps you ensure that you aren’t leaving potential customers in the lurch just because they use a channel you didn’t think of.
Step 2: Research Similar Organization’s Strategies and Takeaways
Once you know general information about the channels, it’s time to see what your competition has done on these channels. You may encounter one of two situations:
- Your competition is flooding the channel and filling it with content to great effect.
- Your competition has written off the channel and isn’t investing in it at all.
This information matters: in many PPC cases, ad prices are dependent on keyword demand, so you’ll get more for your money if you find a channel that your competitors aren’t vying for… at least for a little while, until they notice your success. The fact that competitors will always be paying attention to you is a good reason to always keep tabs on their public presence as well!
Step 3: Iterate on Your Core Campaign Message (Brainstorm Time!)
All the research serves Step 3: you’ve got a planned core campaign message for your brand. It is certainly possible to publicize the same message on many platforms, but tailoring your approach will almost always make a difference. So get your team together and think through all the ways the core message can be “reverse engineered” into other messages. Consider:
- How can you make your message appeal to a new audience, for instance, a younger one or an older one?
- How can you make the core message into a snappy one-liner and into an in-depth thoughtful paragraph? How can you make your core message a visual?
- How can you convey your message with an obvious call-to-action? How can you turn your core message into non-promotional useful content, like a how-to article?
- How can you make your message much more serious or much more irreverent?
You don’t have to use everything you come up with, but most likely you will find at least two options worth trying; armed with multiple forms of your core campaign message, you can craft posts and content that is much better tailored to the best features of each channel.
Step 4: Make the Connections Between Channel and Message
Here’s where you make that tailored choice: pull together the social channels and advertising platforms that make the most sense for your budget and your target market, and the core message iterations you’ve created. Match them up: you can write them on sticky notes or a whiteboard, or just organize them in an electronic spreadsheet. If you’ve generated enough material, try to choose two options for each channel so that you can perform some A/B testing. The goal is to expand on the work you did to get to a core campaign message so that you get the absolute most benefit out of it.
Step 5: Note the Results on Each Platform to Create Your Next Moves
Once you’ve run your test posts and content on each platform, you’ll be getting analytics for every channel you’ve employed. Don’t ignore these statistics! Yes, you’ll find at least one channel that doesn’t perform at all, most likely, but now you’ll be armed with that information the next time someone suggests that platform for your brand. You’ll also most likely find at least one outstanding channel that you never would have expected. You also may realize that some element of your multi-channel approach was actually more effective than the original core message; your core message may need to shift!
Be open to all of it: customers change so fast these days in their preferences and personalities that really wonderful campaigns sometimes still underperform. By making your decisions based on the actual data for what your customers choose to click on, you are getting valuable information to make the next campaign the best yet.
Step 6: Design All New Campaigns With Multi-Channel Appeal in Mind
Recognize that having only one “core campaign message” may not work in the future, especially if you realize that you have a wide variety of channels where you achieve valuable marketing reach. Use the information you’ve learned about what works and what does not, but every time you start a new campaign, remember that new platforms are gaining traction all the time: keep looking for the “next big thing” and try to get there as an advertiser before anyone else!