4 Steps for Success Before (and After!) Your Campaign Launches

You’ve built workflows, edited and re-edited landing pages and carefully crafted emails – your campaign is almost ready to launch!

While it’s tempting to want to rush through launching to get your campaign live, there are a few crucial steps you need to take to make sure everything goes smoothly. And once your campaign has kicked off, it’s a big mistake to just set it and forget it.

Successful, effective campaigns are the ones that have pre-and post-launch plans ready to be put into action. These plans consist of several essential steps to ensure your campaign reaches its maximum potential. Let’s break them down:

Double-Check Functionality

Even if you’ve already checked your campaign’s functionality, re-check it again before launching. This is a quick step that can save you a lot of headaches.

Then once your campaign is live, double-check that everything is running smoothly so potential clients and users don’t experience any issues.

We suggest testing that:

  • Your website or landing pages are rendering correctly on all devices
  • Your CTAs take users to the right destination
  • Your forms are working (When you test the form: Do you receive the right “Thank You” email or response message? Are you able to download any pieces of content that were offered? Is your name recorded in your CRM?)
  • You’ve set up tracking (UTM parameters etc.) so that all data is tagged to the campaign
  • Your social posts and emails are rendering correctly on all devices
  • Your paid campaigns are using the correct bidding strategy

Keep Your Goals Top-of-Mind

One of the foundational steps for any campaign is defining success with a set of goals. But in the anticipation of finally launching, it can be easy to forget about those benchmarks.

This is a disservice to any campaign. The last thing you want is to reach the end and realize that you have no goals to compare your metrics to.

Don’t let setting goals for your campaign slip your mind. Put together a few achievable milestones pre-launch to assess your campaign. Some common metrics to track could include:

  • Form submissions
  • Newsletter sign-ups
  • Sales revenue
  • Website traffic views or sessions
  • Email open or click-through rates

These established benchmarks are meant to be used throughout the life of your campaign as you track its performance. Once you’ve gone live, create a consistent schedule to compare your analytics to your goals. Based on that data, you can reassess your goals as needed.

(If you need help creating goals for your website or ad campaign, our free CRO testing calendar can help!)

Schedule Your Content

Our team knows how much time and care goes into crafting quality pieces. And there’s nothing worse than putting all that work into creating excellent content only for it not to be published on time (or, God forbid, at all).

The best way to avoid this frustration is to create a content calendar. Mapping this out helps your team track when certain assets should be published or sent out.

Once you establish that calendar, your team can take advantage of content scheduling tools. Here are a few that we recommend:

  • Hootsuite: Here’s a streamlined, intuitive social media scheduling tool for beginners. It allows you to schedule posts on multiple accounts on one platform and offers high-level analytics on engagement, clicks and follower trends.
  • Sprout Social: If you’re looking to level up your content scheduling, Sprout Social could be right for you. Not only does it allow you to connect multiple accounts and offer more in-depth analytics, but it’s also intended to recognize trends in your performance. This gives you actionable steps to take as you optimize your social strategy.
  • Mailchimp:  Mailchimp is ideal for those who need help creating, scheduling and analyzing email campaigns. It has design tools to create engaging emails and offers other campaign features, like landing pages and forms.
  • HubSpot: Looking for a way to get the benefits of all these schedulers in one place? We recommend HubSpot. Here, you can build, schedule, publish and analyze the performance of everything from social posts to blogs to email newsletters. Cut down on multiple accounts and keep your content planning all in one place.

(Admittedly, as HubSpot Certified Agency Partners, we might be a little biased!)

Those three foundational steps will help streamline your launch and start you off strong in the hustle and bustle of going live. But just because your campaign has started doesn’t mean the job’s over.

Whether or not your campaign is successful shouldn’t be defined by the execution of your launch. The steps you take post-launch can have a major impact on the performance of your campaign – whether that’s positively or negatively.

Plan to take the following two steps once your campaign has begun:

Track Your Analytics

When assessing your campaign’s execution, performance metrics are your best friends. Armed with your previously established benchmarks, here’s where you can check if you’re on track for success.

Of course, every campaign is different, so the metrics you use will vary depending on your goals. But there are a few popular ones you might be keeping your eye on:

  • Conversion Rate: Conversions are the number of users who complete your goal action, like filling out a form. Out of the total number of users who view your content, conversion rate calculates how many people complete your action and “converted.”
  • Impressions & Reach: These two are often used interchangeably, but they measure different things:
    •  Impressions measure the total number of users that view your content. Tracking impressions is helpful if, for example, you’re running a paid campaign and interested in knowing how many people are seeing your ads.
    • Alternatively, reach calculates the total number of users who actively engage with your content. Reach metrics are great for tracking website traffic or brand awareness. More than just seeing who’s viewing your content, you can see who’s interacting with it.
  • Open Rate: This refers to how many people opened your emails or newsletters. A “good” open rate can depend on several factors, like the size of your audience list and your industry. (Mailchimp has a helpful list of average open rate benchmarks.)
  • Click Rate & Click-Through Rate: These metrics can also be a little tricky to tell apart.
    • Click rate calculates how many people clicked on a link out of the total number of people who received your email.
    • Click-through rate calculates how many people clicked on a link out of the total number of people who opened your email. (That Mailchimp link above also lists useful data on average click/click-through rates!)
  • Cost-Per-Click: In paid advertising, cost-per-click measures how much you’re paying every time someone clicks on your ad. In a paid ad campaign, you’ll be asked to set a budget for how much you’d like to spend either each day or for the entire length of your campaign. Then, you’ll choose a bidding strategy that will “bid” for users to see your ads. If you win and a user clicks on your link, that “bid” will be how much you pay.

We understand that these metrics can be a little confusing if you’re new to campaign analytics. For an in-depth breakdown, check out our piece, “What Your Website Analytics Might Be Telling You.”

Optimize as You Go

There’s no reason to feel beholden to your original campaign strategy if it’s not working. By tracking as you go, you can take a beat and optimize your plan or content.

Consider the following optimizing tactics:

  • A/B Testing: Noticing that your emails aren’t hitting your open rate or CTR goals? A/B testing allows you to create two versions of an email and see which one fosters more engagement. This will inform how you should format emails in the future.
  • Email Automation: If you’re struggling with email engagement, email automation tools can help. For example, our team works with Seventh Sense, which is designed to optimize sending times. Instead of sending emails all at once, your email will be hitting your audience’s inbox when they’re most likely to open it.
  • Frequency Testing: It’s a delicate balance, keeping your audience engaged without turning them off with too much communication. If you’re posting on social every day or sending weekly emails, test how your engagement changes if you taper your communication to a consistent, not constant, level.
  • Create New Content: If you’re seeing some stagnation in your campaign, a fresh piece of content could help revive it. Consider how a new blog, free download or case study providing valuable information could catch the eye of your audience.
  • Update Your Copy or Graphics: It’s possible your copy just isn’t landing. And with paid display ads, using the same graphics can lead to ad burnout for your audience. Test out some new messaging and updated illustrations to freshen up your campaign.
  • Learn to Let Go: Sometimes, less is more. Don’t waste your time on channels that aren’t panning out. For example, say that week after week, you’re getting consistent engagement on Facebook and LinkedIn posts but none on your Twitter posts. We suggest rerouting your focus to your more successful channels.

Running The Post-Launch Marathon

Campaigns aren’t a sprint – they’re a marathon. They require consistent tracking and tweaking throughout their life to be as successful as possible. Using the steps above to build a pre-and post-launch strategy, you can level up your campaign performance and hit your business goals.

Short on the time required to keep up with a campaign? Our team of marketing experts can help. Contact us today to launch (and sustain!) your next campaign.