What’s you current marketing campaign all about? Well, ours is 30 5-minute tasks for small creative businesses. It’s the first time in a long while we’ve been this ruddy organised and it’s totes because our assistant Gaby crushes getting stuff done/making sure I get stuff done.
Marketing campaigns give your marketing & communications a firm direction, help you streamline your efforts towards defined goals, and give longterm variety to the content you’re sharing. They’re also freaking easy to implement, so if you’re worried that your small business isn’t quite there yet, you are wrong.
Ok Kermie, calm down. That guy can be too much some times. I’m going to take you through how to implement marketing campaigns for a small creative business, and give you a few ideas you can implement like RN.
Quarters, 6-weekers and calendar months
A marketing campaign doesn’t have to fit into a specific period of time, but we’re small business owners, we’ve got ten tonnes of pish going down, and we’re going to divide our year up into tidy even chunks. I like to run campaigns over periods of either a quarter, 6 weeks or a calendar month.
The duration is largely driven by the business requirement. For example, Studio Cotton is a content machine and we write loads of blogs, work on lots of projects, and will (shortly) be hosting oodles of events. Monthly campaigns work well for us because our business goals change more frequently, and we can produce the content to back it up.
If you’re a more typical service-based business or part of the wedding industry, quarterly campaigns probably make more sense. You can tie in visually with the seasons, and make content based on a pretty predictable wedding schedule.
6-week campaigns are a great compromise for side-hustlers and those with smaller product catalogues. The slightly longer time period gives you more time & flexibility to produce high-quality content and still keep your visuals and content fresh for the audience.
Marketing campaign themes and goals
Every individual marketing campaign should have a theme and a goal. A theme drives the identity and the stories behind your content, and the goal your business objective. Here’s a few lovely ideas:
- Back to school
- Twisted Halloween
- Christmas parties
- Christmas gifts
- Wedding guests
- Patterns & prints
- Beach escapes
- Winter holidays
- City breaks
- Festival season
- Nights in
- Spring cleaning
- Double social media engagement
- Gain 100 new newsletter subscribers
- Sell out workshop tickets
- Get into at least one magazine
- Increase sales by 10% on last year
- Book 3 winter events
- Make £500
Goals and themes can be as specific or as broad as you like – it’s about finding the compromise that works for you and your business. Keeping it broad leaves you open for more content creation options, whereas specificity can help you meet your objective with higher efficiency.
Our September campaign is hella specific on both counts, our theme of super quick business tasks has been designed to help us reach a new audience of small businesses and makers. We’d also been hovering around 1,280 Instagram followers for around 6 weeks and wanted to hit 1,500 – which we achieved with time to spare.
We chose that goal is because Studio Cotton is expanding, and soon we’ll be offer more expertise to more lovely creatives and entrepreneurs than ever. We wanted to grow our audience now so that when we are ready to sell these new services, we have a lovely new and engaged pool of people who know our tone of voice, expertise and laidback approach.
You can do this, and it’ll only take five minutes
If you’ve read my posts before or attending one of our workshops, I’ve probably told you to stop thinking and do the thing. The same goes for marketing campaign planning. You don’t need to spend hours picking the best possible goal and the best possible theme, if something sounds right and is achievable – that’s the right choice.
It’s better to do something that’s 80% right, than do nothing at all.
Grab a sheet of paper and break up the year into your 4, 8 or 12 campaigns, now pick a realistic goal for each – and yes, you can repeat them. If your goal is to increase sales by 10% each month, that’s perfectly ok.
Now assign a theme to each month. The theme must me relevant, so don’t run a Back to School campaign if you’re a gin distillery*. It should also be timely where possible, like Florals for Spring.
Ok Miranda, it’s not groundbreaking, but it makes sense.
Locking your content into a seasonal theme creates a timely need for your product. Your customers can see themselves wearing your dress for their Christmas party, having your print on their student room wall, or choosing your restaurant for their V-Day dindins.
It also gives you the time and content you need to get more out of key selling periods, so there’s no more last-minute posts and knee-jerk discounts or offers.
Campaigns guide content and communications
Our last two blogposts are about to intertwine as satisfyingly as the stories in an series of Arrested Development. That was massive exaggeration, but we’re going to take yesterday’s 39 social media message ideas for small creative businesses and smush its face into your new campaigns.
For each campaign, you want to make sure you communicate each of your messages using your theme – in order to achieve your goal. In other words, we’re going to find 4, 8 or 12 ways to say the same thing, and keep it interesting.
Let’s take our previous example, postage and packaging. It’s super important to keep your audience aware of delivery options to manage expectations at the checkout and potentially delight customers with a value that’s lower than they thought.
I’ve popped together a quick campaign schedule for my fake business, Baller Coin Collections by Aime, where I sell fancy albums for collecting cool fifty pence pieces and pennies**.
- August // Back to School // Sell 50 albums
- September // Indoor hobbies // Sell 50 albums
- November // Gifts for kids // Sell 150 albums
- December // CHRISTMASSSSSS // Sell 200 albums
Now each month, I’m going to schedule a tidy Instagram and/or Facebook post with the following:
- August: Can you believe it’s back to school already? Don’t tell anyone but I quite like the extra time now the kids*** are out of the house. It also means I’m back up to 3 post office trips a week which means our delivery times are down from 6 days to 3, whoop whoop!
- September: Rain, rain go away. Sebastian’s**** had enough of eye-spy so he’s currently raiding my change jar for pennies from every year! I’ve just popped together a new penny collecting album which is available with free delivery (and a free quiet break for you) for the rest of the month!
- November: Even I didn’t think it was possible, but it turns out kids are going crazy over coin collecting! We’ve just added some more stock to the site with £3 standard delivery.
- December: That moment when you realise one stocking is more full than the other… We’ve got next-day delivery available until 20th December for £7, perfect for last minute stocking fillers!
By combining your brand messaging, themes and goals, you’ll be able to pre-plan 90% of your content. No jokes. Your stress will go down, your content will get better. Your audience will receive a more varied experience, and you’ll achieve business objectives with greater efficiency.
And this time it’s not a massive exaggeration.
*If you happen to run a gin distillery and are reading this, I’d love to volunteer for product testing.
**This is a legit business idea so don’t steal it or I’ll cry.
***I don’t have children. You shouldn’t lie when you post.
****In this fake reality I’ve named my child after Winter Soldier