As businesses, we need to evaluate our digital marketing plans on a regular basis. We need to ask ourselves how effective we are and could we be more efficient. In other words, are we spending time and money doing the right things and, when we are, could we achieve even more with the time and resources we have?
Here are three different angles to look at your existing digital marketing plan from.
1. What are your metrics saying about current performance?
Across all your digital marketing activity, what is working for you and what is not? Use the data to give you the objective view.
Data is the key to measuring effectiveness because you can not only see how you are performing against any KPIs you have set, you can often also measure against industry standards too.
For assessing channels, we’ve always been big fans of metrics that get as close to the money as practical. In ecommerce we focus on revenue generated (and better still profit, cost of customer acquisition and customer lifetime value). When leads are the lifeblood of the business it’s about doing what you can to tie leads to those same metrics.
Good old fashioned funnel metrics are also interesting. What are your conversion rates telling you and where are you seeing the drop-offs in the process?
It’s also important to consider more forward looking indicators that give an indication of the momentum you are building up. In most cases here, it’s the trend you are interested in. Falling numbers spell future trouble, rising numbers indicate glory is around the corner.
Here’s some specific momentum metrics to think about:
- Click-through rate (CTR) is great because it works across landing pages, emails and ads and will measure the percent of people who click on a link
- Social media engagement such as likes and replies (preferable to the number of followers!)
- Active subscribers
- Active customers, and possibly the most important of all, Net Promoter Score
Make measurement part of your regular marketing activity and look for incremental gain rather big shifts. Be ruthless and honest too.
2. Are we making best use of all our resources?
In marketing terms, your resources are person hours, budget and existing assets. It is really important to make effective and efficient use of them all.
For your people’s time, “Eliminate, automate or outsource” is a useful process to go through. Get your team to look at all the work they are doing and put it through these three tests:
- Test 1 – Eliminate
Ask “Can I eliminate this work?” i.e. does doing this bit of work actually deliver a result? We’ve all come across plenty of situations where work is done because “we’ve always done this”!
If the work is delivering value then go to the next test.
- Test 2 – Automate
“Can I automate this bit of work?”. If so do it! But failing that go to test 3
- Test 3 – Outsource
Would outsourcing this work deliver a better return than it being done in house. Don’t forget to consider the opportunity cost of your team not being able to deliver what only they are able to deliver in this analysis.
For budgets, data measurement as previously mentioned is clearly one way of calculating what is working for your business and what is not and potentially deploying a budget to other actions.
This is the category of resource that is most often overlooked. You will have several assets that can be leveraged, often with very little cost and frequently delivering returns. Some examples include:
- Your existing web presence – every article, video, pdf to name but a few has the potential to be repurposed and reused. Even small pieces of content can be packaged up as so called “snippets”. An example is the link to an appointment calendar at the bottom of this article. It is set-up as a snippet and can be added to all relevant content.
- Training materials – could they be repacked into an online resource for your customers? Likewise customer service playbooks and knowledge bases – can you get them online and opened up to search engines?
- Event content – you did video that amazing event you did last month didn’t you?!
- Software and digital services – do you have anything behind closed doors that could be, with a little work, polished up and made available online to more of your potential customers?
- Your products – do you have products that have a high perceived value but a low cost to you?
- The other teams in your business. Sometimes some small shifts in mindset or changed habits from other people in your business can begin to add a lot to your digital presence. For example your customer service agents and sales people will be explaining things to customers everyday. Going a little bit further and using those customer questions as triggers, to write something down for a webpage or record a quick video, can start to create large volumes of useful content that can be used as part of your SEO for example.
- Your customers – do you have large numbers of raving fans that you aren’t asking for reviews? Or could help out your other customers?
- Your buildings – do you have under-utilised space? It’s no coincidence that BMW offers BMW owners free coffee whenever they want it and banks create co-working spaces. We offer our spare desks to our clients to use whenever they are in Edinburgh. It all contributes to the marketing in one way or another
- Your partners – everyone from your suppliers to your CSR partners are people that have the potential to help you. They may be able to offer competition prizes or exposure to their audience for example?
3. Have we got the right system infrastructure?
Does your company have the system infrastructure to deliver effectiveness and efficiency? For many businesses that have evolved their digital marketing over time, they have acquired a number of different applications for the different tasks. That might include a dedicated email platform, a social media aggregator, an ecommerce platform and a live chat app for example.
All work well independently but are they holding back your growth by slowing your team down?
Many businesses are hampered by the difficulty of collating data and information across different systems and an inability to see a complete picture of how the marketing activity is performing in the context of the entire customer lifecycle journey.
Do your systems allow you to meet the expectations of seamless customer service? Is your marketing team seen as an ally of your sales and customer service teams and vice versa? Can you deploy content and offer service quickly across websites, email, chat and social platforms? Can you automate activities based on what your customers do on your website or any other channel? Can you personalise all these channels?
If the answer to any of these questions is no, then that’s an indication that your marketing plan is likely to be held back by your systems. Of course it may not be practical or sensible to have all these capabilities straight away but it does make sense to work out what you do need and what you are likely to need and build from there.
If you have been speaking to us at all in the last few years or beyond then you will of course know that we believe the key is having a CRM (Customer Relationship Management) based system at the heart of your digital presence.
The truth is that carrying out the above evaluation will probably raise more questions than it answers, but that is a good thing. Answering the difficult questions about both your effectiveness and efficiency will undoubtedly point your digital marketing activity in the right direction. It might just need a tweak to your original plan or it might need a total reset.
Whatever the requirement is, it will be time well spent. If there is something you would like to know more about, please just ask.