Editor’s note: This post comes from our Constant Contact UK office. You can view all posts from our UK team here. Or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

So The Pitch 2014 is over! What a ride! I cannot recommend it to businesses and entrepreneurs enough.

Are we tall and triumphant? Well, I am incredibly proud and pleased to tell you that we are now the ‘Award winning’ Gecko Clothing. Pitch finalists and Pitch Digital Marketing Award winners! We have a shiny trophy and everything, his name is Eric.

Uniqueness and fun is paramount at Gecko and we have bags to spare, which is what we wanted to apply to our campaign. Here’s how we won Eric, with some tips to help you win an Eric of your own.

Create a plan

This is where we have fallen down in the past. We used a strong, yet simple structure provided by Constant Contact. The first step was to look at what our objectives were:

  • Key objective – Get votes. Monitor through the #byGecko and The Pitch page shares.
  • Secondary objective – Gain extra followers to social media sites and newsletter.

This process wasn’t overly time consuming as the structure was a great guide. We applied what we already knew worked best for us. We did pass it through our small team to see if anyone had any input or ideas to help nail it.

Top tip: keep it simple. We wear a lot of hats in small businesses and it can be tempting to go for the ‘2 birds 1 stone’ approach. Don’t! It weakens your campaign, by splitting your focus.

What’s your big idea?

We decided to create a competition and asked people to suggest challenges we should take on to celebrate our award should we reign triumphant.

Again, we kept it simple. We identified 3 steps to our campaign:

Step 1: Run a competition for people to win free Gecko goodies. Top 3 answers win goodies.

Step 2: Choose an overall winner and accept the forfeit and create fun imagery.

Step 3: Promote forfeit idea. Vote for us, if we win The Pitch Digital Marketing Award we will….

The two very first pieces of advice Constant Contact gave us were: get a hashtag and an Instagram account. This we did and we saw it paying off from pretty early on. Although we used LinkedIn, Google + and Pinterest, our main focus was on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and through our newsletter and blog.

Top tip: learn what works well for your organisation and once you’re confident with it don’t be afraid to add in new techniques.

The results

The entries varied…

The top three answers were:

“Write a celebratory song and record a video for it. The video will feature us wearing hippy outfits and 16 stuffed animals.”

“Do a sponsored cycle ride in a suit of armour.”

“We will do a sponsored cycle WHILST bubbling?”

Variety is the spice of life! We tried not to use the same copy over all our channels, we looked at as many different mediums as we could.

Top tip: keep your innovation flowing and look at how people use each platform. Don’t spam, but look at ways you can get it out and talk to people about your big idea.

Keep the momentum going

Our whole campaign was written with to keep momentum going. We knew this was an area where we had failed on in the past. Our 3 steps gave us an opportunity to tell a story. Being able to do this meant that we saw the campaign gain traction and interaction continue even after the lure of freebies was gone. We had a photo shoot in armour, we created a ‘Monty Python’ inspired image of our forfeit and just kept looking for new angles to play with it.

Top tip: don’t be over confident in your great, ‘sure to engage’ idea, because we are all being bombarded with so much well-written material. Build in ideas on how you can keep the momentum going and make your idea get through people’s filters.

And the winner is…

Having won the Digital Marketing Award, we will cycle whilst wearing a suit of armour and bubbling! So the challenge is set and SO on. With our new found skills, guidance and mentorship from Constant Contact you can expect to hear about it!

As a result, we will have a great video footage to promote from this, which will be a new medium to add to our social media bow! We look forward to playing with this and seeing how it’s received through our social media channels.

Top tip: never, never ever, stop listening to the advice of the experts however many shiny Erics of your own you get!

We have taken away so many tips and ideas, but for me having the structure to base a digital marketing strategy has been the main thing. It’s given us a strong base and understanding for what our aim is with our marketing. It may sound simple, but it is so easily overlooked! Getting the strategy down on paper meant that we were able to look at the best steps and channels to achieve our objectives.

Have any questions? Ask in the comments below!