Guest author Stephen Moyers is an online marketer, designer, avid tech-savvy blogger. Associated with Los Angeles-based SPINX Digital Agency, he writes about online marketing, web design, development, social media marketing and more.
Each marketing strategy is unique, but every marketing strategy should include evaluation. No matter what business you are in, be certain that you aren’t throwing good money after bad by continuing a strategy that is not performing.
Some companies act like digital marketing is a magic tonic with an immediate effect that just continues on. When they fail, others think it’s because they were using standards designed for traditional marketing.
Both are common problems, and they can be solved by understanding the similarities and differences between digital and traditional campaigns.
Identify Your Goals
Every marketing strategy should have a specific goal, so you can ultimately distinguish between success and failure. It’s also impossible to achieve a meaningful measure of return on investment (ROI), which relies on having a concrete expectation to match the actual returns to.
Goals must be concrete. You can’t perform ROI calculations without some measure of what you’re looking for. And it may not always be sales. While the traditional way to calculate ROI is by counting the money acquired compared to money spent, that doesn’t work for Facebook likes, retweets, or other some other measure of customer interaction. Whatever you’re looking for, it’s easier to find non-monetary indicators online than through traditional business models.
There’s a better way: First, determine how much effort you spent—whether that was time spent, number of posts, or amount of money spent on a campaign, the investment must be defined. For the returns, you need a numerical value, such as number of likes or the number of people referred to your webpage. Once you figure out what to measure, then you can perform a ratio calculation. The number might not be as convenient as the traditional ROI formula, but it will give you a base to work with.
Identify Your Customer Base
Although you may consider a campaign successful based on numbers alone, you could be missing the bigger picture. That same campaign may have been a failure on demographics, which can be critical. To truly evaluate its success, focus on identifying your customer base. It will give you a better idea of how effective your targeting was.
If you reached an unexpected demographic, be prepared to analyze it further—whether you reached your goal numbers or not. You could have inadvertently reached a broader range of people than you expected, or grabbed a different group than you wanted. Be sure to check the relative proportions of your demographic. Whatever you learn, take it and apply it to the next one.
An effective digital presence can influence areas far outside the physical geographic scope of a company, no matter its actual size. Smaller companies can have results many times larger than their size would allow otherwise, thanks to the intimacy their small size brings to the table. Though larger companies may never feel as personal to their users as startups can, they have many more resources.
The responsiveness of the web can have a huge impact on a company’s digital presence, both positive and negative, and its effects can extend to all areas of the business. Companies should take care, because a mishap in one web campaign can have major repercussions.
Examine your ROI and other sources to determine the effects of your digital presence. With large ROI and good levels of influence, you shouldn’t have to change any part of your marketing plan. If ROIs are less than expected, take a look at your demographics and campaign strategy. You may have inadvertently alienated your core demographics. Make certain your message is consistent across all platforms. If all else fails, look at what companies succeeding in this area are doing and mirror them.
Evaluate Your Strategy, And Then Expand
No strategy is perfect. Even the most successful marketing campaigns have areas for improvement. In the evaluation phase, consider the previous sections and any potential flaws in the process.
For an extra set of eyes, hiring a professional digital marketing analyst can be an important investment. They are trained in evaluating marketing strategies and can offer invaluable assistance, regardless of whether your campaign met its goals or not. if your strategy didn’t work, they can help identify what went wrong and how to fix the problem. If it did, they can help you identify your next steps.
A successful marketing plan usually leads to another, in an effort to expand the business. No matter what population you are expanding into, you need to evaluate the new demographic and pinpoint the differences between it and your current audience. If enough of your target audience has changed, you need to approach it like an entirely new demographic. Never assume that you know how your target group will react to your campaign.
Be sure to test your ideas before launching the new campaign, even if the type of target users appears to be the same. Already established audiences can change over time.
If you’re expanding beyond your country’s borders, the move can bring both new risks and opportunities. An international audience often comes with cultural differences that should factor into your strategy. Don’t hesitate to hire experts in all aspects of the target culture, if necessary. You don’t want clashes or misunderstandings coming back to haunt you.
No matter how far you seek to expand, you’ll want to test your audience, and never make assumptions about how people will receive your campaign. Ad remember: There’s something to learn from both successes and failures that can help your digital marketing strategies evolve.
Lead photo courtesy of Bigstock Photo via Stephen Moyers