What do you do if you’ve spent a bunch of time and money creating a marketing strategy and it just doesn’t seem to work? Many of our clients come to us for this very reason. They’ve made a big investment in planning, and it’s not paying off.
We get it—feeling like you are constantly starting over with marketing is right up there with rubbing salt in your eyeballs. It’s something to avoid at all costs!
But the cost of ignoring a marketing strategy that isn’t working is too high. Eventually every business ends up right where you are now—trying to figure out what needs to change to hit your business goals.
As marketing changes, your digital marketing strategy should, too.
In business and marketing, updates come along pretty often. New technology, shifting trends, and updated government regulations are a few of usual suspects causing changes in digital marketing.
So, the best marketing strategy is a working plan that’s flexible. The kind of plan that always looks to see what’s working—and discards what isn’t.
Where to start
You begin by asking some hard questions. I know that isn’t fun. But, asking hard questions leads us to solid answers.
Begin first by looking internally.
What makes your brand compelling and memorable? Is it consistently recognized across different platforms? Do you solve a problem people actually have? Do people trust your brand to solve this problem? Why or why not?
Next, look externally.
Who is your best customer? How much do they know about their pain? Do they know you provide a solution to their challenge? Do they consider your services THE solution? Or just one of many options?
Now we’re getting somewhere.
Next, look past your customers to your competitors.
What is your competitor offering that you’re not? What does your competitor do well? Where do they struggle?
Your digital marketing plan shouldn’t be static.
Now for some good news. You never really have to start over with your digital marketing strategy, but you do have to constantly be iterating and refining the strategy.
The most effective approach has three steps: plan, measure, and improve. Most companies get the first part right—they create a well-thought-out digital marketing plan and start putting it in motion.
The problem is that very few companies spend time measuring results and using those results to improve upon the initial plan.
The companies that see the greatest results do not follow their marketing plan to the letter. They use the plan as a guide and are diligent about making make strategic changes along the way based on results. This approach allows you to capitalize on the things that are producing results and nix the pieces of the strategy that aren’t.
You never have to “start over” if you’re constantly tweaking and improving as you go.
Here’s an example of how the Plan Measure Improve approach works:
Recently, we worked with a law firm that wanted to book more consultations online with prospective clients.
- We started by defining segments of the firm’s audience and identifying which segments were most likely to book appointments online.
- Next, we created blog and landing page content that helped answer common questions that those specific segments of the audience often ask during their initial consultation.
- After giving the prospective clients a few pieces of information we knew they’d need no matter what, we offered to help in a more concrete way through a free consultation.
- Last, we drove traffic to the blog posts and landing pages through targeted social media content and Google Adwords campaigns.
Whew! That’s a lot of work. Next up is to see how it all worked so we know whether to keep going or make some changes.
- We found that the social media campaigns were not as effective as we’d anticipated. This could be because people who are considering a divorce don’t want their friends and family on social media to know they’re interacting with a family law firm.
- We discovered that the average visitor looked at three pages of content before booking a consultation online.
- We saw that a handful of the ads were outperforming others—the subject of these ads was about getting custody of your kids during a divorce.
The data we uncovered was really useful. With that information, we shifted the digital marketing strategy after only 45 days in order to improve results. Here’s what we changed:
- Knowing that the social media campaigns were not performing as planned, we just spent less time here. We still published social media content, but we didn’t expect it to produce results—not yet, anyway. The result of this change in the strategy was more time to devote to other things that were working.
- Once we discovered that the average visitor needed to see multiple pieces of content before converting, we looked at the editorial calendar and found ways to create content to build upon previous content. Creating clearly linked pieces of related content delivered a really rapid uptick in conversions. Within a couple of weeks, we were already seeing positive results.
- Lastly, knowing which ads were working and which were not, we dropped the duds and focused on the subjects that were driving traffic. Doing this allowed us to shift more of our client’s advertising budget to topics relating to child custody—and we saw immediate positive results from this shift.
The most effective digital marketing plan is a flexible one.
Having a digital marketing strategy in place is critical, but it’s not meant to be followed blindly.
If it’s been a while since someone has assessed whether your plan is working, schedule a free strategy review with our team.