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No digital marketing campaign is perfect from day one. These things take time and require a lot of hard work. The digital landscape is changing more often than not with updates to search engines, best practice techniques & consumers adopting new platforms. There are campaigns that generate a positive return on investment (ROI) early on. There are campaigns that start slow but you know exactly what to do to improve them. In reality though, even the best marketer has those campaigns that are delivering a negative ROI and the next steps are hard to figure out.
Determining how to deal with a failing campaign, correcting it and working on salvaging a positive ROI is not something a lot of people speak of. As marketers though, we’ve all dealt with failing campaigns, and over the years we have developed ways to steer a campaign back on track or take the learnings and apply them to the next campaign we’ve run.
Not all campaigns will start delivering positive results straight away. Some channels, such as SEO, often take time to begin delivering favorable results. If you are relying on such a channel don’t be discouraged if only a handful of inbound leads have come through this channel. For some campaigns, success just takes time.
On the contrary, channels such as PPC are a lot quicker at producing results and offer real-time data so you can make constant improvements to ads running within the campaign. Again, don’t be discouraged if this channel takes a while to produce results, especially if you’re a new business, readdress your copy, landing pages, link extensions and test different variables that may increase your click-through-rate (CTR).
If your campaigns are long-term campaigns, allow adequate time for it to develop and produce some results before deeming the campaign a fail. The way we approach channels and our assumptions around how our target customers will interact with us, is not spot on the first time. Look into developing your target buyer persona before beginning a campaign and utilising different channels.
When one of our account managers has identified a campaign that is returning a negative ROI, they do many things to diagnose the issue. One of them, probably the most effective, is running an audit on the specific channel that is lacking results in that campaign. If all channels are performing poorly, an audit of the whole campaign is usually necessary in order to understand the issue and correct it.
Going through the channel utilised by the campaign with a specialist is often a great way to understand any changes that the channel has had made to it since you utilised it last. Are your social campaigns reaching the right audience? Are your Google Ads ad sets optimised to spend the budget you have to work with? Are your display ads showing correctly? All questions a specialist should be able to help you answer.
It is best to work on a channel by channel basis when possible as trying to tackle the whole campaign at once is often a big task and can be an overwhelming experience. Isolate the channel performing the poorest and start from there. Monitor any changes made in the campaign across a period of time and determine the impacts they have had.
This point runs on from the last –be on the front foot across all the campaigns you are running and be proactive in the way you approach any issues that may arise. What do I mean by this? Don’t just accept that the campaign is delivering a negative ROI, follow the previous points to determine the issues and then take an active approach in changing things.
If a change is made that impacts ROI then let everyone working on the campaign know what you did and the impact it had. Make sure everyone is learning along the way.
And most importantly, remember that asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness! It shows you want to learn and improve. It’s also usually the best way to take control of a difficult situation.
A ‘failed’ campaign is only a failed campaign if you didn’t learn anything from it and apply it elsewhere. As I’ve said, it is inevitable that some campaigns won’t perform as we wanted them to, but there are many learnings that can be taken from them. It’s probably safe to assume that you will be working on another digital marketing campaign pretty soon, or even working on multiple at a time. This is a great time to look at what did or didn’t work and apply it to your next campaign.
Was the copy on your social ad strong and engaging for your target market? Had you determined the correct buyer persona profile for your product or service offering? If not, why not? Has Google given you suggestions on how your campaigns could be performing better? Use these suggestions and learnings to apply to your next campaign. How can you better perfect your buyer personas? Did you run an audit on your Google Ads campaigns and find something you could apply across all campaigns?
Something to note also is that just because a campaign utilised a single channel, doesn’t mean you can’t apply any of these learnings or takeaways to other channels. Remember that you will be targeting similar or the same buyer personas across multiple channels and messaging may even be similar. Don’t be afraid to change it up either and A/B split test to determine what is and isn’t working to take across to a new campaign.
Your campaign has finished, and it hasn’t produced the results you were hoping for or met your target. The campaign could very much be a great campaign but lacks a strong strategy. I’ve always believed that a campaign is only as strong as the strategy behind it. So what next? Well it is possible that you will need to put a new campaign together for the same product or service offering to try and produce better results and meet your targets, so why not recycle the campaign you already have with a new strategy?
How do you do this, you ask? Utilise the resources you have at your disposal. Grab one of your colleagues that haven’t worked on the campaign previously and cast some fresh eyes over it. They may find something or suggest something you could have overlooked previously. Do competitor research and look at what is already working in your space that resonates with your target buyer persona. Rework the message you want prospective customers to receive before re-launching the campaign – this could very much make or break a solid campaign.
At Rocket, we hold strategy sessions with the account manager, senior consultant, a channel specialist and a strategist to come up with a solid strategy before launching a campaign. We also make sure we can learn everything possible from our client’s about their offering, their clients and their prospects. What do they want from a campaign? Are there specific and measurable goals that they want out of a campaign.
We understand that not everyone has the resources to allocate a different person to each channel or campaign, but we’re here to help. Get in contact if you are looking at turning a struggling campaign into a success or even sign-up to our newsletter and gain access to exclusive digital content that is sure to help you with your digital campaigns moving forward.
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