In our fast-paced and ever-changing digital world, it can be difficult to know whether your digital marketing strategy is as comprehensive and powerful as it needs to be, and whether all elements of the strategy are functioning well.
To make sure your efforts and resources are being used efficiently, you need to be able to evaluate what’s working and what’s not, identify your strengths and weaknesses compared to your competitors, and make sure you’re targeting your audience in exactly the right way .
Set SMART digital marketing objectives and audit them regularly
The goals of your digital marketing strategy should always tie in to your overall business goals. And to be able to assess how your strategy is performing, you need to express those digital marketing goals as SMART objectives, i.e. objectives that are specific, measurable, actionable, relevant, and time-bound.
For example, a digital marketing goal of increasing brand awareness can be turned into a SMART objective by measuring Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) like social media shares, or engagement with social media posts; a goal of increasing customer value can become a SMART objective by measuring KPIs like turnover and profitability per customer.
Carrying out regular audits of your digital marketing strategy will let you see how it performs against its objectives, and help you identity gaps that require action.
Measure the 3 KPIs that really matter
When measuring performance, not all KPIs are equally important, so focus on the ones that can help you identify actions to take that will contribute to your overall business goals.
For example, some web metrics like page views, impressions and social media followers are ‘nice to know’, but do they actually give you enough information to be able to take action? Although the data can be interpreted, it makes more sense to concentrate on metrics that are stronger indicators of your business’ health.
Some of the most important KPIs to measure are:
- Cost Per Lead (CPL) and Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC): gather this data per channel to see where you get most value for money.
- Customer Lifetime Value (CLV): this KPI can help you determine not only whether or not you are increasing customer value, but also help direct efforts to delight loyal customers.
- Mobile traffic, lead conversions from mobile, bounce rates from mobile: with more users that ever accessing websites from mobile devices, and Google showing preference for mobile-optimised sites, you need to understand how well your site performs on mobile devices.
Learn from your competitors
Whether you are just starting out, or already well established in your domain, understanding how your competitors are performing can give you an insight into the strategies you need to implement to climb the ladder or stay one step ahead.
There are a wide range of tools that can help you do competitor research. For example, by using tools like SEMrush or SpyFu, you can research your competitors’ keywords, ranking history, backlinks and more. Understanding what keywords your competitors are targeting, and where they are getting backlinks from can directly influence your own content strategy.
Similarly, analysing your competitors’ content is a worthwhile exercise. Do your competitors publish high-quality content on hot topics, or bland repurposed content? Knowing this will help you determine whether or not you need to drastically need to improve your content, or whether you can afford to prioritise other areas.
Gaps that you identify between your performance and that of your competitors should feed back into your overall digital marketing objectives so you can measure the impact of actions you take.
Understand your audience
It sounds obvious, but truly understanding your customers needs to be the foundation of any digital marketing strategy. And if you’re serving both B2B and B2C customers, it’s crucial to take the key differences between the two groups into account.
While B2B marketing and lead generation focuses heavily on building and nurturing long-term personal relationships, B2C marketing focuses on short-term transactional relationships that rely more heavily on factors like customer experience on your website, or discounts and special offers.
The length of the buying lifecycle, and the criteria for making a decision are also very different. With B2C, decisions can take years and often require thorough review processes or buy-in from multiple parties. B2B on the other hand appeals directly to a potential customer who often wants their needs met quickly, with the least possible effort.
Even the type of language you use to communicate with a B2B or B2C customer can make or break the deal: B2B buyers want to know that you are an expert who fully understands their terminology, processes and decision factors, and keeps emotion out of the equation; B2C customers crave an emotional connection that makes it impossible for them not to click.
Develop buyer personas
The best way to understand your current and future customers is to develop three to five buyer personas that represent your customer segments. These help you better identify the values, motivations, needs, wishes, frustrations, and dreams of the ideal customers you’re trying to attract, and help you understand how they make decisions.
As a result, you are better equipped to tailor content, messages, products and services to their specific needs.
But remember that while personas are not real people, they should be based on real people. So be careful not to make assumptions. Ideally, personas should be based on interviews with a sample of real or potential customers.
At the end of the day, a digital marketing strategy is not set in stone, and an agile ‘plan, execute, evaluate, adjust, iterate’ approach will keep your strategy relevant and ensure it meets the evolving needs of your business. But to do that, it’s crucial to establish measurable objectives and track the relevant KPIs so you can make data-driven decisions.
For other Digital marketing topics, take a look at our Digital Marketing Guide.