Building a successful marketing campaign from scratch
In a nutshell, digital marketing is all about recognizing your audience, fitting your brand to meet their interests, and then guiding them to your website and services. But what if your brand isn’t digital? Why do I need a website if I’ve survived this far without one?
Where do I start?
Your website is the crucial piece of the puzzle in marketing, as it is the sole online property that you control. Social media, news outlets, and even your book listings on Amazon are all managed and maintained by another entity, one that, in order to continue their services, must market themselves first and foremost over you and your brand.
Your website is not just a general sales pitch, it’s the intersection where all your marketing efforts should meet; social media efforts should drive viewers to your website—not the other way around.
You own your website, but Facebook owns your account.
Grant BBQ Festival
The Grant BBQ Fest is an annual cookout and fundraiser created by radio personality and DJ, Timmy Vee, to help raise money and awareness of his charity, Toys For Kids—an-all volunteer organization which works to provide toys and gifts to the children of families in need for Christmas. Every year, hundreds of people flock to the three-day event to participate in the epic grill-out for a good cause.
But this year was different, Timmy decided that, in order to reach more people, he needed a powerful marketing strategy. In the month leading up to the event, Longbow worked to bolster the fundraiser’s outreach through a digital campaign, and the first step was to build a proper website.
A successful website’s purpose is to demonstrate your product or service with clarity, draw people to complete an action, and be the cornerstone of your marketing campaign. For an event, a website needs to provide information about its location, directions and parking, entry fees, timetables, a description of the available activities and entertainment, and of course, have a healthy supply of pictures to showcase the event to the public. grantbbqfestival.com does exactly that, and is laser-focused on providing the information necessary for attendees. With the website clean and complete, the real work begins—social media.
Every brand has a specific audience you need to target, but how do you start? Eric Needle, founder of Longbow states,
“We knew that we would find a big percentage of Timmy’s audience on Facebook, but Timmy hadn’t built up his connections. With only a month to spare, it was a race to modernize. We’d need Timmy’s voice to connect with all the past BBQ-lovers and supporters—and gather both old and new traffic to our new channel.”
By reaching out and connecting to past attendees and sponsors, we rekindled old friendships, and created a network of people ready to receive and share our new Facebook news feed. But the network was far from complete, to ensure that people would hear our message, we reached out to the local press, getting small ads and mentions—broadening our voice. We purchased Facebook advertisements, allowing us to reach the local population, instead of getting lost amidst Facebook’s world-wide network. We sent press releases to local papers, and created graphics promoting the event.
With all the pieces in place, we began the process, using the Facebook page to promote the Cookout, live entertainment, Car Show, Food Market and Crafts, and of course, the BBQ contest. We posted everything—basic informative posts, pictures from past events, and even ran a meme campaign. Our main focus was to not simply raise awareness about the event, but to physically connect potential viewers to those involved. Memes and funny captions are critical in this sense, helping us to connect our audience to the voices of the volunteers, the bands who agreed to play live at the event, and Timmy Vee himself.
It’s important to remember that when using social media to market your brand, your personal reach is limited, and there’s only so much you can do for yourself. But by actively encouraging your target audience to engage with your page and to share your posts, you are jump-starting a powerful marketing engine. Using a plethora of photos is a critical aspect of a social media campaign, as they help you to become prominently featured in your audience’s streams, tag specific people to create a solid foundation of links, and most importantly, showcase the past successes of your event.
Facebook suppresses most traffic, but once enough people engage, when it becomes popular, they instead lift up your posts above the noise. We call it critical mass.
This year’s Grant Barbeque Festival had the largest turnout in the event’s history, reaching people all over central Florida. It not only proved the worth of building up a social media campaign from scratch, but laid down the groundwork for following years—The Grant BBQ Fest can only get bigger from here on out.
Regarding the results of the Grant BBQ marketing campaign, Timmy Vee writes,
“In the 17 years of the Festivals history, I have never seen online promotion and Marketing like I saw this year. I was a bit worried, but believed in Longbow after speaking with Eric and his son, Ryan. I didn’t understand everything at first, but I was made a believer. Looking forward to the 18th annual Grant BBQ Festival next year, with very little stress! Trust me when I tell you, it was amazing.”
So many companies out there can build you a website, but often forget the most important part—promotion. Longbow’s mantra is “Brand, content, digital”. We don’t just leave you with a shiny new website to fend for yourself, we initiate a marketing campaign through our venture, GreenDev, designed to get you and your brand on your feet and seen by your target audience.
Visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/grantbbqfest