The word 'campaign' can seem really confusing and vague to many new business owners or organizational leaders - understandably! In this article, you'll learn the most important thing to know about campaigns and hopefully clear up a whole lot of confusion going forward.
A campaign essentially starts with a single important objective, for example 'Sell our chocolate boxes for Valentine's Day.' You would likely call this 'campaign' something like 'Valentine's Day Chocolate Box Campaign 2018.'
When it comes to where to go from there the first thing to know is: Every campaign, event of any kind and every sales promotion you've ever seen has something very important in common. They are simply 'things' that you want to get the word out about/promote. ...So how do you do that? Where do you start? ...in a reliable, tried and tested way?
It's also important to realize that every well-planned out campaign, event, or promotion is comprised of the same common elements. That's great news if you're working on learning marketing for your business or organization. Once you get to know the elements everything has in common, you'll know how to plan, talk about and promote pretty much anything.
Sure, there are one-off events, ongoing events, serious campaigns, casual campaigns, big events, small events and promotions with all sorts of varied specifics. Still the key components remain the same.
Here's another way to think about it. Every book might hold a different set of details... but each can be broken down into the same 'literary' elements. The same goes for all campaigns, special events and special offers and promotions. (From promoting a small school bake sale to rolling out the new season's fashion line for an international brand).
The elements all campaigns will have in common are: an objective and or title, a brief description (of what it is), details (like location and how-to-pay details etc.), a 'why' to attend, a 'why now' attend (element of relevancy), credibility details, social proof, call to action, who should attend (audience), and sometimes a 'hook.'
When an author is planning a story, they can start with a list of elements like main idea, characters and plot etc. and jot down notes on each to have a good idea of the most important pieces of the story going in. It's very helpful to do the same in your marketing whether you have a campaign objective coming up, an event coming up or a special promotion of any kind coming up that you want to promote.
Now that you know the above elements of a campaign you'll start to notice them within just about every piece of marketing you see... from fliers, to billboards, etc. Learning these key components can make you more of an 'expert marketer' of anything. Learn them whether you're going into full-fledged business or simply promoting a one-off event as a volunteer for a charity.
Also remember that many promotions and events themselves can fall under the category of a single 'campaign' objective. We'll also talk more about that later! Being able to picture this type of organizational hierarchy will help you to not only plan and write copy for anything, but also to organize your media and other things like Facebook ads easily.
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Once you've defined what you offer, your message and/or your client avatar, you are ready to really sit down and answer the question 'Where can I find and reach (more of) my audience?' How can you find out where the audience for your business hangs out?
Here are a few tips to get you started
Firstly, avoid getting too hung up on 'trends.' With the natural pendulum swings of time, your audience (or any business's audience for that matter) will migrate around from time to time. In other words, where your audience 'hangs out' will shift now and then. The best way to combat that is not to panic and run around chasing them. Set yourself up for success up front. Instead of worrying only about learning the latest social media platform or technology, worry first about taking the time to lay a good foundation for yourself by really outlining your message and getting good insights into the your audience's needs. These things will tend to change less than hang out spots do... and with them firmly defined, you will be more prepared to ride out any changing tides in technology or otherwise.
The best way to see where your audience hangs out right now is to ask, to look around and to brainstorm. Break down your audience brainstorming into two categories - 'in real life' and 'online,' (where your audience is online or in the digital space). When brainstorming where your audience hangs out, really think outside the box and go deeper than just 'what social media platform is the age group on.'
Taking just a little time to do your homework before asking and answering 'where can I find my audience?' can really pay off. Skipping a few steps can seem like you're racing forward, but in the end you'll find yourself spinning your wheels and taking longer to really get going in the long run than you would have should you have prepped ahead of time.
Use this expert resource to help you brainstorm where your audience hangs out or 'seems to be hiding.' I've personally created The '15 Prompts to Brainstorm Where your Audience Hangs Out' worksheet to help you make sure you're not leaving any audience hiding spots behind.
Download the 15 Prompts to Brainstorm Where your Audience Hangs Out PDF to help you brainstorm and perfectly hone in on your your audience 'is hiding.'
The audience for your product, service or message can be identified and found by you in one of two main ways. The first route is often familiar. The second is lesser talked about... but both require you to take a step back and make sure you have all the pieces to the puzzle before moving on.
THE 'TRADITIONAL' WAY
The first way to finding your audience is the 'traditional' starting by identifying your desired audience ahead of time with a customer avatar. You may have heard about this method. First you specify the exact demographics and behaviors of your customer to-be. If you're thinking that sounds a bit too 'guess-y' or speculative... in many cases, you would be right! With this method, before you can really get to your audience you need to answer correctly 'Who exactly am I looking for?' (Otherwise you're in for a pretty challenging game of hide and seek - its hard to look if you don't know who you're looking for or if your guess as to their features is even correct.)
THE SOMETIMES 'MORE REALISTIC' WAY
The second and often more realistic but little talked about method for finding your audience is the 'discovery' method. This is a process of starting broad rather than specific. First, you put your product or the content related to your product in front of a broad audience, any audience everywhere and anywhere. This gives you the chance to see who it most resonates with. Who responds? You then narrow down your audience's features and eventually their hangouts, from there.
This method lends itself to helping you first get ready to speak clearly about whatever it is you're offering or talking about. 'What am I selling or offering?" or "what is my message?" become important questions since 'putting it out there' is the first step. This can tend to work much better for the individual business owner vs. arbitrarily designing an avatar without even knowing what specific offering you hope they'll connect with.
A STITCH IN TIME SAVES NINE... WHEN IT COMES TO REALLY GOING OUT AND FINDING YOUR AUDIENCE
You may have noticed that in either of the scenarios above, (whether you plan to use traditional audience targeting by defining your customer avatar ahead of time... or to play the field a bit and see who resonates most with your product or message first)you are still left with questions that must be answered first before you are really ready to go out and 'find/talk to your audience.' 'Who is my audience' or 'What am I clearly offering?' or 'What is the message I want to share?'
If you're a new entrepreneur, take a moment to pause and ask yourself first "Am I really READY to find my audience?" If the answer is no, there's no need to panic. You've just got a little homework to do. It can sometimes some take time but it will be worth it. That homework? Answer at least one of the unanswered questions above. Do I know exactly who I want to work with? If not, do I know exactly what I'm providing or what message I want to put out there?
HOW TO KNOW YOU'RE READY TO FIND MORE OF YOUR SPECIFIC IDEAL CLIENT OR AUDIENCE
Once you've already defined what you're offer, your message and/or your client avatar, you are ready to finally sit down and answer the question 'Where can I find and reach my audience?' or 'How can I find out where the audience for my business hangs out?'
Ready to find more of your ideal client? Use this resource to help you brainstorm where your audience hangs out or 'seems to be hiding.' I've personally created The '15 Prompts to Brainstorm Where your Audience Hangs Out' worksheet to help you make sure you're not leaving any audience hiding spots behind.
Download the 15 Prompts to Brainstorm Where your Audience Hangs Out PDF to help you brainstorm and perfectly hone in on your your audience 'is hiding.'
Have you attempted to start a business only to find yourself running into the same ‘mental stuff’ over and over again when it comes to really going for it? You’re far from alone. This issue is especially common for those who have worked a traditional 9-5 for some time. What might be causing this invisible wall between you and your goal? A missing ‘inner leader’ is one culprit for you to be aware of and consider. Starting your own business in part means assuming some degree of leadership… at the very least, self-leadership …and you quite frankly, might just be terrified ‘to be a leader’ …even if you don’t realize it. In fact, you may have completely the natural-born ‘inner leader’ you once had. Find it and you’ll find further on your way towards your dreams.
To start to get to the bottom of this and locate your missing inner leader, it’s important to first understand how you may have lost it in the first place. It’s not something you think about every day, but when you do, you may have one of those ‘ooh that’s where I put that moments’ (if you haven’t already). Growing up, most of us aren’t raised to lead, often quite the opposite. To make matters more difficult, as we reach adulthood and take on our first 9-5 ‘gigs’ many of us encounter even more situations in which, when our inner leader ‘bubbles up’ and we try to speak freely or call the shots, again we don’t necessarily experience reward, but rather a sentiment of ‘who do you think you are?’ Sound familiar?
While some bosses (the ‘leaders’ most of us encounter most closely) lead by building others up… many do not. Instead they remain vested in keeping the ‘inner leader’ of others, your inner leader, permanently lost. Why would someone do such a thing? Often, it’s because (either consciously or subconsciously) many bosses or those in leading positions feel safest being ‘in total control’ and keeping others decision making muscle at bay.
If you’ve spent any time at all in a corporate setting, you’re likely to have run into that type of boss. He or she continually pointed out only your flaws and kept you in a chronic state of overthinking. You needed to constantly seek permission and approval and would often find yourself in a fearful and nervous state anytime you couldn’t find it… because goodness knows on the occasions this person told ‘you to go ahead and make the call’ what they really meant was ‘read my mind and do it right or bear the consequences,’ right? The point is, if you’ve experienced this style of leadership, you’ve been at one point conditioned to think small and live in fear of making decisions (because “ahh!” you could be wrong!) even if you were once naturally just fine at decision making. Not to mention, your subconscious picked up a pretty unfavorable opinion of leadership. Realize the type of thinking this type of boss reinforced in you is the exact opposite of the big-picture, self-directed, and open-minded thinking you’ll need to find that inner leader of yours and run your own business, team, or project confidently and smoothly.
Now before you throw your fist up in the air enraged at these types of bosses, realize that there are some serious upsides to having gone through experience with one of them. You very likely became more attentive, more structured, sharper… and better at attending to detail (all while feeling a blithering nervous wreck at times of course, but nonetheless). …But here’s where the ‘problem’ comes in. Even once you’ve cut ties with this type of boss, you’re often still left with a serious resistance to being a leader because, as I mentioned, your subconscious is still equating leadership with that boss who made you feel like utter awfulness. …and now you’re self-guided decision making ability is left totally atrophied to boot (that’s a lost inner leader for you). Not to mention, your self-esteem is a bit wounded and now as you’re starting your own business you’re dealing with all of this mental muck.
In your own business, there is no one to give you permission or approval but you, and that kind of liability can really terrify you when you’re just not used to it. You’re past experiences very well may have conditioned you to be terrified of making the choices. Choices however, are a big part of running your own business or project. When leading you’ve really got to let your vision envelop the big picture, keep things moving and sometimes make decisions fast without fear, no approval or permission granted (other than your own inner leaders). By the way, you’ve also got to be able to love yourself even through mistakes in order to keep moving while you’re doing all of this… chances are something you definitely weren’t taught by some of the bosses you had.
By now you probably can easily see why running your own business or simply managing a project requires an even more divergent skill set from your previous roles than you may have realized. Now, maybe this isn’t news to you and it’s been quite obvious to you for some time. Whichever the case, remembering and reminding yourself of this phenomenon in the moments you catch yourself thinking ‘why on earth does this feel so difficult?’ can help. Instead of getting sucked into the black hole of shame and self-blame, recognize this phenomenon for what it is and remind yourself that this makes sense. Then remind yourself of your intention to untangle some conditioned ways of thinking and reconnect with the inner leader you once had.
Not sure your inner leader is missing? If you’re preoccupied fear of ‘coming off like a jerk’ or doing the wrong thing, or you often catch yourself second and third guessing even the smallest details there’s a good chance that it is. Another sign of a missing inner leader is finding yourself endlessly thinking “I really want to go for this but I just can’t!” Do you constantly find yourself avoiding anything new or stepping into a role where you’ll get to lead and inspire others when deep down you really feel the need to do so? …or Do you find yourself continually frustrated and jealous when others have the same or less formal experience or skill than you but are making things happen? It could mean that inner leader is missing. If you continually feel faint elusive feelings of dissatisfaction in your life or in your job position, it could also be the culprit for those. If you’ve ever felt like like your potential is being wasted, or frustrated with where you are, your inner leader might be dying to come back out. When you’re out of touch with your inner leader you know deep down you’re capable of so much more. You would like to make a difference and set a better example, one of more freedom, strength, and inspiration for your children and your peers… but it feels like you “Just. Can’t.”
To make it fully clear, your inner leader is simply the piece of you that is a self-assured and self-directed decision maker. You are born with it. People who have their own inner leader don’t need to look around at everyone else and compare themselves and they don’t get paralyzed in indecision at every turn. They know what they want and they go and get it. As the self-directed piece of you becomes lost over time, you will find it more and more difficult to take charge or your own life or business. You’ll usually catch yourself thinking things like “I’m not good enough” “Who am I do this,” and “I’m a mess.” That’s the sound of that constant ‘mental stuff’ we were talking about.
A lost inner leader can really hold your back, not only in business, but in all areas of your life. You’ll continue to subtly shy away from opportunities for professional, financial, and personal growth even when you would love to go for them. When you’re out of touch with your inner leader, it’s hard to start the business you’ve always wanted to and give it your true effort. If you already have a business running, a lost inner leader will make it hard to keep forward momentum as you’re still in a habitual state of chronic overthinking and slow self-directed decision making. It will also make you put off delegating. These things can stunt your business, impair efficiency, and leave you in a state of chronic anxiety. In the corporate world, being disconnected from really ‘knowing’ your inner leader can make it almost impossible to get promoted to lead a team even if you have more than enough senior-level knowledge and skill. You’ve really got to get this inner leader back, right?
Being a leader isn’t just about managing multi-national corporations or being some kind of politician. Our inner leader is simply the part of ourselves that can make decisions with confidence, self-trust, declaration, and self-forgiveness. Doing anything where you have to make decisions on your own requires inner leadership. Even writing requires leadership.
If many of the points here ring true for you, here is a place to start. Awareness is the first step to finding anything that is lost. You have to know something is lost before trying to find something right? …So be aware that you may have lost that internal strong decision maker your once had or ‘your inner leader’ that that this is one of the factors causing you lack of traction. Recall some of the places (or events) that changed you from the naturally powerful self-trusting being you once were, but avoid playing the blame game. Awareness is helpful, but fault finding isn’t what will move you forward.
Finding your inner leader is about accepting yourself right now as you are and committing to working on growing. Set an intention to get your gradually get your inner leader back going forward. Realize this usually takes work, and takes time… but over time, with intention and commitment to untangling previous habits to find that self-trust inside yourself again, you’ll come through and so will your inner leader. You’ll find less between you and your goals.
*This post originally appeared on Business Confidence Success in January 2016.
When you set off on a journey to learn business or business marketing, you're really setting off on a journey to learn about people and what they want and need the most. In order to do that well, you must really get to know yourself - your strengths, your weakness, the pieces of people you don't fully understand. There's no other way to do that without growing both inside and out! Coincidentally, as you are learning marketing and growing your own knowledge, understanding, and skills... with the right support and organization in place, your business will grow too.