by Heather Dueitt
Originally published on Forbes.com.
Picture this: Your brand is all set to launch your next digital campaign to kick off the start of the new year. It’s your team’s turn to determine the best way to optimize the opportunity and gain more customers and sales. Sounds easy, right? Well, your campaign will fail miserably if you forget the basics that all marketers should know. As we let the ink dry on our 2018 strategies, it's good to go back to the basics before launching a new campaign. And never lose sight of the number one item on the checklist: user experience.
Here are six elements to check before launching a digital campaign:
1. Check your server’s bandwidth.
If you're launching a campaign that will cause a tremendous surge in traffic to your website or, even worse, to one landing page at one time, communicate with your IT team to determine bandwidth and if the current server can handle it. At times, you may need to execute the campaign on its own server. If you are a global company, make sure none of your other brands are doing something that requires considerable traffic at the same time. For example, if the team in Sweden is launching a different campaign on the same server, it will limit speed and could crash your site.
2. Always plan for the worst.
Contingency plans are integral when launching any campaign. Plan for the worst. If you don’t have to use option D, then congratulations on a successful campaign. Put yourself in hypothetical situations in which you are the consumer, you are IT and you are the boss. If all goes well, proceed with the campaign.
3. Develop a crisis response plan.
It doesn’t have to be an extensive plan, but make sure you know which department is handling what and have some sample responses ready for worst-case scenarios. By enabling your front lines -- especially your social and communications teams -- with these tools, you can more quickly solve any issues that may crop up. Your plan should cover customer service, public relations, social media, message bots, legal, creative and more.
4. Weigh your risk versus reward.
Not everything can be aligned 100% of the time between all departments, and you may be forced to launch something that isn't perfect. Before hitting the green button, make sure you determine what the risks and potential damage could be. Ask yourself if it is worth it to delay or to move forward with the status quo.
5. Be authentic.
Oops, now what? We’ve all been there when something goes wrong and your campaign isn’t going as planned. How do you recuperate from a fail or, better yet, handle it as it is happening to minimize the damage? We are all human, and most people will remember that as long as you are human and authentic in your response. Own up to your mistakes and communicate with people as you would approach a real-life conversation. Don't sound like a bot. You will not only maintain the trust of your current customers, but you can gain even more by being authentic.
6. Fail fast.
If you only take one thing away from this article, let it be that you should learn from failure. You are going to fail. It's how you handle failure that matters the most. In my recent article on the top soft skills to embrace, I delve more into failure -- I can't preach this enough. Learn from your failures and let the analytics and mistakes drive your next campaign.
Leveraging a digital campaign during a prime retail season could lead to wonderful growth opportunities, as long as you remember the basics outlined above. What other items would you add to the list?