Does the thought of creating a marketing campaign from scratch make you freeze in your tracks? No matter how experienced you are as a business owner or entrepreneur, the idea of creating an entire marketing campaign out of nothing can be pretty intimidating.
This may be because of a lack of confidence in your business’s current marketing strategy. Did you know that only 61% of marketers believe that their marketing strategy is effective? That means that 39% don’t have confidence that what they are doing is working. This is usually due to a problem with incomplete or under-developed marketing campaigns.
You might not be sure exactly what constitutes a marketing campaign to begin with. An email funnel? A landing page? Some Facebook ads? Many entrepreneurs are in the same boat. It’s tempting to do marketing in short, concentrated bursts to accomplish one objective at a time. Maybe you’ve done email blasts in an attempt to increase sales before the end of the quarter, or maybe you’ve run ads to your home page just to try and increase your traffic.
These may or may not be worthwhile marketing efforts, but they are not marketing campaigns. Before we go any further, let’s stop and define marketing campaigns.
Why Marketing Campaigns?
You might be wondering what the point is of spending more time and effort to create a coordinated effort as described above. It certainly sounds expensive and time-consuming, so what is the payoff? There are many solid reasons why the most successful marketers organize their efforts within the bounds of campaigns rather than firing off marketing tactics willy-nilly.
With so many benefits that result from well-planned marketing campaigns, it’s surprising that so many small businesses and entrepreneurs continue to perform marketing tasks on an as-needed basis, in a disjointed and reactionary manner instead of in a well-coordinated effort. This is most likely because of a poor understanding of what is involved in marketing campaign management. Perhaps due to a lack of time, resources or understanding, many entrepreneurs are missing out on the opportunity to benefit from launching fully formed marketing campaigns.
However, what’s required to successfully launch and manage a marketing campaign isn’t as complicated as it seems. Successful marketing campaign managers do these eight things:
Collect performance information at the end of the campaign to determine whether goals were met and improve the next campaign plan
What’s Inside This Blueprint?
Here’s what you’ll learn in the following chapters:
How to Map Out Your Campaigns
Don’t be overwhelmed at the thought of organizing all your campaign’s moving parts. In this chapter, you’ll learn an easy method for mapping all your campaign elements so you can see the unique path each customer and lead will take as they interact with your campaign.
Preparing for a Successful Campaign Launch
Once you’ve developed your strategy, goals and a thorough campaign map, there’s still work to be done before you can launch successfully. In this section you’ll get a comprehensive understanding of everything that needs your attention before you press “go.”
Managing Campaign Budgets, Testing and Optimization
When your campaign is ready to go public, it’s your job to keep an eye on its progress from start to finish. Learn how to actively manage your budget to get the most out of it as you learn more about what works and what doesn’t with smart testing and optimization strategies.
Campaign Reporting and Insight Made Simple
Do you know what metrics and stats to look at to better understand how your campaign is performing? In this chapter you’ll discover insightful stats you can measure to get a clearer picture of how contacts are flowing through your campaign and which elements are contributing the most to your bottom line.
Finding the Right Campaign Building Tool for the Job
Find out what tools you should be using to make the job easier and get more valuable insights. This chapter will discuss the importance of having a visual campaign building and reporting tool built into an all-in-one marketing automation platform.
If you’ve attempted to run marketing campaigns in the past and have been disappointed with the results, the most likely culprit for your lack of success is a problem with strategy. Perhaps you had no specific strategy in mind, so you just used all the marketing tactics available to you to try and achieve a good outcome. Or maybe you had a strategy but didn’t document it, so you ended up using tools and tactics that didn’t support it, resulting in a finished product that ended up being off-target. Possibly you did have a documented strategy to follow, but it still failed to achieve the goal because you poorly defined your target audience or poorly understood their pain points and desires.
Without a clear, well-defined strategy that is narrowly focused around the right audience and the right message to promote your business, there’s a lot that can go wrong with a campaign. A strong, defined strategy is a guiding light that will keep things moving in the right direction if you do the work to develop it.
Research has proven the role that a strong strategy plays in marketing success. According to the Content Marketing Institute’s 2017 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report, there’s a clear difference in the way successful and unsuccessful organizations approach strategy.
The institute reached this conclusion by dividing the businesses it studied into two groups: those with successful outcomes and those with unsuccessful outcomes. Within the successful group, 81% of respondents agreed they were fully clear on what success looked like. Only 35% of the least successful respondents said they knew what success looked like. This disparity illustrates the importance of getting clear on the goal and outlining what success in achieving that goal looks like.
Additionally, 61% of respondents in the successful group reported that they had a documented strategy — one that was actually written down and used to guide their marketing efforts. Only 13% of those in the least successful group did the same.
Finally, the report studied how changes in strategy affected marketing outcomes over time. Out of a group of respondents who agreed that their programs are more successful than they were one year prior, 72% of those organizations attributed their increased success to a change in strategy, either strategy development or adjustment.
These numbers clearly demonstrate that strategy plays a large role in success. The reason is simple: Without getting clear on where you’re going, you’ll never get there. Deciding on your business’s strategy is, in essence, deciding where you’re going next. The tactics you choose to employ will help you get there but only if you’ve decided on a direction. Otherwise, no matter how effective your tactics are, you’ll still only be traveling in circles.
How to Develop Your Strategy
With so much riding on your marketing strategy, it’s important to get it right. But where to begin? If you’ve never developed a strategy, or if you have tried to but have been unhappy with the results, getting started is easier said than done.
But developing a strategy that works doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s as simple as understanding the way customers naturally want to develop their relationship with your brand and constructing your marketing efforts to support that development.To understand the purpose of each campaign you launch and how it needs to fit together with the rest of your marketing efforts, it helps to get familiar with a simple concept known as the customer lifecycle. In marketing, a “funnel” refers to a series of events or interactions with a customer or lead that are predetermined. For example, an email drip series that sends new customers a few emails then asks them to join your online community could be referred to as a “funnel.”
Think of it this way: A funnel is intended to guide a customer or lead from point A to point B — point A might be having no awareness of a product and point B might be purchasing it. Point A could be purchasing an inexpensive product while Point B is purchasing a more expensive product. It can be anything — the funnel is just what happens in between.
There are five main types of funnels you will use to guide your leads and customers to take action. Each type corresponds with a different phase of their relationship with you. As leads and customers grow to know and trust you, they’ll progress through these five phases over time. Pushing customers to take an action that doesn’t match the level of their relationship with your brand is a risky decision — like asking someone to marry you on the first date. In both cases, the better strategy is to develop the relationship over time before the big ask.
Arranged in order from least commitment/weakest relationship to most commitment/strongest relationship, here are the five main phases of the relationship that you should focus on:
With a better understanding of how each customer’s relationship with your brand should develop over time, you’ll be in a better position to craft a marketing campaign designed to move them through each phase one by one. Rather than addressing all your marketing messages to customers regardless of their relationship level, you can target your messages to customers depending on where they’re at and gently guide them to the next step.How can you use the customer lifecycle framework to define your strategy? Base your strategy around moving contacts from one phase to the next, in order. Every single campaign your business ever launches should be tied to a specific step in the customer lifecycle. That way, you can focus on the most effective tactics to reach contacts where they are, and craft compelling messages that will motivate them to escalate the relationship.
Identifying Your Audience
To effectively grow your contacts’ relationships with your brands, you need to know who they are and what they care about. Just as in any other successful relationship, there needs to be a mutual getting-to-know-you process. If you want your audience to know and care about you, you need to know and care about them. This means understanding their needs, their preferences, their habits, their fears and their biggest desires. Only with this specific knowledge will you be able to connect with them in a meaningful way.
The best way to keep your campaigns audience-focused is to create buyer personas that describe your typical customers from head to toe. A buyer persona is an imaginative representation of an ideal buyer based on everything that you know about existing customers. To create a buyer persona, you’ll need to bring demographic data, behavior patterns and observed fears, motivations and goals to life in a detailed character portrait with a name and backstory.
You probably already know who your buyer personas are; think about your business’s most common customer types. If you’re not sure where to start, think about the reasons why customers purchase your product or service, the most common uses or applications for it, and the problems that you solve. Who needs this? Who was your business created for?
With the data above, you should be able to paint a clear picture of who your audience is, but to create a campaign strategy that truly resonates with them, you have to take things one step further and nail down their pain points.
Do you understand what your audience is struggling with? Do you know what problems they are experiencing on a daily basis? Put yourself into their shoes and imagine what it would feel like to struggle with the same issues. How would you feel?
For example, let’s say that you are a personal organizer. You sell ebooks, online courses and in-person services that are all geared toward helping people get their homes clean and keep them that way. Put yourself in the shoes of one of your typical clients and ask these questions:
Knowing how your audience feels about their problem is important because it allows you to focus on how you will solve their problem. This will make them care about what you have to say. Once you’ve pinpointed their problem exactly, you can explain exactly how your product or service will solve it, and evoke a sense of how they will feel when they no longer have to deal with it.
Here are some great marketing examples that focus on specific pain points and use them as a bridge to make the audience care about their product (while demonstrating that they really did their homework on their buyer’s personalities and preferences):
Engineering the Customer Journey
With an understanding of your customers’ needs and how your product/service solves them, you can begin planning how you will interact with them during each phase of their relationship with you.
The experience that each individual contact has throughout their interactions with your brand is referred to as a customer journey. A customer journey represents the ideal experience for each lead and customer so it will be different for each individual. There’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all customer journey. Each lead and customer you encounter will behave uniquely and have different interests and needs. The key thing to remember is that a well-defined customer journey, although dynamic and responsive to each customer, will determine what should happen next in every possible scenario. It’s important that this plan is as thorough as possible, with no gaps for leads or customers to get stuck in.
When developing your campaign strategy, the idea is simple: Each campaign should focus on getting customers to take an action that will move them to the next stage of your funnel.
If you organize all of your campaigns around actions that your leads and customers will need to take as they move through each of the five phases of the customer lifecycle, you can keep each marketing campaign you launch focused. To help you clarify how you will do this, use the matrix below to answer important questions and identify key actions within your funnel.
Once you have this matrix completed, circle the specific actions that your campaign will focus on motivating contacts to take. This is what you will use to set your goals and develop your tactics. Although this table shows your entire funnel, a successful campaign only needs to focus on one part of it.
How to Set Measurable Goals
You know what action you need to motivate your audience to take. You know what their pain points are, and you have some idea of the message and channels that you’ll be using. But before you can start getting specific with your campaign tactics, you need a specific goal.
Your goal should be tied to the specific action you want contacts to take, located within one of the five parts of your business’s larger funnel. Depending on what action that is, you might need to measure it in different ways. For example, if you chose a goal within Attract, and the action you want your audience to take is to download your free ebook, you would need to measure how many people downloaded that ebook.
To set crystal-clear goals, there are five criteria that you should make sure each goal meets. This acronym for SMART goal-setting criteria, originally developed by management guru Peter Drucker, has been around for a long time. Though some marketers dismiss them, there’s a reason that many strategists keep coming back to them time after time: They work. Use these five criteria to determine whether your goal is worth pursuing:
Here are a few example goals that meet all five criteria:
Goal: Increase one-time sales of online course Personal Organization for the Disorganized by 20% within Quarter one of 2017.
Goal: Generate 200 qualified leads (leads will be considered qualified when they have requested a free 20-minute personal organization phone consultation) for main two-day Home Organization Bootcamp service by Aug. 1, 2017.
Both of these goals are very specific about what needs to be accomplished, how it will be measured, and the timeframe it needs to happen within. The key thing is that there should be absolutely no “grey area” when it comes time to determine whether the goal has been reached. Keep this in mind, and you’ll be set.
Using Automation to Monitor Campaign Goals
Many marketing automation platforms allow you to set and define your goals using their tools so that you can use automation to decide what happens next when contacts achieve the goal. Using ONTRAPORT, you can even take that a step further and get automatic performance reporting on goal achievement with just a few clicks.
In ONTRAPORT, you can set up goals within the system that allow you automate next steps when contacts take a desired action, and the platform automatically reports on your campaign’s success in motivating leads and contacts to reach the goal.
To set up a goal, you simply need to specify these three things:
Setting up your goals using an automated platform like ONTRAPORT has the added benefit of showing you their performance in real-time. At any point, you can visit an established campaign goal to see how many people achieved it, the percentage of the audience who achieved it, how long it took for them to achieve it, and more.
With so many variables and an almost infinite number of combinations for follow-up steps and channels, it’s important to create a visual representation of all the paths in your business that customers and leads may travel within your campaign. These paths can interconnect and overlap based on lead/customer behavior, which creates unlimited possibilities for personalized journeys. Creating this visual is known as mapping.
A campaign map is a visual representation of the journey each member of your campaign’s audience will take as they interact and respond to the message you deliver. Although campaigns are usually thought of in purely marketing terms, campaigns are not just for leads — they can also be for your customers.
A good campaign map visually displays all the possible interactions a lead or customer can have with you, including the communications you send them, the tasks you and your team perform to follow up with them, and the choices that person makes about how to respond.
In ONTRAPORT, the process of mapping out your campaign does double duty. Not only does it make it easier to visualize how leads and customers will interact with your campaign, but the very act of building the map also builds the campaign. This graphical representation of your automated systems looks like a simple flowchart, but it’s powerful enough to control everything that happens to each one of your contacts, leads and customers.
ONTRAPORT’s Campaign Builder has a collection of elements you can use to build campaigns, including triggers, goals, actions and filters that determine how contacts flow through the map. These same concepts are also useful if you’re mapping out your campaign using a different tool like Lucidchart, or even if you’re planning to draw out your campaign on a big piece of paper or whiteboard. Here’s how each one works:
A typical campaign map might look something like this:
Let’s break down what’s happening on this map. This map represents a simple campaign for following up with contacts who opt in for free lead magnets. The goal is for them to consume the content they opted in for. First, there are two triggers that result in contacts being added to the campaign, one for each lead magnet. They are triggered when contacts fill out the opt-in form for either lead magnet. Depending on which trigger they activated, different follow-up steps are taken.
On the left, you have a series of follow-up steps for contacts who opted in for a free ebook. The first step is a delivery email that contains the ebook download link. The next step is a “wait” for for 1 hour and 30 minutes. The goal beneath it is achieved when the contact either opens or clicks the ebook delivery email. If the goal isn’t accomplished by the time specified in the “wait” step, then an additional delivery reminder email is sent. Nothing else happens after that.
On the right, you have a series of follow-up steps for contacts who opted in for a free video. Just as with the ebook, there is a delivery email immediately following the trigger. Then, there is a 30 minute wait. There are multiple goals defined underneath. The first goal is achieved when a contact opens or clicks on the delivery email. The second goal is achieved when a contact visits a landing page with the video on it. If neither of the goals are achieved within 30 minutes, an email is sent reminding them to check out the video, then the contact is re-added to the wait element. This loop will be repeated indefinitely until the contact achieves one of the two goals below. If they open or click the delivery email, they exit the campaign. If they visit the landing page, they receive one additional email with a link to the next video in the series before exiting the campaign.
One of the reasons this is a smart campaign is because it includes a backup plan for what will happen to contacts who do not take any action. This is important because it’s easy for contacts to get stuck between the steps in your funnel if they don’t do what you want them to do. You can get them unstuck by sending reminders or moving them into different funnels to achieve different goals depending on the level of their relationship with you.
How to Create Your Campaign MapNow that you understand why it’s important to map out your campaign before getting started, you may be wondering how. It’s not easy taking a campaign from an idea in your mind’s eye to a fully-planned, well-executed project, but mapping can help with that. To start mapping out your ideas clearly, follow these steps.
List Your Campaign Goals
List Your Triggers
Once you know what the goals of your campaign will be, it’s time to list all the possible triggers that could result in contacts being added to the map. What actions can contacts take that let you know they should be part of your campaign? This will depend on your goals. Let’s say your goal is for contacts to purchase their first product, but you only want to push them in this direction if they’ve somehow engaged or shown interest. Perhaps you have an opt-in form on your website where visitors can earn a 20% off code for their first purchase. Filling out that form would be an excellent campaign trigger because those who are willing to share their contact info in exchange for a discount are probably interested in making a purchase soon.
Map the Path of Least Action
When a contact is added to your campaign, what should happen to them next? During this step, you’ll plan a series of actions to perform on each contact, filters that they’ll be routed through, and the timing of each step. Of course, each contact’s next steps depend on how they interact with your campaign. Although you’re optimistic that contacts will respond positively and take the action that you want them to, you should begin by mapping the path of least action. That is, map the path they will follow if they do absolutely nothing throughout the course of the campaign. This will make sure that you don’t leave gaps where contacts get stuck for the long-term. Make sure that if the campaign ends and they haven’t taken any action, you have a backup plan for them.
Continuing the example from above, say that contacts who opted in for a 20% off coupon still haven’t made their first purchase after they’ve received a series of reminder emails, and the campaign is over. What should happen to them next? They may not be ready to buy now, but perhaps they should be added to a long-term nurture sequence like your newsletter. Whatever you do, just don’t forget about them.
Map the Ideal Path You Want Contacts to Take
Now that you’ve prepared for the worst case scenario, you’re in a better position to prepare for the best case scenario. It’s time to think about how contacts can get to the goals at the end of your campaign. If there are multiple goals at different levels of your campaign, map the path that contacts will follow to get from one to another until they reach the end.
Going back to the example again, you need to think of the best way to motivate contacts who opt in for the coupon to follow through and make a purchase. A series of email reminders with links to your product pages would be a great way to do this. You could even intensify the frequency of these reminder emails based on their behavior: If they keep opening them or clicking links, you could move them onto a different campaign path with more frequent, direct sales-focused emails.
Connect All the Loose Ends
What happens to contacts if they achieve your first goal but not your second? What happens if they skip ahead and achieve a goal that is meant for later in the campaign? Make sure that you consider every possibility, and come up with a plan. If contacts get stuck waiting to achieve a goal somewhere in the middle of your campaign, what will you do to move them forward or onto a different campaign?
Here’s what the example campaign from above would look like when fully mapped:
Whether you choose to map out your campaign with ONTRAPORT’s campaign builder, a similar tool from another software provider, a flowchart tool like Lucidchart, or even just do it yourself using a whiteboard, make sure to be as thorough as possible. Focus on anticipating every possibility for how contacts will choose to interact with your campaign. By preparing for the worst-case scenario, you’ll be more likely to achieve the best-case scenario.
Once you’ve done the important set-up work of documenting your strategy and mapping out your campaign, before you can finally send your campaign out into the world, there are a few more things to do.
Aside from the more obvious to-dos that you can’t launch without, such as writing campaign emails, designing landing pages and building forms, there are also some to-dos that you technically can launch without — but you shouldn’t. For example, you don’t have to set up tracking links before you can put a campaign out there, but unless you do you won’t be able to accurately track your campaign.
At this point, it’s time to do the actual work of preparing your campaign for its public debut. Although it may feel like there’s too much to keep track of, if you follow the steps in this chapter you can be confident nothing will be left out.
Creating Your Campaign Assets
Campaigns have different assets depending on the strategy, goals and actions involved on the map. Your first step should be to review your finished map and list, one by one, every single item you’ll need to create.
If you map your campaign in ONTRAPORT, part of this work will be done for you. The easiest way to map a campaign quickly is to create new drafts as you go along. For example, if you add a new email message action on a campaign, you can simply name the email and save it as a draft to continue mapping.
Although you can go into the email message editor immediately to create the email if you want to, you can move faster and map out your entire campaign using drafts to get it all laid out first. Then, you can go back using Campaign Builder’s checklist feature to see all the individual components you added to the map that will need to be created.
As you go through the map, you should also include all forms, landing pages and advertisements that are key to your strategy.
Here’s an incomplete list of all the assets your campaign might include:
To get each one of these assets created in time to launch your campaign, you’ll need to put on your project manager hat. Your job is to create a complete to-do list of every single task that has to be completed in time to launch your campaign, including copywriting, design, building system components and launching advertisements. Try not to leave anything off your list, no matter how small. Overlooking even the smallest tasks until the last minute can result in a delayed launch. You need a complete list so that you can prioritize all the work that needs to be done and make sure nothing is incomplete
You can use a chart that looks something like the one below to make your own campaign to-do list. For each campaign asset your map includes, you will need to write copy, create new design pieces, and build the asset (such as the actual email message or landing page) into your marketing platform.
This chart is based on the campaign map from chapter 2; it includes all the assets that need to be created to launch that specific campaign. We’ll also assume that Facebook ads are being used to drive traffic to the ecommerce website’s opt-in page and form. This chart shows everything that needs to be done to launch that campaign:
Once you have a complete list of everything that needs to be done before you can launch, you can organize items in order of priority. Start with what you know will take the longest. For most marketers, sales pages and opt-in pages tend to be the hardest items on the list because they have a big impact on conversion and need more specialized copy and design work to get right.
It usually makes sense to start by creating a basic concept of any new pages you will build for your campaign. You need to know what you have to write and design before you get started, and a concept determines that. You can do this by creating a skeleton page using ONTRApages or another landing page builder. Simply lay out the page using filler text and images until you’re confident you have it right. Then, you can get started on copy and design.
If you are using ONTRAPORT or a similar campaign building platform, there are a few additional components that should be set up the way you want them before proceeding.
One of the best ways to get information about your audience’s preferences is to run a split test within your campaign. A split test compares two versions of any of your campaign’s elements to see which one results in a better outcome — more goal conversions.
It’s difficult to set up a split test after your campaign has been running awhile, so it’s best to set them up to run in time for the initial launch. Additionally, getting this kind of information early will make it possible for you to optimize faster and get better campaign results by your target goal date.
Before launching your campaign, it’s a smart idea to set up segmentation methods in advance. One of the easiest ways to divide contacts into groups is based on tags. Tags are simply identifiers that can be attached to a contact’s record when they reach a specific point on a map. Tags can also be removed. It’s important to set up tags before launching a campaign because if you plan to tag everyone who takes a certain action or reaches a certain point on the map, you don’t want to have to go back and find people who did so before you set up the tag.
You’d have to manually apply the tag to those people, which defeats the purpose of automation.
Think about what kinds of identifiers would be useful for your business. You can use tags to add groups of people to future campaigns, reach specific groups with targeted email messages, or even identify leads. You can be very specific with your tags, such as by identifying people who opened a specific email or visited a specific page. You can also be very general with your tags, such as by identifying customers and noncustomers. You can apply as many tags as you need to, and you can also remove or replace them as contacts move through the map. Just make sure to have them settled and added to the map before you launch.
One more important thing to think about before you launch is what should happen to contacts who reach the end of your campaign. There may be several different endpoints if the paths you’ve created split and fork. For each endpoint, decide what should happen next.
There are two kinds of ends that you can add to a map in ONTRAPORT. First, a simple “end” element stops contacts on that path. The second kind, an “end, exit” stops contacts and removes them from the campaign. If the campaign is something that contacts could be expected to repeat in the future, the second option is advised. Contacts usually shouldn’t be re-added to a campaign that they are already on (unless you want them to be in two places at once), so removing them is the best choice.
Before you can launch your campaign, there’s just one more thing to set up: tracking. It will be important down the line to understand where your contacts came from before they joined your campaign and what they click while they’re on it. Setting up tracking must be done before you can launch because you’ll need to use URLs with tracking information built in to promote your campaign.
First, make sure to add any tracking scripts you’ll need to the landing pages that are part of your campaign. These scripts are code that you will add into the source code for your pages, allowing your advertising or tracking platform to identify visitors to your site for retargeting purposes and for in-depth reporting on site visitors behaviors.
Here’s a quick overview of some of the most commonly used tracking scripts:
In addition to tracking scripts that provide valuable information about how your audience interacts with your web pages, you can also track your audience using UTM links to see where they are coming from. Although you can’t see how your leads and customers interact with external websites such as social media platforms, blogs or review sites, you can tell which link they click on to get to your site if you use URLs with UTM variables included.
When one of your contacts or leads clicks on a link with UTM variables in it, those variables are saved in their browser. ONTRAPORT is able to tell what UTM variables are stored for each contact, and when they enter your database those variables are passed into their contact record. You can track leads by Campaign, Lead Source, Medium, Content or Term using UTM variables. Basically, each one of these variables is a tag added on to the end of a URL. You can use all five variables in one URL, just one variable, or any combination.
A typical URL with UTM variables will look something like this:
This link will still direct anyone who clicks it to ontraport.com. However, it would store the following information in their browser and, if they opt in, in their contact record:
Campaign: Email Marketing Ebook
Lead Source: Facebook
The way you set up each of these variables is up to you. Typically, this is what each variable refers to:
Once you’ve got your UTM variable structure set up, it’s important to make sure you use the variables you’ve established consistently. Keep the spelling, spacing and capitalization exactly the same each time you use a variable, otherwise they’ll be tracked as two different variables.
There are many different free tools online that you can use to generate UTM links. Here are some links to several different options:
If you’re using ONTRAPORT to run your campaigns, there’s a built-in UTM link builder on each page in the Tracking tab of your account:
To create a new tracking URL in ONTRAPORT, simply click the “New Tracking URL” button. The system will save previously used variables and allow you to select them from a dropdown menu to make it easier to use the same variables consistently.
Use these tracking URLs any time you are sending traffic to your own content. Whether it’s in a guest blog article, a social media post or an advertisement, it’s important to use a link with UTM tracking so that you can measure the results of your time and money spent promoting your business via different channels.
Once your tracking is in place and you’ve finished all the other pre-launch steps in this chapter, you’re ready to go! Turn on your advertising campaigns, publish and host all your pages, and then publish the final version of your campaign. It’s go time.
This may be obvious, but it’s worth stating: Your work on a campaign is not done when you launch. To make sure you meet your goals, or come as close as possible, you’ll need to monitor your campaign continuously as it runs to scan for problems, adjust your promotional strategy and budgets, and test different variations to steadily increase your conversion rates.
Keeping an eye on your campaigns is important but, just as with every other aspect of launching and running a campaign, it doesn’t have to be as complicated as it seems. There are three main areas to pay attention to:
How to Keep Your Traffic Flowing
Most campaigns involve an effort to acquire new contacts by reaching out to a wider audience with advertisements or other promotional methods. You can’t just expect people to find your opt-in page at random; you have to promote it to the right audience.
This typically means using a collection of earned, owned and paid media to get in front of an audience of potential customers and leads. Let’s dig in to each type of promotional strategy.
Earned MediaYou can “earn” free exposure to your target audience by cultivating relationships with influencers or brand advocates who will share links to your campaign on their social media profiles, email newsletters, blog articles or websites. You can also “earn” exposure by getting coverage from media outlets that your target audience reads through traditional PR methods.
You can drive more traffic to your campaign’s entry point by leveraging media outlets that you have control over, such as your email list, your own social media profiles, your own blog and your own website. This is a cheap and effective way to engage with your existing audience to generate engagement on a new campaign, but it is less effective for reaching new audiences.
If you have the budget, you can drive large amounts of traffic to your campaign by paying for advertisements or other kinds of exposure, such as sponsored blog articles. This type of promotion is indispensable for reaching large, new audiences of potential leads and customers. Most advertising platforms also offer advanced targeting criteria that will allow you to get your message in front of prospects who are most similar to your existing leads and customers. When doing paid promotions, budget allocation and ongoing budget management is key.
Here are some of the most common channels used for paid promotion, with links to learn more about what’s involved in getting started with each:
Managing Your Campaign Promotional Budget
When buying advertisements for your campaign online, there are a few things you should always consider carefully, then monitor over time. Getting familiar with the following terminology will make budget management easier:
Prepared with this basic advertising know-how, you’ll be in a much better position to optimize your campaign budgets. Here are a few tips:
Compare as Many Variations as Your Budget Will Support
For the best chance at getting a low cost per click and per conversion, try as many variations on your ad creative as you possibly can. Depending on the advertising platform you’ve chosen, the creative requirements will be different. For example, Facebook ads consist of a headline, description, image and body copy. Say that you want to test two versions of the headline and two versions of the image — you’d need four variations of the ad. That means you need to split your budget between four ads, and because your ads may suffer a low click-through rate if the budget is too small, initially you’ll need four times the minimum daily ad spend necessary to get clicks.
Once you see which combination is the winner, you can turn off the ads that don’t perform as well and cut the budget, or redirect the budget toward the highest performer.
Compare the Campaign Performance for Different Lead Sources
By thoroughly testing and comparing your ads’ performance, you can gradually increase the flow of traffic to your campaign while decreasing your cost per conversion on your opt-in form. However, your ultimate goal isn’t just to get as many people as possible into your campaign — you want to attract people who are more likely to achieve your main campaign goals.
One smart way to get more goal conversions is to compare how leads who entered your campaign through different sources behave. ONTRAPORT’s Campaign Builder includes a performance reporting tool that allows you to filter by source to compare their performance quickly. You’ll learn more about how to report on your campaigns using tools like this one in the next chapter.
Say you discover that leads who come in from Facebook have an overall 50% goal conversion rate for your campaign, while leads who come in from Twitter only have a 13% goal conversion rate. If you have to spend the same amount to get a contact from Facebook and Twitter, you would be wise to turn off your Twitter campaign and funnel your entire budget toward Facebook, since you can spend the same amount of money and get more contacts to achieve your campaign goal.
Compare Your Campaign Spend to Lifetime Value
You might not be sure how to decide what an appropriate ad spend is for a new lead or customer. How can you tell if you are spending too much or if you can afford to be spending more? The answer is to track the lifetime value of contacts as they move through your campaign. On average, how much do they spend? If they spend a high amount, it can justify a higher ad spend. You should also compare the difference in lifetime value between ad channels — you might find that even though only 13% of those Twitter leads achieved the goal, they ended up spending an average of $200 each. That would justify a continued investment in Twitter ads and possibly even a higher budget for that channel.
In the previous chapter, we discussed the importance of setting up split tests during your campaign’s initial launch. Monitoring these tests throughout the duration of your campaign is important because testing on its own has no benefit for your campaign unless you take action and adjust your campaign based on the results.
Testing also won’t have a benefit unless you follow best practices for accuracy. If you don’t run fair tests, you won’t be able to rely on the results — or worse, you could optimize in the wrong direction. When running split tests, always be sure to follow these guidelines:
Test only one element at a time OR test every possible variation
If you are running a split test, it’s important to test only one variable at a time so that you can draw accurate conclusions about what is causing one version to perform better than the other. For example, let’s say you want to split test two versions of an email message against one another. You want to know which of two subject lines is better, so you send the same email to both groups, with the exception of the subject line. With this setup, you’d be able to accurately conclude that the subject line was responsible for any difference in open rates or click-through rates between the two emails.
Let’s say you also decided to change the call to action on one of the emails because you had a feeling that might affect the click-through rates. However, if you changed this in addition to the subject line, how would you be able to tell which element was responsible for any increase in click-throughs? You couldn’t be sure, and you’d risk the accuracy of your entire test. A better strategy would be to test two versions of the CTA with the winning headline on both emails.
Testing only one variable at a time is crucial for split tests, but there is actually another kind of test you can run if you want to test more than one item at the same time. It’s called multivariate testing, and it’s ideal for marketing campaigns where you have enough traffic to divide into four or more groups. If you choose this method, you need to test every single possible combination of variation, so each element you test at once multiplies the number of versions. That way, you can compare the difference each element makes. This is the fastest testing method for advertising since you can reach a very large audience with a sufficient budget. It allows you to find the best version faster but requires a lot of eyeballs and constant monitoring.
Run tests concurrently
Another important factor for accuracy is timing. You never know how the time of day or day of the week might affect behavior. So let’s say you wanted to test two different subject lines for an email. You send version A on Monday at 3 P.M. and version B on Tuesday at 8 A.M. This test won’t yield reliable results because a difference in timing might have an impact on the click-through rate and open rate. If Version B does better, it might be because it had a better subject line, but it might also be because your audience prefers to read their email in the mornings. The problem is that you don’t know, one way or the other, so you haven’t learned anything from the test.
Use the same audience for both variants
For accurate tests, it’s also important to make sure there’s not a significant difference between the audiences who see each version. This is because different audiences might respond to the same message differently, and you need to know whether an increase in conversion rates is due to the change in your message or if it’s just because you found a better audience.
Let’s say you want to run the email subject line test again. You send version A to everyone who has downloaded one of your ebooks, and you send version B to everyone who hasn’t. In this test, your results would not be accurate because you don’t know if the difference in click-through rates between version A and version B was due to a better subject line, or if it was merely because the audience for version B was more engaged.
Dont draw conclusions prematurely
To get the most accurate results, you need a large enough sample size — otherwise there’s a chance that your results will not be repeatable. This means that if you were to optimize your campaign based on the test result, your overall campaign performance might decrease.
To be confident that your test results will hold, you need to calculate a number known as statistical confidence. Based on the overall size of the audience and the overall number of conversions or responses, the statistical confidence calculation tells you how certain you can be that optimizing based on that result will increase your campaign’s performance.
There are some easy-to-use statistical significance calculators available online, such as this simple calculator from Kissmetrics and this more sophisticated calculator from AB Testguide. Wait until your test results are significant before optimizing to reach your target faster.
What Should I Split Test?
Offers and CTAs
Timing and Sequencing
With so many different tests you can run, what should you do based on the results? As we mentioned at the beginning of this chapter, testing is worthless unless you take action from what you learn.
In marketing testing, this usually looks like removing and replacing parts of your campaign to get the best possible conversion rates for the least possible spend. Here are some tips for optimizing your campaigns in the most efficient way possible.
The Champion vs. Challenger Method
To get the conversion rates required to meet your campaign goals, you’ll need to go through a series of tests to find the best possible version of your campaign assets as quickly as possible.
Repeat as many times as possible before the end of the campaign.This method is extremely reliable for finding the best possible versions of your campaign elements.
How to Iterate Effectively
You may be wondering how to come up with ideas for tests to run on the second, third or fourth time around: How do you come up with something that might beat the reigning champion?
To iterate effectively, you need to have some idea of why the winner won. Try to see your campaign from the eyes of one of your leads or customers: What was more appealing about the version that won? Maybe moving your CTA up higher on the page made it easier to see so more viewers responded to it. Maybe headline B was more effective than headline A because it focused on a pain point that is more significant for the audience.
Even if you are wrong, you need a theory in order to run more tests. This theory is your hypothesis. You will use your hypothesis to shape your next test. Then, based on the outcome, you will discover if your hypothesis was supported or not. If it was disconfirmed, then come up with a new hypothesis. If it was supported, then try and add onto it.
To do this effectively requires thinking like a psychologist to understand the reasons why people in your campaign are behaving the way they are. As you run test after test, even if you aren’t highly skilled at accurately predicting their behavior, you will gain valuable objective data about their behavior, and your predictions should improve over time. One of the best things about testing is just how much you will learn about your audience that you didn’t already know. Everyone has assumptions, and sometimes proving them wrong can turn out to be highly valuable to your business.
It’s not always easy to take the pulse of your campaign and understand how it’s doing in real-time. Getting up-to-the-minute stats is important for fast iteration and optimization, so learning where to find the most important metrics about your campaign’s performance at a glance is key to success.
The struggle to find actionable data is an industry-wide problem. According to 2015 research by BrightTALK, 42% of B2B marketing professionals agree that a lack of quality data is their biggest barrier to lead generation. Not only does lack of data make it hard to find the right audience and optimize your campaign based on lead preferences, it also makes it hard to prove that what you’re doing is working. According to Hubspot’s 2016 report, The State of Inbound, 43% of marketers say that proving the ROI of their marketing activities is their biggest marketing challenge. That means that nearly half of marketers are struggling to show that they’re getting results, which is a big problem.
However, by following the strategies throughout this toolkit for setting measurable goals, tying campaign strategy to significant business objectives and campaign tracking, measuring ROI becomes significantly easier. But there’s one more piece of the puzzle for proving the ROI of your campaigns: performance reporting.
Campaign reporting is an essential responsibility of any campaign manager or solo marketer. It’s important to hold yourself and your team responsible for proactively measuring and reporting on the performance of your campaigns. So what kind of statistics should you be keeping an eye on? Let’s dive into some of the most valuable campaign performance reports you should look at regularly.
Contact Flow Reports
One of the most basic reports for getting rapid insight into your campaign’s performance is a contact flow report. This type of report is focused on the way that contacts are interacting with all the components of your campaign, specifically, how they are making their way through your campaign map.
A contact flow report shows you how many people are at each element on your map at any given time and how many people have been at each element since you launched. This can help you spot areas where leads and contacts are getting stuck.
Contacts can get stuck if you stop communicating with them before they achieve your campaign goals or if there is no next step planned at any point on the map. If many contacts are stuck waiting to achieve the same goal, it’s a good indicator that you need to adjust your campaign to better motivate them to take action, or that you should change your goal.
Funnel Conversion Reports
Just as you’d measure the conversion rate for an ad or a landing page, you can measure the conversion rate for each individual goal within your campaign.
When you view this report using ONTRAPORT, you will be able to see conversion rates from goal to goal starting with a trigger. To begin, you’ll need to select one trigger from the top of your campaign. Then, for each goal on your campaign that is connected to that trigger, you’ll be able to see the conversion rates to reveal what percentage of contacts took your desired action.
If you’re using a platform other than ONTRAPORT, it will be a bit trickier to get this data, but it’s a simple equation to find out. Divide the total number of people who achieved any campaign goal by the campaign’s total audience size (ie, how many people are subscribed to the email list or within the group).
Look for goals that have unusually low or high conversion rates – what steps on the map leading up to those goals might be influencing the conversions?
Another thing to pay attention to is how poor conversion rates on early campaign goals might be negatively affecting later-stage goals. Say that you have a campaign with 100 people on it. Your campaign is telling people to sign up for your free online course, then sending an offer for a discount on your main product to everyone who responded. Let’s say that only five people achieved your first goal, signing up for your course. That’s a 5% conversion rate – not so great. Then, let’s say that one person buys your main product. Out of your entire campaign audience of 100, that’s a 1% conversion rate. To fix it, you could work on improving your offer, but even if that offer converted at 100%, if only five people saw it, you’d still never get enough sales to justify your time and effort.
But the conversion rate for people who actually saw the offer for your main product is great – five people saw it and one converted, which means you had a 20% conversion rate. If that rate can stay the same as you increase the number of people who move to that step in the funnel, you’ll be able to sell far more. To fix this problem, you need to focus on promoting your free online course offer to increase the number of people who respond. Then, you can convert more people later on in your funnel.
Lifetime Value Reports
It can be challenging to make decisions about whether your efforts are worthwhile if you don’t have a concrete understanding of how they are contributing to your business’s bottom line. That’s where lifetime value reporting comes in.
The clearest way to see how much each element of your campaign is worth is to find out how much money your customers spent because of it.
In ONTRAPORT, the Lifetime Value report shows the total and average amount spent by the contacts who hit any element. This includes money that they’ve spent on any product throughout their entire relationship with your brand (since they entered your database). This report is very useful for tracking changes in lifetime value throughout campaigns. You’ll be able to tell which elements have an effect on your lifetime value by seeing how lifetime value changes as contacts move through your funnels.
Understanding the lifetime value of your campaigns can help you make better decisions about your marketing budget. For example, if you find out that, on average, it costs $15 to acquire a new contact in your database, you might wonder if you’re overpaying. It seems expensive, but what if you knew for a fact that, on average, contacts on your campaign spend $30? With that piece of the puzzle, you know that investing $15 to acquire a new contact is a smart move that will earn you money.
ONTRAPORT’s Lifetime Value report takes it a step further, showing you the total and average amount all contacts on your campaign have spent when they reach each step. You can compare how lifetime value grows over time for each step on the map and understand which pieces of your campaign have the greatest overall impact on revenue.
You can also compare how the lifetime value changes for different segments of your audience. For example, you can filter your report by lead source to compare the lifetime value of leads from Facebook to leads from LinkedIn. Understanding lifetime value on a channel-by-channel basis is incredibly valuable when making decisions about which channels to increase your spending on and which channels to cut back on. For example, if you know that customers from Facebook have a far higher lifetime value than LinkedIn customers, you can increase your Facebook advertising budget and decrease your LinkedIn budget.
Goal Conversion Rate Reports
Do you know how likely it is that a contact on your campaign will accomplish a goal? With a goal conversion rate report, you can find out what percentage of contacts at each point on your campaign will achieve a selected goal based on past data. For each element on your map, you can see the total number and percentage of contacts who hit that step and eventually went on to achieve the goal.
Being able to view this for each campaign element gives you the insight to understand how each piece contributes to the results of the whole. You’ll be able to understand the impact each individual email message, task, goal or condition had on the campaign’s overall conversion. For example, this report could show you what percentage of the contacts who opened an email ended up purchasing a product.
Goal Conversion Time Reports
Sometimes, it’s useful to know how long it takes contacts in your funnel to take an action. For example, you may want to know how long it takes new contacts to make their first purchase, how long it takes new customers to become referrers, how long it takes brand new opt-ins to become qualified leads, etc. This allows you to plan ahead and set better time-bound goals for your growth. It can also help you identify opportunities to push contacts through your funnels faster if it is taking too long for them to take the next step.
A goal conversion time report reveals how long it tooks contacts to achieve a selected goal from the time they entered your campaign. This can be any goal, not just purchases. You can measure how long it took them to do anything — open an email, fill out a survey, join your referral program, sign up for a free trial, or complete any other goal you’ve created on your campaign map.
Goal conversion time reporting also comes in handy for managing your campaign promotion budget. By determining when you can expect new leads to convert, you’ll better understand how long your payback period might be from a campaign.
This report is also useful when deciding how to allocate your marketing budget to focus on the sources that convert fastest. Just as with other reports, you can filter your goal conversion time report by lead source to compare and contrast the behavior of leads from each different marketing channel. You might find that although there’s no difference in lifetime value or even goal conversion rate, leads from different sources achieve the goal at different rates. This helps you decide which marketing channels to focus on for the fastest growth. However, if your lifetime value is particularly high for one group of leads who also take a very long time to reach your set goals, it is probably worthwhile to continue investing in that source. With an understanding of how long it will take them to achieve the goal, you won’t have to worry about leads from that channel underperforming. Since you know that it’s just going to take them some time, you can simply wait for them to pay off instead of killing that lead source.
Goal Conversion Point Reports
The third and final type of goal conversion report is the goal conversion point report. With this report, you can see where exactly contacts were on your map when they achieved the goal you select. Although it may seem similar to a goal conversion rate report, the advantage of this type of report is the ability to see exactly which elements on your map are the most effective at driving conversions.
Rather than merely understanding how likely it is that contacts on each element will convert, with a goal conversion report you can see a breakdown of where all the contacts who achieved the goal were on the map when they achieved it. This can make it even easier to understand which aspects of your campaign are the most effective for motivating leads and contacts to take action.
One way you might use this report is to get a better understanding of which emails in a long nurture sequence were the most effective at converting cold leads back into warm ones. Let’s say that the goal you have for disengaged contacts is for them to fill out a form to earn a promo code they can use later. This lets you know that they’re now warm prospects again. If you added this group to a long-term lead nurture sequence that sends them a series of emails each week for several months, you may want to understand which email is the most effective at motivating cold contacts to re-engage. A goal conversion point report would show you where contacts who filled out the promo code request form were on the map right before they took action - giving you a breakdown of which emails were the most effective.
How to Project the Results of Your Campaigns
All the reports we’ve discussed in this chapter reveal valuable information that you can use to guide your decision-making process. However, they all have one thing in common: They only give you information on what has happened in the past - not what will happen in the future. You can use information about your past performance to make educated guesses, but how might your strategy change if you could see exactly what your future performance would look like? Until recently, the opportunity to look into the future to see how your campaigns will perform has been a technologically challenging endeavor reserved only for large companies with deep enough pockets to pay a team of data scientists and analysts.
However, thanks to incredible technological advances and better data collection processes, small businesses are now able to take advantage of this method, known as predictive analytics. According to SAS, “Predictive analytics is the use of data, statistical algorithms and machine learning techniques to identify the likelihood of future outcomes based on historical data. The goal is to go beyond knowing what has happened to providing a best assessment of what will happen in the future.”
Predictive analytics can transform the way you make decisions about your marketing campaigns by showing you the expected outcome. This allows you to avoid making the wrong move and focus your energies on the tactics most likely to yield the best possible results.
Predictive analytics is the use of data, statistical algorithms and machine learning techniques to identify the likelihood of future outcomes based on historical data. The goal is to go beyond knowing what has happened to providing a best assessment of what will happen in the future.
Now, thanks to tools that make this advanced method accessible to small, growing businesses, predictive analytics is poised to change the future of small business. Although the technology to perform predictive analytics has been around for at least 30 years, until now it has never been widely available and affordable for entrepreneurs to implement.
When paired directly with a visual Campaign Builder like ONTRAPORT’s, predictive analytics unlocks even more possibility for small business owners. Using Projection Mode in ONTRAPORT’s Campaign Builder tool, you can change campaign inputs to see exactly how it would affect performance over time.
For example, say you have a campaign where 50% of the leads are added via Facebook ads. With Projection Mode, you could change this number 60% to project what will happen in each stage of your campaign if this change were implemented. Projection Mode would adjust each element’s statistics based on data about how your Facebook opt-ins have done in the past. You can view any of the reports discussed in this chapter through Projection Mode to see how your stats would change if you changed your campaign’s inputs.
This tool allows you to see the ramifications of any decision you’re considering before you take action. Instead of taking a gamble on a change to your campaign because you have a hunch it will work, with ONTRAPORT’s Projection Mode you can find out if you’re right before you act.
Now that you know all the steps involved in setting up a campaign for success, launching, measuring, optimizing and reporting, the last thing left is to find out what tools to use to execute each step successfully.
Although you can use the methods described throughout this blueprint to run a complete campaign using many different tools, we believe that one tool that covers all your core needs makes the job easier and provides more valuable insights.
Why Marketing Automation?
First things first: It’s important to understand the place of marketing automation in a successful campaign. To execute the strategies outlined throughout this entire blueprint, marketing automation is an absolutely non-negotiable tool. Let’s begin with a simple definition of marketing automation.
Marketing automation is the process of using software tools to automate repetitive actions that are performed over and over for each lead and customer as their relationship with your brand grows over time. Instead of manually sending emails to leads who opt-in on your website, using spreadsheets to keep track of where each contact is in the funnel, or using your calendar to keep track of when you should follow up with a lead, marketing automation creates a responsive, personalized experience for every contact on your campaign without requiring you to keep track of and handle all these individual touchpoints.
Marketing automation platforms can carry out all of these individual communication steps according to a predetermined set of rules to ensure that each lead or customer you’re in contact with receives the right messages at the right time.
Without using marketing automation, it’s impossible to scale a sophisticated marketing program. There’s no way possible that you could manage sending the right emails to everyone on your list at just the right time, keep track of where they are in your funnels and move them from list to list based on their engagement and behavior without automation.
Researchers have discovered a strong link between implementation of marketing automation software and increased marketing performance.
According to Autopilot’s 2015 Marketing Automation Performance Report, companies who use marketing automation to connect with their contacts on an individual basis generate twice as many leads as companies who use blast email software that sends the same message to everyone. And they generate far more than companies who don’t use any kind of software to manage email marketing.
The same survey also asked marketers to share the key benefits they experienced: 84% reported increased lead generation, 73% reported better insight into leads and prospects, and 73% reported an increase in efficiency. According to VentureBeat Insight (via emailmonday.com), 80% of businesses using marketing insight saw a higher number of leads, and 77% saw a higher number of conversions.
Finally, research has also shown that the most successful marketers are the ones using marketing automation. According to results from the recent Marketing Automation Strategy Survey performed by Marketo and Ascend2, 91% of the most successful marketers agreed that marketing automation is “very important” to their success across all channels.
Stats like these prove that marketing automation is an essential tool in any marketer’s toolbelt. Marketing automation can manage your communications with all of the contacts in your database on an individual basis, send them perfectly timed messages, and respond dynamically to change their experience based on how they choose to interact with your campaign. Without that basic capability, it would be practically impossible to attempt a full-scale, sophisticated marketing campaign with any hope for results — much less measurable results.
If you choose to implement marketing automation, you’ll find there are dozens of tools out there that can handle various aspects of it. You might be tempted to pick a simple tool that does only marketing automation and integrate it with your other tools, such as your CRM, payment processor or landing page builder. However, it’s important to consider the benefits of bringing the tools and data you use to run your campaigns together in one platform. Although it is possible to run your campaigns using an assortment of different tools, there are significant advantages to bringing all of them together under one roof.
For example, you could run your campaigns using a separate CRM, landing page builder, email marketing platform (with or without automation), online form tool, and tracking or analytics. These kinds of tools are called single-point solutions.
Traditionally, advocates of single-point solutions have claimed that they are better because:
However, there are some serious drawbacks of using many separate tools together:
There are three major reasons why small businesses should prefer all-in-one solutions over single-point solutions:
They help entrepreneurs achieve better results by bringing together all customer information in one place.
Although it might seem advantageous to pick and choose the very best tool available on the market for each feature set your business needs, this approach is not likely to yield overall greater results for most businesses. The inherent disadvantages of extracting data from one platform, importing it into another or trying to set up a tenuous integration between multiple tools far outweigh the marginal benefit of having the most cutting-edge tool for each job.
...your ability to understand and respond to what’s happening in your business is mission-critical. Without clear data at your fingertips and the ability to act on that data quickly, you’re at a serious disadvantage.
- Landon Ray, Founder & CEO of ONTRAPORT
They are actually easier to use than most single-point solutions.
Small business owners tend to shy away from all-in-one solutions because they can seem intimidating to learn and implement. However, there’s actually a usability advantage to all-in-one platforms. Instead of learning the features and interface for four or five different point solutions (which can eat up a lot of your time), with an integrated platform you only have to learn it once.
Learning a new piece of software takes a little time. With single-point solutions, every time you add a new tool you have to start the learning process from scratch and figure out how each thing works. And they’re all different. With a platform, there are typically some core concepts which, once learned, apply around the whole app.
- Landon Ray, Founder & CEO of ONTRAPORT
They can actually cost less than a collection of single-point solutions to accomplish the same end.
For many small businesses, the lure of point-solutions is simple: They’re cheap! The problem with this line of thinking is the end result. If you tally up the amount you’d need to spend on each single-point solution (including add-ons, integrations and overages) to fully run your marketing campaigns, you may be surprised to see just how much it would cost. And surprisingly, an all-in-one platform that offers additional functionality may cost far less.
All-in-one platforms are a true solution for the problems faced by the vast majority of entrepreneurs, instead of a short-term fix that will simply need replacing again and again over time.
- Landon Ray, Founder & CEO of ONTRAPORT
Why a Visual Campaign Builder?
Bringing all your marketing processes, tools and data together into one all-in-one marketing automation platform is a big step that will improve your chances of launching successful campaigns. However, there is one more thing to keep in mind when searching for the right tool for the job.
Having all your data and tools in one platform is valuable, but it becomes even more valuable when you can see how contacts are interacting with your campaigns — and not just with numbers and reports, but in a visual way. In chapter two, you learned about how to map your campaign before launching to plan all the assets you’ll need in order to build and visualize the way contacts will flow through your campaign step-by-step depending on the actions they take. That map may be a simple diagram that just represents your campaign in a visual way. However, imagine if every element you placed on your campaign map instantly became a real part of your campaign — and every time you made a change to your map, your campaign was instantly changed to reflect it. With a visual campaign builder, that’s a reality. The map you create isn’t just a static display; it’s actually the mechanism that sets your campaign’s automation in motion. All your campaign’s assets live on the map itself, and any changes you make there will be directly reflected in your customers’ journeys.
When creating a marketing campaign without a visual campaign builder, there is constant tension between sophistication and simplicity. The more sophisticated a campaign becomes, the more complex it grows. For each additional path that contacts can travel down, an additional layer of complications arises. Remembering how contacts are added to each path, trying to figure out where they may be getting stuck, or even creating multiple versions of the same funnel are sometimes necessary to run a complex marketing campaign. Although it’s completely possible to build a campaign without the visual campaign map, it can be hard to tell exactly what is happening to contacts without tracing their path back and referencing rules and automation settings that might be hidden from immediate view.
However, with a visual campaign builder, you can have the best of both worlds: sophistication and complexity plus simplicity and clarity.
Here are three ways that creating and running your campaigns becomes easier with a visual campaign builder:
Campaigns are easier and faster to build.
With a visual campaign builder, you can set up your campaigns faster than ever because as you diagram the way contacts will flow through your campaign, you are actually building the path they will travel. The map and the automation are one and the same. Instead of creating a list of all the assets you’ll need to launch your campaign, and housing the content, design and settings for each asset in a separate place from your map, you'll have all of it together and accessible in one place.
It’s easier to understand what’s going on with your contact flow.
A visual campaign builder provides an intuitive, logical model for constructing your campaigns. It’s easier and faster to build your campaigns when you can clearly understand how contacts will move through them, without stopping to solve the puzzle of how your automation will determine which messages to send when. Additionally, it’s easy to understand how contacts are flowing through your map mid-campaign. With a visual campaign builder, there is no hidden “magic” that determines what will happen next to each contact. You can clearly see for yourself what will happen next, because it’s all on the map.
It’s simpler to get fast insight on your performance.
Although you can get decent insight using advanced analytics tools, keeping detailed records or pulling numbers regularly for accountability and reporting, a visual campaign builder shows you in a very clear and straightforward way how well your campaign is doing, because you can see how contacts are flowing through it to achieve the goal.
It’s important to note that not all campaign builders offer visual reporting overlays for maps. With ONTRAPORT’s Performance Mode, your map becomes a visual representation of your campaign results. Visual campaign reporting takes your metrics to the next level because it goes beyond mere numbers to present you with a visual performance model that makes sense intuitively; you can truly understand your contact’s behavior and your campaign’s effectiveness.
Using the insight you’ll glean from visual performance reporting, you can make faster, smarter decisions about your campaign based on data. With the power to optimize quickly and try new things in rapid succession, you’ll ultimately get the best results possible.
It’s no secret that we believe ONTRAPORT’s Campaign Builder is the best tool out there for building simple, yet sophisticated campaigns. Our tool combines the power of a true all-in-one marketing automation platform with a powerful visual campaign builder AND the world’s first truly visual marketing campaign performance reporting tool.
To build complete campaigns, the best way to do it is with a tool that can run and measure all aspects of your campaign from start to finish. ONTRAPORT is an all-in-one marketing automation platform that brings together all the tools you need to manage each lead and customer’s experience flawlessly, including email, SMS, landing page, online forms, task automation and a powerful CRM to tie it all together. To top it all off, ONTRAPORT’s Campaign Builder makes it easy to build sophisticated campaigns in a matter of minutes, with a visual representation of each contact’s journey through your funnels and a dynamic, visual marketing performance reporting mode that makes it easy to understand how well your campaign is working and make adjustments to continually improve.
The cherry on top? We want each one of our clients to succeed, so we’ll even get you started by building your campaigns for you during complimentary one-on-one building sessions.