Navigating a Digital Marketing Strategy
When planning a road trip it is important to know a few things before you hit the road. Where you are, where you want to go, the path you take, the speed at which you travel and how much gasoline you will need. Taking all of these factors into account before you begin your venture makes for a much smoother ride.
I think that executing a proper marketing plan to achieve a specific objective is planned in much the same way. One needs to understand what their current position in the market is, what you are looking to achieve, what your competition is doing, and what resources you have available to achieve said goal. There will always be unforeseen factors, flat tires or construction that isn’t on the map.
One of my favorite analytics authors and Google evangelist, Avinash Kaushik does an excellent job putting this idea in a metaphor for easy understanding. Since I can’t think of a better one I will try to use his.
Having a website without analytics is much like driving a car without a speedometer and having your windows blacked out. You know that you are in a car but that’s about it. Adding analytics to your website is similar to adding a speedometer, you now understand what is happening within your car and the speed you are traveling. If you live in Canada during the winter months you must have some idea what this is like. Personally I don’t advise driving when you don’t know where the road is or where the other cars on the road are. Much like I don’t advise a firm to start a campaign without knowing what their competition is doing. Setting up a monitoring system for competition analysis is now table stakes in the online world. Understanding their top keywords, links and social strategies better prepares you to execute on your own plan. Not knowing what your completion is doing is not advisable. As Mike Tyson once said:
“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face”
It dumbfounds me that business leaders and marketing directors often make decisions without having the proper data available. If you don’t truly know where you are, how can you provide direction for your company to a specific destination? How do you know if you have enough gas in your tank to make it all the way?
Collecting the right data is imperative in today’s marketing landscape. The days of smoke and mirrors or “50% of my marketing is working but I don’t know which half is working” are long gone. As Avinash puts it, strategies should be built on customer centric data driven decisions.
If you can’t answer all of the following basic questions before you start your next road trip perhaps you need to pop the hood of your car and have a look.
What is it that you are trying to achieve?
What is a new client worth?
What is the lifetime value of a client?
What percentage of visitors from each source become leads?
What percentage of leads become clients?
What are your top converting keywords? Top volume keywords?
How do you compare to your competition on these keywords?
What are your top landing pages?
What landing pages have the highest bounce rates? Lowest bounce rates?
What are the top questions / information requests you get from perspective clients?
How does each traffic source play a role in a conversion?
I will let you in on the closely guarded secret to a successful online marketing campaign that every great marketing professional knows…
Do more of what is working and less of what’s not.
If you don’t know what is working and what isn’t than you are driving with your eyes closed.
I don’t know how to change the oil in my car, I probably cant find the connecting rod in my engine and if my catalytic converter breaks down I call my mechanic.
If you don’t know your conversion rates, lead attribution or top performing keywords perhaps you need to see a mechanic too.