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Back-to-school campaigns are just about to make their online debut. Will yours drive ROI?
At the outset of back-to-school shopping last July, the National Retail Federation predicted consumers would spend $83.6 billion in retail between July and September. This shopping season, according to an Ad Age article, is the second biggest for retailers. While many brands and agencies already have their influencer marketing plans locked and loaded, all the creativity in the world won’t improve your company’s bottom line if you don’t take a results-oriented approach to your BTS campaigns. In short, planning your back-to-school campaigns around the ROI you’d like to enjoy is the key to your planning success.
5 Ways to Guarantee Results on Back-to-School Campaigns
Guaranteeing ROI on your back-to-school campaigns is possible when you follow these 5 steps.
1. Set objectives for your back-to-school campaigns.
While it’s tempting to brainstorm activations before discussing goals, make time first to answer these questions:
- If this campaign were wildly successful, what would that success look like?
- What results would our brand enjoy?
- How would our team measure that success in both quantitative and qualitative ways?
To put this into practice, let’s pretend you were working on a back-to-school campaign to promote children’s backpacks. First and to center on your goals, you’d identify what success would look like to your brand at the end of this campaign. For example, let’s say success is your customers’ children enjoying greater organization while being stylish all while sharing on social media.
Then, you’d identify your desired results. In this case, it could be to raise awareness for stylish children’s backpacks.
Finally, spell out your specific measurable results as follows: “Drive 100 Million blog, social media, and video impressions in promotion of children’s backpacks; generate a 30% increase in user-generated content from last year’s campaigns; and enjoy 7,500 discount coupon downloads and use.”
Tip! Notice that while the goals drill down on success and results, they don’t dive into tactics. The key is to stay focused on the goal at this level, only diving into tactics after you come to consensus on what success looks like to your team.
2. Choose tactics that align with your goals.
- Affiliate marketing
- Ambassador programs
- Blog posts
- Conference and/or retreat sponsorship
- Creative assets for marketing purposes (rights to professional photography or videos, content, etc.)
- Demos (cooking demos, DIY workshops, photography classes, etc.)
- Display advertising
- Newsletter campaigns (dedicated blasts or features in weekly or monthly publications)
- Facebook Live broadcasts
- Live events (in home, at corporate headquarters, on location, etc.)
- Live stories (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat)
- Ratings and reviews on a brand’s website
- Satellite media tours or other spokesperson opportunities
- Social media campaigns (one or a combination of targeted or amplification campaigns on Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Twitter, and/or YouTube, etc.)
- Twitter Parties
- Video campaigns
Note! Not all of the above-listed tactics would work for our children’s backpack campaign example. However, they will help you see the variety of activation types you can consider for your campaigns.
3. Set influencer criteria.
- Who is the consumer our brand is trying to reach through influencer marketing (e.g., age, education level, ethnic background, gender, geographic location, household income, marital status, parental status [has children or not and what ages], primary language spoken, spending or other habits, etc.)
- How can you best reach this demographic via influencers (e.g., social media channels, blogs, video, via a specific type of influencer, etc.)?
- Any tactics to steer clear of when targeting this demographic via influencer marketing (e.g., channels to avoid, tactics not to include)?
- Have any influencers surfaced on social media who would be good to consider including in the campaign? Who?
- Other campaign criteria to consider?
Using the example of the children’s backpack campaigns, let’s say we partner with influencers and have them publish blog and social media posts on the topic of children’s organization and style topics. When considering the influencer criteria, we could select a mixture of parenting bloggers of varying ethnicities with elementary-school and middle-school-aged children and millennial lifestyle Instagrammers with pre-school aged children.
Tip! The more specific your criteria, the faster finding just the right influencers will be.
4. Choose campaign assets.
With your goals, tactics, and criteria planned, ask yourself these questions to choose campaign assets:
- Do we want influencers to share our brand’s content or to produce their own?
- If we want influencers to share our content, what does our team/company need to develop or provide (e.g., a brand hashtag, display advertising, a GIF, large amounts of copy, short messaging points, a trackable link, photography, product, video, etc.)?
- What resources and budget does the creative asset development require?
Let’s go back to our children’s backpack campaign example. Let’s say you decide to ship product samples to each participating influencer. But, you also think it’d be helpful to email each of them a few quick brand message points they could include in their post. To ensure downloads, you could also share a link to the landing page with the downloadable coupon for them to include in their content and promotional posts. Allowing influencers a hybrid approach by providing some products and assets and allowing them to use some of their own gives them freedom to create content their followers will resonate with.
5. Develop a scope of work.
With your campaign goals, tactics, criteria, and creative assets set, you’re ready to create a detailed scope of work (SOW). This serves as a campaign brief to keep all internal and/or external team members (not the influencers) on the same page. Information should include the following:
- The campaign’s objective and company goal(s) it will meet
- The anticipated measurable results
- The budget
- The inclusions
- Brief overview of the brand messaging
- Details (e.g., how influencers will be compensated, special instructions, etc.)
- What will be included in the wrap-up report and when it will be delivered
- Campaign timeline (See below.)
Tip! Front loading by including as much agreed-upon detail as possible in the SOW will lead to a more streamlined execution phase and less rework.
Wrapping It All Up
Why gamble on whether your back-to-school campaigns will drive ROI when you can guarantee they will? Follow these five steps and you’ll be on your way to BTS campaign success: 1) Set objectives, 2) Align objectives and tactics, 3) Set influencer criteria, 4) Choose campaign assets, and 5) Create a scope of work.
Have any great back-to-school campaigns you’d like to share? Leave a link in the comments below.
This article was originally featured on the Forward Influence blog.