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The digital marketing world is always evolving, and you're always executing your strategy. You're getting inspired by new campaigns, making last-minute changes, and receiving feedback from your customers that has you tweaking each post, video, and email. The result might be a disorganized, unfocused mess.
Is it hard to see the big picture of your digital marketing strategy? That's no good because the best plans are focused on the goals and metrics that matter most to your company. Further, the best strategies are unified across platforms and create a stable brand that your customers can connect with.
It's time to do a little spring cleaning. Just as you'd clean out your closet, you can clean out your digital marketing strategy. In the end, you’ll have a more agile marketing department that has a clear vision to propel your company forward. Here’s how:
1. Focus on Your Key Metrics
Your digital marketing strategy has to be guided by your goals and the key metrics that reflect them. A company’s goals are changing all of the time, so chances are your goals have changed since the last time you cleaned out your digital strategy.
Collect all of your goals and key metrics in one place, so you get a sense of the overall accomplishments you’re looking for in the next year. When possible, avoid vanity metrics like Instagram followers, unless you can show that they are closely related to achieving what actually matters to your business—like conversions.
When you’re reflecting on your business goals, throw out digital marketing goals that don’t advance the business, and create new goals that do. Get as specific as you can. “Grow our Facebook audience as much as possible” or “become a trusted source on industry topics” are both too broad. Build specific goals by reflecting on past performances. If last year you gained a thousand new email sign-ups, aim to double that.
Starting with a new platform or business that doesn’t have a past performance you can build on? Check out what your competition is doing to help you create long-term goals.
Also, be sure to include realistic timelines with your goals. If the goal is huge, like “create ten cornerstone content blog posts,” try breaking the goal up into smaller pieces so that you can track your progress over the next year. Include those dates and smaller goals in your content calendar. That way, if you slip behind, you’ll notice faster, and you’ll have a chance to catch up.
2. Collect All of Your Digital Strategies
Now that you know what you should be aiming for, you need to reflect on which tools you’re using, and if they are still advancing your goals. Create a list of the strategies and platforms you’re using to spread your digital marketing message, including:
- Email marketing
- Content marketing
- Your website
- Webinars and live events
- Social media channels
Broader digital media strategies may include multiple blogs, social media channels, and more. It's important to evaluate the ROI you get for each. Have your SEO efforts gained you any 1st place keywords, and if not, why not? Have your Instagram efforts resulted in sales? When you’re spring cleaning, it’s a good time to invest in market research to better evaluate your efforts.
3. Check Each Strategy Against Your Goals
Many digital marketing strategies are easy to evaluate. Either your emails are being opened more often, and readers are following links back to your site, or they aren’t. Either you’re ranking higher for select keywords, or you’ve lost ground. You might be surprised at how your strategies have been performing, but at least now you’re informed and know where you should invest more.
On the other hand, your social media presence is notoriously hard to evaluate. Getting more likes on Facebook doesn’t necessarily translate to sales or even clicks back to your website.
So how do you analyze your performance on social media?
- Reach: You always want your posts to reach your target audience, so expanding reach is a good sign that you’re moving in the right direction.
- Clicks: Many people respond to Twitter posts or comment on Facebook without ever visiting your website or engaging with your brand off the platform, so it's essential to track clicks more than likes or even shares.
- Emotional reaction: On Facebook, it’s simple to assess how your followers feel about your post because they can sort themselves by emotion by clicking "angry" or "wow." On other platforms, the ratio between comments and shares might be more helpful. A lot of comments and few shares is, generally, bad news.
4. Check Each Platform or Strategy for Change
Spring cleaning always has to focus on the new. With social media and other forms of digital marketing, keeping up with trends is absolutely essential.
Here are a few ways to gauge how things have changed online:
- Has your audience moved? Social media platforms fall in and out of favor. Newcomers might present you an opportunity to beat your competition. Falling rates of engagement might mean you should reduce your investment, in both time and dollars, on the platform. For example, Facebook may be reducing your ability to reach your audience.
- Are you pursuing video content? For 2019, video content should be a central focus in most digital marketing strategies. Did you know that 1200% more shares are generated by social videos than images and text combined?
- Have you personalized your approach? Salesforce research has demonstrated that 73 percent of customers want a more personalized experience online. There are many opportunities for personalization in digital marketing, from segmenting your email marketing efforts to hosting more targeting Webinars for specific segments.
- Is your strategy mobile? Going mobile isn’t just for websites. You need to make sure that every aspect of your digital marketing is easily accessed on a mobile device, from email to webinars.
5. Check Your Competition
After a bit of spring cleaning in your digital marketing strategy, you may have cut several areas. Now you have free resources, in time and money that you can reinvest elsewhere. It might be the right time to start a new strategy you’ve always wanted to try. Or, it might be the right time to check in on your competition and see if they are investing somewhere you aren’t.
Start with just your top three competitors. Check out their website to find where they are active in social media and which other digital media strategies they are using. You can read through their social posts and emails yourself, but you’ll get more information if you use a competitive analysis tool.
You might consider:
Of course, you don’t have to do it all yourself. You can hire a professional competitor analysis company to can help you identify new opportunities and strategize about how to make your brand stand out, in voice and content.
Don’t make the mistake of simply moving your digital marketing strategy to match your competitors. If you only do what they are already doing well, you’ll always be behind. Instead, look for blind spots they might have. Also, invest in strategies where you think you stand a chance of surpassing your competition, not where you might just catch up.
6. Create a Calendar
Spring cleaning doesn’t last for long—neither in your home nor in your digital marketing toolbox—unless you implement some organization. The best way to keep your digital marketing running well through the year is to have a robust, master calendar.
Too many of us have a separate calendar for each platform, plus one for our blogs, and another for our email marketing. If so, it’s hard to see the full picture. Remember, many of your customers are interacting with you through two or more of these channels, so they need to be synchronized and unified. You want to reach out to your customers frequently, but you don’t want to send them the same message several times a day.
Your master calendar should show you the publishing schedule for multiple platforms, and it should point to the key goals each effort is meant to target. In a way, your calendar is more like a brief guide that you can use to refresh your mind; something to remind yourself of what you want to accomplish. This will facilitate your goal of re-evaluating your digital marketing on a daily basis.
Repeat This Digital Marketing Spring Cleaning Next Year
Spring cleaning for your digital marketing strategy will help you stay on top of your goals and the latest changes in the digital marketing world if you do it routinely.
You may be able to get away with re-evaluating your content marketing strategy yearly, but other aspects of digital marketing, like SEO, change much more frequently. It's best to run through these steps every few months, so you know if your digital marketing strategies are working and optimized.