Raise your hand if you’ve spent hours planning a marketing or holiday campaign but are never REALLY sure how it went. Most of us are flying by the seat of our pants and when we get through a major sale or holiday we’re right onto the next one. But what if I told you there was a better way? Today I’m sharing my favorite tool for recapping our efforts so we know the best way to move forward.
Today we're talking about a tool I like to use after every campaign in my eCommerce business, even if it's as small as a Memorial Day Weekend promo or as big as Black Friday Weekend or the whole holiday season.
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The Campaign Recap Template
It's June 2020, which means we are halfway through the year. This also means it’s time to start planning for the back half of the year. My Campaign Recap Template is the perfect tool for you to assess where you're at and what you might want to do moving forward. It's a Google Doc that you can copy and then continue to use over and over again for all the different campaigns in your business.
Start thinking about all the marketing activities you do in your business. From the holiday campaigns to social posts to paid ads to any discounts you run. You spend so much time planning, creating content, setting up promos, and running ads but then what happens? What do you do after that campaign or promotional period is over? Often we just move on to the next one and don't give much thought to what you did before.
As the CEO of your business, I encourage you to make time to look back and audit what you did. Understand all of the time, energy and effort that you put into marketing your store is time well spent, and make sure you're getting a return on your investment and the time of your team.
The Campaign Recap Template, which you may have heard me refer to as a Campaign Post-Mortem, will allow you to gather the data, reflect and figure out what you want to do (or not do) moving forward.
You can collect data for a specific amount of time, such as a Memorial Day Weekend sale or as big as the holiday season. You can also create one for the whole first six months of 2020.
This template allows you to record the dates of the campaign as well as any promotional details that you ran, such as a 25% off sale or a buy one, get one half off deal. Whatever you did that was special during the campaign that is different from just your normal day to day business.
The numbers you will record:
- Total revenue
- Total traffic
- Conversion rate
- Total transactions
- Average order value
- Units per transaction
- Return customer rate
You will record the high-level numbers as well as the results for each individual promo that you ran. If it was a brand or category specific campaign, it’s important to compare to the previous period.
For example, if you’re featuring a specific brand and you put them on your home page, feature them in an email and talk about them on social media, you want to know if all that extra effort actually helped you sell more units or make more revenue from that brand.
To know if there was an increase in numbers, you want to record last year’s numbers or, if the campaign ran for two weeks you will want to look at how much of that brand you sold the two weeks prior.
If you’re selling the same number of units as the previous two weeks, but you’re giving a discount on them, was it really worth all that extra effort? Sure, it's fun to feature a brand or collaboration, but perhaps there was something else you could have spent your time on instead.
Get as granular as you can
Look at the traffic from all of your different channels based on the specific promotions and features that you did.
Record all the numbers from:
- Social media
- Paid media
- Organic traffic
- Direct traffic, which is people directly searching your URL
Record your results during this specific timeframe so you can see whether your email drove the majority of traffic and sales or whether you made money on your paid advertising. That way you can know whether you need to put more effort into optimizing your email or whether you need to do the bare minimum for paid advertising.
You want to double down on what works and pull back on what doesn't.
Maybe you worked with some influencers, which means you want to analyze your referral traffic. If they're a blogger primarily promoting you on Instagram did you see a lift in site traffic during that time or more revenue?
When you're working with influencers it's not necessarily always about that monetary ROI, sometimes it's just about visibility and awareness. However you go into it just make sure that you're actually getting the desired results out of the partnership. You won't know unless you sit down and analyze the results.
The campaign recap is outside of your regular weekly reporting that we talked about in Episode 7.
The information you enter in this template may be a little different than what is included based on your business. Maybe you want to track something you featured in a new category on your homepage and you want to know whether you got more visibility to this category? Or maybe you brought in a new brand that did really, really well, but you want to compare the results from the rest of the brands that you already had.
If you are your own brand, maybe you just want to analyze by product. Did a new product start to cannibalize everything else? Or did people just buy that in addition to what they were already purchasing? You want to try and get a handle on how all of these moving parts affect the bottom line of your business so that when you sit down and you look at the numbers it makes it much easier to visualize and figure out what is moving the needle in your business, and where you want to spend more of your time.
Three open-ended questions to ask yourself every time you do a campaign recap
In addition to all the numbers, there are three open-ended questions that I want you to answer every time you create a campaign recap. Talk to everyone in your team including, your customer service people and your internal or external fulfillment people, because everyone in your business is going to have a slightly different perspective than you do.
Question 1: What went well that we can repeat?
This is where you get to celebrate your wins. What was super awesome. What did your customers love that drove increases in your business? If it worked out well you totally want to do it again. This can be anything from a specific promotion, social posts, certain kinds of emails.
Using an example from this crazy COVID time, a lot of companies got a bit more personal in their emails by using messaging from the heart and giving more of a voice to the brand by saying things like we're all in this together and there was a very positive response to that. We could see the increase in engagement within the email responses and sales on the back end of that. Record these results and continue to do this, because it worked really well and your customers were really connecting to that.
Question 2: What went wrong that we should avoid?
I have very fresh examples in my mind of running out of bubble wrap on Black Friday weekend and having to go to the office supply store on Black Friday to make sure we could ship our orders out. Not great. That will never happen again because we're always going to be prepared for that.
Think about what went wrong. Did your emails not trigger? Did you forget to set them up? Did you set up a discount code wrong? All of those little human error screw-ups that happened because you didn't plan or didn’t double check.
When you record those mistakes it makes it really hard to screw it up again, because now you're gonna check three or four times instead of just once or twice real quick. We all screw up and nobody wants to put that shit in writing, but record it so it doesn’t happen again.
Question 3: What should we do differently/what did we miss?
This is where customer feedback comes into play. Consider the following:
- Were customers confused about the promo you ran?
- Did they ask a lot of questions about it?
- Did you communicate your shipping cut-offs well enough?
- Was there something that a competitor did that was really awesome?
- Was there a trend that you didn't capitalize on?
- Was there a specific item a lot of your customers were asking for and you didn't have it?
Reflect on all of those questions and decide what to do differently. The trick to making this work is to keep them all in a safe place. Keep them all in a folder together and make sure you're reflecting back on them for each of your new campaigns.
Don’t just wait until the next holiday promo before you look at the previous holiday promo. Make sure you’re looking at it during the next campaign that you create, and start tweaking and making adjustments so that you can do better the next time around.
Make notes in Google Analytics
The other place that you can make notes is actually right in Google Analytics. You can make notes in the source and medium acquisition reports. The timeline graph allows you to add annotations on the date that you want to reference later down the track when you’re comparing data.
Make notes regarding anything that has a significant effect on your traffic or revenue, such as COVID-19 or the protests. These things are really clear in your mind right now, but you're not always going to remember the exact dates later down the track. If you have a big drop in traffic or revenue compared to last year, you can reference really quickly and see whether there was any outside influence coming into play.
This week’s freebie allows you to start with a template and make any edits as you go to refine this process and get to know your business better. The template is as general as possible to help as many people as possible, but the data you track is going to be dependent on your business.
Of course, it's so important to analyze your business on a regular day and it’s even more important right now when there's so much happening in our world. So many things are changing and I hate to use the word new normal, but there's definitely going to be some new normals happening in a lot of different aspects of the world that we live in.
Customer behavior is going to change and we need to adapt and innovate along the way. It’s important to stay up to date with what's going on in the world around you by keeping your finger on the pulse of your business.