How to Prepare an Advertising Plan [Free Template]
Oftentimes, turning an idea for an advertising campaign into reality isn’t exactly simple.
Among other things, you must get buy-in from other teams, earn approval from bosses and executives, negotiate your budget, and present a clear path for return on investment (ROI).
The best way to clearly present your proposal, its costs, its stakeholders, and how much you expect to earn is with a concrete and detailed advertising plan. Additionally, an advertising plan will help you formulate and organize your thoughts and ideas so you can ensure your campaign is an effective one.
In this post, we’ll highlight the major sections you should include in your advertising plan so you can guarantee your next campaign is a success.
HubSpot created an advertising plan template for you to download so you can organize your advertising campaign easier. The template is broken down into relevant sections and can be shared with your stakeholders when it’s completed.
The template also includes an advertising project pitch deck, which you can use in your campaign kickoff meeting, in addition to a guide of the pros and cons of various advertising platforms. Download the kit now to kickstart your ad campaign in the best way possible.
1. Provide an Overview of Your Advertising Plan
Before you jump into your tactical advertising ideas, provide those reading your ad plan with a high-level overview of your initiative.
You should specify the following so anyone reading will have a basic understanding of what the campaign is, and what you’re trying to accomplish:
- Campaign Name: Make the campaign name catchy, unique, and easily identifiable so your team can get behind it.
- Campaign Description: What is the purpose of your campaign? Explain in 2-3 paragraphs what the inspiration behind your campaign is, how it aligns with your company initiatives, what customer problems you’re solving, and what the final deliverables of the campaign will be.
- Target Audience: Ideally, who’s on the receiving end of these ads? You can be specific to age, sex, region, or any number of demographics, or you could use this space to name which of your business’s buyer personas you’re targeting.
- Advertising Platforms of Choice: How will you be getting your message across? Here, you’ll just want to identify the platform you’ll be using, since you’ll get more into the details of what the actual ads will look like in a later section.
- Goals and ROI: Ultimately, you’ll need to explain what the end goal of your campaign is. Most ad campaigns are intended to produce a direct profit or return on investment, so if that’s your goal, identify that number here. If your campaign goal is something else — event sign-ups, product awareness, etc. — be sure to identify and quantify it if possible.
2. Choose Your Platforms
Here’s where you’ll provide more detail on the advertisements themselves and on which platform they will be promoted. For each ad you intend to run in this campaign, you should provide the following:
- Platform name
- Ad type
- Description of the ad
For example, your content in this section might look like this:
Platform #1: YouTube
- Advertisement Type: Video
- Description of Ad: A 15-second pre-video ad. The video will be an animated look at our new app with a link to the app store at when someone clicks.
- Timeline: July 1 – July 31
- Budget: $10,000
3. Develop Your Timeline
Working on an ad campaign takes a ton of time and resources, so everyone involved will want to know what tasks they’re responsible for, when they’re due, and how long they have to do them. In this part of your advertising plan, list the tasks that are due, when they are due, and who is responsible for accomplishing them.
4. Outline Your Budget
Because a return on investment isn’t guaranteed, the budget can be the toughest part of your advertising project to get approved — which is why it’s important to break up your requests by line item and present them in your plan.
Rather than simply stating, “We need $65,000 for this project”, try organizing your budget into a detailed visual, like the example below:
Naturally, you can (and should) expect questions and pushback on certain line items. For example, you may be asked to find another designer or video freelancing team who can do the job for cheaper. It’s critical you arrive at meetings prepared to defend which costs are necessary for the campaign’s success, and which expenses can be reconsidered.
5. Explain Your DACI Framework
The DACI framework outlines who the key contributors in the project are and what their responsibilities entail.
Here’s how a DACI framework is broken down:
- Driver (D): Unsurprisingly, this person is the project’s main driver. Chances are, this will be either you or your direct manager. The driver will coordinate all of the moving pieces of the project, seeing it through from inception to wrap-up.
- Approver (A): This will be the person who must approve a project and is typically a director, VP, or manager. This person will give feedback, recommendations, or approval on the overall project and have a final say in all project deliverables.
- Contributors (C): Contributors will be the individuals who are responsible for creating one or more deliverables for the project. In an advertising campaign, this can include copywriters, video producers, animators, designers, and digital advertising specialists.
- Informed (I): These are employees who are kept in the loop as the project goes on. Examples include the department heads and the managers of project contributors. These people have no direct responsibilities but benefit from knowing about the project and its status.
Your DACI framework should include the name of each stakeholder, his or her contact information (email, phone, and/or Slack handle), and that person’s responsibility or deliverable.
This framework makes project delegation crystal clear for everyone involved.
6. Provide Additional Resources
This will act as the appendix of your advertising plan. Share the ad campaign that inspired this one with your readers, link to the product page you’ll be promoting with this initiative, or link to your company’s brand style guide so designers and writers get a refresh on how to create external-facing content.
7. Host a Campaign Kickoff Meeting
After you complete your outline, gather all the stakeholders in a conference room or over Zoom for a kickoff meeting to explain the campaign concept, timeline, and deliverables. Compile all of them in HubSpot’s advertising project pitch deck and present your advertising plan, opening it up for further questions and brainstorming from project contributors.
Over to You
Now that you know how to write your advertising plan, it’s time to lay your ideas, budget, and timeline out in HubSpot’s Advertising Plan Template. Download it for free to get your advertising campaign project plan off the ground.
For further inspiration, take a look at The 18 Best Advertisements of All Time.
Originally published Aug 7, 2019 7:00:00 AM, updated August 07 2019