Planning is an important part of marketing.
Without a plan — specifically, without a clear-cut system for creating marketing campaigns — it’s difficult to keep up with competitors, industry shifts, and to know what’s working and what isn’t.
You need a system for planning marketing campaigns, testing, iterating, and driving real results.
That’s what we hope to provide in this guide.
Here’s what we’re going to cover.
What is a marketing campaign?
A marketing campaign is a plan that uses various marketing tactics — advertising, influencer marketing, SEO, etc… — to accomplish some business goal (sales, lead-gen, brand awareness, etc.).
Knowing how to plan marketing campaigns effectively is a critical skill for entrepreneurs, marketing managers, CMOs, and anyone else who has top-level control over a business’ marketing efforts.
There are different types of marketing campaigns with different goals (more on that next). There are also many different templates, tools, and systems for creating successful marketing campaigns.
In this guide, we’re going to provide what we think are the most effective tools and systems for building marketing campaigns that get real results.
The 8 Main Types of Marketing Campaigns (With Examples)
There are many different types of marketing campaigns.
Social media advertising, influencer marketing, SEO, display ads, direct mail, cold calling, and a bajillion more.
But we think the 8 main buckets are organic lead-gen campaigns, paid lead-gen campaigns, cold-to-customer advertising, follow-up funnels (paid and unpaid), affiliate marketing, welcome email sequences, and daily emails.
Let’s dive into the details.
1. Lead-Gen Advertising
Here, we define lead-gen advertising as any marketing campaign where you pay to get in front of your target market and generate leads.
That includes Facebook advertising, Google advertising, display ads, and influencer marketing (if paid).
When we say the goal is to “generate leads”, we’re specifically talking about getting the person’s email address, although you might also try to capture the visitor’s phone number, name, and address.
Here, for example, is an advertisement where WordStream is giving away a free downloadable guide in return for people’s email address.
2. Lead-Gen Organic
Lead-gen organic marketing is the same as lead-gen paid except (you guessed it) you get in front of your target market and generate leads through unpaid means — namely, SEO, PR, influencer marketing (if unpaid), content marketing, and manual outreach.
To give you an example of what this looks like, imagine that you search Google for “best blog headlines” and you click on the first result, which is from HubSpot.
On that page, HubSpot has a lead magnet that helps them generate leads…
To download that resource, you’d have to give HubSpot your email and become a lead.
So you found them organically through SEO and then became a lead by downloading their free resource. That’s just one example of lead-gen organic.
3. Cold-to-Customer Advertising
What if you could skip the lead-gen piece altogether and simply turn cold traffic — people who’ve never had significant interaction with your business before — into paying customers?
That’s what cold-to-customer advertising is all about.
In this type, the marketer creates a compelling offer that they know their target market won’t be able to resist and runs ads to get traffic and make sales.
One example of this comes from what’s known as the Tripwire Funnel, a sales funnel that’s built to turn cold traffic into paying customers.
This sales funnel consists of three pages, the two-step sales page, the OTO (one-time-offer) page, and the offer wall page.
Here’s an example…
It’s called a Tripwire Funnel because it starts with an extremely compelling offer that your target market can’t resist and then, after the visitor has entered the payment and shipping information, on the OTO page, they’re offered the real thing you’re trying to sell — it’s a tripwire. And it’s extremely effective.
The webinar sales funnel is one other tactic you can use to turn cold traffic into paying customers.
4. Follow-Up Organic
Follow-up organic is a marketing campaign where you follow-up with your leads via email, text, phone, or even direct mail.
Follow-up is a critical part of any marketing campaign — you’ll never convert everyone on the first go around, so additional outreach is necessary.
The abandoned cart email is one example a follow-up organic marketing campaign.
5. Follow-Up Paid
Follow-up paid is the same as follow-up organic except you’re paying to get in front of your leads.
To be clear, this is typically less cost-effective than just emailing, texting, or calling your existing leads — since you don’t have to pay to reach them… why would you?
But still, sometimes running retargeting ads to your existing leads can get their attention in a way that other methods might not.
Here’s an example…
6. Affiliate Marketing
What if you had an “army” of expert marketers in your niche who would sell your products or services for you?
It’d be a dream, huh?
That’s what affiliate marketing is all about.
You find potential affiliates who already have access to your target market, ask them to promote your products for a commission, provide them with resources to make it as easy as possible (sales copy, discounts, etc), and watch the sales flow.
It’s easy to tell because they have an affiliate link in their video descriptions…
To the benefit of ClickFunnels, these affiliates are all over the place… which means we get more results with less effort!
7. Welcome Email Sequence
The welcome email sequence is a critical marketing campaign that pretty much every business should use.
It triggers when someone becomes a lead for the first time, consists of 3-5 emails, and tries to accomplish two goals…
- Building trust with the brand.
- Getting the lead to take the next most important action (buying, upgrading, getting on a phone call, etc).
To get examples of what welcome sequences look like in your niche for companies that are doing something similar, go sign up for their email list and become a lead! Then pay close attention to what they send you.
8. Daily Emails
It’s a hotly debated issue whether you should send emails to your leads every day, every week, or every month.
We’re firm believers in sending daily emails, but how often you send will depend on your target market, your niche, and your bandwidth.
Whatever the case, emailing your list (leads and customers) consistently is critical for the growth of your business. You should be trying to turn leads into customers and upselling customers to new products.
Here’s just one example of what a daily email can look like, but again, we recommend signing up to your competitor’s email lists to see what they’re sending.
How to Plan a Successful Marketing Campaign (i.e. Your Free Campaign Planning Template)
Now we’re going to show you an 8-step process (i.e. template) for planning successful marketing campaigns.
This process is proven and repeatable, and you can return to it as often as you like (so bookmark the page!).
Let’s dive right into the first step.
Step 1. Identify Your Target Market
The first step of any successful marketing campaign is to determine who you’re trying to reach.
Before launch, you should have a clear idea of your target market, their wants and desires, fears and anxieties… even income, age, and general demographic.
Already, you should have a customer avatar for your business — or at least a general idea of who you serve (if you don’t, create one!).
But your target market for a specific marketing campaign is a little bit different — are you trying to reach people who already know about your business? Existing customers? Cold traffic? Are you reaching out to people who are problem aware, solution aware, or both?
You need the answer to those questions.
The better that you understand who you’re trying to reach with this specific marketing campaign, the easier it’s going to be to find them and appeal to them.
Step 2. Find Your Target Market
Next we need to find your target market.
Once you know who you’re targeting with this marketing campaign, ask yourself, “Where do they hang out?”
- What blogs do they read?
- What podcasts do they listen to?
- What YouTube channels do they watch?
- What influencers do they follow (Instagram, Facebook)?
- What are they searching for in Google?
Once you know where your target market is at, it’s much easier to get in front of them either using advertisements, PR, SEO, influencer marketing, or affiliate marketing.
Create a spreadsheet of all the places where your target market congregates and create strategies for infiltrating each.
We call this process the “Dream 100”…
And you can learn more about it in Russell Brunson’s free book, DotCom Secrets.
However, if the campaign you’re building targets people on your email list, then you can mostly skip this step (but it still might be worth asking which people on your email list fall within your target market for this campaign).
Step 3. Choose a “Type” of Marketing Campaign
Now that you know who you’re targeting and where to find them, choose the type of marketing campaign that best fits your goal.
Are you creating an email sequence to convert leads into customers? An SEO strategy for driving organic traffic? Daily or weekly emails to increase sales? An affiliate marketing program to delegate some of your marketing efforts?
Browse through the 8 marketing campaign types we mentioned earlier and see if any of those fit the bill. If not, choose one that does.
Step 4. Build Your Sales Funnel
Now it’s time to build your sales funnel for the marketing campaign.
A sales funnel is just a series of pages that are built to drive people toward taking a specific action, one step at a time.
And every marketing campaign could benefit from a sales funnel.
However, there are different sales funnels for different things. You can use sales funnels to generate leads, make sales, or even get registrants for a live event.
The sales funnel is the place you’ll direct traffic to.
In ClickFunnels, we have 20+ sales funnel templates for you to choose from. Just choose the one that fits your goal, customize it with our drag-and-drop editor, send traffic to it, and keep a close-eye on mission-critical metrics.
If your marketing campaign is going to be successful, then you’ll not just need any sales funnel, but a sales funnel that converts.
So we also recommend doing some “funnel hacking” — that’s what we call the process of analyzing competitor’s sales funnels to determine what works best in your niche. In other words, go sign up for some of the top offers in your market and pay close attention to how they convert you — then mimic what seems to be working best!
Step 5. Build Your Follow-Up Funnel
Every successful marketing campaign deserves some sort of follow-up funnel.
There’s no such thing as a marketing campaign that converts 100% of visitors on the first go-around… Some people take longer to consider, some people need to build more trust with your business, and for some people it’s just bad timing.
That’s why following up systematically results in more conversions.
The easiest way to do that is with an automated email sequence that’s triggered when someone takes a particular action — abandons their cart, converts, bounces from the sales page. But retargeting ads can also be a part of your follow-up funnel.
Outline how you’re going to follow up with different people who take different actions within your sales funnel, then craft the necessary marketing materials.
Step 6. Understand Your Value Ladder
As someone with a hand in the marketing cookie jar, it’s important for you to know and understand the entire journey that the customer goes on.
Not just what product or service you’re trying to sell with this marketing campaign… but what products and services the target market has likely already purchased from your business, what comes after, and more generally, where they’re at in the customer journey.
We call this the “Value Ladder.”
(And you can learn more about it in DotCom Secrets)
Here’s what it looks like…
At the bottom of the steps is your frontline offer… the lead magnet, product, or services you offer to get people in the door.
As new leads or customers find success with your frontline products, they ascend to your more valuable and more expensive offers. Here’s an example of what this looks like for our DotCom Secrets funnel…
And here’s an example for a dentist’s office…
Take some time to create your own value ladder.
Knowing where your target market for this marketing campaign is at in the value ladder and where they’re going will help you be successful.
Step 7. Set Goals & KPIs
Goals are an important part of any marketing campaigns.
Most experts recommend setting SMART goals (which stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-Bound ), and that’s good advice.
But also don’t forget to set KPIs for you and team members — that’s where the real magic happens. How many emails should people send? How many phone calls should sales people make? How many articles should you write? How many influencers should you reach out to? How many Facebook groups should you engage in, and how often?
Specific KPIs is where the hard work behind real results becomes easy, achievable, and mandatory.
Step 8. Test Everything
As a marketer, you know that there’s no one answer to the question, “What works?”
Ultimately, what works for your business will be different from what’s worked for us at ClickFunnels and it might even be slightly different than what’s worked for some of your competitors.
That’s why testing is so important.
Whenever you create a new marketing campaign, create an additional marketing campaign to test in parallel. Keep what works and throw out what doesn’t, and do it all again.
3 Top Marketing Campaign Planning Tools
To create an effective system for planning marketing campaigns, you’ll need to have access to the right tools.
There are three tools, in particular, that we highly recommend adding to your repertoire: ClickFunnels for building sales funnels, ClickUp for internal project management, and Keap for customer relationship management.
At ClickFunnels, we help entrepreneurs build sales funnels that systematically generate leads, secure appointments, collect registrants for an online event, make sales, or whatever else that serves the business’ needs. In fact, we give all of our users access to 20+ tried-and-tested sales funnel templates — each is built to accomplish a different goal.
(A sales funnel is a series of pages that have been crafted to guide people toward taking a specific action, one baby step at a time… and they are way more effective than websites or landing pages)
Just choose the sales funnel that fits your conversion goal, customize it, and launch! You can also build an email list, a membership site, and email-based follow-up funnels all right inside of your ClickFunnels account.
- High-converting sales funnel templates
- Drag-and-drop page builder
- Email capabilities
- Follow-up funnel builder
- Membership site builder
- Ecommerce capabilities
- Sales funnel analytics
- Split testing
- Domain hosting
- Free affiliate account
ClickFunnels starts at $97 per month, but it has a 14-day free trial.
ClickUp is project management software that allows you to create projects, assign tasks, and track progress. A tool like this is critical for the success of marketing or sales teams. Features include task management, a knowledge base builder, goal monitoring, and tons of integrations and apps.
- Task management
- Knowledge base builder
- Goal monitoring
- Progress tracker
ClickUp costs $5 per member per month but they also have a freemium plan with limited features.
Keap, previously branded as Infusionsoft, is a versatile online marketing tool. It’s solutions include sales and marketing automation, a CRM, sales pipelines, payment processing, appointment scheduling, email marketing, and reporting and analytics.
In its own words, you can use Keap to “Create personalized, customized sales and marketing processes to efficiently move leads through your sales pipeline and get more repeat business.”
Keap starts at $56 per month per user.
- Email Marketing
- B2B Capabilities
- Mobile App
- Landing Pages
- Sales Pipeline
- A/B Testing
- Lead Scoring
Keap’s CRM starts at $56 per user per month and they offer a free trial.
Want to create a marketing campaign that gets great results?
Hopefully, you now have a better idea of how to do that.
You’ve learned what a marketing campaign is, the 8 primary types of marketing campaigns, an 8-step process for planning marketing campaigns, and the 3 tools you need to be successful.
Now it’s time for action.
Off you go!