1. Rinse Out Your Research
As time goes on, your company can evolve, and as it does so it is important to review your business aims and objectives. You may have met your objectives over the last year, but if you haven’t, now is the time to understand why. Reviewing your efforts allows you the chance to realign your digital marketing activities to (hopefully) achieve your goals over the next year.
Target customers, buying patterns, competition, and other important factors, can all change as your business grows. It is important to carry out regular research and an annual digital marketing activity analysis, so that you are making sure your tactics are supporting your business to reach its new aims and objectives.
A thorough digital marketing analysis should answer the following questions:
- Who are my potential customers?
- What are my customers' buying habits?
- How large is my target market?
- How much are customers willing to pay for my product?
- Who are my main competitors?
- What are my competitors' strengths and weaknesses?
Top Tip: SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) is a very popular form of analysis and is a good start for any business. It will give you a broad overview of the good and the bad about your strategy from both a brand and a customer perspective and will help you to identify what is and what is not going well.
You can use a 2x2 grid, with one square for each of the four aspects of SWOT, which are outlined below:
Strengths - Strengths are things that your organisation does particularly well, or in a way that distinguishes you from your competitors. Think about the advantages your organisation has over other organisations.
Weaknesses - Weaknesses, like strengths, are inherent features of your organisation, so focus on your people, resources, systems, and procedures. Think about what you could improve, and the sorts of practices you should avoid.
Opportunities – These usually arise from situations outside your organisation and require you to think about what might happen in the future. They might come from developments in the market you serve, or in the technology you use.
Threats - Threats include anything that can negatively affect your business from the outside, such as supply chain problems, shifts in market requirements, or a shortage of staff. It's vital to anticipate threats and to take action against them before they stall your growth.
2. Launder Your Email Lists
Email marketing is a key part of most businesses’ digital strategy, but it is important to regularly review your email analytics, so that you can see what works, and what doesn’t. It is important to look at both the audience who are interested in your emails and the audience who may not be, as both may need a different approach.
Below are some key elements to look out for:
High Engagement Rate – You should identify people who regularly open and engage with your emails. It is important to do email re-targeting to help these strong prospects move down the sales funnel. The retargeting email should be more tailored to them, perhaps about their specific industry. If you use email marketing software such as Mailchimp, you can also see who clicked on certain links, which will also give you an insight into what interests the user most. You should be retargeting them on a regular basis, such as monthly or bi-weekly.
Low Engagement rate - Don’t forget that you can also look at people who are the total opposite: those with a low engagement rate with your emails. Email service providers like Gmail or Outlook will move emails with low engagement to the spam folder, which can lead to open rates dropping further since fewer users will see your emails once they're filtered out of their inbox. To combat this, do some research to find out why they don’t seem interested. You can do this by split A/B testing, to see if they respond better to different wording in the subject line, or perhaps talking about different topics altogether.
GDPR – When taking part in email marketing, you must comply with the latest GDPR laws. Marketers must make sure that web pages, forms, or calls to action contain information that clearly outlines why data is being collected and who will have access to the data. You could implement a system that tracks user data and opt-in preferences (perhaps via your CRM), so that data is processed in the right way.
You also need consent from users to send them marketing communications and you must be transparent with information on consent. Opt-in by default is not compliant, so no pre-ticked boxes! You must give users a clear route to opting out of marketing messages or updating their preferences. It is a good idea to review your GDPR practices yearly, to ensure you are abiding by the law in all areas of your marketing, and avoid making an expensive mistake.
3. Wash Up Your Website
What happens when you go to a website and it is unclear to navigate, and hard to find the correct information? You leave.
That is why it is so important to regularly review and test your website from a user experience point of view. What may be obvious to you as the website owner, might not be so clear to a first-time website visitor.
What should you be looking at when conducting a review?
Clarity - How clear is your business offering, and how simple is it for the user to understand?
Business Space - Where does the company sit in the business space in relation to its competitors and market offering? How do competitors approach their UX? What makes the company different?
Stakeholder / End User Expectations - What do the stakeholders want to achieve with the UX, and what do the typical users want to gain from it?
Contrast / Motion / Patterns - How do the user's eye and attention behave in relation to the elements on the page? Which parts stand out and which go unnoticed?
Information hierarchy - Which features, benefits, and offerings are the most important and need to be given the most focus? Where do we want the user to go and how do we want them to behave?
Once the above questions have been answered, you will be able to identify areas for improvement. Once these have been actioned, you will hopefully start to see positive changes in your website analytics.
Top Tip: If you are unsure how to identify how well your website is performing, make sure you are signed up to Google Analytics. You can do this here.
As well as reviewing the UX side of your website, it is also important to regularly review your SEO. With the search engines’ everchanging algorithms, it is important to regularly check that your website still complies and that you are still as visible as you can be to your target audience.
Top Tip: SEO reviews can be challenging if you are unsure of what you are looking for. Visit our SEO review tool that you can use to generate an in-depth website report!
4. Buff Your Branding
Brand strategy is key to ensuring that your brand is aligned with company objectives, but in an increasingly fast-changing marketplace, you can’t just set it and forget it. It’s a good idea to take a critical look at your brand positioning periodically to make sure it continues to be relevant, well-aligned with your business strategy, and well-positioned against competitors.
We wouldn’t recommend habitually changing brand positioning every six months, but significant developments both inside and outside the company should inspire another look.
Here are the elements you need to look at when you are doing a brand review:
- Design Accents
- Photo Style
- Colour Pallet
- Messaging & Tone
- Page Titles
- Article Titles
- Business Cards
- Social Media Profiles
- Article Thumbnails
Once you have collated your thoughts and analysis into one place, you should sit down and review what has worked and what hasn’t. While doing this, make sure that your existing marketing materials fit your brand guidelines and tone of voice.
Now that has been done, note areas that need to be worked on and looked at again for improvement. Create a list based on priority, and which areas will help you see the biggest ROI (Return On Investment) first. Delegate these tasks out to your creative agency team to be actioned as soon as possible.
It is important to make sure your brand is consistent across each marketing channel, otherwise you risk losing out on having a strong, recognisable brand identity. Every brand is different, so adjust what you need to and take one step at a time.
Top Tip: Our design team can also offer a free brand review! Spend two minutes filling in our contact form to get started.
5. Scrub Your Social
An audit of your social media accounts helps you understand what’s happening on each network. You’ll be able to spot at a glance:
- what’s working and what’s not
- which outdated profiles you need to revive, repurpose, or shut down
- new opportunities to grow and engage your audience.
It is a good idea to curate your findings into an easy-to-read spreadsheet, so you can review them further down the line.
Start by noting down the social media network, the URL, your profile name and/or description, the number of followers, and your average number of posts per month. You could also include post analytics if you wanted to go more in-depth.
Now that you have your list of locations where your brand is present, it’s time to make sure that your presence at these places is purposeful. You can consider asking some of the following questions to determine the necessity of certain profiles.
“Why are we using this social account?”
“Why do we want to use it?”
“What are our goals for this social media platform?”
“Are our target markets using it?”
If you no longer have a good reason to use the account, or you find that your target market is elsewhere, don’t hesitate to cut ties and focus your effort where it is better spent. For the platforms that are working, set SMART objectives for each one, and work with your social media team (or creative agency) to create campaigns to help achieve those goals.
Objectives are 'SMART' if they are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound.
- Specific – Outline in a clear statement precisely what is required.
- Measurable – Include a measure to enable organisations to monitor progress and to know when the objective has been achieved. This could be qualitive or quantitative.
- Achievable – Your goal should be realistic and attainable; it should stretch your abilities but still remain possible.
- Realistic/Relevant – An effective performance objective should be relevant to what the organisation and/or the team needs to achieve.
- Time Bound – Set a clear date for when you want this goal to be achieved by.
When investing in marketing, you must look at each area to ensure that your sales funnel is streamlined. Ideally, you want to reach your target audience on every single platform that they are on (have a look at the seven touchpoints to find out more), to maximise the chance of completing a sale.
At Hydra Creative, we have experts in all areas of marketing, so we can ensure that your business will get the best possible results. Whether you need a rebrand, a new website, or ad hoc content writing, we have a dedicated team here who can do it for you. Get in touch for a free 1-1 to see how we can get you started.