Last week we began a three part series on building blocks for successful campaigns with an examination of the importance of establishing a clear method of measuring a program’s success before the campaign ever goes live. This week, we continue our series with a closer look at being proactive with internal changes that may be necessary prior to launching that next program.
Building Block #2: Shoring Up the Infrastructure – Are you prepared on your end?
There are typically a lot of moving parts as campaigns are developed. An agency like Go Local will make requests for location info, graphics and copy points needed to build out the desired program. In the push to supply the agency with the necessary information, it can be easy to overlook in-house issues that also require attention. Sometimes, in the rush to get a new program up and running, an advertiser will end up putting the cart before the horse, so to speak. On more than one occasion, I have had dealer level advertisers authorize me to begin work on Internet Yellow Page (IYP) program orders before they even have a website. While it is technically possible to run certain programs without a website or landing page, I certainly wouldn’t ever advise it. By the same token, hastily slapping together a website in order to coincide with a program going live is not something I would recommend either. A website is a direct reflection on your company, in terms of both look and overall content, and even if you don’t have a huge budget allocation to have all of the latest bells and whistles in place, a clean, informative site can still make a strong first impression with potential customers. Those advertisers that do have websites established before launching a new campaign may want to make sure any updates or changes have been made and tested well in advance of the program going live. A new program that is driving clicks to an overhauled website that isn’t fully functioning could be just as bad as not having a webpage included at all, and it certainly isn’t a recipe for a successful program.
Another important area that needs to be reviewed is the call center. A new online program that is designed to drive calls could greatly impact (and even cause strain to) a company’s call center functionality. Are representatives prepared and trained to deal with the types of calls they will likely start to receive once the program goes live? Another thing to consider is your headcount. Are there enough representatives to handle the anticipated call volume? It may not be in your best interest (or in the budget for that matter) to run out and hire additional staff before the program is launched, but it is probably a good idea to begin thinking along those lines in anticipation of a successful program launch. Most programs have a bit of a ramping up period before they really hit their stride, but if a new campaign takes off quickly, you will want to be prepared enough to make any necessary staffing increases. Beyond the human element, another question to consider is whether the call center technology is set up for maximum effectiveness. A single new ad campaign is not likely going to require that a whole new system be implemented, but it may be enough to require an evaluation of whether the current hardware is efficient enough to handle the inbound call volume. If the objective for a program is driving calls that ultimately lead to sales, then it is absolutely crucial to ensure that the process to receive and process those calls is both seamless and clearly defined.
Check back next week for the third and final part of this series on building blocks for a successful campaign, where we will discuss the importance of delivering a consistent message across all of your advertising programs.