Your radio station will probably execute a digital campaign of some sort in the coming months. Perhaps you'll run Facebook ads to promote a station event, create an email campaign to drive membership donations, or launch a new podcast. No matter what the particular campaign is, ask your staff these questions before it begins:
1. What is our goal?
What are you trying to accomplish with this particular campaign? Are you looking to increase website traffic, drive online listening, or build your email database? Whenever possible, the goal should be directly linked to the station's ultimate goal — the bottom line. Avoid vague goals like “engagement,” “branding,” or “increasing awareness.” Choose something that you can quantify.
2. How are we going to measure that goal?
It's tempting to think that just because we can measure something, it's important. That isn't always the case. Decide in advance which data points you are going to use to measure the accomplishment of your goal and, just as crucial, which ones you're not going to use. For example, if your goal is to grow your station's email database, then you will want to measure the number of new subscribers. If your campaign also results in a lot of retweets, that's a bonus, but this has no bearing on the success of your campaign. Stay focused on the numbers that really matter.
3. How are we defining success and failure?
Once you've decided what to measure, set some parameters for that datapoint. How many new email subscribers will it take for you to declare your digital campaign a success? One hundred? One thousand? Ten thousand? Make sure that everybody on your staff agrees on what qualifies as success. By the same token, make sure there is a consensus on what constitutes failure.
If you don't know these numbers because you have nothing to benchmark them against, that's okay — as long as everybody understands this. It is perfectly acceptable to say, “We've never run a campaign to build our email database before, let's see what happens.” In this case, your aim is to find a number that you can use as a benchmark for future campaigns.
4. How will we review our campaign when it's over?
Before your digital campaign begins, make plans to review it when it's complete. Decide on an end date and set aside some time to gather together everybody who is involved with the campaign to review the metrics. With digital campaigns, it is important not only that everybody involved see the performance data, but also that they reach a consensus on what that data means. The last thing you want is a Digital Director thinking, “We got 100 new email subscribers, that's terrific!,” while the General Manager is thinking, “We only got 100 new email subscribers, that's terrible!” Make sure that everybody in your station is on the same page.
Every radio station staff is overworked these days, but don't skip these questions when launching your next digital campaign. A little preparation can go a long way.
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