People and businesses are using more apps, tools, and services every day. To continue marketing as effectively as possible, it’s important for you to periodically evaluate the health and effectiveness of your digital marketing strategy. As we close out this year and begin planning for the next, there’s no better time to solidify your strategy.
According to Forbes, there are five steps for evaluating the effectiveness of your digital marketing strategy. We’ve expanded on those steps below.
Step 1: Clarify your goals and your circumstances
Goals don’t mean much unless we routinely check our progress toward achieving them. In this first step, you should look at how far you’ve come, how much time you have left, and how close you are to completing what you set out to do. This information provides context for the rest of the steps outlined below.
If your goals are on track for completion (or already complete), that could mean one of a few things:
1. Your digital marketing strategy is already very effective.
2. Your goals were not difficult enough.
On the other hand, your goals may be outdated (not applicable to your current situation) or simply not reachable. Regardless of which applies to you, it’s time to set new, more relevant goals. These could be things like size of your social media following, number of social shares, webpage visits, conversions, and more.
As a second part of this step, evaluate how your organization supports you in your pursuit of these goals. Do you have the technical, financial, and personnel resources required? Are your schedules realistic? Are there bottlenecks that prevent smooth iteration and improvement? Are all relevant stakeholders aware of their role and the influence(s) they have on marketing processes? Make note of any problem areas.
Step 2: Review and/or redefine your target customers
No matter what type of goal you set, achieving it will require a good understanding of your target customer and what they want. Pinpointing your target customer from scratch allows you to look at the full picture and account for any changes in your offerings or industry since the last time you created personas. Look at all available data, including customer interests, activities, and demographics. Your business, your industry, and the expectations of modern customers are all dynamic; don’t be afraid to radically refine to better support your current goals.
Step 3: Tighten up your digital presence
No matter how great your content, if it doesn’t reach your target customer, it won’t do you any good. Do you know exactly where and how your target customers prefer to engage online?
In this step, you should look at two aspects of your digital presence: breadth and effectiveness. For breadth, take stock of all available online platforms—not just those you’re currently on. How do these platforms support your messaging? Are there any you should be on but aren’t? On the other hand, consider the danger of spreading your message too far: your customer gets oversaturated and they stop listening to you. Have you chosen content types (articles, blogs, videos, etc.) that your audience prefers to engage with?
Next, look at the native data on your existing tools. How effective is your content on these platforms? Pull as much data as you can, and don’t be afraid to look at it in new ways. A dashboard or analytics hub can help you quickly understand key takeaways from your data.
Step 4: Refine your messaging
Now that you’ve spent some time evaluating your online platforms, the next step is to think about what’s at the heart of these tools: your messaging. This includes the tone, style, frequency, and interconnectivity of your content. How does your online infrastructure support your messaging and vice versa? Keep your customer journey top of mind as you consider changes to your messaging; your tools and content should work together seamlessly to support the customer journey through your sales funnel.
For example: Your tweet sends users to your blog, which links to a signup page. When users fill out your form, this triggers an email campaign. The first email in this campaign includes basics for your new lead, as well as a follow-up survey to learn more about their experience.
This experience integrates three different services and utilizes multiple touchpoints, all of which work well together to drive your customer’s journey.
Step 5: Check your ROI – and make a plan
Finally, you’ll want to look at your metrics to evaluate your ROI. How much time have you spent pursuing success on each marketing channel? What benefit have you seen in return? Look at conversions; what percentage of people convert? What types of content perform best? Make sure you’re spending time on things that matter and rethink the ones that aren’t working.
As we move into next year, it’s important to have an informed understanding of marketing strategy and a clear set of goals to propel your team. With valuable information from these five steps in hand, you can inform your strategy to set your team up for success.
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Deborah Lackey is a manager at Logic20/20 with over 7 years of experience in process improvement, leadership, and digital marketing strategy.