Nothing shouts “Hello, first day of summer!” in the influencer marketing world like feeling behind the eight ball on planning back-to-school campaigns. Yet all the creativity in the world won’t improve your company’s bottom line if you don’t take a results-oriented approach to your campaigns. So how can you craft sure-to-go viral activations that guarantee ROI?

5 Ways to Guarantee ROI on Back-to-School Campaigns

5 Ways to Drive ROI on Your Back-to-School Campaigns

Predicting whether a campaign will go viral is a best guess at most. In contrast, guaranteeing ROI is possible when you follow these 5 steps.

1. Start your back-to-school campaign planning by setting objectives for each activation.

Though tempting to skip ahead and brainstorm tactics before getting to consensus on goals, don’t do it! Instead, make time first to answer these questions:

  • If this campaign were wildly successful, what would that success look like?
  • What results would our brand enjoy?
  • How would our team measure that success in both quantitative and qualitative ways?

To put this into practice, let’s say you were working on a campaign to promote after-school snacks called: “Healthy and Happy.” To focus first on goals, you’d identify what success would look like to your brand at the end of this campaign. For example, perhaps success is  your target consumers enjoying healthy snacks after school and showing their happiness by engaging with your social media content or creating their own positive posts.

Next, you’d determine the results you’d like to achieve. In this case, it could be to raise awareness for healthy after-school snacks and to drive sales for a specific healthy snack product line. Finally, determine your specific measurable results with something that looks like this: “Drive 20 Million blog, social media, and video impressions in promotion of the Healthy and Happy after-school snack campaign; generate a 20% increase in user-generated content from last year’s campaigns; and enjoy 10,000 discount coupon downloads and use.”

Tip! Notice that while the goals drill down on success and results, they don’t dive into tactics.

2. Choose campaign tactics.

With your goals outlined, you are ready to get creative and brainstorm activations. To begin, choose the tactics that best align with your goals. Let’s take the goal above of reaching 20 Million impressions across blogs, social media, and video as an example. Right off the bat, a whole list of activations pop out that would be perfect in helping reach that goal: blog tours, social media campaigns, and video campaigns just to name a few.
Aligning your goals with the right tactics is the single greatest way to guarantee ROI on your back-to-school campaigns. Here is a list of common influencer marketing tactics:
  • Affiliate marketing
  • Ambassador programs
  • Blog posts
  • Conference and/or retreat sponsorship
  • Creative assets for marketing purposes (rights to professional photography or videos, content, etc.)
  • Demos (cooking demos, DIY workshops, photography classes, etc.)
  • Display advertising
  • Newsletter campaigns (dedicated blasts or features in weekly or monthly publications)
  • Facebook Live broadcasts
  • Live events (in home, at corporate headquarters, on location, etc.)
  • Live stories (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat)
  • Podcasts
  • Ratings and reviews on a brand’s website
  • Recipes
  • Satellite media tours or other spokesperson opportunities
  • Social media campaigns (one or a combination of targeted or amplification campaigns on Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Twitter, and/or YouTube, etc.)
  • Twitter Parties
  • Video campaigns

Check out these examples and best practices for many of the above-listed campaign tactics from brands you know and trust: 11 Influencer Marketing Tactics to Rock Your Campaigns.

3. Identify campaign, consumer, and influencer criteria.

Now that you know your goals and have chosen campaign tactics that align with them, the next step is to determine the right influencers to enlist in your activation. Identifying campaign criteria includes answering these questions:
  • Who is the consumer our brand is trying to reach through influencer marketing (e.g., age, education level, ethnic background, gender, geographic location, household income, marital status, parental status [has children or not and what ages], primary language spoken, spending or other habits, etc.)
  • How can you best reach this demographic (e.g., what advertising, marketing, or other tactics work best, including platforms and content type)?
  • What are best practices when targeting this demographic through influencer marketing?
  • Any tactics to steer clear of?
  • What is the influencer criteria that would best reach this demographic (if different than the list above)?
  • Other campaign criteria to consider?

Using the example of “Healthy and Happy,” let’s say we partner with influencers and have them publish blog and social media posts on the topic of healthy after-school-snack ideas. When considering the influencer criteria, we could select a mixture of parenting bloggers of varying ethnicities with elementary-school-aged children and millennial lifestyle Instagrammers with pre-school aged children.

When you’re ready to move onto influencer management, check out this post with tips for How to Successfully Manage Influencers.

4. Determine campaign assets.

After establishing your goals, tactics, and criteria, ask yourself these questions to determine whether you should develop campaign assets:

  • Do we want influencers to share our brand’s content or to produce their own?
  • If we want influencers to share our content, what does our team/company need to develop or provide (e.g., a brand hashtag, display advertising, a GIF, large amounts of copy, short messaging points, a trackable link, photography, product, video, etc.)?
  • What resources and budget does the creative asset development require?

Let’s go back to our “Healthy and Happy” after-school snack campaign as an example. Perhaps you decide to send product samples to each participating influencer via snail mail. But, you also think it’d be helpful to email each of them a few quick brand message points they could include in their post. To ensure downloads, you could also share a link to the landing page with the downloadable coupon for them to include in their content and promotional posts. Allowing influencers a hybrid approach by providing some products and assets and allowing them to use some of their own gives them freedom to create content their followers will resonate with.

5. Create a scope of work.

With your campaign goals, tactics, criteria, and creative assets set, you’re ready to spell out campaign details in a comprehensive scope of work (SOW). This serves as a campaign brief to keep all internal and/or external team members (not the influencers) on the same page. Consider including:

  • The campaign’s objective and company goal(s) it will meet
  • The anticipated measurable results
  • The budget
  • The inclusions
  • Brief overview of the brand messaging
  • Details (e.g., how influencers will be compensated, special instructions, etc.)
  • What will be included in the wrap-up report and when it will be delivered
  • Campaign timeline (See below.)

Tip! Front loading by including as much agreed-upon detail as possible in the SOW will lead to a more streamlined execution phase and less rework.

Wrapping It All Up

Why gamble on whether your back-to-school campaigns will drive ROI when you can guarantee they will? Simply follow these six steps and you’ll be on your way to BTS campaign success: 1) Set objectives for each activation, 2) Choose campaign tactics, 3) Identify campaign, consumer, and influencer criteria, 4) Determine campaign assets, and 5) Create a scope of work.

Next Steps

Not sure where to start? Let’s talk! Partnering with a professional influencer network, such as Forward Influence, yields many benefits. We’ll meet with you to discuss your ideas, goals, and objectives. From there, we’ll develop a campaign that will meet (and hopefully surpass) your objectives. Does that sound like a plan? Contact us at to get started.

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