Monday, September 15, 2014

7 Tips for Perfecting Your Digital Marketing Program

Marketers constantly have to re-evaluate and improve their marketing strategies in today's fast-moving world. Here are some tips for assessing your own digital marketing program and maximizing its success.
Every day, marketers seek to enhance their digital marketing programs. Whether it is a new email or social campaign or something more complex like a list growth initiative, buyer sophistication increases daily and you constantly need to up your game with smarter campaigns. With limited resources, it's challenging to find the time to pause long enough to consider your next move, let alone evaluate how your efforts are working. To help you get started, I've provided seven quick tips for assessing your digital marketing program below.

1. Know Your Market
The identification of your target market is a key starting point for your assessment. It should include a clear definition of the personas most likely to purchase your products and you should do your best to find out how many individuals fit into each persona. It's also important to analyze your database and see how many prospects match your personas. From there you can calculate your market capture and market penetration rates.

2. Develop Your Pipeline

Pipeline analysis has long been the domain of the B2B marketer with a sales team, but it can also be done in a B2C environment - and not just for companies with longer, big-budget buying cycles. With more paths to purchase than ever, improving your understanding of this has taken on greater importance regardless of industry. It's easy to let a marketing pipeline fall into disrepair as incoming leads or list growth take precedence over slow-burning opportunities or repeat business, which can slip and stagnate for a variety of reasons. But increasing attention to this area can save a lot of wasted time and energy.

3. Be Content-Ready

In order to get the most out of your content, I recommend identifying three types of buyer categories and three different stages of the buying cycle. For example, if your categories are Engineering Managers, Operations, and Procurement, place appropriate content in its most appropriate persona and the right buying stage. You might find you have a great deal of collateral for one category and not much for another, or that some isn't being used at all. If that's the case, you should reconsider your promotion of it, change the title, and refresh the graphics or change the landing page or sales copy to make a difference. Or, consider if it is time to retire the content all together.

4. Engage With Your Audience

How engaged are your customers and prospects? You can't sell anything to anyone if they aren't engaged and responding to your communications. So, assessing how well you're communicating with contacts is essential to continued success. Examine your email engagement to see your highest-performing communications and, conversely, where you are performing poorest. It's also worth comparing your email open-rates to your peers' in benchmark studies. Then, add some more automation and triggered emails into the mix to help you score better open and click-through rates. Also look at ways you can incorporate more personalization into your emails, as this is a great way to nudge you on your way to a top performer.

5. Take Advantage of Technology

There are some great digital marketing tools in the marketplace, yet many marketers are only using about 20 percent of the capabilities of their platforms. If you want to be successful today, you need a strong digital marketing platform and a blend of creative thinkers and smart systems-thinking specialists on your team who can exploit this technology to drive efficiency within the marketing department. So, take this time to evaluate your current use of your digital platform, as well as your skill levels in each of these areas. Review all the features and functions that are provided, including the ones you haven't given much thought to trying in the past.

6. Make the Most of Mobile

How mobile-engaged is your audience? More than 50 percent of emails are now opened on mobile devices, and as smartphones are rapidly becoming the dominant phone technology, this is a smart time to evaluate email open rates. If you have high open rates, are you using responsive design techniques or other device-friendly email strategies? If not, do you need to update your templates? Since many smaller-screen users will be multitasking when they're reading your emails, the design needs to be simpler, more focused, and easier to navigate. Just be sure that tablet and desktop users are still enjoying a strong viewing experience, since in many cases the final conversion will take place on these platforms.

7. Use Social Media Wisely

You must take stock of your social presence to ensure you're easily found and fully engaged in social conversations with customers, prospects, and shareholders, and ensure your content is easily digestible for the folks who are always checking their networks while on-the-go. When customers buy a product or use your service, are you encouraging them to share their experience on social media? Setting up business rules which listen for certain behaviors (e.g. positive reviews) and then using them as triggers for delivering email or Web content encouraging these customers to share their reviews via social can drive engagement in a hurry, so assess where you stand in this area.

Performing a digital marketing assessment will go a long way in helping you evaluate where you've had success, identify key areas for improvement, and set the stage for major upgrades to your program. Just remember: be honest in your self-evaluation to ensure you get the most out of your assessment. Finally, while this is large in scope, keep in mind that you don't have to tackle each area for improvement. Rather than trying to do everything at once and becoming overwhelmed, pick a few strategic areas to focus on and take incremental steps to move along the path to success. Before long, you'll find that the small steps you've taken have helped you realize some big goals!


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