3 Common Campaign Mistakes… And How to Avoid them

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Written By Kirryn Zerna

You’ve already selected promotional channels (emails, blog posts, social media, fliers) and dreamed up creative concepts and colour palettes while downing a ‘chardy’ with your creative agency.

It may be tempting to throw the planners out the door, but there’s every chance you’ll be eroding the success of your campaign by skipping a few vital steps.

So here are three common mistakes when crafting a campaign plan and how to avoid them.

Mistake One: No goal. No success.

Stephen Covey was on to something when he coined the phrase ‘begin with the end in mind’ in his infamous book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

[Tweet “Every great campaign plan must begin by thinking about the end.”]

What does success look like?

Hit pause on the planning. Take out a pen and paper (or a digital alternative).

And start to play out what your end goal will be.

Is it about raising $1 million with a compelling, yet authentic, fundraising appeal?

Is it to register 100 new clients to your mailing list?

Are you selling something?

Leading a change within your organisation?

Whatever it is, imagine you’ve reached the conclusion of the campaign and get specific on what the outcome will be. How do you want your audience to feel? What do you want them to do as a result? And how you will measure it?

You may also like to prioritise your ideas by issues that are most important to your business. This will help with the decision-making process later when you’re creating your plan.

Popular communications blogger Ragan.com says: “Goals are the overall thing you want to change or affect, not the activity itself. They must tie into the overall company strategy and the specific objectives of your organization. Make them clear, concise and concrete.”

So, what can you learn from Mistake One: Avoid the common mistake of jumping straight into the detail. Climb the proverbial tree and take the long-range view of the forest. See what you want your campaign to achieve and how you’ll measure it… or you won’t see the forest for the trees.

Mistake Number Two: Audience? What audience?

[Tweet “The campaign plan created with no one in mind will be successful in moving no one to action.”]

The audience for your campaign plan, sometimes known as stakeholders, are the people you want to engage with your message.

Your goal is to mobilise them to do something such as (for example) read this, go to this website, buy this.

Being clear on your audience has three benefits:

  • It helps you classify the specific groups of people you’re targeting.
  • It helps you tailor your messaging and call-to-action to their interests and needs.
  • It quickly reveals who is missing, or who has been left off the list.

Your fundraising campaign may require audience segmentation by demographics, donor history or preference, allowing you to tailor content by relevance and need. There are some great tips for fundraisers in this article by Constant Contact.

Your content marketing plan will categorise where your audience are segmented across social media land.

Or your launch event may include a combination of stakeholders ranging from customers, employees, media, shareholders and government.

What to learn from Mistake Two: Map it out to play it out. Map out your different audience groups in your plan. Include detail on what they need to know and when they need to know it.

Mistake Number Three: Uh… What’s the point? Inconsistent messaging.

Pulling the plan together is one thing but what is the plan all about? What’s the point?

The point, the big idea, the reason you’re even doing it – is called your key message. The ‘key message’ is a fancy term for saying what you want your audience to know and react to.

Within your plan, you want an overarching set of key messages – 4 or 5 key points – and then more messaging per relevant topic. Welcome to the world of copywriting…

Missing the mark on messaging can result in:

  • Your audience won’t nail the big idea of the campaign… the point, the action, the vibe.
  • You won’t have consistency across your plan, which will dilute its effectiveness.
  • Other people will be inconsistent in executing your plan – they’ll all use different words to describe it.
  • You won’t reach your goal.

[Tweet “It’s always worthwhile to go the extra mile to articulate your key messages”]

You’ll want to record the key messages in the campaign plan, so anyone anywhere can easily execute your brilliant plan.

And don’t forget to prioritise your keywords to help your SEO ranking if there is a digital element to your campaign.

What to learn from Mistake Three: Your key messages are what you want your audience to remember and act upon. Make sure they are clearly set out in your plan to ensure consistency in the implementation and across all collateral.

Need some help with your plan?

The communications and marketing team in your business are the gurus at this type of thing, so check-in for help. If you’re a small business and it’s just you – well, you can find virtually anything on the interweb these days. Here are some helpful sites to get you started:

Practical inbound marketing campaign

Planning a campaign

Write a marketing plan

And you can always contact us at The Copy Collective to help you craft clever key messages or a compelling campaign plan that will help you get results.