Your Digital Roadmap: 12 Months to Flawless Optimization
in Digital Marketing Strategy & Trends | by Erika Levy
According to Google, the distance between the Sparxoo headquarters in Tampa, Florida and Los Angeles is 2,913 miles. For those of you who aren’t number crunchers, that’s the equivalent of 37 hours driving time. Now, I’ve always liked the idea of a cross-country road trip, but I’m not sure 37 hours in a car is for me—especially when I can hop on a five-hour flight instead. Moral of the story? We live in era where speed is currency, even if it means we don’t always get to enjoy the view along the way.
Similar to a cross-country road trip, you don’t often get to your destination instantly in digital marketing. Instead, digital marketers must fix existing problems in a digital strategy before moving on to newer and—let’s be honest—more exciting work.
The success of your digital campaign depends on the baseline you establish upfront. And as it happens, today is your lucky day: We put together a 12-month strategy for complete digital optimization just for you (Want more? Your complete ROI strategy awaits in our “5 Steps to Marketing ROI Stardom” guide). So, let’s roll:
Phase 1 (Months 1-3)
Collaborate With Your Team to Define Success
Every great journey starts with a destination in mind. Prior to planning any campaign, you’ll want to align sales and marketing teams to establish your campaign goals. Marketing goals should be specific, realistic and measurable, and should look something like, “Increase our year-end revenue by “X” percent,” or “Deliver 30 qualified leads to our sales team each month.”
Once your goal is defined, write it down and keep it in sight. Not only will the goal define the volume of potential customers you’ll need to bring in, it will be a useful reminder of how small optimizations can either bring you closer or push you further from your goal.
Complete a Digital Marketing Audit
When starting any journey, you’ll want to know what sort of terrain you’ll be covering. As an integrated digital marketing agency, we recommend starting with a full digital marketing audit. A digital marketing audit is like a land survey; it provides a view of the peaks and valleys of your historical marketing efforts.
Your digital marketing audit should include metrics on organic and paid exposure, content assets, conversion metrics, the integration of online and offline touchpoints, and any other digital metrics you can access. If your team has lackluster data, don’t be discouraged. Take note of the data you’re missing and implement appropriate tracking when you set up your analytics measurement tool and campaign architecture.
*Your audit will likely reveal gaps in content and creative. Following the audit, you’ll want to provide your content and design teams with instructions to create the marketing assets you need in order to launch your campaign.*
Use Your Audit to Establish Benchmarks
The results of your digital marketing audit will serve as your first benchmark. Consider it “Point A” in your journey, and share it internally with all relevant stakeholders.
“Point B,” of course, represents where you hope to go; in this case “Point B” would be represented by the goals you define with your team. Keep in mind that journeys are rarely completed in a single step or linear. Once the campaign launches, optimizations may require detours and rerouting.
Set Up Analytics and Campaign Architecture
Setting up campaign tracking is like packing your bag for your journey. It’s the last best chance to ensure you’re prepared for what’s ahead. Whether you’re using Google Analytics or tracking your analytics through a marketing automation tool, you’ll want to implement campaign tracking on as much of a granular level as possible.
Once your campaign architecture is established and your marketing assets have been created, you’ll be ready to launch. You may choose to launch your campaign in phases, or do it all right away.
Phase 2 (Months 4-8)
Initial Testing and Optimizations
Testing and optimizing is a surefire way to refuel your strategy. Once you’ve launched your campaign, we recommend running your campaign for a statistically significant amount of time prior to optimizations and testing. If your digital channels see relatively low volume, you may consider reviewing stats once a week and optimizing after the first 3-4 weeks.
Based on the data you pull, here are some suggested optimizations for various digital strategies. In order to determine impact, we recommend only making 1-2 changes per strategy at a time:
Paid Search Optimizations
- Optimize the URL displayed in your search advertising to a string that it is more relevant to your product or service
- Include target keywords in headlines and copy that either match, or closely match, the keywords you bid on
- Optimize calls-to-action to directly state what you want customers to do (Bonus points: try A/B testing CTAs)
- Ensure your website (or at least key pages) are mobile friendly
- Tweak metadata such as title tags and descriptions
- Keep content fresh by regularly tweaking messaging
- Promote original, shareable content, and feel free to reproduce old blog posts by updating and reposting the content
- Network with influencers to build a strong backlink profile and increase domain authority
- Consider creating new pages that align with your campaign goals and digital strategy
- Test email formats such as HTML versus text to learn how formats affect click-through rates
- Test subject line personalization
- Experiment with sending emails at different times and days
Continue Benchmark Reporting
Along your optimization journey, make a few rest stops to see how things are going. Even if you review your digital stats weekly, you’ll want to share overall metrics with your marketing and sales teams on a monthly basis at a minimum. Sharing benchmarks will not only keep your team informed on goal trends, it will also provide insight into the hard work you’re doing on the backend to yield great results.
Phase 3 (Months 9-12)
Campaign Architecture Assessment
This is a good time to evaluate the tools and resources you’re using for your campaign, especially if you’re looking to upgrade marketing platforms or other resources. Do your homework and know what to look for when choosing the right marketing technology for your business. After all, you don’t want to get new technology just for the sake of getting the latest software—it should provide true value for your year-end review.
Depending on the length of your sales cycle, you may see instant, significant data that highlights how marketing has impacted sales. If that’s the case, throw on your thinking cap and start brainstorming ways to enhance the customer experience—and encourage recommendations and positive reviews while you’re at it.
These customer experience optimizations may include strategies like increasing social engagement, using dynamic content, and ensuring responsive web design on landing pages or forms.
Year-End Benchmark Report
The 12-month mark doesn’t necessarily signal the end of your journey, but it does conclude the perfect baseline for evaluating success. Your yearly report should include data from the initial benchmark (“Point A”) and all subsequent reports.
If possible, schedule a year-end meeting with relevant stakeholders to share successes, evaluate new opportunities, and make a strong case for increasing budgets in certain areas, if needed.
Phase 4 (Ongoing)
Test Again and Again
Regularly testing your campaigns sheds a light on new ways to improve both your targeting strategy and your customer experience strategy. Even if you’ve already determined your optimal channels, you won’t want to stop there. Remember: It’s all about the journey, not the destination—so go wild and explore new channels. If you create a culture that celebrates continuous optimizations and testing, you’ll foster an environment for employees that celebrates creative thinking, conservative risk-taking, and incremental victories.
Ready to hit the road? Well, we’ve got one last gift for you: A cross-country playlist that stands the test of time—be it 37 hours or not.