28 Mar 2018
Digital channels such as brand websites, microsites and social media can be highly effective spaces for promotional campaigns to be activated. They’re ripe for innovation, allowing brands to push the boundaries and create engaging experiences.
But it’s one thing creating an amazing campaign. The real challenge in today’s world of ad-blocking and low ranking organic content is to get your audience to notice it and participate.
So how can brands get their campaigns the attention they need to work?
Perhaps the most obvious place to start is social media. Although there are fears of organic content not reaching consumers as well as it once did, if they’re already signed up and following, chances are they’ll see it.
Social media is the go-to channel for supporting a digital campaign. Most, if not all, brands have a large and loyal following on their social sites, so they already have a willing audience who are ready to listen.
Brands can reach out to this fan base and let them be the ambassadors for the campaign as they share it with family and friends through their own posts. For example, if a user comments on a Facebook post, that will show up on the newsfeeds of their friends.
Another route is through paid-for social posts. Brands can advertise their game or competition by paying for posts, especially on Facebook, where they can reach highly targeted groups.
Testing different formats of how to promote a message is worth doing. If it’s a game, the brand can create a video showcasing gameplay. If they’re using Facebook then try out the carousal feature or canvas ads. Brands should use data to see what worked well with their demographic and what didn’t get to them.
Instagram is another powerful and effective place to pay for posts. Users are used to scrolling through stories and their feed, so inserting the brand’s campaign into them is a way to reach targeted people when they’re doing daily browsing.
Reaching people physically is another popular way to support a campaign. If there is an experiential aspect to the campaign, however, it’s worth considering how the physical and digital experiences can work together. Combining the two is the best way to maximise impact.
The experiential aspect will always have limited interaction as only those who are physically present can engage with it.
It’s important that those who couldn’t make it don’t feel left out, which is why a digital recap of it is so important. Online channels have a much larger reach, as well, so they can compliment the experiential aspect. Otherwise, most of the brand’s audience won’t see the campaign.
Another way to reach consumers is using packaging to advertise your campaign. If a promotion is all about a particular product, then why not use that product’s packaging as a billboard?
The campaign can be digitally linked to the pack, or a graphic can prompt people to go to a website or interact with the campaign.
It’s not suitable for everyone as it can be expensive to make and logistically difficult. But if it’s feasible to do, it can help to support a campaign.
Incentives are important to consider before a campaign goes live as well.
Offering prizes and competitions is one of the most commonly used tactics in promotional marketing. So make sure the prizes are enticing, but most of all that they’re relevant. The most expensive prize might not always be the most attractive to the target audience.
If the prize is exciting but nothing to do with the product itself, it attracts the wrong people. They’ll only enter for the one-off prize and not because they’re interested in the brand.
(Image: Soap and Glory)
A good example is a campaign we helped to launch last year for Soap and Glory. They had a competition to select an army of student Glambassadors. The brand was looking for students who had an interest in vlogs and blog and beauty to compete to become the official ambassador for Soap and Glory for their university.
The prize wasn’t a predictable holiday or ‘year’s supply’ but actually gave them relevant experience for a career and an internship in the New York office. The prize was highly relevant and attractive which is why it was such a success.
Email is another effective way to support a promotion, whether that’s through traditional routes like a newsletter or a specific reach to consumers.
Newsletters are a way to tap into another audience that a brand always has, meaning it reaches interested people.
It is also worth thinking about people who have already interacted with the digital campaign. Those that signed up for a competition or entered their details at another point should be retargeted afterwards. Invite them back to play a game again, keep them posted on whether a winner has been chosen, if it’s raising money for a cause then keep them updated on how it’s going etc. Keeping up communication with them is key.
When getting this information, brands must be careful to make sure they have proper consent. Nobody wants to fall foul of the incoming GDPR legislation.
Social sharing and UGC are two other important areas. From a campaign concept point of view, if there’s a chance to encourage UGC from the campaign, it’s worth doing. It’s a great (and free) way to amplify the message by reaching out to a wider audience, amassing an army of fans and people who spread the word for them.
And always use social share whenever possible. If people win something, let them share the news on their social media, which again reaches a much wider audience.
In the digital age, there are many moving parts to a promotional campaign. Ensuring they all work in sync with each other is crucial to the effectiveness of the activity.
Ultimately, this comes down to clients and agencies (and the people within them) knowing what their roles and responsibilities are, and carrying them out in full.