Starting an outreach marketing campaign
If you search in Google ‘what is an outreach campaign’ you will probably get a definition along the lines of ‘An outreach campaign is a method of identifying the influencers of your target market, contacting them and encouraging them to promote your brand, services or product’. This makes outreach sound like a simple three step process - identify, contact, encourage.
But when many people try to start a campaign they quickly become lost, give up or go off in a direction which doesn’t match their original purpose.
So how do you really start an outreach campaign? Our 'know how' team has come up with five steps.
Step 1: Define your purpose
Start by asking yourself ‘what am I trying to achieve?’ Sounds like an obvious one but so often in marketing we start without a clear purpose. Are you looking to educate, promote, engage, raise awareness or change perceptions? By setting out a clear goal for the campaign at the beginning provides a benchmarking statement that can continually be referred back to and ensure activities are working towards this end.
Step 2: Identify your audience
Your target audience needs profiling. What is their purchase journey? What are their wants and needs? Where do they ‘hangout’? What other people and sources are their major influencers?
By building a detailed picture of your target audience you know how best to engage with them. This process can lead to some conflicting answers so don’t be afraid to segment your audience into smaller groups.
Step 3: Who are you going to engage with
There are two routes here. Either you’re going to engage directly with your target market or you’re going to go a level higher to the people who influence your target market.
To help decide which route you should take try asking yourself the following questions;
- Do I already have a large following of people to outreach to?
- Is this following largely represented by my target market?
- Does this following trust me?
- Will my target audience admit to using my products and services? (who would admit they use a product to combat bad breath for example?)
If the answer to any of the above is 'no' you need to target the key influencers of your target audience. In fact, even if you answered yes to all of the above I would still factor key influencers into your plan. If you are looking to build trust in your brand, endorsements from few key – but influential – brand advocates promoting your brand as a trusted source is the ultimate endorsement.
Step 4: Research
So you know who want to engage with but why should they want to engage with you? Why should they care about, trust, endorse or review your business, product or service? To answer this question you need to research and understand their frustrations, concerns, motivators and interests. Looking at what’s going on in the wider world and seeing if there are topical factors which could affect them is a key part of this process to capture all the relevant information that can help tell your brand story. This could be seasonality, sporting event, new/changing legislation, newly launched alternative products, religious/national holidays or world events.
Step 5: Planning the process
Then it’s about turning the knowledge into a relevant plan of action – turning your know how into an outreach strategy that meets your benchmarked objective.
The best approach is a workshop with the key stakeholders, working back from your target audiences’ needs and how these are serviced by industry influencers. Looking at what the key influencers want and how you can provide them with a solution.