Budgets, Branding & Better Online Marketing: Part Four
There’s no denying it — digital marketing is a growing force in the world of marketing, branding and communication. Digital marketing methods are fast, versatile, practical and streamlined, so it is unsurprising that modern businesses are adapting their strategies for an online audience.
But implementing an effective digital marketing strategy is no easy task. That’s why nucleo has been exploring where, when and how you should invest your digital marketing budget.
Head back to Part One: Understanding Your Marketing Channel Options to learn more about the advantages, drawbacks and costs of popular channels, including SEO, email-direct, PPC advertising, social media, and content marketing.
Head back to Part Two: Understanding Your Business’s Needs to define your digital needs by identifying your company’s goals, budget and expertise.
Head back to Part Three: Creating Your Channel Strategy to learn how to make more informed decisions about your digital marketing options.
Or continue on with our final post, as we explore the importance of monitoring the effectiveness of your strategy, and understanding when and why a digital channel may not produce results.
Part Four: Improving your channel strategy
Even the best-laid plans can fail if you don’t follow up by measuring the effectiveness of your campaigns and making changes where necessary. Once you’ve launched your campaigns with your chosen channels, focus your efforts for at least 1 to 3 months, and monitor the results over this time.
Gather performance data by asking questions like:
- Are any of my digital marketing channels falling short of my expectations?
- Are any channels significantly outperforming the others?
- Have my available resources changed during this time? Has my budget changed? How should this affect my channel plan?
- What is my average LTV per channel? (i.e. “lifetime value”, a prediction of the revenue that a customer will generate throughout their entire future relationship with your brand.)
If any of your chosen digital marketing channels are underperforming, don’t immediately assume that it was the wrong choice for your business. First, you should delve in and determine any possible reasons for its lack of success.
Are there any temporary factors to consider?
There are numerous reasons why a channel may not be delivering expected results, and many of these may be only a temporary factor that can be overcome.
Is your channel data showing a decline in January after two successful months? Perhaps the holiday season was influencing your channel performance.
Did your reports show that email marketing was a major source of conversions in the first month, but not the third? Look at your content — maybe you sent out fewer emails in the third month, or you offered a one-off promotion in the first month that greatly encouraged sales.
The results of your digital marketing campaigns will rarely be exactly replicable from month-to-month, so identify any factors that could impair (or improve) performance, and take these into consideration when analysing the effectiveness of your channels.
Should I ditch my chosen channel?
We’ve said that you shouldn’t automatically pull the plug on an underperforming channel, but when and why should you stop investing in a channel?
Generally speaking, digital marketing requires patience. Marketing experts will typically launch their chosen channels with a modest budget and then, where possible, ramp it up over the next few months as they monitor the results. This will often allow them to navigate around the problem of spending large amounts of money and not seeing results.
On the other hand, what if you’ve spent a significant portion of your budget, and you still aren’t seeing any progress being made towards your business goals? It’s time to reassess. Possibly there’s an issue with your tracking — are you getting accurate data? Or maybe the problem is in the implementation of the channel.
Use your judgement to assess your strategies; if you think you’ve done all you can but you still aren’t producing results, it doesn’t make sense to waste time and money to keep the channel running into the future. Protect your business. Iron out the issues, and see if you can return to the channel at a later date.
Should I try this channel again in the future?
Say it with me: analyse, analyse, analyse. If one of your channels didn’t work, identify why. Compare it to the individual channels that produced good returns. Review your notes and data frequently, and observe any changing conditions that may, over time, create better conditions for the channel to succeed in.
For example, running paid social media ads may not have been profitable previously because you were unfamiliar with the platform’ practices and possibilities. In six months time, your expertise may have changed. Maybe you’ve studied social media marketing, or hired a designer to produce quality ads. Maybe you have a greater budget to promote your ads, or you’ve engaged with an agency to outsource your marketing needs.
If your notes shows that previous failures weren’t due to the channel itself, you may find it worth revisiting in the future.
To sum up: Your company, budget, audience, and even the channels themselves are likely to change over time. You must evolve your strategy alongside them — and the best way to do this is to gather performance data and document what has or hasn’t worked for your business.
Digital marketing channel selections should never be set in stone. Make a plan (and don’t stick to it).
Channel selections are something that even experienced strategists can struggle with. Successful marketing campaigns are the result of thorough planning, monitoring, and implementation, where several channels work in unison to support your business.
With time and practice, you’ll learn how to react to performance data, measure the impact of your channels, and improve the results of your digital marketing.
Or you can get a little bit of help from a professional branding and marketing agency. nucleo specialises in full-service marketing strategies, and can help you to prioritise plans and channels to meet your specific goals.
Get in touch with one of our marketing professionals to discuss online marketing channels and develop a strategy that suits your brand and budget.