Running a business includes setting goals and measuring your success in meeting those goals. However, in the world of digital marketing it can be difficult to determine appropriate measures. Or it can be overwhelming, with so much data available to you. For instance, Google Analytics has over 75 standard reports that can also be modified to gather even more data.
To be successful, you need to establish your goals. And then you need to be able to navigate all the information available to you, to determine which metrics actually help you measure achievement of your business goals. It’s not always easy to do with a digital marketing strategy.
So let’s look at how to figure out if your digital marketing strategy is results-driven, with this easy guide.
It’s 4 simple steps known as Plan, Act, Measure and Improve:
1. Plan: Gather the information you need to establish goals.
2. Act: Establish your business goals.
3. Measure: Track progress toward your goals.
4. Improve: Evaluate and make changes to your goals, and your business, if necessary.
1. Plan: Gather the Right Information
The first key to being results driven is to be sure you establish goals, or if you’ve already done that, to evaluate those goals.
To be able to effectively establish business objectives, it’s important to gather as much information about your business and industry as possible. That includes any past successes and failures of your business, such as marketing campaigns that did or didn’t work.
It includes seasonal trends that can impact your business. This is helpful because if there are times when business seems to slump, you can plan for a digital marketing campaign to try and ramp up sales.
It also needs to include market research, to see what competitors are doing, what’s working and what’s not. It includes industry research, to analyze any trends in your industry – both those trends on the upswing that you can take advantage of, and those on the downswing that you should avoid.
There could also be other information, whether business specific or industry specific, that you need to understand to help inform your goals.
2. Act: Establish Business Goals
Now that you’ve examined the information you need, it’s time to establish goals.
In the digital marketing world, there are many examples of goals. What you choose can depend on your business. The key is that it must be measurable.
Here are some high-level examples of measures you can track that can have goals established for them:
- Number of followers on social networks.
- Audience “shares” of your blog posts on social media.
- Mentions of your brand on social media.
- The number of positive reviews of your products or services.
- The number of conversions, such as people signing up for a newsletter or emails.
- Number of abandoned carts compared to completed carts.
- Number of click-throughs from a social media campaign to your website.
These may all be relevant to your business, and they are all measurable. The number of abandoned carts compared to completed carts, for instance, can provide insight that allows you to make changes to your checkout process, for instance. Your goal should be a reduction in the number of abandoned carts.
But let’s dig a little deeper into some examples that relate to the bottom line. After all, the best measure of success is profit.
Let’s use the final example, number of click-throughs from a social media campaign to your website. You can establish a goal of a certain number of click-throughs, or a percentage increase.
While it’s valuable to track which social media sites give you the greatest conversion, in this case a click-through, you can dig even deeper, by looking at the revenue gained from each of those leads.
Looking at revenue per lead by source, or approximate sales value of each new lead, can help you make decisions. For example, by knowing where your most profitable leads are coming from, you can continue to invest in campaigns on those channels.
So it’s important that your goals are relevant and measurable. They also need to be attainable, and realistic. They should challenge you, and they should impact your bottom line.
If you already have goals, evaluate them to see if they are still relevant. If necessary, you can revise your goals to accommodate new objectives or to account for any changes in your business.
3. Measure: Track Progress
With your goals established, and an understanding of what you need to monitor, it’s time to let your digital marketing campaign come to life, and to watch its progress.
You’ll need to be sure you have the right tools to gather data. Here are some options, depending on the nature of your goals:
- Event-based tools, or click analysis, will look at the actions of users within your website or app. An event could be a purchase, for instance.
- Testing tools, which can let you test different versions of a message or a feature. For instance, you could test which version of a sign-up form gets a higher conversion rate, to help learn what your users like.
- Visual behavior tools, which tells you where users spend time looking at the screen, providing insight into which areas are most heavily clicked, how far users scroll on a screen, and more.
- Digital marketing analytics, which are wide-ranging and can include insights such as search rankings or social media performance.
Give your campaign or website launch some time to attract users, and then start looking at the results. Run your data on a weekly basis, for instance. Which moves us to the final step.
4. Improve: Evaluate and Evolve
There’s no point in doing all the hard work up to this point and then sitting back, thinking the work is complete. You have to constantly evaluate and evolve your goals.
Nobody gets it right the first time, and business is constantly evolving. You want to take every opportunity to make improvements and increase revenue.
Tracking progress isn’t enough; you have to use those results to make decisions about your goals and the strategies you’re employing to achieve them. By understanding what influences your goals, you will continue to optimize your business.
Let’s use our example of number of click-throughs from a social media campaign, and the subsidiary goal, amount of revenue per lead by source.
Using the insight you’ve gained, you’ll be able to determine where to allocate resources to increase revenue. That could mean putting more resources into the channels that generate the most profitable leads.
It could also mean evaluating the less profitable channels and trying to make changes to enhance those campaigns and increase their profits. Maybe the audience is a different demographic and you need to consider a different message for that group.
It could mean that your product doesn’t appeal to the demographic of a particular social media channel, and you need to abandon those efforts in order to dedicate resources to a new and more suitable channel.
By analyzing the information you’ve gathered, your goals may need slight adjustments, or they may need to be replaced with different goals. Perhaps you need to scale back your goals and focus on fewer of them. Or maybe you’re knocking a few out of the park and need to add some more challenging goals.
Measuring the results of your digital marketing strategy can seem overwhelming at times. It’s important to use metrics, but there are a vast array of metrics available that can be tracked and reported.
It’s essential, however, that your digital marketing strategy be results-driven. There’s a cost to executing it, so there needs to be a profit from it.
Using our four-step guide, you’ll be able to figure out if your digital marketing strategy is results driven, and create a strategy that benefits your business.
Author Bio: Danielle Canstello is part of the content marketing team at Pyramid Analytics. They provide enterprise level analytics and business intelligence software. In her spare time, she writes around the web to spread her knowledge of the marketing, business intelligence, and analytics industries.