Campaign Guide: How to Turn Your Ad Campaigns From Budget-Draining Disasters to Money-Printing Machines

If you’ve run ads on social media before and got mediocre results you know it’s not as easy as it seems. It can get expensive quickly, there’s lots of competition, and those companies have way bigger budgets than you.

For an ad campaign to be successful you don’t just write an ad, slap an image on it, press a few buttons and throw some money to Facebook/Google. The odds of this working are very slim.

This guide is vital for you to understand everything that needs to happen before, during and after you start running your ads, and it could be the difference between going bankrupt or hiring extra help to handle the sales overload.

Yes, we have actually seen it happen! See the case study here.

The steps found on this guide are the same ones we follow at our agency for our clients.

The 8 Steps to Create and Run Profitable Ad Campaigns

1. Define your target audience

Before you begin working on your ads, creatives or email sequences, it is important that you know exactly who your target audience is.

Define your target audience by answering these questions:

  • Who is most likely to be interested in your product/service?
  • What are their characteristics (age, gender, location, interests, etc.)?
  • What are their pain points or challenges that your product/service can help solve?
  • Who are your top customers and what do they have in common?

While there are many other things to consider for targeting, these questions are the most important and should set you off on the right path.

Take your time doing research to answer them thoroughly before continuing to the next step.

2. Create a customer persona

A customer persona (or avatar) is a representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real information about your target audience. Creating a customer persona can help you better understand and connect with your potential customers.

Things to include in a customer persona:

  • Name your persona (You may need more than one)
  • Include demographics such as age, gender, location, and income
  • Include personal details such as interests, values, and goals
  • Identify their pain points and how your program can help solve them

The more details you add to your customer persona, the better.

Creating a detailed customer persona will help you create an effective strategy for your product or service.

3. Develop a winning strategy

After defining your target audience and creating your customer persona, this is the most important step in the campaign planning process.

Consider the questions below to help you determine what tactics and ad networks you should use in order to make your campaign successful.

  • What do you want to achieve with your ads? (generate leads, drive online sales)
  • How much is your advertising budget?
  • How much are you willing to pay for a new customer?
  • What networks will you use to reach your target audience (Facebook Ads, Instagram Ads, TikTok Ads, Google, YouTube)?
  • What type of content will you create based on your customer persona (blog posts, videos, social media posts)?
  • Do you have a clear call to action (buy now, sign up for webinar, download free guide)?
  • How will you set up retargeting?
  • How will you set up email sequences?
  • What will be your follow-up process?

Putting together a solid strategy will provide you with clear step-by-step instructions to follow and execute.

4. Set up your ad networks

After defining your target audience and creating your customer persona, this is the most important step in the campaign planning process.

Consider the questions below to help you determine what tactics and ad networks you should use in order to make your campaign successful.

Once your strategy is ready and you know which ad networks you will use, it is time to set them up.

If you are planning to run ads on Facebook or Instagram you will need to use the Meta Ads Business Manager, as the ads from both networks are managed from there. This ads manager has a significant learning curve and Meta constantly makes changes to its targeting features and interface, which can be frustrating for many users. This is also the platform with the most restrictions on advertising, so be sure to follow their ad policies as closely as possible because if your ads are deemed “non-compliant” by their algorithm you run the risk of getting your account banned.

For TikTok Ads you will need to create a TikTok for Business account. The interface is very similar to Meta Ads, but it is a bit easier to use, the platform doesn’t change as often, and there are different targeting options not available on Meta (and vice versa)

For Google Search, YouTube and Display ads (banners on websites) use the Google Ads platform. This is the most complex and least user friendly ad manager from the group, but depending on your business and your goals, it may be the most effective one as well.

When setting up the ad networks it is also very important to configure all the tracking codes (called pixels) on your forms, online store and website so you can monitor traffic and the actions users take. This can get quite technical, but when set up properly, the pixels will allow you to run retargeting campaigns (serving different ads to users who have interacted with your content) and it is a vital part of a lead nurturing strategy.

If you are planning to use email marketing, you will need to set up an email service such as Mailchimp, Active Campaign or Constant Contact. This will involve creating an account, importing your email list (if you have one), creating email templates and automating the responses based on the user’s actions.

5. Your ad’s content

Keep these things in mind when working on the creative elements for your campaigns, social media content, blog posts or email sequences.

  • Your content needs to be relevant to your target audience
  • Make it engaging by using storytelling
  • Write copy that is easy to understand
  • Add a call to action to take the next step (buy now, sign up for a webinar)
  • Create different variations for each content piece

Your ads should be visually appealing and should clearly communicate your offer. Make sure to include a call-to-action that tells your audience what they need to do next.

If you have a high-ticket offer, your landing page should be designed to convert visitors into leads with a form that captures their contact information.

To drive online store purchases, it is recommended to run traffic through a landing page first instead of going directly to the product page. While this extra step requires additional work and may seem unnecessary, it has been proven time and time again to generate more sales.

And finally, testing different variations of your content pieces will allow you to find winning combinations that can be scaled to obtain better results.

6. Monitor and optimize your campaigns

Once you launch your ad campaigns and start collecting information, it is time to monitor their performance and begin optimizing when necessary.

When analyzing your campaigns, avoid making changes during the first few days, as the algorithms enter a “learning phase” and results may fluctuate wildly during this time. Give them time to settle until you see clear patterns emerge.

Remember the tracking pixels on step 4? This is where they become the most valuable. These pixels, along with other analytic tools provided by the ad networks, allow you to see in detail which ads are doing well and which ones are under performing.

The information provided by these tools allow you to make adjustments to your targeting, ad copy, and landing page in order to improve the performance of your campaigns.

And once you have identified winning ads and creatives, you can begin to scale the ad spend so you can increase your leads and sales.

7. Nurture your prospects with email marketing

This step can apply for e-commerce campaigns, but if you are doing lead generation of any kind, it is a must.

Once you have leads for your product or service, it is essential to nurture them with an email sequence. Use the email services in step 4 in order to do this.

Make sure to segment your email list based on the interests and behaviors of your leads to send them relevant content that will help them with their purchase decision.

The email sequences can be automated based on the lead’s actions (e.g. Clicked a link on a previous email) and you can create additional sequences for other types of offers you may be running at the same time to cross promote them.

8. Follow up with your leads

If your follow up game is strong your sales will explode!

Stay organized by keeping a record of all leads and the status for each one. We recommend using a CRM tool such as Hubspot for this.

When reaching out to a lead, personalize your approach by using their first name and adjusting your message to their specific needs and interests.

You want to contact leads as soon as possible while they are still interested. Prioritize leads who have shown more interest based on their engagement or responses.

It’s okay to continue following up with your leads as long as they don’t tell you to stop, but be mindful of not being too pushy. Be persistent, but not annoying.

Use this guide for your own campaigns

As you can see, running a successful campaign requires a lot more than just pretty ads. It also takes planning, strategy, analysis and a strong lead follow up process.

Feel free to use this guide for your own campaigns, but if you feel overwhelmed with so much information, we can help.

Would you like an assessment of your brand’s advertising efforts to see how we can improve performance? Use the form below to inquire about our done-for-you media buying services.