Marketing Campaigns: The Complete Guide With  6 Easy Steps

When you develop and launch a marketing campaign, you want to be sure you’re doing everything you can to attract more customers, instead of wasting your investment.

What is a marketing campaign?

A marketing campaign is a way to promote your business and services through different types of media, including print, radio, television, and online ads. You’ll need to do some research to decide who your target audience is, then develop some goals for your campaign. Do you want people to just hear your name, call you, buy your product, or sign up for an email list? Your budget, media choices, and overall success depend on what your objectives are and how you feel like the marketing campaign will help your business.

Types of marketing campaigns

Most people think marketing campaigns are all about advertising, but there can be more aspects to it, including participating in trade shows, and even demonstrations (think about those free samples you get in warehouse stores). There are as many types of marketing campaigns as there are combinations of the media you can use. Your goals and your budget will dictate what type of campaign you ultimately want to put out.

Small business marketing campaigns

Creating marketing campaigns for small businesses doesn’t have to be complicated. Here are a few ideas to get you started: 

  • Brand awareness: These campaigns are just about getting your name out there in the community. You might put flyers in mailboxes, put out an ad in the local paper or on popular radio stations, or start running Facebook ads to people in your area. 
  • Referrals: You can use your current customers to get new customers. Offer up a discount for your current and new customers when they mention who referred them. Advertise your referral program throughout your store and on social media.
  • Life events: Use your business life events to run sales and offer discounts. Maybe it’s the anniversary of when you first came to that city, or your business’s birthday. Announce these discounts to the world with an anniversary sale or birthday celebration.
  • Seasonal: Holidays and seasonal sales are always a hit with consumers. Whether you’re advertising hot summer deals or a “new year, new you” discount, make sure you tell your customers about them.
  • Launches: If you have a new product or service coming out, use that as an opportunity to run some advertising to make customers aware of what’s happening. You can offer trials on the new service, or discounts on bundles of both old and new. 

Also check out: 

To get you started, try these actionable recommendations so you can launch a successful marketing campaign for your business:

6 steps to successfully launch your marketing campaign

1. Do your research

The first step you should take before you launch your marketing campaign involves doing some manual research. Before you even begin developing your campaign, you need to spend time learning more about your industry, what kind of campaigns have been most successful this year, and how to develop a campaign that your target audience will actually notice and respond to.

Doing a bit of up-front research is important—especially when you think about the time, money, and other resources you will likely end up spending over the life of your campaign. You want to make sure you ultimately are able to launch a campaign that will actually stick and reach any goals you set.

Resources for doing research:

2. Know your audience

The second step you need to take in order to launch a successful campaign involves getting to know and understand your audience better. This could involve developing buyer personas, or representations of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.

It’s crucial that you spend time defining your target audience, determining where they spend most of their time online, and how to reach them in the most effective ways. When you know more about your audience, you can do a better job of predicting the kinds of campaigns that will resonate best with them.

Resources to help you define your audience:

3. Put a plan in place

Unless you have a plan in place, your marketing campaign will likely fizzle not long after launch. If you decide to design, launch, and promote a marketing campaign for your business, you need to spend time putting together a strategic plan that will help guide you through the various phases of your marketing campaign.

You should include in your plan: a promotion or content calendar, information about your target audience, your goals, email templates for reaching out to people, a breakdown of phases (design, pre-launch, launch, post-launch, etc.), a list of people who will help you get the word out about your campaign, your budget, any tools you intend to use, and more.

Resources to help you develop a plan:

4. Give yourself enough time

In order to launch a campaign successfully, you have to give yourself enough time. You need time to plan, design, promote, adjust, evaluate, and get the word out. You can’t expect your marketing campaign to be successful if you are rushing to launch or haven’t had time to reach out to people who can help you promote your campaign.

Campaign timing tips: 

  • Reach out to partners and customers before your campaign goes live
  • Reach out to other influencers who might be willing to promote your campaign
  • Follow up with people who agreed to help you get the word out
  • Put together an organized promotion calendar
  • Define ownership and personal timelines

5. Ask for help

One of the most effective and essential things you can do in order to launch a successful campaign involves personally reaching out to people who can and would be willing to help. Unless you’re Mashable or Pepsi, you can’t expect to build buzz on your own. You need strategic partners who can help you before your campaign goes live, during the day of launch, and after it is live for the world to see.

Resources for asking for help:

6. Evaluate and adapt in real time

You might not experience the amount of success that you expected once you launch your marketing campaign. That’s where evaluation comes into play. When you launch your marketing campaign, you have to be prepared to evaluate how it’s being received and be willing to make small (or big) changes that can help make it more successful.

Your marketing campaign shouldn’t be left untouched once you push the “GO” button. You need to nurture it and make adjustments along the way in order to reach your goals and ensure success.

Resources for evaluating success: 

Successful Campaign Examples

1. Cheers For All The Years by Virgin Mobile

If you want to get an idea of what a successful marketing campaign looks like, take a look at the campaign we’ve featured below. In this campaign, Virgin Mobile created a direct campaign celebrating the day each loyal customer signed up with Virgin Mobile – their ‘Virgin Mobile birthday’. Learn more about it here.


  • 90% open-rate
  • Customer retention & loyalty boost
  • Social shares from customers who loved the email

2. Snickers Google Misspellings

Another great campaign to check out is the one featured below by Snickers. In this campaign, Snickers teamed up with Google to reach hungry office workers and people whose online activity is restricted by firewalls. Learn more about it here.


  • Campaign seen by over 500,000 people
  • Increase in brand exposure

3. Dove Beauty Sketches

A final campaign that’s worth taking a look at is the Dove Beauty Sketches. In this campaign, Dove teamed up with an artist to show women how beautiful they really are. Learn more about it here.

Results (after two weeks):

  • 3.8 billion global impressions
  • 73.4 million YouTube views

Marketing campaigns and business ideas you can try today

Check out these blog posts for some great ideas to get your started. Now that you know how to successfully launch a small business marketing campaign, you can try something from each of these posts, starting today. You’ll get great insights on how to increase customer loyalty, boost your marketing know-how, and even get some advice from other small business owners just like you.

The 8-Step Process for Boosting Customer Happiness & Loyalty

12 Important Lessons Small Business Owners Learned This Year

A 101 Guide To Email Marketing

The Best Free Marketing Guides For Small Business

A Quick Guide To Marketing Your Business Online

Don’t let marketing intimidate you

Launching a marketing campaign can seem like a daunting task. It doesn’t have to be! Just follow the recommendations in this post:

  • Do your research
  • Know your audience
  • Put a plan In place
  • Give yourself enough time
  • Ask for help
  • Evaluate and adapt In real time

Looking for more ways to boost your business? Employee scheduling is a great place to start. Start a 14-day free trial of When I Work to see how your business will thrive with faster scheduling, easier time tracking, and better team communication. It’s easy to get started, sign up today!

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