December is always a time for reflecting on the progress made over the previous 12 months as well as making plans for the year ahead. For us that means conducting a digital marketing strategy review, not only to check for growth and progress but also to understand what has worked to shape our focus for the future. (We also try to identify what hasn’t worked, so we don’t waste time continuing to flog dead horses!) We, like most businesses, have things covered for our clients. However, (again, like most businesses) we can be guilty of not showing ourselves the same level of attention.
This December we will be taking some time out to get the team around a table and focus on our own marketing strategy. The following paragraphs aim to give you a glimpse of what we will look at for our business, to help give you a starting point so that you can then carry out a similar process for your own presence.
Everything hinges on your website
This is our starting place. We work through as if we were new users on the site. What is the experience? Is it easy to use or are there places which cause friction from a user perspective? What would make it better?
Then we turn to Google Analytics. It’s one thing to boast about how many hits your blog receives in a month – but another to understand the quality of that traffic. Are we repeatedly hit with bots or are visitors to the site returning to consume our content? Are they spending enough time on the site that they can make it through the entirety of an article?
The traffic that arrived at my site, where did it come from?… What countries are they coming from? Which other sites are sending traffic to your site? Are they desktop or mobile?
What’s my social life looking like?
What are the social media platforms you’re hanging out on? Take each of them one by one and run through the following process.
- Look at your profile with fresh eyes. Do your images still fit? Is there anything there that needs to be updated? Hit edit and check everything. There might be new features that have been added throughout the year that you haven’t yet utilised. Now is the best time to look and make sure you are 100% present and correct.
- Know your numbers – We want to know how big your network is, particularly your followers and likes. However, we also want to know about your engagement rates and reach. Each social media platform will offer you slightly different stats, so there is a little bit of you deciding what is important to your business. For us, it’s about audience size, audience demographics, reach, engagement levels, and which are the most popular posts.
- How engaging are you? Check down your posts, look at the last ten and establish the split between your sales and non-sales posts. In every ten posts, we would not want to see more than two sales messages. The remaining eight posts should be geared around gaining loyalty from your audience, allowing them to get to know you and also giving back to your audience by sharing industry knowledge and experience.
We compare the information we’ve collated with the previous period, considering what we did or didn’t do in terms of other marketing activities, and assess the impact! Where are the big wins and why did we achieve them? What should have worked and didn’t? We identify the peaks and troughs and get a real understanding of what we should be doing in 2019. From there we can create a considered marketing plan for the coming year that is based on success – and not based on guesswork.
There will be things that should have worked but perhaps didn’t have the impact we anticipated. It is essential to understand why it wasn't the right strategy for your business or audience. Did the strategy just not work or was it that you didn’t have the budget or commitment to make it work?
It’s important to stop and take stock. The end of the year is an ideal opportunity to do this. We all secretly love the idea of new year new start – why should your marketing activities be any different?
Digital Services Manager for Green Umbrella Marketing Ltd.