Are you always stuck in the ‘idea’ phase of your marketing campaigns?
A creative strategy would move your campaign from ideation to execution.
It’s a blueprint that enables your business to meet marketing goals.
Want to learn how to easily write a creative strategy that works for your marketing team?
In this blog, you’ll learn:
- What a creative strategy is
- An in-depth step-by-step guide on how to build a stellar creative strategy
What’s even more Interesting?
You’ll get a creative strategy example for an eCommerce brand.
Let’s get started.
What Is a Creative Strategy?
A creative strategy is a documented plan that guides your creation process to meet a specific marketing goal or objective.
A good creative strategy is actionable and specific.
eCommerce marketing teams who run campaigns without a creative strategy get frustrated because:
- They do not have guidance for their campaigns.
- They have little ROI on marketing investments.
- They lack creative direction.
- Their content is inconsistent with the brand identity.
Your creative strategy can help you meet a long-term goal or succeed with a short-term campaign.
The purpose of a creative strategy is to:
- Guide the content development process.
- Align your marketing deliverables with the brand’s needs.
- Show a timeline of milestones measuring progress and results.
As you can see, a creative strategy is important in meeting your marketing goals.
But how do you start?
How do you develop a creative strategy that suits your eCommerce brand and gives the best results?
Find out in the next section.
6 Steps for Building a Stellar Creative Strategy
Developing a creative strategy may seem like a lot of work but with this guide, you can get started right away.
The intricacies are broken down into six simple steps that every strategist or creative director can use to ensure a smoother creation process and collaboration.
#1: Define SMART goals
Knowing your marketing goals will guide you in developing a strategy/map to achieve them.
In this section, we will explain goal setting in detail.
SMART is an acronym for:
- Specific: Your goals should not be vague or broad. For instance, a specific goal would be to increase your website conversion rate by 40% in Q1 of 2023 rather than just increase website conversion. An unspecified goal makes your strategy less actionable.
- Measurable: Your goal should include measurable metrics. This means that you should be able to see and measure your results after a while.
- Achievable: Your goal shouldn’t be out of reach. While it shouldn’t be too easy, it should be attainable even though it may challenge you. Your goal should be based on the current situation of your brand and your time frame. Going from 10 sales per 100 clicks to 70 sales per 100 clicks in one week is not achievable, especially for a startup.
- Relevant: Your campaign goal should concern your overall business growth and should be cohesive with your brand goals.
- Time-bound: Work expands to fill up the time allotted to it. Without a time frame, your project may drag on for a long time.
When you have a great marketing goal for your eCommerce brand, create an action plan that makes each day’s activity geared toward meeting your eventual goal.
#2: Write a creative strategy statement
A creative strategy statement, also known as a creative brief, is a concise mission statement of your creative strategy.
It just means a statement or two that summarizes the what, why, and who of your creative strategy.
When writing a creative strategy statement for your eCommerce brand, answer the following questions:
- Who is your target audience?
- What is the competitive advantage of your eCommerce brand over others?
- What is the unique selling point(USP) of your campaign?
When you answer these questions, you can write a statement that encompasses the value of your product. It also specifies on what social media channels your campaign can thrive.
With Insense, writing your creative brief doesn’t have to be complicated. Insense has ready-to-use options and interactive features that save you time and effort.
Here’s an example of a creative strategy statement for a health and wellness eCommerce brand:
“We want young executives who use LinkedIn and Facebook to perceive our warm and reassuring archetype through our marketing campaigns. We want them to feel safe enough to trust us with their mental health needs and self-care products.”
This statement summarizes the target audience, goals, and brand strategy of the creative campaign.
You can use it as a template for the creative strategy statement for your own brand.
#3: Carefully choose your success metrics
Your success metrics are key performance indicators (KPIs) that show the progress of your campaign.
The KPIs depend on your goals and what kind of campaign you want to run.
If it’s a social media campaign, your KPIs would be specific to the social media channel you’re using.
For instance, if your goal is to increase your website visitors by running a campaign on Instagram, your key performance indicators may be the number of profile visits you have from each campaign post and how many people click the link in your Instagram bio.
Examples of key performance indicators you can track include:
- Marketing qualified leads
- Number of website visitors
- Number of people who add your products to their cart
- Number of people who go to the checkout point
- Referral traffic
- Email sign-ups/ registrations
- Social media likes and comments
- Sales revenue
- Hashtag growth
- SERP blog ranking
You choose the KPIs depending on your target audience and goals.
You should also be able to measure these success metrics. Some of the tools you can use to do that are:
- Google Analytics
- Instagram or Facebook page insights
- CRM tools
#4: Define your target audience
Your target audience is simply the kind of individuals who would buy your products.
You should know the demographics of your target audience to be able to create a tailored marketing strategy.
Create a buyer persona (a fictional character of a potential buyer) and use that persona to know what kind of messaging would resonate with them.
What kind of people would you like to buy your products? What kind of people do you want to attract with your inbound or outbound marketing strategies?
Once you answer these questions, you can figure out who your target audience is.
Knowing your target audience is very important for your creative strategy because it will guide the kind of content and channel you use.
Find out the marketing channels that your target audience uses the most. For instance, according to this research by Pew Research, older professionals mostly use LinkedIn and Facebook, while Gen Z audiences use TikTok and Instagram.
Hence, your content marketing would involve the kinds of content, graphic designs, and copywriting that the audience engages with the most.
Your creative assets should stem from answers to your followers’ burning questions. Platforms like Reddit and Quora help you to easily find out their preferences.
Your end goal should be to ensure that your brand tone, style, and messaging are consistent and appeal to your target market.
Promoting a recognizable and cohesive brand is always part of a successful creative strategy.
#5: Set a budget
Creating a rough budget for your creative marketing strategy will make your creative process easier and faster.
This is because you will be able to check your spending, identify overspending, and adjust accordingly during your strategy execution process.
You have to start by reviewing your current marketing expenditure. After that, conduct market research. This will help you find out the cost of the software, tools, consultation fees, and creator fees involved.
If you’re running a social media campaign, you should find out the cost of sponsored ads for the social media platform you intend to use.
Here are the costs a content budget for an eCommerce brand should cover:
- Budget for paid ads: This may differ for various social media platforms. Find out the exact costs or a range you can use.
- Budget for marketing personnel: Payment for members of your team.
- Budget for digital assets: This includes the costs of making a logo, email templates, campaign videos, and even an asset management system.
- Budget for marketing tools: Project management software, analytic tools, scheduling tools, and collaboration tools.
- Budget for the launch of a new product, trade shows, PR, etc.
- Budget for contractors: Influencers, freelance copywriter, designers.
You can edit your budget depending on changes in the economy or the prices of things when you get to certain points of your execution process.
Also, plan for unexpected expenses and extras, such as a change of software, marketing personnel, and new hires.
#6: Create a reasonable timeline
Your content marketing plan is not complete until you have a time frame to execute your plan. How long should the project last?
A timeline would:
- Enable your stakeholders to have a time-based content expectation.
- Make the workflow easier for your creative team as they have clear deadlines to work with.
- Measure the progress of the strategy and allow you to tick off achieved milestones.
- Break down tasks into smaller chunks that can be done in shorter periods.
Here’s a time-based content strategy for a fictional eCommerce brand that intends to increase its conversion rates using an Instagram reels campaign.
Now that you know all the steps to develop a good creative marketing strategy, you’re probably wondering if there’s a template you can replicate.
There’s an example in the next section.
Let’s take a look...
Example: An eCommerce Brand Creative Strategy
Below is a template that shows you how to create your eCommerce brand creative strategy using the steps listed above.
The Brand: This eCommerce brand, BeYou, sells customized, organic beauty and lifestyle products for young women (20-35 years old) who want to be confident and beautiful using cruelty-free beauty and skincare products.
SMART Goals: Increase social media (Instagram, TikTok) engagement by 30% in four months.
Creative Strategy Statement: Increase the social media engagement of the target audience by running UGC-derived campaigns.
Success Metrics: Post impressions, Instagram shop visits, profile visits, followers, shares, and views. These KPIs would be measured using Instagram and TikTok page insights.
Target Audience: Young millennials and Gen Z women who are college students or young professionals. Hence, the content should be fun, minimalist, and knowledgeable.
Budget: $20k for creator collaboration, $10k for paid ads. This budget would be broken down and allocated to specific marketing needs for the campaign.
Timeline: One month for creative partnerships, two months for content production and the campaign proper, and one month for content promotion.
You can now go ahead to define specific tasks and processes to achieve your goal.
With this example, you’re well-equipped so it’s time to wrap up.
Find the Right Creators to Collaborate With
Your social media marketing campaign can only be set in motion with a business strategy.
Brainstorm the goals you want to achieve with your team members.
Decide what kind of strategic plan will enable you to reach your target market and achieve your specific business objectives.
This includes whether to run a campaign, launch a new product, or review your content marketing strategies.
If you’re about to launch a social media marketing campaign, you’ll need the right creators and influencers to collaborate with.