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Are You Ready to Create a Marketing Campaign? A Brand Checklist

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Before diving into campaigns, we always recommend you make sure you're confident in your marketing foundations. Having solid, strategic marketing foundations in place will benefit any campaign you'll run and amplify your results.

 

The essential brand foundations you need in place before you start creating marketing campaigns:

  1. A simple marketing strategy
  2. A brand style guide
  3. Social media templates
  4. Professional photography and/or styled imagery
  5. Regular e-newsletters
  6. Consistent social media content 
  7. An optimised website that you're proud of

 

1. A Simple Marketing Strategy

A strategy is an informed opinion about how to win. While we can’t predict the future, strategy is the art of improving our odds. Budget, resources and time are finite, so a strategy is about deciding what to do and what not to do to position your brand for success.

A marketing strategy does not need to be a 50-page document with pretty slides. The best strategies are elegantly simple. At Campaign Del Mar, we’re big fans of a one-page strategy.

 

Before you dive into creating showstopping marketing, you need to be clear on:

  • Who do you serve? (target audience)
  • What do you want to be known for? (positioning + value proposition)
  • How will you achieve this in the next 12 months? (marketing mix)
  • How much will it cost? (budget)

 

How to get started in creating a simple marketing strategy:

  • Start with a market and competitor analysis to understand the market in which you operate
  • Become a customer fanatic: get to know your customers intimately by surveying and interviewing them about their needs, wants, dreams and pains
  • Create target audience personas
  • Set annual marketing objectives and a budget
  • Strategy is about choices, so decide which target audience segments you will focus on and which channels and tactics you will use to reach them
  • Craft your brand message with your desired customer in mind



2. Brand Style Guide

Branding is important, so we suggest investing in the best brand identity you can afford. If that's DIY for now, that's perfectly fine, but you should still have a brand style guide.

A brand style guide is a set of rules for your brand's visual identity that will ensure you have a consistent, cohesive, distinctive brand.

 

Your brand style guide should include:

  • Fonts: the fonts you will use for your heading, subheadings and text. Best practice is to use 2-3 fonts maximum or just one font family as we do at Campaign Del Mar.
  • Colours: your brand's colour palette, including the hex codes for each colour. Your colour palette should not be made up of your five favourite colours. There's a real science and art to a balanced colour palette which is why good designers are worth their weight in gold. The colours in your palette should work together and separately. There should be options for dark and light backgrounds, and there should also be a hierarchy, i.e. primary, secondary, and background colours.
  • Logos: your brand style guide should include your logos, submarks and any variations. A style guide will outline how your logo should be applied in different formats and when to use the various logos and submarks. E.g. When is it okay to use the brand stamp instead of the full logo?
  • Imagery: the style guide should also outline the type of imagery you will use. Do you use photography or illustration? Within our brand style guide, we have hyperlinked a bank of styled images that are on-brand for Campaign Del Mar.

 

A brand style guide will save you time each time you create a design and give your a polished, seamless look and feel. 

Here’s an example of a simple brand style guide Canva template.

 

3. Social Media Templates

Once you have your brand style guide, creating social media templates becomes 100 times easier. If your budget stretches, we recommend getting a designer to create some initial social media templates in various sizes, and then you can iterate from those within Canva.

Canva does have templates, but we urge you to use these just as inspiration rather than plug-and-play. With millions of Canva users worldwide using the same templates, you need distinctive brand assets to stand out from the crowd and capture attention. 

 

Types of useful social media templates:

  • Promotional templates for events and products
  • Social proof templates for sharing testimonials and reviews
  • Educational templates for sharing lessons, tips and advice
  • Branded meme template (one of our faves!)
  • Templates for your regular content features. We share "30-second lessons" regularly, so we created a template for each of those posts.

 

Campaign Del Mar's branded meme template 

 

4. Professional Photography and/or Styled Imagery

Professional photography outperforms iPhone happy snaps 2-1, so we highly recommend at least one professional photo shoot per year. For service-based businesses, this means headshots for you and your team, and for eCommerce brands, this means KILLER imagery of your products.

While iPhone happy snaps are great for authentic social media content, professional imagery is a MUST for your website, advertising, printed collateral and campaigns.

You can get a handful of great images for as little as $500, so add this to the long list of setup costs for your business. It's worth it.

If you need images NOW and haven't quite booked the photographer yet, you can get by in the short term with some styled stock images.

We have a subscription to Social Squares but other great content libraries include Pexels and Unsplash. Just remember everyone else has access to these exact photos, so they should ideally be mixed in with your original images. 

 

A styled stock image example from our image bank: we would add text or branding to this to make it our own.

 

5. Regular e-Newsletters

For ten years in a row, email marketing has delivered the best ROI for marketers. Whether you sell products, services or online courses, you need an email marketing strategy.

All successful marketing campaigns incorporate email marketing. So before you can start with campaigns, you need to have at least started building an email list and sending some newsletters to know how to do it. Campaigns have many moving parts, so it's a good idea to have a good handle on each part before we start bringing them all together.

 

6. Consistent Social Media Content

Social media has been a game changer for small businesses, but platforms are needy AF. Unless you are regularly posting to your social media channels, you won't have engagement from your audience. You will drop out of their feed, and it will take some time to gain traction.

You don't want to launch a campaign across dormant social media channels, so it's best practice to maintain a consistent social media presence before jumping into campaigns.

 

How to keep up with social media channels without burnout:

  • Pick one primary social media channel and one secondary channel and repurpose all your content.
  • You don't need to post every day, but you should aim for three times per week.
  • Forget perfection. One of our favourite approaches is to build in public. Take your audience on the business journey with you sharing the highs, lows and everything in between.
  • Make it a habit: the more you do it, the easier it will be.

 

7. An Optimised Website

Marketing campaigns are designed to drive traffic to your website so customers can take action. If your website sucks, all your efforts will go to waste.

Even if you have a brick-and-mortar store, having an optimised website is a business necessity in 2022. This doesn't just mean a pretty website but one that gets users to take action. 

 

What does an optimised website look like?

  • Responsible across all sizes; desktop, tablet and mobile
  • Relevant and up-to-date content that moves the user further along the buying process
  • Professional imagery and clear, concise copy
  • A great user experience, so users stay on your site
  • A way to capture website traffic into leads (landing pages and lead magnets)
  • Rich media: videos as well as photos

 

We think every business should run marketing campaigns, and that's because marketing campaigns deliver big results. Before we jump head first into marketing campaigns, it's important to lay solid foundations and put in place some "always on" marketing efforts, like consistent email marketing and social media content.

Getting these foundations in place first will give your marketing campaigns the best chance for success.