June is the ideal month to review your campaigns year-to-date. It’s the time to carry out the digital marketing assessment that will inform your strategies for the rest of the year.
First off though, of course, you need to turn to the digital marketing plan you wrote a few months ago. This will have set out that the what, who, how, and why of your campaigns so far. You’ll have spent considerable time assessing who your target market is, which channels will work best to achieve your goals, how you should spend your budget, and what you’re going to measure. You’ll also have considered what other traditional marketing strategies will support your efforts. Plus had a good look at the competition, and checked the skill set you have access to either in-house or outsourced.
So now you need to ask yourself… How close did I get it? What do I need to change?
The devil is in the detail
You will now have access to quite a mix of information on the performance of your campaigns so far. You’ll have in-house metrics and measurement against KPIs, social network data, and Google analytics, to name but a few examples. Gather it all together and start asking the right questions…
At the end of last year, you’ll have looked at your contact data and assessed where each individual is in their buying journey. If they weren’t ready to make a purchase, your aim will have been at least to keep them engaged with your brand in anticipation of being able to whet their appetite to buy when the right moment came. Some of the obvious technical metrics to consider here, therefore, are:
- Click rates
- Open rates
- Subscribe and unsubscribe rates (bearing in mind GDPR, of course)
- Delivery rates
Depending on how the figures look, now is the time to review the factors that went into producing those statistics. Factors such as the content you used, what your competition has been up to, and how much A/B testing you actually carried out. But you’ll also need to ask yourself if your audience has changed, and whether they have responded to different trends in a way you hadn’t predicted. There may not be perfectly clear answers to some of these queries, but it’s likely you’re going to need to make some tweaks.
Ideally, at the end of last year, you will have identified what investment (both time and money) your website needed in order to support your 2018 campaigns. And you’ll have ensured what was needed was carried out. The question to ask now, though, is did it then do its job to convert/engage your customers in the way you’d targeted it to do? Things to consider include:
- Is it supporting your digital marketing campaigns effectively via its content and calls to action?
- Is it providing the right messages and calls to action to people who find your site via the search engines?
- Is the demographic/type of website visitor actually what you’re looking for?
Of course, the more traditional analytics such as bounce rates, type of device used to view, click rates etc. need to be reviewed too.
Content marketing focus
This needs to be considered in a couple of ways. Of course, asking yourself what content has had the most success is a great place to start. But more generically than that, you need to ask yourself if the landing pages and content pages of your website are doing their job, full stop? Are the calls to action on each page triggering a response?
The second angle to consider is an investigation into whether visitors are looking at multiple pages of your site once they get there. If this is the case, is it because they’re just browsing anyway, or is it because they can’t actually find what they’re looking for? If it’s the latter, it is possible your digital marketing campaigns have raised their expectations, only to then dash them once they arrive at the link you’ve sent. That is a very damaging scenario and needs sorting asap.
Considering other channels
It’s always pertinent to review what other channels are available to you regularly too. You may have hit the jackpot in every way above and still be missing a trick. So a mid-year review is a good time to reconsider some of the routes to market you downgraded when you wrote your original plan.
Take account based marketing, for example. Is it time to shift emphasis now? The account targeting facilities on LinkedIn have really bedded in well. There are always limitations, but you can be sure some of your competitors are already utilising this facility.
Alternatively, would a direct mail campaign now provide invaluable support to all your efforts to date? A change can be as good as a rest, from a recipient’s viewpoint, do it’s certainly worth considering. And how is your PR working for you? Successes that you’ve had so far this year should be sung about where possible. The more often your brand appears in front of the eyes of your audience, the better.
A final thought
Time is always the shortest thing in supply. Expertise can be developed or bought in, but time keeps ticking… and time is money. Whatever you do, don’t delay on carrying out a mid-point review. Learn from previous mistakes. Accept you may not get it perfect even this time. But make the necessary tweaks and keep moving your campaigns forward. Learn as you go and continue to enjoy the journey…