When you want to launch a marketing campaign, it can be hard to be patient. The sooner you launch, the sooner you can see those leads start coming in! Right?

Well, yes… And no.

Sure the sooner you launch, the sooner you might see a few leads trickle in, but if you really want to knock your campaign out of the park, here are 10 things you must do before launching your campaign.

1) Get clear on your brand.

Before you begin any marketing campaign, you must be incredibly clear on who you are and why you do what you do. Your brand is the core of your company and if you cannot communicate this clearly internally amongst yourselves, your hopes of running a successful marketing campaign that is consistent with your brand values is slim.

2) Get clear on your customer.

We can’t always get what we want, but that doesn’t mean knowing what we ideally want isn’t important. In fact, it’s critical. So make sure to know your target customer in detail, from demographic information to behavioral patterns and who their influencers are.

We recommend completing an ICP (ideal customer profile) for this step. There are plenty of ICP templates available online to get you started if you need help.

Warning: After you’ve gone through steps one and two once, you may not feel the need to revisit them for the next marketing campaign…but beware of skipping these. You should check in to make sure that the campaign that you are considering launching is consistent with your brand and your target audience before moving forward every time.

3) Develop a clear message.

What you are selling and how it helps your target customers might be clear as crystal to you…and you might be right. But unless you can communicate this in an incredibly clear and simple way to your customers, your campaign won’t succeed.

Focus your message on your value to your customers, how you solve a major pain point for them, how you make their lives easier…not specifics of your product or service itself. Those details come into play further down the funnel, once a potential lead is on the hook.

Also, make sure to create a few variations that you can test against each other in your campaign. No one is always right, so rather than choosing the single marketing message that you believe will resonate best, try a few and let your customers tell you through split testing which is the most effective.

4) Define a budget.

Think about what a lead or a sale is worth to you. How much value does the average lead bring in? What is the full lifetime value of a customer?

It is important to think through these numbers in depth because it gives you a clear guide for how much you should be willing to spend in order to acquire new qualified leads.

Customer acquisition is typically incredibly expensive, so it’s good to have a realistic idea of what you are willing to pay and what it might take to run an effective campaign.

In your campaign budget, remember to include not just the actual ad spend, but the budget that it will take for creative, technology development, and administration.

5) Build good (bonus points for GREAT) and effective landing pages.

You spend money to get people to your site, so it reasonably follows that you should spend money on your site as well. Otherwise your initial investment is wasted on directing traffic to a poor and ineffective experience.

Your marketing landing pages are your mousetrap. This is where your marketing efforts will convert, so make sure to spend time thinking through the content and layout for your landing pages. Each campaign should lead to contextualized landing pages that are specific to the ads themselves.

Check out the elements of a high converting landing page for more tips.

6) Test and optimize through CRO

CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) is like marketing insurance.

By testing different variations to improve your marketing performance, you’re sure to improve your results. So make sure that you have a method to perform CRO and an optimization strategy before you launch your marketing campaign. This way you can start testing and improve as soon as your ad spend starts.

7) Identify your key channels.

Depending on your specific audience (your ICP), you will want to focus your advertising on different channels. Figure out where your audience “hangs out” and what types of marketing they are more likely to respond to, whether that be social media marketing, PPC, social media marketing, or mass awareness marketing offline through billboards and flyers, or content marketing.

Knowing this will help further target your marketing dollars and increase your lead conversion.

8) Establish tracking.

Adding a simple install of Google Analytics and tagging your campaign links to track generic metrics is not enough. Define your company’s most meaningful metrics to measure campaign effectiveness and engagement and track these.

How do you know which metrics are important for your business specifically? Well…it’s only important if it’s important, meaning that you can use the metrics actionably. If you won’t make any decision based on the rise or fall of a metric, it’s probably not key to your business.

Make sure to create funnels and conversion goals as well, and that you have a clear dashboard to be able to see and analyze these important metrics on a regular basis. You should be using these metrics to make realtime decisions to adjust your campaigns based on what’s working and what’s not.

9) Create a follow up plan.

You run a marketing campaign and it’s a great success! You get an huge influx of leads…what’s next?

How do you communicate with these leads? How do you move them through your funnel to get them to convert? And after conversion, how do you continue to engage them to turn them into loyal customers that come back again and again?

Simply put, you must have a plan to convert your leads and keep them happy before you bring them to your site. You wouldn’t promise your friends a fancy cocktail party on a Friday night, only to be sitting on the couch in your PJs without anything set up once they arrive, would you? So don’t do this to your potential customers.

Surprise and delight them along every step of their journey.

10) Execute consistently.

Last, but not least, you must execute consistently. Marketing campaigns can’t be turned on and off sporadically. Campaigns build momentum and won’t be effective if they are only active here and there.

Following all of these steps before launching a marketing campaign may sound like a lot of work. But trust us, it’s worth it.